Are Border Collies Affectionate?

Aaron Rice Expert Dog Trainer
Written: January 17, 2022

Each dog breed is different, so it’s essential to do your research before adopting a pup! Affection is something that we all love, so when we can share that with dogs, it’s even more special. Border Collies are a beautiful dog breed that is naturally energetic and playful; often, they’re not thought of as overly affectionate dogs – but they are!

Border Collies’ heritage stems from sheep herding, making them excellent watchdogs; they’re well suited to anyone who loves a good walk and has time to spend outdoors. But many forget that they also love cuddling and bonding with their owners, making them the best of both worlds! They often tend to show affection to relieve their stress, to protect you, or to keep warm when they’re cold – they’re more like us than you’d expect. 

Are you considering adopting a Border Collie? Make sure you know how to meet their affection needs well! We’ve researched how they show affection and reasons they may be withholding cuddles. Read on to find out more. 

Do Border Collies Like Affection?

Border Collies are naturally very loyal and devoted, always keen to please their owners. This attitude transfers into cuddles and affection too! They often never leave their owners’ side and love to snuggle up at the end of an active day. Though not all Collies will have the same personality, most share the same sentiments and, with good training, will always be your best friend. 

Are Border Collies Clingy?

You may have heard people describing Collies as ‘velcro,’ meaning they can be too clingy and appear too attached to their owners. This isn’t a bad thing though, having a companion that stands by you is perfect for some. Make sure you assess how much time you can devote to your Collie before adopting, not just in terms of cuddles but also exercise too. 

Border Collies were initially bred as herding dogs and lived in colder climates in Scotland. Many still work on farms and ranches worldwide, helping farmers herd cattle. If you’re considering buying a Collie, consider going to a breeder rather than a herding line. Collie from a herding line will have a more attached personality that may be harder to deal with – especially if you’re a first-time owner. 

But remember, Collies’ long history of herding has developed their understanding of humans, and they can often understand the wants and needs of their owners. Border Collies are natural-born people-pleasers, perfect if you’re after a best friend.

Do Border Collies Have Too Much Energy?

You may have also heard that Border Collies are very energetic dogs, which is true! This abundance of energy doesn’t cancel out their need for chill cuddle time; it just means they require a good amount of daily exercise before they can relax and snuggle. If they don’t get adequate exercise, they can be more likely to nip or make a habit of excessive barking, but this can be ironed out with some patient training. 

Early socialization and training from when they’re pups can help Border Collies direct their energy positively and help them settle into family life. This will help them become more adjusted to you, and they’ll be even more affectionate. Owners that spend good amounts of time walking their Collies will reap the benefits of a lifelong bond with their dog.

Why Do Border Collies Like To Cuddle?

Border Collies are often so friendly that they like most strangers they meet, a trait that isn’t common in all dogs. Some assume that because of their energy and need to run around, Collies don’t like being friendly or cuddling, which isn’t true. 

Extra Warmth

Like other breeds, cuddling is an expression of love for Collies; however, it can serve different purposes too. For example, Collies sometimes see cuddling as a way to keep warm, linking back to their origins in colder climates. When they’re puppies, Collies cuddle up to their mothers to stay warm, and this trait continues into adulthood. Cuddling with their owner gives them warmth, safety, and security. 

For Protection

While Border Collies aren’t the best guard dogs, they are known for wanting to protect their owners when they feel they need to. When your Collie gets closer to you or even cuddles you, it’s a signal that they trust you and want to protect you.

Stress Relieving 

Cuddling lowers dogs’ stress levels; some findings even show that the love hormone (Oxytocin) is released when they do. So make sure you give your Collie frequent cuddles to keep them healthy!

No matter what reason, it’s because of any cuddling or affection from your Border Collie is a sign that they want to get closer to you and other family members. Collies have a close bond with humans and love to show this through physical contact.

Why Is My Border Collie Avoiding Affection?

Remember that all dog breeds are different and even every Border Collie is different too. Not all Collies will want to cuddle as much as the next, so don’t take offense if your Collie is independent. 
Temperament changes from dog to dog; maybe your Collie shows love on their terms. Some may feel happier showing their affection at certain times or in certain places – they may only favor certain people. 

However, if you feel that your Border Collie is being distant, this can indicate that something is off or wrong. This is particularly clear when your Collie goes from loving a cuddle to suddenly avoiding them. 

If you’re unsure why your Border Collie suddenly dislikes cuddling, it could be due to one of these reasons.


Sometimes as Border Collie’s age, they can become more distant. This could be due to wanting more of their own space or simply keeping to themselves. 


