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Do Border Collies Like To Cuddle? [Is This Breed Affectionate?]

When choosing a dog breed, it’s important to know how affectionate that can be expected to be. Each breed is different, and it may be important to you and your family depending on your circumstances. What about border collies? Do they like to spend time with their owners and better yet, are they open to cuddling? I decided to spend some time researching the border collie breed and their temperament. I would like to share my findings with you here today.

So, do border collies like to cuddle? Border collies generally enjoy cuddling and spending time with their owners. They do so to show affection, but they may also do so to keep warm when it is cold, to protect when they suspect a threat, and also to relieve their stress. However, every dog has their own unique personality, so it is natural for some border collies to be more inclined to cuddle than others.

The border collie is a naturally very energetic dog, due in part to their herding heritage.

As such, they are often overlooked when it comes to seeking out an affectionate and loving dog. This couldn’t be further from the truth!

Let us now take a closer look at the border collie breed and their tendency to cuddle.

I will even be introducing you to some practical strategies to get a dog to enjoy this activity more so be sure to keep on reading to find out exactly how to do so!

Are Border Collies Affectionate?

Border collies are renowned for being very affectionate dogs; naturally devoted, loyal and keen to please their owners.

There are many border collie owners who report that their border collie never leaves their side, being sensitive and even snuggling up in bed to sleep.

Of course, not every border collie is as affectionate.

But, taking a look at the average sentiments of border collie owners; you will soon see a similar theme developing.

They are routinely described as being ‘velcro’, or in other words – clingy, and keen to sit on the lap, curl up at the feet of their family members.

They are notorious for being loving and making a great companion. It’s not unheard of border collies wanting to ‘kiss’ those who care for them.

It is important to consider this breed’s background and heritage.

They were initially bred to herd sheep in the colder climates and mountainous landscapes of Scotland, and many still lead this working life on farms and ranches across the world.

As such, they have a long history of being with and pleasing people. They have developed ways of understanding the wants and needs of their owners.

Equally, it is in their nature to work and be physically active.

They have an abundance of energy and stamina and a keen desire to remain busy.

They desire a task; whether this is in gathering a flock that can consist of anything that moves, from young children to small animals like cats. Nipping and barking are common but should not be viewed as aggression.

Thankfully, they are highly intelligent and easily trainable; making them an obedient breed and one that can learn commands quickly. They are very responsive.

While their somewhat intense energy cannot be trained out, it can be directed or ‘spent’ during the day with regular exercise.

Equally, early socialization and training from a young age can help a border collie transition into a family setting, and learn that herding is no longer required whilst in your care.

In doing so, owners will have a border collie that is keen to spend time with them and be more willing to show affection.

For the border collie, this will be in following you around and allowing you to pet them.

Why Do Border Collies Like To Cuddle?

Border Collies are typically very friendly dogs, liking even strangers that they meet.

However, due to their herding heritage, energy, and desire to remain busy, it is easy to assume that this is a dog that would not want to cuddle with its owner or family.

But, cuddling serves a purpose (or even several) to all dog breeds, including the border collie.

Cuddling is one of the clearest expressions of affection, love, and care that a dog can give. Just like in us humans.

Cuddling is also a great way to obtain warmth; especially from a dog that was bred in a colder part of the world.

While puppies, dogs cuddle up close to their mothers and littermates to remain warm.

They continue this behavior into adulthood which is why many border collies appear to want to sleep with their owners at night. This provides them with a level of safety and security.

Cuddles can range in length and intensity; which is why dogs can range in how cuddly they appear to be.

Sometimes, cuddles can be brief; but they may still have had the same intended purpose.

Here are some other potential reasons why a dog may look to cuddle up with its owners.

  • Stress Relief – cuddling physically lowers a dogs stress levels. Science Mag even published findings from a study confirming the love hormone, Oxytocin, is released in the dog when they do so.
  • To Protect – Border collies are not typically a good guard dog, however they are known to act when they feel they need to protect their owners. Getting closer, and even cuddling with you, is a signal that they have your back.

Irrespective of why a border collie may cuddle, there is a desire to get closer to its owners and family members.

They have an innate desire to be close to humans – equally desiring affection and physical contact regularly throughout the day.

Why Would A Border Collie Not Like To Cuddle?

