Are Border Collies Good Hunting Dogs? Find Out The Truth!

A lot of people, especially on farms, have Border Collie and use them for herding and companionship.

They are certainly one of the best breeds for those purposes.

Nevertheless, a lot of those same people enjoy hunting trips and need a reliable helper to assist them.

So, the question they have to ask themselves sooner or later is are Border Collies good hunting dogs?

Or, do they have to get a new dog to assist them when hunting?

When they were domesticated, dogs’ first assignment was to help their humans hunt. Only later they were taught and bred to perform other tasks.

So, most canines, including Border Collies, still have a bit of hunting instinct to them.

However, with some dogs, it has been suppressed in favor of some other traits. You can’t just use any dog for hunting.

Below, I’ll explore how things stand with Border Collies on this matter.


Are Border Collies Good Hunting Dogs?

Border Collies are the best known as excellent herders and that’s what this breed was developed for.

Lately, they also found their place as loving family dogs. So, hunting is not something that comes naturally to them.

Furthermore, some traits that are useful for hunting, like aggressiveness, have been bred out of Border Collies over the years.

On the other hand, they do have some qualities that they share with true hunting dogs.

Even though they mostly work on farms, Border Collies have retained a strong prey drive.

They’re also very intelligent, obedient, and rather easy to train.

This means that they are willing to learn new stuff and adapt to tasks that may not be their basic purpose.

Finally, Border Collies are tireless and extremely athletic which is a must for hunting dogs.

So, while it’s not their primary job, they can adapt and assist in certain hunting tasks.

How to Train a Border Collie to Hunt?

As I explained, thanks to their smarts and trainability, Border Collies can be of help when hunting.

However, as they’re not natural hunters, you will have to put some effort into training them so they can learn to perform hunting tasks.

Develop a Bond with Your Border Collie

The most important thing is proper and early socialization. To be successful at hunting, your dog needs to develop a strong bond with its owner.

A sense of companionship is crucial for a solid hunting partnership. Your Collie also needs to be able to get along with other hunters and dogs.

Defining Tasks

Before you start with serious training, you need to define the tasks you want your Border Collie to perform.

Teaching them to hunt is not easy and it can be a long process, so make sure not to overwhelm them and try to teach them everything at once.

They likely won’t be able to help with all aspects of hunting, so concentrate on certain tasks, such as retrieving or flushing.


Also, before moving on to hunting training, make sure your Border Collie has full control of basic commands.

Teaching them to sit, come, stay, down, or fetch and other fundamental skills is crucial if you want them to be trustful hunting companions.

In, addition, a solid heel will help keep the dog by your side when needed and avoid unnecessary danger.

Loud Noises

When hunting, your dog will likely be exposed to various loud noises, including gunshots.

You’ll need to introduce your pooch to these noises and teach it to ignore them.

This is particularly important with Border Collies as they can be rather skittish when faced with unknown noises.

You can start slowly by banging the drum or a pot next to the puppy and then gradually increasing sound intensity.

Over time, the dog should learn to ignore these noises. Eventually, introduce sounds relevant to hunting, such as gunshots.

Obstacle Course

The agility and ability to swiftly move across rough terrain are essential qualities of a good hunting dog.

Create the obstacle course and have your dog regularly practice there.

The course should include different obstacles, a variety of floorings, tunnels, and overhead hanging items.

Try to combine this type of training with loud noises.

The good news is that Border Collies love this type of training and will enjoy it immensely.

Teaching the Border Collie to Locate and Retrieve Game

Once you feel that your dog is ready, you can teach it to locate, flush, and retrieve game.

Most experts recommend that this type of training should start when the dog is six to seven months old.

Locating training should include quartering drills where your dog learns to move ahead of you in back and forth and zigzag patterns.

This way, they can cover more ground and locate more game.

The dog should be able to answer your commands made by slight arm movement so you can guide them.

When it comes to teaching your Border Collie to retrieve, the best way to do it is to simulate different hunting scenarios.

This training should be conducted on various types of terrain.

You should use bumpers catapulted in the air so the dog develops a habit of watching the sky for falling birds and marking their location.

Can Border Collies Track Deer?

If your hunting involves tracking and catching big game, such as deer, then you’ll probably do better with breeds other than Border Collie.

There are several reasons for this.

While they have the stamina necessary to track deer for a long time and on various terrains, they lack some of the other traits necessary for this kind of hunting.

Even though they can track the scent like most dogs, their scent of smell is not on the level of pure hunting breeds.

Plus, they can be rather nervous and sometimes lack the attention span needed for successful tracking.

Also, Border Collies are sometimes very vocal and their barking could scare the deer away.

Furthermore, they’re not very large dogs and there’s a significant size difference when compared to deer’s and other big game.

In certain situations, when driven into a corner, deer can attack dogs and do some real damage.


Border Collies have been around for about three hundred years. During that time, they were selectively bred to become excellent sheepherders.

This meant that some traits, such as chase instincts and agility, became more prominent.

On the other hand, others, such as aggressiveness, eyesight, and sense of smell, decreased.

All this made them more suitable for certain hunting tasks.

Depending on what kind of game you hunt, what method you use, and where you do it, Border Collies can be rather helpful or pretty much useless.,

They don’t excel as trackers but can be taught to be very successful when it comes to flushing or retrieving birds.

Authored By

Madeline Wright

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