Border Collies And Kids: A New Sibling Or Ticking Time Bomb?

If you’re trying to find out whether Border Collies are good with kids, you’ve come to the right place!

Border Collies are one of the most highly energetic and hard-working dog breeds in the world. And they require a lot from their owners, which is why they’re not for everyone.

image of border collie with girl on a bike

This breed must work to thrive and was bred for the sole purpose of herding.

Owning a Border Collie will require you to have plenty of knowledge or experience with working dogs, and or the willingness to learn and work hard at providing the physical exercise or training needs that this dog will require.

Keep reading to discover if a Border Collie will make the perfect addition or be a bad dog from the abyss for your family.

How did I research to write this post?

I made an effort to speak with other Border Collie owners from Facebook groups (“Border Collies Rock” FB Group and BorderCollie😍) to find out how their experience was with BC’s and kids.

Here’s what they said (click to open each image up large):

From reading each of the 57 replies our Facebook post had, there were a few stand-out answers I kept hearing over and over. 

Are Border Collies Good with kids?

Border Collies are highly intelligent and can be the perfect addition to a family with kids (even the elderly) with the correct training. Training is recommended from as early as possible, but even when trained they should never be left alone with minors.

Many of the Border Collie owners I spoke with recommended taking a child along with you to buy your dog from the breeder (but be careful with rescues and be fully aware of a dog’s triggers if you adopt) should you have the opportunity to do so.

That way you can allow the dog to choose you instead of you choosing them, as it’s likely you’ll discover a puppy that instinctively has a liking for children.

Training a Border Collie to socialize with other dogs and people from as early as possible will give you the best chance in having a great dog with kids. But it’s equally important to teach your child to be kind, careful, and loving to your dog too, more on that later.

Surprisingly, 2 owners also mentioned that they had older dogs when their children arrived who both shared that their dog was very welcoming to young children and babies.

But even with all of the above, you may still find that your dog just doesn’t take to children. After speaking with a variety of Border Collie owners I discovered the general answer was “every dog is different”.

But even with that said, it’s clear that pups will likely have a better experience with little ones after being trained.

How do you Improve A Border Collies Interactions with kids?

From speaking with other Border Collie owners and researching expert advice, I was able to put together a list of the best ways for a Border Collie to play happily with the little ones.

Train Your Child to Interact with a Border Collie Correctly

No Border Collie needs to herd to be happy. But if you have older children, then training your dog with them could be a great way in helping the two to develop a strong bond.

For younger children, it’s important to teach how a Border Collie thinks, interacts, and responds to particular actions or behaviors. You can also teach them to understand how to avoid these unwanted behaviors.

It’s your responsibility as the owner to teach both parties how to behave around each other.

Give Your Dog the Best Environment to thrive

A Border Collie requires the right environment to give you their best behavior. This breed requires large spaces to run and work and is not the type of dog to keep in an apartment.

Regular walks of at least 20 minutes per session for around 3 times per day is a good minimum. And where possible you can assign your dog tasks to undertake if they are working on a farm.

And while this is an easy dog to train, they are particularly difficult to untrain or change once techniques have been set. So if you’re unsure about what you should do, then seek professional help as early as possible.

Socialization and obedience training from an Early Age

It’s recommended to train a Border Collie from the very first day they get home. You can begin introducing them to others such as younger babies, older family members, and other dogs.

Ideally, you want to introduce your dog to other dogs and people in a very controlled way, as what you don’t want is a fight breaking out or your dog nipping out of fear.

This means no dog parks, and instead keeping them on a leash (for dogs over 8 weeks) to control the level of intimacy or distance between your dog and others.

It can take a few days to a few weeks for a Border Collie to become comfortable with others, so keep consistent and try them with all shapes and sizes to get them as familiar as possible with a variety of people and animals.

Encourage Your Border Collie To Participate In Everything

The last thing you want to do is cast your furry pal aside. Dogs get jealous too. If you have a toddler, perfect! Get them involved!

Let them walk, play and train your dog whenever you are. Encourage your little one to take part in every activity and let your dog eat when they eat (your little one can feed them too), groom when they groom, or brush when they brush (their teeth that is).

Heck! Some parents even let their toddlers crate with their dogs too! Treat your dogs just like you would your own children and account for them as part of the family too!

Your dog must build trust with your kids and also trust that you the owner will not let anything bad happen to them.