Sadly, all dogs can become depressed. This usually happens when Border Collies feel abandoned, lonely, or even when they’re bored for long periods. Also, if you leave your Collie alone for extended periods (while at work etc.), they can become restless as they need physical and mental stimulation. These reasons can all end up in your Collie not wanting to cuddle.

Poor Training

Ineffective training methods, including negative reinforcements and punishments, can result in a less effective Collie. In this case, consult a professional trainer or patiently retrain your dog, making slow attempts and don’t show frustration.

Needs More Socialization 

When pups are young, they should start socialization; this will help them get used to contact with people and reduce their potential anxieties. You should introduce your young Collie to as many people and animals as when they’re young so that they learn to be comfortable in others’ companies. This will also boost their confidence in different surroundings, making them easier to live with.


If a dog is ill or in pain, it’ll want more space and will usually avoid any cuddles. This can be due to their protective mechanisms and will stop an owner from realizing the issue. Dogs can be keen to hide injuries and illnesses, so if you suspect the lack of cuddling is stemming from this, consult a vet to get your Collie checked out. 

While it’s possible your Border Collie may not be very affectionate, it’s always good to check out their behavior when they’re avoiding contact. Many of the factors appear over time as they age, but always make sure (if you can) to get your Collie well socialized when they’re younger. Again, always consult a professional veterinarian if you suspect any illness.

How To Get Your Border Collie To Enjoy More Affection

If you want to help your Border Collie enjoy cuddling more, you generally have to make sure they’re getting sufficient exercise, play, and make sure you are initiating physical contact.

Get Out More

Since Border Collies have lots and lots of energy, make sure they get enough physical movement every day. Short walks aren’t enough for the Border Collie breed, they need regular long walks, and you can even take them on challenging walks like hikes. The amount of walking a Collie can do will vary from dog to dog. However, if they aren’t getting enough, they’ll be less likely to cuddle, and it may be frustrating. Try to tire them out without pushing them to exhaustion.

Play Time

Similar to their physical need, Border Collies also need mental stimulation as they are very intelligent dogs. Dog toys can be very helpful; giving your Collie something to play with when you’re busy will keep them from boredom and other problematic behaviors and promote affection.

Initiate Cuddle Times

If you want to have affectionate moments with your Collie, make sure you promote these interactions when they’re young puppies. This will get them used to physical touch, and they will be less likely to shy away from it as they grow older. 

Make sure to give plenty of praise and treats, as well as cuddles, when your Collie does something good as encouragement; this will create a bond between the two of you. Scratch their heads and rub their tummies too, any physical affection will put your Collie at ease. 

Usually, moments of praise (and treat times) are the best to cuddle your Collie but do look for moments where your dog appears open to cuddling too and use these moments to promote affectionate behavior. The aim is to get your Collie to recognize that cuddling is good behavior. Avoid promoting bad behaviors or punishing your Collie, which can weaken your bond and result in less affection.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Border Collies Get Attached To Their Owners?

Border Collies are fiercely loyal dogs, so they can become quite attached to their owners, especially those who feed them and look after them the most. If you want to avoid your Collie having a favorite family member, encourage everyone in the household to take part in their general care. Though Collies can have attachments, they are still very friendly dogs that are open to all.

Do Collies Prefer Petting?

Collies love to be petted; they often see petting as a reward for their hard work and dedication to their owner. While petting is linked to their work because of their history as herding dogs, it doesn’t mean they prefer this over cuddling! Petting is another excellent way to show physical affection to your Collie, so make sure you alternate between cuddles and petting.

Will My Collie Cuddle Other Animals?

Cuddling with other animals tends to be down to the Border Collies’ individual personality. While some love it, others may not. Border Colliers generally do get on well with other animals, such as dogs and cats; however, they won’t always want to show it through physical affection. Again, this can depend on how well they were socialized as a puppy, so if you do own another pet, make sure to introduce them to each other slowly to ensure they will feel comfortable around each other. 

The Takeaway

If you’re looking for an intelligent, loyal, and loving dog, consider adopting a Border Collie. These dogs love their family and show this through cuddles and affection. 

They do need a lot of physical and mental stimulation, but they will shower you in love when all their needs are met. Make sure your Collie is well socialized and trained from a young age to promote good behavior too. As an owner, you must also initiate cuddle times as it is down to the owner to create a safe bond. 

Remember, your Collie could have a less-affectionate personality, and if this is the case, be respectful of their wishes. Sometimes dogs are shy or just like their own space. However, if your Border Collie suddenly stops giving affection, it may be a sign that something is wrong, which should be investigated.