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Collie vs Border Collie: Breed Differences

These two breeds are modern herding breeds from Great Britain, which possess different personalities. Dog breeds names, like human names, are derived from a vast array of influences.

Some dog breeds get named after their parents, some named after their area of origin, and others acquire their names from the way they act or look.

Collies are fairly lightly-built dogs, medium-sized with pointed snouts. Collies are very agile and active, and most of them possess a strong herding instinct.

The exact origin of the name Collie is not well established.

A version derives its name from the Scot word meaning “coal,” and the other version reiterates that it is related to the term “colly,” referring to Scotland’s black-faced mountain sheep.

A brief history of Collies and Border Collies

Here’s a quick look at the breeding history of the collie and border collie.


It is also known as Lassie Dog, Long-haired, Rough Collie, or Scotch Collie. This is a sheepherding dog emanating from Scotland.

Collie’s ancestors are believed to be a crossbreed of local dogs and dogs brought to Britain by the Romans.

Queen Victoria had an immense love of Collie’s, which contributed to the growth in popularity of this breed in England and beyond its borders beginning in the mid-1800s.

It was given recognition as a herding breed by the American Kennel Club(AKC) in 1885.

Border Collie

It’s a sheepherding dog emanating from the border regions of Scotland and Wales. The breed has descended from herding dogs brought first by the Romans and later the Vikings.

The Border Collie is popularly known for being one of the most energetic and smartest dog breeds.

Border Collie is an active dog and thrives when they have a task to keep them busy. This dog breed family was also placed in the working class of (AKC) back in 1995.

This article will compare these two breeds in terms of their appearance, health, cost, temperament, and other characteristics.

This will give a distinct overview of the two dogs’ differences and provide a platform for basing your right decision about acquiring your next pet.

Appearance Differences

As you may know, these two breeds do a have a similar look but also have distinct differences. We let you how you can tell them apart.


It is a medium to large dog lithe and graceful appearance. An adult male weighs 60-75 pounds and stands at 24 to 26 inches tall at the shoulder.

Female Collie weighs between 50-65 pounds and stands at 22-24 inches tall at the shoulder.

There are two coat varieties of Collie, namely:

  • The long-haired called “rough.”
  • The short-haired called “smooth.”

There are also four popular recognized Collie coat colors. These are:

  • Sable and white.
  • Tri-color comprising of black, sable, and white.
  • Blue merle.
  • White.

Most white Collies are mostly white and possess some colored markings.

Border collie

It’s a small-sized dog, smaller and shorter in stature than Collie. The Border Collie weighs between 30-55 pounds, and both border collie males and females are athletic.

The male Border Collie breed stands between 19-22 inches tall at the shoulder while females are 18-21 inches tall.

The Border Collie posses two rough and smooth coat types.

Though black and white are the most common Border Collie coats, they come in an array of colors or combinations of colors.

This dog breed resembles smooth Collies since their hair is shorter though there is still an amount of fur for grooming.

Temperament Differences

These two herding breeds are trainable and smart, but they exhibit significant personality differences.


These dog breeds are laid and calmer. They may be under the working class, but they can serve as loyal family pets.

Collies perform fantastically in homesteads with kids and other pets, and though they are not energetic as Borders, they still require their daily dose of play and exercise.

Collie has strong herding instincts. They only require your control as this herding attribute is in their bloodstream.

If they aren’t trained at an early stage of life, they may herd and nip anything that moves, including children.

The novice and less experienced dog owners prefers, the more easygoing Collie, but engaging a Border in your life can also be rewarding if you are up to the challenge.

Border Collie

This is known as an intense high-energy breed dog. Border Collie is a dog breed that performs best when it is active, so; it requires plenty of stimulating exercises and play.

Owners of Border Collie enroll their dogs in canine activities like sheepherding and obedience trials to keep them amused.

Border Collies, if confined without any training, can be happy and destructive. This type of dog breed learns quickly and is highly intelligent, and responds well to praise.

The Border Collie is very aggressive and has a high barking tendency, and is not friendly to other animals every time.

These dog breeds are also known for their sensitivity and awareness of emotions in people. It’s known to be playful, energetic, and affectionate around kids.

Cost Differences

The cost of purchasing a dog can be very unpredictable, and if you venture into the market intending to buy a Collie, you need to put into consideration some factors such as:

  • Medical expenses(veterinary service).
  • Food expenses.
  • Registration fees(license fees).
  • Training classes.
  • Grooming expenses.