All dog breeds are different, but you also have differences within the breed itself. Therefore, while border collies generally do like to cuddle, there are some that will not be as keen to partake in this activity.

Sometimes, this is down to individual personality and temperament. It may just be who they are and your relationship with them may always be more distant than you may have liked.

Additionally, a border collie may only want to cuddle during certain times, places, or even with certain people.

However, it can sometimes be an indicator that something is off or even wrong. This is particularly true in border collies who have taken a sudden change to a disliking of cuddling.

Here are some of the most common reasons in why this breed may not want to cuddle:

  • Not Enough Socialization – especially as a puppy or from a young age. Your border collie should be introduced to as many people and animals while young to become familiar and confident with different people in different settings.
  • Ineffective Training – Poor training methods, including punishment, can lead to a less affectionate dog.
  • Age– Some border collies may become more aloof as they age. They may require more of their own space or want to keep to themselves more.
  • Depression – All dogs can get depressed. This typically occurs in dogs who feel abandoned, lonely or from extended periods of boredom. These can all result in less enthusiasm for cuddling.
  • Illness – a dog who is ill or in pain is unlikely to want to cuddle. This is a protective mechanism and sometimes to stop an owner detecting the issue (dogs are keen to hide away illness/injury).

A lot of these factors above will only appear in time and as your border collie ages. However, it is important to start right with effective and appropriate training and socialization.

Nonetheless, if you ever suspect your dog is injured or in pain, then visiting a veterinarian is advised. They will be able to examine your dog and ensure that they are healthy.

Ultimately, there is the possibility that a border collie may not be overly affectionate and cuddly.

How To Get Your Border Collie To Enjoy Cuddling More

Getting a border collie to enjoy or want to cuddle more generally involves sufficient exercise, play, and initiating physical contact.

To begin with, you must first address their high energy, both physically and mentally, and desire to remain active and stimulated.

Therefore it is important that they have sufficient time to exercise each day; short walks just do not quite cut it for this breed. You will need to walk them more regularly, and even consider taking them up more challenging trails, like hikes.

While the amount of physical activity will depend on the dog, age, and health status, the more energy they expend, the more likely they are going to want to cuddle.

Secondly, you will want to promote affectionate moments from when they are a puppy.

You want to initiate cuddling, by hugging your dog more often and being sure to give them plenty of treats and praise – especially when they do something good.

Be sure to scratch their heads, rub their tummies and play with them as often as you can. Spend time in their company and build connections with them as far as you can.

At the end of the day, you’ll most likely find that this is the time to give your dog a cuddle. However, look for those moments where your dog appears to be willing and open to cuddling – and use these opportunities to promote this behavior more often.

You want your dog to recognize that this is good behavior that is desired.

Equally, be sure you never inadvertently promote bad behavior or punish them. Doing so can weaken your bond with your dog and the consequences can result in less affection.


The border collie is a smart, loyal and loving breed that simply desires a close bond with its owners and family.

While they are very energetic and do require a lot of physical and mental stimulation, they typically remain affectionate and keen to cuddle.

This is especially true in those that have been trained, properly socialized, and are given sufficient attention and care

As an owner, it is imperative that you promote physical contact and cuddling; it is in many ways your responsibility to foster this kind of activity.

While your dog may be more open to it, you can actively help your dog to enjoy this activity more – especially if they are rewarded for it.

Lastly, if you do get a border collie and notice that cuddling is really not their thing, try to be respectful of their wishes.

Sometimes this is just their individual personality and they may be less inclined to do so.

Usually, a border collies’ personality is revealed as they age and mellow out – so this is something that you will learn to recognize over time.

Related Questions

Do Border Collies Like To Cuddle With Other Animals?

Some border collies like to cuddle with other animals, such as dogs and cats, but not all do. This is down to the individual personality of the border collie, and the respective relationship with the other animal. Border collies generally do get along well with other dogs and cats but whether they want to show this level of affection to one another will depend. This can change day by day, context by context, etc.

Do Border Collies Like To Be Petted?

Border collies love to be petted. They desire regular attention and seek validation for their hard work and loyalty. Patting is one of the best ways to display affection to a border collie. This can be petting on the head or on the body.

Do Border Collies Get Attached To One Person?

Border collies can become attached to one person – especially those who look after, care for, and feed them most often. Therefore it is important that all family members partake in their care. However, border collies are generally very friendly and open to all people – even strangers.