Border Collie vs Dutch Shepherd Breed Comparison

In the world of canine champions, two extraordinary breeds stand out: the Border Collie and the Dutch Shepherd. These medium-sized, highly versatile dogs are easily recognizable and pack a punch of energy, intelligence, and loyalty. While the Border Collie is the ultimate herder, known for its tireless drive to please, the Dutch Shepherd, strikingly resembling German and Belgian Shepherds, is a modern-day jack-of-all-trades.

Characteristics of Border Collie and Dutch Shepherd

playful Border Collie

The Border Collie is renowned for its outstanding tenacity and unwavering work ethic, which have earned it a well-deserved reputation as one of the most exceptional sheepdogs in the world. This breed’s ability to tirelessly perform tasks and respond swiftly to commands sets it apart. Border Collies are highly regarded for their adaptability, as they can quickly learn and execute a wide range of commands and tasks, making them invaluable in herding situations.

On the other hand, Dutch Shepherd dogs exhibit different yet equally impressive traits. They are known for their liveliness and exceptional intelligence, critical character components. Like Border Collies, Dutch Shepherds possess a robust herding instinct deeply ingrained in their genes. This instinct drives them to excel in herding and related activities, showcasing their remarkable ability to manage livestock and respond adeptly to herding commands.

While the Border Collie and Dutch Shepherd breeds share qualities such as high intelligence and a strong herding instinct, they manifest these characteristics in distinct ways. The Border Collie’s tenacity and diligent work ethic make it an extraordinary sheepdog that excels in following commands and adapting to various tasks. Conversely, Dutch Shepherds are known for their liveliness and intelligence, complementing their robust herding instinct, making them excellent partners in herding and related endeavors. Both breeds bring their unique strengths to herding and working dogs.

Breed History

The Border Collie, originally a sheep-herding dog hailing from the border region encompassing Scotland, England, and Wales, originated when dog breeds weren’t precisely categorized. Back then, it was simply referred to as a collie, sheepdog, or shepherd’s dog.

However, establishing the International Sheep Dog Society in 1906 played a pivotal role in generating interest in this shepherd’s companion and shaping the modern heritage of the Border Collie.

On the other hand, the Dutch Shepherd can be traced back to the early 19th century, with its forebears likely being working dogs that Dutch farmers had employed for centuries. Though there is limited documentation regarding their exact origins, they are believed to share a common ancestry with European herding breeds like the Belgian Shepherd and German Shepherd.

Appearance Comparison

The Border Collie is known for its well-proportioned and athletic body, ideal for endurance and running. It has a level topline with a subtle slope towards the croup and a broad chest that doesn’t extend beyond the elbow. The breed is recognized for its oval-shaped eyes, preferred with full pigmentation, and the American Kennel Club allows various eye colors, though blue eyes are chosen for Merle dogs. The head is also well-proportioned, with a strong muzzle and well-developed underjaw. Ears can be erect or semi-erect; the nose should be fully pigmented with appropriately sized nostrils. Border Collies have medium-long tails held low during concentration but may rise slightly when excited, with a slight upturn at the end, never curling over the back.

In contrast, Dutch Shepherds have solid, muscular bodies with deep, long chests, powerful legs, and tails that hang down with a subtle curve. Their eyes are dark and almond-shaped, while their ears are of medium size and stand erect. Solid jaws characterize the breed.

Border Collie and Dutch Shepherd share features related to their bodies, including muscularity and chest depth. However, they differ in eye shape, ear position, and tail carriage. While Border Collies have oval eyes and may have semi-erect ears, Dutch Shepherds have almond-shaped eyes and erect ears. Additionally, the Border Collie’s tail may exhibit more variation in its position and shape than the Dutch Shepherd’s more consistent hanging tail with a slight curve.

Size Comparison

Border Collies are considered medium-sized dogs; their size can vary somewhat between males and females. On average, male Border Collies typically reach heights of up to 22 inches at the shoulder and weigh approximately 45 pounds, equivalent to about 20 kilograms.

On the other hand, female Border Collies tend to be slightly smaller, standing at around 21 inches tall and weighing up to approximately 42 pounds, about 19 kilograms. However, it’s crucial to remember that these are average measurements, and individual Border Collies may deviate from these norms, being either smaller or larger.

Similarly, when it comes to Dutch Shepherds, there is a noticeable size difference between males and females. Male Dutch Shepherds are generally larger in stature, with heights ranging from 22 to 25 inches at the shoulder and a weight range of about 50 to 70 pounds. However, as with Border Collies, there can be considerable variation within the breed, and some individuals may fall outside these typical size ranges.

Genetics, diet, and exercise can influence a dog’s size and weight in both breeds, leading to variations among individual dogs. When considering a specific dog, it’s essential to consider these variations and focus on the dog’s unique characteristics rather than strictly adhering to average size ranges.

