Everything You Need to Know About the Border Collie-Lab Mix

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Hybrid doggos generally combine the best qualities of their parentage to create one awesome four-legged friend.

Boradors are no different because these dogs are the lovable geniuses of the canine world. They are eager to please their humans, even though it’s hard to match their energy.

Keep reading to see if you’re up for the challenge!

What kind of a dog is a Borador?

The Border Collie-Lab cross is the brilliant, hyper combination of – you guessed it – the Border Collie and the Labrador Retriever.

As with just about any mixed breed, the Borador has likely been around for a while. But it was first recognized as a distinct, intentional hybrid sometime within the last 10 to 20 years.

With hunting and herding parents, the Border Collie-Lab’s intellect and vigor are impressive. To really grasp how these purebreds influenced their offspring, we need to look at each one individually.

The earnest Border Collie

Border Collie running outdoors and fetching a stick
Border Collie

The Scottish sheep-herding Border Collie is considered the most intelligent dog breed in the world. According to the American Psychological Association, these dogs have the mental capacity of a 2-year-old child.

They’re also incredibly energetic! You’ve probably seen them in agility and obedience competitions, where their work ethic and athleticism can really shine. They’re also famous on the big screen such as Nana from the movie Snow Dogs, as well as Fly and Rex in the family film Babe.

It’s not all candy and roses with Borders, though. If their herding instincts and super-smart brains aren’t put to good use, these dogs can become destructive. They’re task-oriented and excel by being busy.

Lovable Labrador Retrievers

A black Labrador Retriever sitting outdoors
Labrador Retriever

Labs, as these pooches are affectionately known, have been a top choice among dog lovers in the U.S. for nearly 100 years. In fact, they’ve topped the AKC registration list every year since 1991.

What makes Labrador Retrievers so popular is their friendliness and versatility. They make great family dogs, but they’re also reliable workers.

The Lab’s original purpose was to help fishermen collect their nets and catch escaping fish. They’re still used for hunting and retrieving today, but they’re also reliable choices for service work and more dangerous jobs, like bomb-sniffing. 

What does a Border Collie-Lab mix look like?

Each Borador will look different from the next, but they do share a few traits. In general, you’ll be able to see the influence of both parent breeds in your Border Lab.

Their color patterns often resemble that of the Border Collie, while they’re built more like a young Labrador. They have a strong Lab head and rudder tail, with a narrower Border nose. The Borador’s floppy ears and chocolate eyes complete the package.

How big do Boradors get?

Standing at an average of 15 to 20 inches tall (38 to 51 cm) and weighing 35 to 65 pounds (16 to 29 kg), Boradors are considered a medium-sized breed when fully grown. 

Female Boradors are usually a little smaller than males, but your dog will likely fall within these ranges, regardless of gender.

Just because Border Labs aren’t large dogs doesn’t mean they’re suited for apartment living. Due to their exercise level and needs, these pups will do best in a home with space to run, like a farm or ranch.

The Borador’s coat & color

A black and white Borador looking at the camera

Most Border Retrievers have black and white markings on their face and chest, just like the Border Collie. The amount of white fur varies, though. Some Boradors can be nearly pitch black, while others have multiple white patches.

Not all of them will sport a black-and-white coat combo. Border Collie Lab crosses can be any shade or mixture of black, yellow, brown, tan, red, or merle.

We need to share a word of caution about merle-colored Border Labs: they can sometimes have health problems due to reckless breeding practices. Even if a dog with a white head, blue eyes, and merle coat can be pretty, they are all associated with congenital deafness.

Whatever their hair color, your Borador is likely to have a smooth, glossy coat. Their fur can be short to medium in length, depending on what they inherit from their parents.

This crossbreed’s double coat helps it deal with temperature extremes, but it also means you can expect a fair amount of shedding all year round. (So long, pristine furniture.) Needless to say, these dogs are not hypoallergenic.

Is the Border Collie Lab mix a good family dog?

Boradors are devoted and love to make their family members happy. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re a good fit for any family, though.

Collie Labs are vocal dogs with a lot to say. Your Borador won’t be yappy, but they will alert you to potential danger – including when it’s been too long since their last belly rub.

This crossbreed generally gets along with kids and other pets. Their Lab genes mellow out their Border Collie side, so they’ll enjoy playing with the rest of the pack. Look at this adorable video of a Borador puppy enjoying a romp with his playmate!

There’s a chance that your Borador might have a tendency to herd. You may find it amusing and even useful, but the kids probably won’t enjoy it too much. It’s always a good idea to supervise your canine friend whenever they’re around the little ones and other pets, just to be safe.

Speaking of pets, be very careful bringing your Border Lab around cats. They should do well with other dogs when socialized early, but slow, calm introductions and supervision are good ways to keep the peace.

Overall, Boradors are loving, affectionate dogs who want to be with their families as much as possible. They’re not suitable for people who are away from home for long periods as separation anxiety and destructive behaviors can develop.

Training: Are Boradors smart?

Border Collie-Lab mixes are serious people-pleasers and workaholics. Translation: training is easy-breezy – for the most part. Every now and then, intelligent dogs like these think they know best. Don’t be surprised if your Borador proves to be a bit strong-willed.

Show your dog from the beginning how you expect them to behave. Two potential problem behaviors to focus on during puppyhood are inappropriate chewing and chasing

Once you get manners out of the way, you can have fun teaching your Border Lab a few tricks. Look at this impressive video of a Borador pup for inspiration!

Don’t think training is just for the puppy stage, either. Your Borador will love learning new ways to show off their smarts and make their human happy. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? The Labrador-Border Collie hybrid never got that memo.

Caring for a Border Collie-Lab mix

All dogs are different, but there are a few basic responsibilities that come with each one. 

