When it comes to smart dogs, it’s hard to beat the intelligence of a border collie. It is estimated that border collies are the only dog breed in the world to recognize over 1,000 nouns. In addition to their instinctive intelligence, border collies excel in adaptive intelligence. These qualities of the world’s smartest dog breed make it easy to understand why they are the choice dog for sheep herding.

But what is it about border collies that makes them so smart? How does their intelligence help these furry geniuses with training? How can you measure how smart your border collie really is? You will find the answer to these questions and more in this article.

First, it’s vital to answer this important question: how can you measure a border collie’s intelligence?

How is a dog’s intelligence measured?

There are two criteria to measure the intelligence of any dog breed. The first is the number of repetitions it requires to learn a new command. The second is the dog’s success rate in learning something new. These two factors result in a dog’s ability to learn and be adaptive instinctively.

What does this mean for border collies? Holding the title of “world’s smartest dog”, this intelligent breed is fast at learning commands. Additionally, they are one of the quickest dog breeds at acting on commands. All these are excellent qualities – not only for herding sheep – but for being excellent family pets.

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History and origins of Border Collies

The origins of border collies go back to the border between Scotland and England.

The breed originated from several sheep-herding dogs, most notably landrace collies. The result was black and white medium-sized dogs with double coats that became known as Border Collies.

Shepherds in the Scottish borders developed the breed to herd seep through their body language and intense gaze. This was a far cry from typical sheepdogs that would bark and nip sheep to herd them.

Today, border collies are not just popular with sheep farmers. Their gentle, even-tempered nature and eagerness to please make them excellent family pets. However, they need plenty of physical exercise and mental stimulation.

Border Collies are fast learners with high IQ

The speed at learning and obeying new commands sets border collies apart from other intelligent dog breeds. The two reasons why border collies are fast learners are that they have super-high instinctive intelligence and adaptive intelligence. These factors give collies one of the highest IQs among canines.

The way to measure a dog’s IQ was designed by psychology professor Stanley Coren, who wrote the book “The Intelligence of Dogs”. He found that border collies could learn a new command with fewer than five repetitions. Additionally, they would obey a known command on the first try with a 95 per cent success rate.

How does this compare to the average level of intelligence in dogs? Typically, intelligent dog breeds take between 25 and 50 repetitions to learn a new command and have a 50 per cent success rate on the first try. These facts mean that border collies learn five times faster and double the success rate of all other canines.

Border Collie Puppy

Border Collies hold world records

It is no surprise that border collies hold several world records for canine intelligence. Here are a few world records held by these intelligent animals.

The most tricks performed by two dogs in one minute: Two border collies – Wish and Halo – performed 28 tricks in only 60 seconds. In addition, Wish also holds the record for the fastest crawl – 5 metres in a speedy 2.175 seconds.

Skateboarding: Border collie Jumpy skateboarded 100 metres in less than 20 seconds.

Recognizing names: Chaser knows the names of more than 1,000 objects.

Balancing acts: Border collie mixed breed Sweet Pea walked 100 metres in 2 minutes 55 seconds, balancing a can on her head.

Border Collies Herding Intelligence

Border collies have a natural in-born herding instinct. Watching a border collie round up sheep following a few whistles from the farmer is fascinating. Surprisingly, they don’t need special training to move sheep in formations and push them into the pen. This behaviour is pure instinct.

For example, a border collie who has never seen a sheep will start trying to herd humans, sometimes nipping at their heels. This is a reason why border collie training is so crucial.

Border Collies Adaptive Intelligence

Adaptive intelligence in dogs is their ability to learn for themselves. Once again, these smart creatures excel when it comes to adaptive intelligence IQ. For example, border collies can learn from previous mistakes and experiences.

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How Border Collie’s Intelligence Helps with Training?

Their high intelligence levels mean you can train border collies to do complex tricks in no time at all. In addition, they are excellent learners, highly motivated and eager to please. As such, they are easy to train and respond well to positive reinforcement techniques.

But it’s good to remember that a border collie is a high-energy dog with high stimulus and activity requirements. Therefore, proper training is crucial.  Border collie training sessions should include plenty of physical activity along with mental exercise. Getting this right will result in a well-balanced, happy dog and an even happier pet owner.

Border Collies Exercise Programme at Royvon Residential Dog Training

At Royvon, we know that every dog and family’s circumstances are different! That’s why we’re dedicated to helping as many Collie owners as possible. Check out our Residential Dog Training Programme for Border Collies or book a training session with us right away!