Border Collie Lab Mix: Everything You Need to Know

What happens when you mix two of the most loved breeds in the US? You get a unique dog that will be devoted you.

The Border Collie Lab Mix is an energetic, intelligent cross breed that is gaining popularity with families. With the intelligence of the Border Collie and the calm, child-friendly traits of the Labrador, you can see why families love them.

Although they require a lot of exercise, their intellect allows for the integration of training into everyday life.

In this complete guide to the Borador we will cover everything you need to know including how to care for them, personality and temperament, how much they cost and much more…

What is a Border Collie Lab Mix (Overview)?

Border Collie and Lab
The Borador is a mix between the Border Collie and the Labrador.

You won’t be able to predict the exact characteristics of this dog, it will depend on what it inherits from the parents and its socialization.

But generally, they are an intelligent, active and gentle dog with some very human aspects to their personality. This makes the borador a perfect companion for families with children or those with an active lifestyle.

Sometimes used as service dogs, their high level of intellect and curiosity makes them easy to train.

They are active dogs that will require daily walks, exercise, and playing with their favorite toys is almost irresistible to them!

The American Kennel club does not recognize the Borador as a stand-alone breed but does consider it a hybrid.

Border Collie Lab Mix Appearance

Borador

The Borador has fine, smooth hair all over, and their coat length is normally short to medium.

They will have floppy ears, brown eyes and a great smile!

In general they will resemble the Border Collie, with their markings and their general stockiness to them, but can carry the Labradors solid coloration and size.

The head is like a Labradors, but the nose is more pointed like a Border Collie’s. A Borador may resemble a younger Labrador but with an athletic build. The tail is like a Labrador’s with a ‘rudder tail’.

They are medium sized and weigh around 35-60 lbs.

Height and Weight

Typically, a Labrador weighs 55-80lbs depending on the sex of the dog and a Border Collie weighs 25-45lbs. Therefore, you should expect the Border Collie Lab mix to weigh 35-60lbs.

In terms of height, Labradors stand between 22.5-24.5 inches and the Border Collie 18-22 inches. So your Borador should stand around 18-23 inches.

Border Collie Lab Mix Colors

A combination of colors can be seen with the Borador:

  • Solid black
  • Tan
  • Brown

Additionally, more complex colors can be seen with variants of merle:

  • Blue
  • Red
  • Chocolate

However, breeding merle dogs can cause specific genetic problems.

Border Collie Lab Mix Coat

One thing we can say for certainty is your Lab Border Collie mix will have a double coat.

Labradors are famous for their double layer coat; despite their short hair they do still shed a fair bit. Border Collies also have a double layer coat; this can come in either rough or smooth varieties.

The coat of the Borador is often glossy with very few aspects of matting and a very faint “dog-smell”. They will shed lightly all year round. Because of this they will need brushing at least once a week and bathing once every three months.

Border Collie Lab Mix Personality and Temperament

Border Collie

Said to be very human, the Border Collie Lab mix has lots of personality and brains. As a combination of two friendly and clever dogs, the Borador is said to have mental abilities comparable to a two-year-old child; this makes training and socialization a lot easier.

With a mixture of the Labrador and Collie, this dog is very energetic and requires lots of exercise with varying tasks. It’s important to note walking is not enough to satisfy the mental or physical needs of this dog. Other activities you can do for a rich active experience include:

  • Running
  • Search Play
  • Swimming
  • Hiking

Both parents have a high tendency to bark which means that this cross-breed will most likely love to talk and interact with you. If you want a quiet dog that does not bark or howl then the Borador isn’t the dog for you.

Personality and Temperament

Again to understand their temperament we must look at their parents.

The Labrador is a renowned family dog that is highly affectionate and loving to its owner. Alongside this, the Border Collie is also affectionate and loving, making the combination of the two a loveable and inquisitive dog that will want to please its owner.

From an early age it is easier, as with any dog, to socialize them to the world around them. Frequent interactions between your dog and the outside world can help them overcome any fears that they may have, especially with other dogs.

They are guaranteed to become a member of the family quickly, with their lovable attitude and energetic playfulness. They are known to be excitable and impulsive as puppies but with the right upbringing your Borador will grow into an adorable character.

