Blog, Behavior

Do Border Collies Bite Their Owners?

Natalie Kyra

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Border Collies are one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. They have captured the hearts of countless individuals and families. However, like any breed, Border Collies are not without their challenges. One question that often arises among potential owners is- do border collies bite their owners? 

No, normally Border Collies do not have a predisposition to bite their owners. Biting behavior in Border Collies is usually a result of specific circumstances, like fear, anxiety, boredom, or more.

In this article, I will delve into the nature of Border Collies, explore potential reasons for biting behavior. Also, I’ll provide guidance on how to prevent and address this issue.

The Nature of Border Collies

The Nature of Border Collies

If Border Collies bite their owners, you must grasp their inherent characteristics and temperament. Border Collies are herding dogs, originally bred for their exceptional herding abilities. These dogs possess a unique blend of traits that make them stand out among other breeds.


Border Collies are renowned for their intelligence. They are often considered one of the smartest dog breeds, capable of learning and performing complex tasks. Their sharp minds are a testament to their herding heritage, where quick thinking and decision-making were crucial for guiding livestock.

Energy and Drive

Another defining characteristic of Border Collies is their boundless energy and work drive. These dogs have an incredible amount of energy that needs an outlet. They thrive when they have a job to do or an activity to engage in. Without proper exercise and mental stimulation, they can become restless and frustrated.

Loyalty and Affection

Border Collies are deeply loyal and affectionate towards their owners. They form strong bonds with their human companions and are eager to please. This loyalty is one of the reasons why they are often used as working dogs on farms and in various dog sports.

Herding Instinct

The herding instinct in Border Collies is strong. They may display natural herding behaviors even if they have never been exposed to livestock. This instinct can manifest in various ways, including nipping at ankles and heels, which is an important part of their herding technique.

Do Border Collies Bite Their Owners?

Do Border Collies Bite Their Owners

The short answer is that Border Collies, like any other breed, may resort to biting under certain circumstances. However, it’s crucial to differentiate between playful nipping, herding behavior, and aggressive biting.

Playful Nipping

Border Collies have a playful nature, and they might occasionally engage in nipping as a form of play. This is especially common in puppies, who use their mouths to explore the world around them. While playful nipping may not be intended to harm, it can still be uncomfortable for humans.

Herding Behavior

As mentioned earlier, Border Collies have a strong herding instinct. They may exhibit herding behavior, such as nipping at the heels or ankles of humans, when they are excited or trying to control movement. This behavior is not aggressive but rather a reflection of their innate herding drive.

Aggressive Biting

Aggressive biting, on the other hand, is not a typical trait of Border Collies. These dogs are not naturally aggressive, and such behavior is often a result of fear, anxiety, frustration, or inadequate training and socialization. If a Border Collie exhibits aggressive biting, it is essential to address the underlying issues causing this behavior.

Reasons for Biting Behavior

Reasons for Biting Behavior

Understanding why a Border Collie might resort to biting is crucial in addressing and preventing this behavior. Here are some common reasons:

Fear and Anxiety

Fearful or anxious Border Collies may bite as a defensive mechanism. If a dog perceives a threat or feels cornered, they may resort to biting as a means of self-preservation.

Lack of Socialization

Proper socialization is essential for all dogs, including Border Collies. A dog that has not been adequately exposed to various people, animals, and environments may become fearful and exhibit biting behavior in unfamiliar situations.

Frustration and Overstimulation

Border Collies have a high energy level and can become frustrated or overstimulated if they do not receive enough exercise and mental stimulation. In such cases, they may act out by nipping or biting.

Health Issues

Sometimes, biting behavior can be a sign of underlying health problems. A dog in pain or discomfort may react defensively if touched in a sensitive area.

Territorial Behavior

Border Collies can be territorial and protective of their homes and families. They may resort to biting if they perceive a threat to their territory.

What to Do If Your Border Collie Bites You?

If your Border Collie exhibits biting behavior, it’s crucial to address the issue promptly and safely. Here are steps to take if your Border Collie bites:

Stay Calm

Remain calm and avoid reacting aggressively towards your dog. Yelling or punishing the dog may worsen the situation.

Seek Medical Attention

If the bite breaks the skin, seek medical attention immediately. Dog bites can lead to infections, and medical professionals will assess the wound and provide necessary treatment.

Identify the Trigger

Try to identify the trigger for the biting incident. Understanding what caused the behavior can help in addressing the root cause.

Consult a Professional

If your Border Collie’s biting behavior continues or is severe, consult a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. They can assess the situation, provide guidance, and develop a customized training plan.

How To Prevent The Biting Behavior Of Your Border Collie?

Preventing biting behavior in Border Collies involves a combination of proper training, socialization, and understanding their needs. Here are some tips for preventing biting incidents:

Early Socialization

Expose your Border Collie to a variety of people, animals, and environments from an early age. It helps them become well-adjusted and less prone to fear-based aggression.

Obedience Training

Enroll your Border Collie in obedience training classes to establish clear boundaries and commands. Positive reinforcement techniques work well with this intelligent breed.

Exercise and Mental Stimulation

Ensure your Border Collie gets plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to prevent boredom and frustration. Activities like fetch, agility training, and puzzle toys can be beneficial.

Teach Bite Inhibition

Teach your Border Collie bite inhibition from a young age. This means teaching them to control the force of their bite during play.

Address Fear and Anxiety

If your Border Collie displays signs of fear or anxiety, consult with a professional dog trainer or behaviorist to address these issues through desensitization and counterconditioning.

Health Checkups

Regular veterinary checkups are essential to rule out any underlying health problems that may be causing discomfort or pain, leading to biting behavior.


How much exercise do Border Collies need?

Border Collies are highly active dogs and require at least 1-2 hours of vigorous exercise daily. They thrive in environments that provide opportunities for mental stimulation and physical activity.

Do Border Collies shed a lot?

Border Collies have a double coat and shed moderately throughout the year. Regular brushing can help manage their shedding and keep their coat healthy.

Final Words

Border Collies are known for their intelligence, loyalty, and playful nature. Do border collies bite their owners?Like all dogs, they don’t bite normally. You have to understand the reasons behind biting.  Sometimes they bite for playful nipping, herding behavior, or do aggressive biting.

Proper socialization, training, exercise, and addressing any underlying issues are key to preventing biting behavior in Border Collies. By providing a loving and structured environment, you can ensure a well-behaved Border Collie. Remember, with patience and the right approach, most biting issues can be successfully addressed.


Natalie Kyra

Natalie is a Chief Editor and Lead Author with over 8 years of experience, She graduated from the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital. She has one Border Collie (Pez) puppy & one French Bulldog (Lerry) in her house. She spends most of her time with the Border Collie puppy. Also, she loves to write content about pets, especially border collie puppies. 🐶

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