Coats & Colors

black Dutch Shepherd

The Border Collie breed exhibits two distinct coat types: rough and smooth. The smooth variety boasts a shorter length and typically has a coarser texture compared to the rough-coated version. Both coat types are characterized by a ‘double coat,’ consisting of a soft, thick underlayer and longer, water-resistant fur on the outer layer.

Border Collies display a diverse range of colors and markings. While black and white are the most prevalent colors, they can also be present in various other hues such as blue, sable, red, and chocolate. A Border Collie’s coat color is determined by its genetic makeup, with multiple genes influencing its coloration.

In the case of Dutch Shepherds, the brindle pattern can manifest in a wide array of colors. The original 1898 breed standard allowed the coat to appear in any color. Over time, preferences have shifted towards darker shades, with black, gray, silver, and rust being the most common options. Occasionally, a rare white variant can also occur.

Furthermore, Dutch Shepherds possess three distinct hair types: short, long, and rough. The short-hair coat tightly covers the entire body and is accompanied by a dense, wooly undercoat. Long-hair coats consist of straight, thick hair that feels rougher to the touch, coupled with the same wooly undercoat. Lastly, rough-hair coats exhibit a dense, tousled appearance with harsh hair and a wooly undercoat across the body, except for the head.

Personality & Temperament Difference of Border Collies and Dutch Shepherd

Border Collies are known for their high energy levels and vital need for affection and attention. They thrive on playtime, making them perfect companions for children. Their typical personality traits include friendliness, love, intelligence, vitality, neediness, and diligence.

On the other hand, Dutch Shepherds are not known for being cuddly lap dogs. However, this doesn’t mean they lack affection. Dutch Shepherds are loyal pets who aim to please their owners and are most content when they are close to you. They are active and motivated dogs, but they also enjoy relaxing at your feet after a long day.

Dogs Towards Family

Border Collies are frequently desired as lively additions to family households because of their vibrant energy levels. However, it’s crucial to recognize that these dogs require a substantial commitment in time, physical activity, and care to handle their playful nature effectively. They thrive on being mentally and physically engaged, which means they need regular exercise, mental stimulation, and interaction with their owners.

Border Collies can become bored and resort to undesirable behaviors without these. Families considering a Border Collie as a pet should be prepared to provide an active and stimulating environment to meet their needs.

On the other hand, Dutch Shepherds showcase remarkable adaptability in various settings, making them a versatile choice for different lifestyles. Dutch Shepherds can adapt and thrive whether you live in a bustling urban environment or a more spacious rural setting. Their strong bonds complement their capacity to adjust to their surroundings with their human companions.

These dogs are known for their loyalty and affection toward their families, making them an excellent choice for individuals seeking a devoted and loving canine companion. Dutch Shepherds bring adaptability to the table and a deep sense of connection, making them well-suited for those who value a strong bond with their pet.


Border Collies are undoubtedly remarkable dogs, prized for their intelligence and work ethic. However, their unique qualities can sometimes pose challenges when interacting with young children.

Border Collies have an intense work ethic ingrained in their nature. They are bred to be diligent and focused, often driven to complete tasks efficiently. This fierce work drive can sometimes make them less patient or tolerant of young children’s unpredictable and sometimes chaotic behavior. They may struggle to adapt to the playful and spontaneous nature of kids.

On the other hand, Dutch Shepherds are known for being outstanding family pets, especially when interacting with children. Their loyalty and intelligence make them adaptable and patient companions. They tend to have a warm and friendly nature, which can be particularly reassuring for parents looking for a dog that will be gentle and protective around their children.

Border Collies are incredible dogs with unique qualities that make them exceptional in specific roles. Still, they may only sometimes be the best fit for households with young children due to their intense work ethic, high energy levels, and strong herding instincts. With their loyalty, intelligence, and friendly disposition, Dutch Shepherds tend to be more suited for families looking for a dog that can seamlessly integrate into family life and provide a safe and loving environment for children.

Other People

Border Collies and Dutch Shepherds are known for their cautious and reserved behavior when encountering unfamiliar individuals. This tendency to be reserved can be attributed to their protective instincts and watchful nature.

Border Collies’ intelligence often makes them highly attuned to their surroundings, and they may be more sensitive to changes in their environment. When faced with strangers, they might display a reserved demeanor, including maintaining some distance or observing the new person from a safe vantage point. Additionally, Border Collies may occasionally react with snappiness, especially if they perceive a potential threat or feel cornered or uncomfortable.

Dutch Shepherds share a similar cautious approach to strangers. They are naturally protective and have a strong sense of loyalty towards their family. When confronted with new people, they may initially be wary and prefer a gradual introduction. This cautiousness is a part of their watchdog instinct, as they are inclined to assess whether the newcomer poses any potential threat before fully accepting them.

Understanding and respecting these breeds’ reserved behaviors is essential when introducing them to new people. This includes allowing them to approach and become comfortable at their own pace. Proper socialization from an early age can help mitigate these tendencies and ensure that they become well-adjusted dogs in various social situations. Additionally, owners must provide clear boundaries and positive reinforcement to help their Border Collie or Dutch Shepherd build trust and confidence in their interactions with strangers.

