Border Collie vs Border Terrier

Though Border Collies and Border Terriers sound similar, they are two unique dogs. The immediate difference between the two is collies are herding dogs used to move livestock while terriers go underground to hunt small wild animals such as vermins.

Characteristics of Border Collie vs Border Terrier

Here are some of the key traits of each breeds.

Characteristics Border Collie Border Terrier
Size Can weigh from 25 to 45 pounds and grow from 22 to 27 inches Weighs about 10 to 15 pounds and stands at 12 to 14 inches
Appearance Colors available are white, black, brown, and red. Has distinctive markings with silky and medium-length coat Has a short and coarse coat with whiskers like a cat
Ancestry First seen in Scotland for hunting and herding jobs Discovered in Scotland mainly for hunting game along with bigger dogs
Behavior Known as one of the smartest dogs that are fairly active, playful, and could be a bit mischievous Sturdy and strong for its size yet, very capable and focused. Perfect for family and apartment living
Lifespan Lives an average of 12 to 15 years Has an average lifespan of 13 to 16 years

History of Border Collie and Border Terrier

The American Kennel Club first recognized Border Collie in 1995. These dogs were seen first between the borders of England and Scotland. Any flock owner knows how valuable these dogs are as they work tirelessly and are capable of herding sheep. It is as if they have an unlimited amount of energy.

Similar to Border Collies, Border Terriers were first seen on the borders of England and Scotland somewhere around the 18th century. Farmers were using these dogs for hunting hill fox and ratting the barn. Though small in size, Terriers are brave and strong for their figure.

Appearance of Border Collie vs Border Terrier

The physique of a Border Collie is longer than its size and its ears look alert while the tip drops over. This gives them a cheerful appearance. There are dogs that have sleek coats that are roughly an inch long.

Border Terriers have a dense and short undercoat, which are all covered with its wiry topcoat. Their skin is loose and thick. In their fox-hunting days, this serves its purpose by protecting them from bites. Coat colors can be tan and grizzle, blue and tan, red or wheaten.

Size of Border Terrier vs Border Collie

A female Border Terrier typically weighs up to 6 kilograms and is 30 centimeters in height, while the male measures 37 centimeters and can reach 7 kilograms. These dogs should have a height at the withers that is slightly taller than the distance from the withers to the tail. They are of medium build, strongly constructed, and have a rather narrow shoulder, body and quarter, which suggests their agility and endurance.

The majority of Border Collies reach their full height at around 15 months, although some bigger ones may take as long as 18 months to have a fully developed chest. The average weight of Border Collies is around 30 to 55 pounds.

Coats & Colors

According to American Kennel Club, Border Collies have 17 standard colors including:

  1. Blue
  2. Blue merle
  3. Black
  4. Gold
  5. Brindle
  6. Lilac
  7. Red merle
  8. Red
  9. Sable merle
  10. Sable
  11. White and black
  12. Blue and white
  13. Blue merle and white
  14. Saddleback sable
  15. Red and white
  16. Red merle and white
  17. White ticked

Border Terriers have 4 recognized standard colors by the American Kennel Club. These colors are blue, tan and grizzle, red and wheaten. Other colors it has been considered to be rare similar to red wheaten, red and black, tan and black, grizzle, black grizzle, red grizzle and tan.

Personality & Temperament of Border Collie and Border Terrier

Border Terriers are quite unique compared to other terriers. They’re bred to run alongside foxhounds and to be less aggressive. This is a big difference from other terriers that are hunting their own.

These breeds are not heavy barkers. Though they’ll alert you if someone’s at your door. Because they were bred to hunt fox, expect them to have a strong will in digging. A frustrating and endearing quality that these dogs have is that they were bred to think of themselves.

Border Collies are a more dynamic breed. They are alert, determined, energetic, and intelligent. They learn fast. It’s sometimes a challenge for its owner to keep them interested. Failure to keep these dogs occupied might result to unwanted behaviors similar to digging, barking, or chasing.

Family and Border Collie vs Border Terrier

family-friendly Border Collie lying on floor

With all the energy that Border Collies pack, exercising them on a daily basis is a must. Games like frisbee, catch or swimming is all great. If you live in a studio-type home or apartment, they might not be the right dogs for you. These breeds need to smell, jump and run constantly. With such a small space, it could result in some consequences. But if you’re committed to raising a disciplined and well-behaved dog despite the challenges, they may just be the right match for you and your family.

With Border Terriers, they’re just the ideal family pet you could have right off the bat. They go along with kids and love to please their owners. You may see their “hunting” nature by chasing small animals. This should not be a worry as they usually get along with other pets with proper socialization at a young age.


Many families love Border Terriers and Border Collies. While the former is more ideal with kids, Collies are too, though there’s a tendency that they may unintentionally rough play with kids.

Still, like any other dogs, kids have to be taught of respecting pets. More so if the pet in question is eating or sleeping.

Thus, your children must be able to know how to behave around your Border Terrier. This is essential to prevent mishaps in the future.

Other People

Border Collies either bark or growl around people or strangers, especially if they feel unsafe around them. Unlike Border Terriers, they have great social skills and could sometimes be overly friendly with strangers.

Dogs & Other Animals

Depending on how Border Collie and Border Terrier were raised, they may be okay living with other pets. Say that these dogs were introduced to other animals during puppyhood, it will not be a problem when surrounded by other animals as well. In essence, it all falls on how good the owner is in raising and caring for their pets.

Behavior Issues

In general, Border Terriers are friendly dogs. But there’s a chance that they could show aggressiveness if trained to be as such or mistreated. If owners are too emotional. Factors such as the lack of training, and pet’s health attribute to behavioral problems of the dog. Terriers are busy dogs and must be given with lots of exercise daily. Not being able to fulfill these needs are grounds for their behavioral issues.

