Are Border Collies Good Guard Dogs?

By John Martin - August 11, 2022

Border Collie herding sheep

One of the most intelligent breeds, Border Collies make for excellent agility and obedience dogs. These high-energy herders have loads of stamina and make great pets for active families.

But if you’re looking for a pet that can protect you and your family and are wondering if a Border Collie will make a good guard dog, then in this article, we have explored if this breed has the temperament and traits to be a good guard dog or not.

Watchdogs vs Guard Dogs

Before we discuss whether Border Collies can be reliable guard dogs, it is essential to know the difference between a watchdog and a guard dog.

Although the terms “guard dog” and “watchdog” are used interchangeably, there is a difference between the two.

Watchdogs typically can distinguish anything that’s not normal and raise an alarm by barking loudly. But when threatened or cornered, as a last resort, they may attempt to bite.

A guard dog, on the other hand, will assault an intruder and immobilize them. Some guard dogs may bark loudly, but others attack silently.

Can Border Collies Be Good Guard Dogs?

Guard dogs like Dobermans, German Shepherds and Rottweilers are aggressive and can physically attack and restrain any intruder, which a Border Collie does not usually do.

The Collie is not a breed that will quickly escalate from barking to alert you to attack the intruder. And, in situations of serious confrontations, they aren’t known to act on their aggression.

They will back off very quickly, which does not make them very good at being guard dogs.

Border Collies are protective by nature and if they feel that their human family or property is being threatened, they will bark loudly, which will successfully deter intruders.

Further, Border Collies are very intelligent dogs and highly energetic too. And, if they don’t have activities and games to keep them busy or opportunities to run about, exercise and play to burn off their energy, they can get extremely bored.

Guarding your home is not an exciting or mentally-stimulating activity for your Border Collie and probably will not hold their attention for a long time. In short, while Border Collies may be excellent watchdogs, they typically don’t make very effective guard dogs.

Border Collies Can Be Great Watchdogs

As we have discussed earlier, the job of a watchdog is to be vigilant and if they sense that something is not right or is out of the ordinary, then they will sound an alarm by barking and Border Collies can do this very well.

Border Collies are extremely smart dogs that are very sensitive, aware and alert to their surroundings and nothing can pass by without their notice.

And, if the Border Collie notices something amiss or unusual, they will immediately raise an alarm and warn their owner. Border Collies form strong bonds with their humans and can be extremely protective of their human families and property.

And, this protective instinct in Collies is an ingrained trait from the times when they were bred and used for centuries as herders by farmers to protect livestock on the farms from predators like foxes.

And, when herding sheep, Border Collies controlled the flocks by circling the sheep and staring at them. And, if the sheep did not heed the Collie, they would stalk and chase them.

So, if you’re looking for your Border Collie to protect you, this depends on the type of protection you require. Usually, a growling or barking dog is sufficient to deter any intruder or assailant, which makes Border Collies very good watchdogs.

Can Border Collies Be Trained to Be a Guard Dog?

Border Collies are very intelligent, smart and easily trainable to do practically anything, but their personality is not.

Since the breed is generally quite vocal and Border Collies bark a lot, you can train your pet to bark and alert you if a stranger approaches your home. And, with extensive training, they can be trained to be guard dogs and attack humans and other intruders.

But it is not a good idea to train a dog that is not cut out to be a guard dog to be one. This essentially means teaching them to be more aggressive than they naturally are.

And, to train them to be guard dogs, the training techniques are likely to be disciplinary and based on fear, which is a negative and unethical approach.

A scared Border Collie is not calm or reliable, which are the two main qualities required for a good and effective guard dog.

So, if you want an effective guard dog that performs all the duties of a traditional guard dog, then it is best to get a dog breed such as a Doberman, German Shepherd, Rottweiler, etc.

Should You Get a Border Collie?

The decision of whether to bring home a Border Collie or not depends on if this breed is a good fit for your particular lifestyle.

But before bringing home a Collie, just as any other breed, you must consider their temperament, exercise, grooming and training needs. Border Collies are intelligent dogs with high energy and stamina.

They need plenty of physical and mental activity and exercise to keep them healthy, active and happy.

These dogs have a smooth, double coat with long hair that requires proper maintenance and grooming to keep it neat and healthy and to minimize shedding.

Border Collies are the happiest when they are busy and have a job to do and training your pet is essential to keep them occupied. So, you must consider all these aspects before deciding whether a Border Collie is the best dog breed for you and your family.

Wrapping Up

When selecting a dog breed to bring home, many dog owners look for a pooch that can protect their human family and home.

But, if you’re considering a Border Collie, although these dogs make excellent family pets, if you’re looking for a guard dog, then Border Collies don’t have the predisposition or the temperament to be a reliable one.

And, if your main objective is a guard dog, then instead of a Border Collie, it is better to look for a larger and more intimidating breed that is cut out to be an effective guard dog.