Other factors affecting the buying price of Collie puppies include:

  • Assessment of breed. Is it pure or mixed?
  • Bloodline and breeder’s reputation.
  • Registration pedigree. This refers to the breeder’s club membership, for example, American Kennel Club(AKC)
  • Health screening and medical expenses.
  • Coat color and markings.
  • Age


The cost of Collie estimates is between $375-$1450 with an averaging price of $800—annual expenses for raising this dog breed totals to about $1865.

The dog’s entire lifetime budget of owning a Collie is about $25445. Some pure breed Collie with full documentation cost as high as $2000.

As a new dog buyer or one who is willing to adopt a Collie, its recommended to conduct thorough research to find out a breeder of repute.

This will culminate in the total well-being of the dog. Adoption is a more affordable option attracting a price tag of $50-$500.

Border Collie

The average price tag for a Border Collie puppy is approximately $600.

This is the general stipulated price because Borders would vary depending on different factors like dogs’ pedigree, breeders location and reputation, and the litter size.

As a new buyer expects to pay about $600 for Border Collies if they have a complete and viable documentation.

A premium Border Collie puppy with proper documentation, superior lineage, and breeding rights attract a price tag of between $1300-$4500 and even more.

Trained Borders can fetch as high as $7500.

The price tag is reasonable because the breeder has devoted ample time to ensure that their dog is up to the task and meets the potential buyers’ standards.

If you want to buy a Border Collie, there are other accompanying expenses such as:

  • Shipping a puppy or dog from another country.
  • Registration for your Border Collie.
  • Paying for training classes for your puppy.

Health Differences

Most pure-breed dogs, both Border Collies and Collies, can inherit some genetic health complications.

Working with a responsible and reputable breeder who conducts tests on their dogs for probable inheritable illnesses is the ultimate way to ensure that your Collie or Border Collie puppies are fit and healthy.

Collie health concerns

Some of the health issues that face Collie dog breeds include;

  • Collie Eye Anomaly(CEA): This is an eye abnormality popular with the Collie dog breed family and its inherited.
  • Heartworm drug Ivermectin: This is a type of drug sensitivity associated with Collie dogs’ predisposal to some drugs.

Other common ailments associated with Collie breed family witnessed in larger dogs include hip dysplasia and bloat.

A healthy Collie has a life expectancy of approximately 12 years, but this can range from 10-14 years or even as 16 years in some individual dogs.

Border Collie health concerns

Both the Collie and Border Collie may inherit common health problems prevalent in both breeds. These complications include:

  • Collie Eye Anomaly and hip dysplasia.
  • Neurological disorders such as Border Collapse are known as exercise-induced collapse and Idiopathic Epilepsy.
  • There is also a prevalence of Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) and Osteochondritis Dissecans(OCD)

Adhering to a proper diet and care, a Border Collie has a life span of 10-15 years, with 12 years being the average longevity.

Exercise Requirement Differences

Since you’ll have to exercise your doggo regularly, here’s a quick look at how these two breeds differ.

Border collie

Many dog owners believe that collies require an outstanding amount of exercise, probably one hour per day or three-thirty minutes walks per day.

It’s imperative to understand that every border collie can be happy with varying amounts of exercise. The magnitude of practices your border collie requires depends on your border collie, you, and the available time you intend to spend with them.

Some border collies may be fine with lesser walks or might even require more exercise. Border collie puppies have fragile ligaments and bones as they are growing into an adult.

They should be introduced to activities when they attain the age of one year. It’s vital not to overexercise when they are at their tender age because this can spill out at their adult or mature stage.

During the first eight months, ignite a lot of socializing with your puppy, observing obedience training, and ensure that you spend maximum time with it at home.

Ensure that you preferably spend two hours with your adult border collie per day and ensure that you integrate both physical and mental exercises.

Physical exercises ideas to use for exercising your border collie include:

  • Running
  • Hiking
  • Fetching
  • Frisbee
  • Swimming
  • Long walks

Mental exercises include:

  • Tricks and training
  • Hide and seek
  • Agility training episodes
  • Long walks


Suppose you are an owner of a collie, it’s recommended to conduct a minimum of 2 hours of exercising per day or more.

It’s also advocated to spread this across the day in several walks using off-lead exercises in a secured area. Collie requires mental training to keep their brains active too.

Collies tend to perform to their level best when the practices involve the owner of the dog.

So each day, ensure that you participate in your Collie’s daily routine exercise.

Final Word

If you are a novice or new dog buyer, to answer the question, which is a better pet for you between a collie and border collie, it will depend on you and your adapted lifestyle.

Border dog breeds get recommended for experienced owners who are active and possess time to train, care and be with their dog.

Standard collies are preferred because they are more easygoing and more gentle. It’s recommended as a family dog in a home with other pets and kids.

image: Pexels

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National Canine Research Association of America