In terms of barking they are not known to be big barkers but may alert you with a couple of sharp barks if there is a problem or if they want your attention but this is rarely aggressive; this is the Border Collie in them.

Borador Specific Behaviors

Border Collies love to herd, that’s just what they do. Labradors however are not herding dogs, this means that whether your Borador is a herder or not is down to the individual genetics of the parents and what they pass.

Most likely you will find that they will exhibit some mild herding behavior and extreme friendliness.

Is A Border Collie Lab Mix A Good Family Dog?

It is easy to say that yes, the Borador makes a fantastic family dog.

Considering the traits shared between the parents, this crossbreed provides a well-rounded dog that will be loyal and always eager to play, interact and most importantly, love unconditionally.

How to Train a Border Collie Lab Mix

Labrador

Like we always suggest, positive reinforcement should be the go to training method for your dog and the Lab Border Collie mix is no exception.

It’s no secret that the Borador is strongly motivated by food, so this can be used to directly associate a task or a certain desirable behavior trait. However, caution must be taken when using food-based treats as it increases the risk of weight gain. You can try using other treats such as affection.

Also as they love to be mentally challenged, you can use a puzzle toy to really pander to their inquisitive nature.

One thing to note here is repetition and consistency.

The learning process is not quick, the Borador will often crave the same level of routine. Training should start from an early age but should be a life long commitment. With the right training, your pooch can become the most obedient member of the family!

They are prone to chewing, and chasing things that move, so it would be a good idea to stamp these behaviors out before they become fully established.

Negative reinforcement should be avoided as it involves the initial implementation of a distressing or painful stimulus. This can lead to a whole host of trust and anxiety issues for the dog, which is never healthy for any species especially one that trusts and loves as strongly as the Borador.

Best Games to Train A Borador

Remember these dogs are used as sniffer dogs, therefore this finely tuned nose can be put to the test in challenging cognitive tasks.

Fun sniffing games include:

  • Finding snacks
  • Hide and seek with people
  • Pick the hand (you can hold a bone in one hand)

Caring for a Border Collie Lab Mix

Both the Labrador and Border Collie are two very low maintenance breeds. This means the Borador is also low maintenance.

There is one caveat to this though; due to their high energy levels, exercise requirements are high as is mental stimulation.

If you lead an active lifestyle or have a family where a few of you are free to provide frequent exercise regimes, then perhaps a Borador will be just for you.

Exercise Requirements

A simple walk is not enough for these dogs, the walk should last for around two hours each day; this can be split into multiple activity sessions…

If you take your Borador on a run or introduce seeking games or fetch into the walk you will find that this time can decrease. Also, as Labs and Collies both love to swim you can add this to their activities list.

Now in terms of walking off the leash, you can sometimes run into problems.

The infamous friendliness of the Labrador can lead to it running off after other dogs in hot pursuit of attention. Combine this with the friendliness and stubbornness of the Collie and you can imagine it can be difficult at first to walk the Borador.

However, if you and your dog have a good relationship (where they actively respond to their name and commands) then an off-lead walk will be a useful tool to meet their activity requirements.

Happy Lab

Grooming and Shedding

Their smooth, and often short fur, means that you do not need to brush them every day; once a week is more than sufficient. This will help maintain their coats and reduce shedding.

You will also find that in most cases your Borador takes after the Collie, meaning it won’t shed too much. Even though they don’t require much grooming, it’s still recommended you groom because it can improve your bond thorough increased physical contact.

Due to the Labradors waxy ears, they will most likely need regular cleaning of the inside of the ear gently with a damp cloth. They are predisposed to having ear infections, so you should regularly check their ears.

A dog’s teeth should be cleaned at least three times a week. Their nails should also be clipped occasionally; this can be done at a local groomers or vets if you are inexperienced with this.

Feeding and Diet

Due to the stature and average weight of this dog, it is classified as a medium sized dog.

This means it should have a daily intake of 760-900 calories per day split between two meals over the day. As a pup you should aim to feed them over four meals and as they reach around six months old you can gradually reduce this.

Border Collies live off lots of protein to sustain their energy rich lifestyle. Labs on the other hand require a more balanced diet as to not gain too much weight due to their proneness to obesity.

Therefore their diet should be a mixture of this. A protein rich diet to satisfy their energy needs but it should also be balanced enough to not include too many carbohydrates.

