Are Border Collies Aggressive? (Guide and Tips for Problem Temperament)

Some dogs are loving angels that never do anything wrong. They are quiet, and they love to cuddle. However, other dogs are loud, obnoxious, and aggressive.

Are Border Collies aggressive? We will answer that question today.

are Border Collies aggressive
Are Border Collies aggressive? (Guide and Tips for Problem Temperament)

All dogs can become aggressive given the right circumstances. If a dog is scared or feels they are in danger, it will become aggressive. However, there is no denying that some dog breeds are more aggressive than others. 

If you are interested in adopting a Border Collie, you probably want to know if it will be aggressive, particularly if you have young kids or other pets. Below I outline Border Collies’ usual temperament and some of the reasons they could become aggressive.

Are Border Collies Aggressive Dogs?

Some dog breeds are more aggressive than others. For example, Chihuahuas are more aggressive than most breeds. However, you do not need to worry about aggression with most Border Collies. 

Border Collie herding
Border Collie herding on the grass.

Border Collies are known for their calm demeanor. They are typically considered one of the smartest dog breeds, and as a result, they have a great work ethic and remain calm in difficult situations. However, any dog can become aggressive when provoked.

As a result, you should avoid scenarios where your Border Collie feels threatened or scared.

You may have heard horror stories about people returning their Border Collie to the shelter because their behavior got out of hand. However, these examples are usually a reflection of the owners rather than the dog. Border Collies are not aggressive by nature and, as a result, if they become aggressive, it is generally because the owners did not properly train them. 

Notably, you need to be cautious when bringing your Border Collie around other people. This dog breed has a pack mentality, and as a result, they are cautious around people outside their family. If they perceive someone to be a threat to their “pack”, they can become aggressive.

What Are Some Major Reasons a Border Collie Could Become Aggressive?

Despite not being an aggressive dog breed, several things may cause your Border Collie to become aggressive. 

Fear-Driven Aggression

As I mentioned above, there are several causes of aggression in dogs, but fear is chief among them. Like any person, dogs feel fear and anxiety when they are in unfamiliar situations. Since dogs do not have the cognitive thinking skills of humans, they are more susceptible to bouts of aggression from fear.

Border collie scared
Border collie scared but ready to attack!

When a dog is scared, it will have defensive displays to try to drive away from the threat. Examples of these defensive acts include growling, baring of teeth, and crouching. 

It is also important to note that this type of aggression is not always directed at people or other animals. Border Collies might get scared of inanimate objects like vacuum cleaners or hairdryers. They might also be scared of the vet or act aggressively when you move to put them in their crate.

Interestingly enough, a scared dog will not attack if it can avoid it. Instead, it will try to scare away the threat by growling and barking. Scared dogs will only scratch or bite when they feel like they are stuck in a corner.

Dogs that act aggressively when they feel fear are usually not dangerous. Instead, they are nervous dogs that require extra protection from their owner.

Intra-Household Aggression

I touched on this above, but Border Collies are pack dogs, and as a result, they sometimes do not react kindly to unfamiliar faces. Most dogs are territorial, and this is the case for Border Collies especially.

Border Collies will not just perceive the house as their territory, but they see their owners as their territory as well. As a result, they might show aggression if they feel like you are showing more attention to a guest or other pet than them.

This type of aggression is more common in male dogs. Male Border Collies will challenge other dogs you own to establish a pecking order. They are trying to gain the right to first affection from their owners.

Border Collie barking
Border Collie barking at a stranger beside her owner.

Territorial Aggression

This type of aggression is similar to the one we talked about above. All dogs, including Border Collies, are territorial by nature. They do not take kindly to other dogs or people entering their territory, especially if they do not know them.

Even the friendliest breeds like Golden Retrievers are territorial to some extent.

Genetics play a big part in how territorially aggressive a dog is, and as a result, some Border Collies are more aggressive than others. However, most Border Collies will be apprehensive of anyone they do not know entering their territory.

For most dogs, their territory includes their house and yard. However, some dogs are more aggressive than others in defending the borders of their territory.

Typically, a dog will become comfortable in their territory within eight months of moving to a new location. Aggression caused by the urge to protect their territory will increase over the next one to two years.

aggressive Border Collie

Aggression Caused by Disease

Aggression related to a disease is similar to the type that is caused by fear. Dogs are smart enough to recognize that they do not feel right when they are sick, and as a result, they know something is wrong. However, they cannot comprehend the cause of their discomfort.

As a result, it is common for dogs to act aggressively when they are sick. This type of aggression is one of the most dangerous variations because it can be very volatile. Sick dogs are prone to severe and sudden outbursts with little warning.

Many of these outbursts are caused by issues with their brain or thyroid.

Border Collie shedding
Border Collie sheds a lot on the couch.

Resource Guarding

Domesticated dogs do not hunt like wolves or dogs of the past. As a result, they are dependent on their humans for food and other resources. However, that dependency does not mean they do not try to protect the resources provided to them. 

If you have more than one dog in your household, it is common for Border Collies to guard their food away from the other dogs in the house. This fact is especially true when the two dogs do not get along well.

This type of aggression is not driven by fear like many other of the causes I brought up above. Instead, it is a result of the fear of losing prized possessions. 

Border Collie at red door
Angry Border Collie guards the red door.

Are Border Collies Dangerous to Children?

One of the biggest reasons people are scared of getting a dog is they do not know how they will interact with their kids. Your duty as a parent is to protect your children, and as a result, you cannot reasonably bring a dangerous animal into your home.

A study from 2017 showed that Border Collies and German Shepherds are two of the most frequent biters amongst dog breeds. However, since Border Collies are typically not aggressive, these accidents are not usually the fault of the Border Collie.

If you are going to adopt a Border Collie, or any dog for that matter, it is essential to teach your children how to behave. You should not bring a new dog into a home with children under the age of five. Additionally, you should teach your kids how to act around a new dog.

Once the dogs trust the children everything will be fine, but it is crucial to build trust in those first few weeks.

Border Collie with a girl
The little girl plays with the Border Collie during wintertime!

Final Thoughts

Border Collies are not overly aggressive by nature. They are friendly dogs that sometimes become aggressive when they sense a threat to themselves or their pack. As a result, you should build a safe living environment for your Border Collie for the best possible canine-human relationship.