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Feeding Border Collies

Feeding Border Collies to achieve an energetic, athletic, agile and healthy dog requires specific nutritional considerations. We're here to help with some some guidelines and tips for this wonderful working and companion breed plus offer some bonus tips on puppy care.

Adult Border Collie dog photographed in natural setting.

Feeding Border Collies from Puppies Through Adulthood

Border Collies are a driven breed that never seem to run out of energy. Developed in Europe to herd sheep and round up the wayward farm animal, they can go all day every day, 365 days a year! Feeding Border Collies to fuel the endless energy of this born-to-work breed requires a high caliber nutrient packed dog food.

To stimulate instinctual traits of a companion dog, many Border Collie owners engage in canine agility, freestyle disc, flyball, field trials and similar activities. Border Collies are an easy breed to train, quite smart and will typically pick up any activity that allows them to exercise their God given talents.

Don't panic by the way if your Collie engages in herding your other dogs.. or children ;)

Your Border Collie should mature to a average adult weight of 30 to 50 pounds, so feeding Border Collies will not be a major expense. However, it's important to invest in a quality food with high protein and caloric value such as the Recommended Dog Food Brands in this section of our website.

To learn how we choose quality kibble formulas, or for help selecting your own, visit our Feeding Dry Dog Food section. For a great alternative to kibble and food we highly recommend for Border Collies see our Raw Feeding Dogs section.

Feeding Border Collies

Although a Border Collie's metabolism is average compared to other medium breed dogs, higher calorie foods are desireable to support their "above average" activity level.

  • Senior and less active dogs about 700 calories per day.
  • Active Collies engaged in dog sports or lengthy play, 900 to 1,000 calories per day.
  • Full out herders or working dogs, about 1,400 calories per day.
  • Start with feeding guidelines provided on your bag of kibble and adjust accordingly for a fit & energetic Collie.
When compared to a 150 lb Great Dane who eats 1,500 calories a day, at less than a third the size, Border Collies really do burn a lot of energy. More information on selecting high caliber kibble for Border Collies is available in our Kibble Feeding section including tips for choosing the best.

To sum it up, about 1.5 to 2 cups of quality kibble per day, twice a day, is a great starting point for feeding Border Collies. Amount fed may go up or down based on your dog's size, weight, age and overall daily activity. If you feed a super charged, calorie dense, grain free kibble such as EVO, you'll be feeding slightly less.

Kibble formulas with multiple meat protein sources are also good practice and add insurance that protein is being delivered optimally to be metabolized by your Collie's body. To maintain joint health for this active breed, kibble containing chondroitin and glucosamine are also a great idea.

For a beautiful shiny coat and healthy skin, choose a formula with Omega-6 fatty acids. To control inflammation & arthritis pain in older Collies, support heart & kidney health, increase trainability and improve mood, look for Omega-3 fatty acids.

Feeding Border Collie Puppies

Close up image of a Border Collie puppy.

High power medium breed puppy foods and easy on the exercise with Border Collie pups for the first year.

Border collie pups have small stomachs at just a few months old and may only consume a half cup, to a cup of food per day. During their rapid growth phase, anywhere from two and a half to 8 months of age, it's important to feed a good quality puppy food that's high in calorie and protein to fuel your growing dog.

Avoid recipes with added calcium and look for formulas with calcium to phosphorus ratio as close to 1/1 as possible.

Don't overfeed or free feed a puppy, keep meal times on a schedule, twice a day works best for most Border Collie owners. Overfeeding your young Collie, especially with puppy food, can result in an obese puppy that develops joint, muscle and bone problems.

TIP: Border collies are an athletic and agile breed so it's never a good idea to let your Collie become overweight, whatever their life stage.

Play time is essential to puppy development and also allows young dogs to burn the high calorie puppy food they've been eating. Border Collies are ever active and don't seem to quit so be sure to allow supervised exercise with your puppy.

Encourage play with other puppies or littermates to help develop social skills but be sure to thwart any rough or extended play. Growing bones can be fragile and young Collies could actually damage developing hips and joints if allowed to go at it non stop. "Running their legs off" is how we refer to it.

Switching Your Puppy To Adult Diet

When it's time to make the switch from puppy food to adult, you may notice your Collie giving you hints by showing less interest in their meals. When you're ready to switch over to an adult dog food do so slowly over the course of a week by gradually mixing a percentage of each meal with the new food.

Sudden variations in diet may go off without a hitch yet for some dogs, digestive issues, loose stool, upset stomach and diarrhea are common. If you're feeding a dry dog food your Border Collie will drink a lot of water and if feeding a Raw Dog Diet, very little. In either case, be sure to allow free access to clean water at all times.

Additional Border Collie Tips

Many Border Collies will NOT self regulate their meals, it's a quirk of the breed. For this, free feeding spells free eating to a Border Collie if left to do so, they may eat a day's worth of dog food in 15 minutes. A feeding routine is recommended, twice a day is typical for adult Collies with some owners choosing three meals per day.

Don't forget to check out our Feeding Dry Dog Food articles which really focus on selecting a quality kibble for your Border Collie. And, if there's another mid-size dog in your pack, Feeding Medium Size Dogs provides access to a library of breed specific feeding guides.

Additional Border Collie Feeding Info

All the best to you and your Border Collie! For help choosing kibble dog food for your Collie plus additional info about raw feeding, visit our Homepage for quick banner access to the major sections of our website!