Your Borador may be low maintenance in terms of feeding, but caring for this breed’s coat can either be a chore for some owners. When it comes to helping them work off the zoomies, though, you’ve got your work cut out for you.

Grooming your Border Retriever

Because of their coat length, Boradors don’t need much attention in the grooming department.

Brushing their fur every couple of weeks can help remove loose, dead hair and reduce shedding. Bristle or pin brushes are a good choice.

No matter what, DO NOT shave your Borador! This can ruin their coat and should only be done for medical reasons, like if your dog needs surgery. If you’re sensitive to pet hair, reconsider this breed.

Your canine friend should get a bath once a month or when needed. And don’t forget to check their ears, clean their teeth weekly, and clip their nails as needed.

How much exercise do Boradors need?

Couch potatoes and Netflix binge-watchers, this is not the dog for you. These dogs need a minimum of 2 hours a day devoted to exercise.

If you have a larger family, sharing the responsibility of exercising your Borador is a good idea. You’re sure to wear out long before they do!

Use puzzle toys or brain games to keep them occupied and for mental stimulation. These don’t have to be complicated or expensive. Hide snacks around the house or in one of your hands, and watch your dog use their sniffer to find the goods.

You’ll also want to switch up their exercise routine regularly to make it more stimulating. Try out new parks, go on hikes, or go swimming (Boradors love water!). Find an agility course in your area, and watch your pup go to town!

Notice how this Borador owner combines training with a game of fetch. This is a great way to work your pup’s body and brain!

Be careful with off-leash play. Between the Labrador’s friendliness and the Border Collie’s herding drive, the Borador has an ever-present temptation to run off on their own adventure.

Diet: How much should Boradors eat?

The amount of food you should feed your fido should be based on factors such as his size, age, activity level, and health. An adult Labraborder should eat about 1 ½ to 2 cups of food a day, separated into two meals. Younger Boradors need smaller meals, more frequently.

Thankfully, this crossbreed’s parents don’t typically suffer from many food allergies. Because of their energy level, protein-rich dry dog food is an excellent choice for this hybrid.

Labs really enjoy food and are prone to overeating. If you notice your Collie Lab starting to pack on the pounds, you should reduce their food intake or up the activity level to prevent obesity.

Is the Border Collie & Lab mix healthy?

A focused Border Collie Lab mix with a vest in the snow

Boradors don’t have many predispositions to illness or disease, but there are always risks. Especially those ailments that this pooch can inherit from its parental breeds.

Watch out for bloat if your pup is a fast eater. Try a slow-feeding bowl and encourage your puppy to relax for a while after meals.

Larger Boradors may be at higher risk for joint problems, such as arthritis and hip dysplasia.

Purebred Border Collies have a higher likelihood of epilepsy and congenital deafness, so there’s a possibility you could see these conditions in your Borador. Skin conditions and vision problems, like Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA) and cataracts may develop, too.

Even with these diseases, Border Collie-Lab crosses live a long time, boasting an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years.

Buying your own Borador puppy

With both its parents being so popular, it comes as no surprise that the Border Retriever is in-demand, too. What’s even better is that this hybrid is more affordable than other crossbreeds. On average, a Borador puppy can cost about $200 to $500.

Not sure if a breeder or rescue is right for you? It all depends on your budget and your preferences.

Are you willing to pay more if it means knowing all about your pup’s history? Go with a breeder. If you don’t mind a little mystery (or perhaps you want to avoid the puppy stage altogether), a rescue Borador might be right for you.

The good news is that, whichever way you decide to go, finding a Labrador-Border Collie cross to join the pack shouldn’t be too hard at all.

Borador breeders & kennels

You’ve got plenty of options when it comes to finding a Border Collie-Lab mix for sale, so do your research. Don’t feel bad about being picky, either.

At the very least, a trustworthy breeder should be able to provide health certificates and medical records for each parent dog. They should also let you visit them, meet the parents, and see their most recent litter.

If you’re looking for a Collie Lab with a specific personality or appearance, tell breeders upfront. The more direct you are, the more likely you are to find the perfect pup for you.

Whatever you do, don’t rush into a purchase. A dog isn’t a shirt that can be returned if it doesn’t fit quite right. Take your time, and be thorough.

There are no specific kennels and organizations that have available Borador puppies. Still, you can check out marketplaces such as Greenfield Puppies, Lancaster Puppies, and Keystone Puppies to start your search.

Adopting a Borador

If you’d prefer to adopt a Borador, look around local shelters or try to find a breed-specific rescue near you.

A rescue organization may be dedicated to Labs or Border Collies, but they’ll also take in mixes of each breed. If they don’t have a Border Lab, they may know of a place that does.

These rescue organizations are a great place to start your search:

Other Labrador mixes and Border mixes

Wondering if you can keep up with the Borador’s energy level? There’s a lot to love about this crossbreed, but, understandably, one breed is not always recommended for everyone.

If you’re on the fence, check out these other Labrador Retriever crosses and Border Collie mixes to help make the decision easier.

Goldador (Golden Retriever and Labrador Retriever mix)

Labradoodle (Labrador Retriever and Poodle mix)

Sheprador (German Shepherd and Labrador Retriever mix)

Beagador (Beagle and Labrador Retriever mix)

Shollie (German Shepherd and Border Collie mix)

Are you ready for a Borador of your own?

Between the Border Collie’s Type A work ethic and the Labrador’s Type B demeanor, Boradors are a fun combination of dedication and playfulness.

Border Collie-Lab mixes will go bananas without frequent physical and mental activity, so they’re best-suited for athletic owners with time and energy to burn. It will also be better for them to have plenty of secured space to run on their own.

So what do you think? Can you keep up with the energetic Border Collie-Lab mix? Tell us in the comments!

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