If possible, you should feed your dog high quality feed that doesn’t have filler (corn syrup) and artificial ingredients in it. 1.5 to 2 cups of high quality food divided into 2 equal meals will be okay for your fully matured Borador.

Overfeeding can be a common problem with Labs, so keeping an eye on how much food you give them is important.

Known Health Problems

When looking at health problems we should look at both the Labrador and the Border Collie, as a mixture of breeds leads to the mixture of parental health defects.

The most notable disease a Borador can suffer from is:

Keep an eye on your dog for any signs of these health issues and always ask your veterinarian if you’re uncertain.

How Long Do Border Collie Lab Mix Live?

You should expect a healthy Border Collie Lab mix to live for 14-15 years.

Buying a Border Collie Lab Mix

When buying your Border Collie Lab Mix you must ensure that the breeder is reputable as this has an impact on your dog’s early mental development.

A reliable breeder should do the following:

  • Take time to discuss with you the history of the dog and let you visit with the mother.
  • Allow multiple meetings between you and the puppy to see compatibility.
  • Provide paperwork about the history of vaccinations and previous health screenings.

An unreliable breeder may try to:

  • Pressure you into the sale.
  • Tell you lies about the location of the mother; the puppy may not have been bred there if the mother is absent.
  • Not provide any documentation or paperwork.

So remember, if you are being put under pressure, do not go ahead if you feel like something isn’t right.

A puppy should be over the age of 8 weeks to leave mom, some breeders my wait until the pup is 12 weeks old.

How Much Do Border Collie Lab Mix Cost?

On average, a Borador puppy costs between $200-$500. This is far cheaper than a Border Collie ($600-$800) and a Labrador ($800-$1200).

Quick Breed Summary Table

Breed Characteristics Border Collie Lab Mix
Size: 18-23 inches tall
Weight: 35-60lbs
Lifespan: 14-15 Years
Coat: Short and glossy, double coat
Color: Black, tan, chocolate merle, brown, blue merle and red merle often with white markings
Do They Shed: Little to moderate
Temperament: Gentle and very “human-like”
Intelligence: High
Socialization: Can be bouncy with other dogs
Destructive Behavior: Barking and Separation Anxiety
People Skills: Loves to please its owner
Good with Children: Very good
Activity Levels: Energetic but not hyperactive

Summary

The Border Lab mix has so much to offer, from being a work out companion to a child’s best friend. It is suitable for the entire family and its hard to find a dog as empathetic, loveable and smart as the Borador.

It is also pretty low maintenance meaning you and your borador have more time to spend being active; and with energy levels like theirs you will never have an excuse to not work out again!

They can charm and capture your heart one two-hour walk at a time.

The friendliness of the Lab and the intellect of the Collie adds to the appeal and makes training easy and rewarding.

Let us know in the comments section below if you keep a Borador…

Thomas Woods Face Portrait
Thomas has been a dog lover since he was 6 years old when his parents got him a rescue Labrador. Since then his love for dogs has lead him to study Animal Behavior & Welfare. He now keeps a six year old English Bullmastiff and educates pet parents through his online publication Perfect Dog Breeds.

5 Comments

  1. I have a collie-lab called Kirby. He’s three and a half and we rescued him when he was six months old. You’ve pretty much described him to a t. We live next to a 250 acre forest park with a river running all the way through it. He’s a happy dog. Perfection.

  2. I have two 4 year old collie/labs one is very much like his mother collie & loves swimming, running at speed very vocal his brother is very much more lab sensitive quiet calm but their recall is excellent both love chasing balls & are both very loving.

  3. We pick up a lab/collie pup in two weeks time. Very reassuring article and we absolutely can’t wait. Hoping to train her to come running with us for our marathon training.

  4. I adopted a border collie/lab mix who will be two this August. He is unbelievably loveable and smart. He does pretty much anything I ask of him and in return I give him love, a clean home, exercise, quality food, fresh water, a comfy bed(s), unlimited time and more love. He has very soulful eyes. I feel that I am blessed to be chosen to be his Mom. He is a lovebug and my shadow.

  5. I have a Barador named Bella and she is the sweetest thing ever and i don’t regret choosing her. She is not hard work at all. She does have a little bit of extra weight but we are trying to get rid of it

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