Try to set in routines as it will give your dog something to look forward to each day. so instead of looking at this as two separate jobs, think about ways you can merge the two responsibilities into one by incorporating one with the other.

Image of puppy nipping at the finger with small teeth with fun fact about films that Border Collies have starred in over the years

Are Border Collies Good With Babies?

Yes! Border Collies will learn to understand that your baby is part of the pack and he will also become protective of his newest sibling.

When bringing home a newborn it’s important to allow your dog to quickly familiarize itself with babies scent and sounds (note that you should only let your dog near the baby when the baby is being held).

Border Collies are a highly sensitive breed that can negatively react to unpredictable behavior, so the earlier they are used to it the better.

Naturally, your attention will gravitate to the baby which can cause jealousy and anxiety in a dog. So make the extra effort to encourage them to take part in just about everything to do with your baby where possible.

Before you know it they would have adopted their new sibling and have learned to how to behave around them too!

Read Also: >> How much do Border Collies Drool?

What are the Risks Of Owning A Border Collie With Kids?

Most Border Collies will never harm children. Regardless, caution is always advised as there are a few problems you may encounter with this instinctively intelligent breed.

Border Collies Will “Herd” Small Children

Born to be the world’s premier herding dog, it is impossible to get rid of the herding instincts that have been deeply ingrained into this breed.

This is why Border Collies will always have a strong urge to group the clumsiest and tiniest pack members, i.e. the babies.

A puppy trying to herd small children may seem innocent and hilarious, but the situation becomes problematic when the pup grows into a 45-pound land shark.

Border Collies can also result in barking or nipping if the “woolless errant sheep” is showing resistance, encouraging them to think they are doing a great job.

If you see this behavior, put an immediate stop to it by indicating that you are not happy with such actions toward the baby.

Swift Movements and Noise Triggers Them

The movement of a child is fast, uncalculated, and surprising for the most part. Such behavior may cause anxiety, stress, and fear in a dog resulting in them acting out as a way to protect themselves.

So you’ll need to supervise for the most part when your dog plays with a baby or toddler to ensure no such boundaries are crossed.

Border Collies Are Not As Tolerant With Children

Border Collies are not aggressive by nature but hyperactive and impulsive. Then again, even the most patient dog can fly into a rage when the right scene has been set.

The fact of the matter is: Not all Border Collies will enjoy a child’s company the way other breeds such as Labrador and Golden Retrievers do.

That’s not to say that this dog doesn’t love to play and cuddle as they most certainly do.

But games that kids love to play such as pranks, mindlessly stepping on paws, and tails, or jumping out in surprise will simply not sit well with this breed which may result in the dog keeping its distance.

What Can Trigger A Negative Response From A Border Collie?

Here are the most common reasons Border Collies bite and behave aggressively towards children.

Resource Guarding 

Guarding objects a dog considers to be of high value, such as a smelly sock and a delicious chew, is a behavior domesticated pooches have inherited from wild canines.

While this behavior is normal, it can become a potential problem for young children who don’t respect boundaries.

Teach your child not to approach the dog while they eat and not to move or take any of the dog’s stashed prized possessions.

Physical Pain

Any dog that is recuperating from surgery or a medical condition is under a lot of stress. A child bringing physical pain to the dog such as hitting them or stepping on paws and tail will likely not end in a good way.


Kids act up and misbehave, and while most Collies will opt to keep their distance, they may still bare their teeth to scare off unwanted attention.


It’s clear that every dog is different and while training will likely improve the chances of better interactions with kids, it’s certainly no magic pill.

Get your dog out from day one and let the meet other dogs and people of all shapes and all sizes to familiarize them with as many bodies as possible. Supervise interactions with toddlers and only allow your dog near baby when the baby is being held.

Keep naughty babies away and allow your dog to get involved and learn to love baby like you do! It worked for me and the others I spoke to… and hey! What’s the worst that can happen. Your dog doesn’t take to them and stay

Picture of Leon Angus

Leon Angus

Leon Angus is a London, UK-based blogger with a plan to improve the pet industry one post at a time. He is the senior editor at Dig Doggy and oversees every piece of content before publish to ensure the highest quality and most thorough research has been carried out.

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Leon Angus is a London, UK-based blogger with a plan to improve the pet industry one post at a time. He is the senior editor at Dig Doggy and oversees every piece of content before publish to ensure the highest quality and most thorough research has been carried out.

About Dig Doggy

DigDoggy® is a free resource for dog owners, with everything from expert product reviews to trusted pet care advice.

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