As with Border Collies, they’re known to be intelligent. They pick up fast, as with the manners you teach them. Thus, showing negative behavior around these dogs will make them almost unbearable to live with. Common behavioral problems that these dogs manifest are barking, chewing, and digging.

Training & Exercise of Border Terrier and Border Collie

Don’t rush training your puppy. You’ll need to be committed and also, have tons of patience. Luckily, Border Collies are ranked as one in terms of intelligence. This should not be taken for granted as you must still be aware of the dog’s needs. Since these dogs have high levels of energy, they typically have a short attention span. Avoid training them that lasts for about an hour. Keep it short and focus on a few commands only.

Border Terriers are natural workers. They’re happier when they’re given tasks. The secret to training these dogs effectively is by funneling their attention toward their natural abilities. It’s wise to get them started on doing activities that they truly enjoy.

Taking Care & Maintenance of Border Collie and Border Terrier

keeping Border Collie and Border Terrier groomed

Both Border Collie and Border Terriers are not high-maintenance dogs. Actually, damping a dry towel when they’re dirty or wet is enough. Frequent bathing would only soften their harsh coat, which gives them the ability to repel dirt naturally. Since these dogs shed at times, a slicker brush should help in keeping their coats shiny and beautiful.

Grooming of Border Collies and Border Terriers

Both dogs have double coats which consist of an undercoat and a topcoat. The nice part about their grooming requirements, it’s not as hard as other breeds. The most that you’d be doing is to brush them regularly for a few minutes. This is to remove loose undercoats and dead hair. Bathing a Border Collie or Border Terrier should only be done when necessary. Again, ordinary dirt can be removed by just brushing it.


Just like other dogs, Border Terrier and Border Collie shed all throughout the year. But their thick and dense coat is the same reason why it must be brushed daily. For first-time owners, these dogs have a shedding season where they shed twice as much than regular months of the year. If you have no idea how to deal with this matter, you can bring them to a professional dog groomer. This way, you can get tips and advice on the proper way to work with your dog’s shedding, especially when it’s their season.

Health of Border Collie vs Border Terrier

Luckily, both dogs are healthy breeds. Any responsible breeder screens the breeding stock for the dog’s health condition. From this point, they can quickly determine if the dog is prone to its breed’s common health issues like progressive retinal atrophy, hip and elbow dysplasia, and so on.

Life Span of Border Terriers vs Border Collies

As said, Border Collies and Border Terriers can live for about 12 to 15 years and 13 to 16 years respectively. This is the average lifespan for these breeds. However, you must know that there are other factors that can affect it like genetics, health, activities, etc. Assuming that you’d have a healthy dog, it’s sure that they’ll be with you for a long time.

Diet & Nutrition

Since these two dogs are highly energetic and love to be engaged in physical activities, it is vital to give them dog foods that are packed with quality ingredients. Such products will support your dog’s activities, both mentally and physically.

Foods that can be digested easily by their system are imperative to an active dog’s health. Corn and rice are two wonderful options. Its carbohydrates, are easily digested and, contain less soluble fiber compared to other sources.

Health Issues

Unfortunately, dogs may suffer from health issues no matter how much care we give them. These two actually share common health conditions that any responsible owners should know.

Elbow and hip dysplasia – this health condition occurs due to the abnormality of the joints while the puppy is growing. This causes pain, arthritis, and pain in all affected dogs. A very common sign of elbow and hip dysplasia is lameness. Prevent such conditions from causing harm to your dog by providing an appropriate diet and exercise.

Progressive retinal atrophy – this is an eye problem that is very common to Border Terriers. Sadly, there’s no known cure or treatment. Thus, dogs affected by such eventually go blind.

Collie eye anomaly – a health problem that is very common to Border Collies. It is caused by the dog’s genetics and like progressive retinal atrophy with Border Terriers, it can lead to blindness. Unfortunately, no cure or treatment has been found as well.

Cost of Border Collie vs Border Terrier

The cost of a Border Collie and Border Terrier is variable. There are several factors that will have to be considered like the puppy’s gender, its lineage, location, and many others.


The average market price of Border Collie and Border Terrier puppies ranges from $800 to $1,500. This figure comes from a reputable and trusted breeder. However, the cost of Border Collies can be twice as much if you’re looking for a show-quality puppy. Actually, that could set you back as much as $3,500 or more. Determining factors are the age, quality, sex, pedigree of the puppy, and of course, the location of the breeder.

Needless to say, dogs of this caliber and price ought to come with health clearances and proper documentation.

Breeders & Centers

When looking for trusted breeders, you can start your search with a national breed club for your preferred dog. From there, you can begin your inquiry and ask for referrals. As much as possible, talk only to established breeders. There are many good reasons for doing so like:

  • Get firsthand information on how to raise dogs like a pro
  • Meet the dog’s parents
  • Be informed of the health background of the pup’s parents
  • Get assistance in choosing the best pup
  • Get immediate assistance for life

Conclusion: Which Is Better, Border Collie or Border Terrier?

The Border Collie and Border Terrier are very closely related. Not just in the name but also, in their characteristics.

But if you want a dog that is easily trainable, a great companion for your active lifestyle, and you can commit to raise and train, you’ll definitely want to get a Border Collie. But if you want a dog who is great for family life, perfect with kids, and loves guest coming over, a Border Terrier is what you want.

These are minute differences between the two breeds. The answer on which between a Border Collie or Border Terrier is better will fall upon the things you are looking specifically for in a dog.

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