Dogs & Other Animals

socialized Dutch Shepherd

When dealing with herding dog breeds such as Border Collies and Dutch Shepherds, it’s important to note that both breeds generally have positive intentions when interacting with other pets. This means they are typically friendly toward other dogs and various animals.

In the case of Dutch Shepherds, their behavior in this regard is quite similar to that of Border Collies. They are friendly and have good interactions with other dogs and pets. However, it’s important to understand that individual dog personalities can vary, so there may be exceptions.

One effective way to ensure that Dutch Shepherds (or any dog breed) remain friendly and composed when encountering new dogs and animals is to initiate socialization training from an early age.

Socialization involves exposing the dog to different environments, animals, and experiences in a positive and controlled manner. This process helps the dog become well-adjusted, confident, and comfortable in various social situations.

Border Collies and Dutch Shepherds are generally well-intentioned and sociable dogs when interacting with other pets. Implementing early socialization training is a valuable practice to ensure they maintain their friendly and composed demeanor, making them well-rounded and confident companions in various social environments.

Behaviour Issues

Certain behaviors in Border Collie puppies can escalate into problems. These include barking at unfamiliar individuals, reacting to vehicles like barking, lunging, freezing, or stalking, and displaying barking and lunging behavior towards other dogs. Additionally, Border Collie puppies might show fearful reactions when encountering other dogs or people, including children, and engage in behaviors such as chasing shadows, lights, or reflections.

While Dutch Shepherds are generally not known for being inherently aggressive, they may resort to nipping and snarling at strangers if they haven’t undergone adequate training and socialization, especially during their early stages of development. This behavior can be attributed to their herding instincts, ingrained in the breed due to their history as working dogs.

Border Collie puppies and Dutch Shepherds can exhibit certain behavioral issues or tendencies, with the former displaying specific behaviors, such as excessive barking and fearfulness.

Training & Exercise

Border Collies are renowned for their high energy levels, emphasizing the importance of providing them with adequate exercise. For most healthy adult Border Collies, a minimum of 90 minutes of daily physical activity is essential. Nevertheless, the required exercise amount can vary based on the dog’s age, overall health, and fitness level. Working dogs and those engaged in canine sports typically exercise significantly more than those primarily kept as pets. In contrast, puppies and senior dogs will require less physical activity to safeguard their bones and joints.

Similarly, the Dutch Shepherd is a herding breed known for its enduring energy, and failing to meet their exercise needs can lead to behavior issues. To keep Dutch Shepherds content and prevent them from becoming a handful, they should receive at least an hour of exercise every day, whether through walks, runs, hikes, or jogs. This commitment to physical activity helps maintain their mental and physical well-being.

Taking Care & Maintenance of a Border Collie and a Dutch Shepherd

Maintaining the well-being of Border Collies and Dutch Shepherds shares many common principles with human health. Just as people should pay attention to their diet, exercise, dental care, and overall well-being, dog owners must do the same for their canine companions.

For Border Collies, it’s crucial to monitor their diet, ensure they receive ample exercise, regularly groom their teeth and coat, and promptly seek professional help if anything appears unusual.

Similarly, Dutch Shepherds also thrive when they receive physical and mental stimulation. They need opportunities to play, run, and engage in activities that challenge their minds. Due to their herding instincts, keeping them on a leash when outside their secure yard is essential to prevent potential issues.

Just as people prioritize their health through sensible practices, dog owners should follow common-sense guidelines to keep their Border Collies and Dutch Shepherds happy and well-adjusted.

Grooming Comparison between Border Collies and Dutch Shepherds

While the grooming needs of Border Collies (BC) involve regular brushing, Dutch Shepherd dogs have grooming requirements that vary based on individual factors such as coat type, length, and recent activities.

Border Collies typically require only about every three months, although more frequent baths may be necessary if they get particularly muddy during outdoor adventures. It’s important not to overdo it, as excessive bathing can potentially irritate their skin. When bathing Border Collies, it’s essential to brush their coat beforehand, use lukewarm water, select the appropriate grooming products, and take care to protect their eyes.

Conversely, the grooming frequency for Dutch Shepherd Dogs is contingent on several factors. Dutch Shepherd dog owners should groom their pets as needed, keeping a close eye on the condition of their coats. If they notice tangles, mats, or a dull appearance, it’s a sign that their dog requires brushing and grooming. The grooming needs of a Dutch Shepherd Dog are determined by the specific condition of their coat, which can be influenced by factors like their daily activities and the length of their fur.


Border Collies are known for their shedding tendencies due to their long-haired, double-coated nature. Shedding can become particularly pronounced during the fall and spring, occurring excessively during these seasons. Many Border Collie owners liken the shedding of this breed to a continuous maintenance task.

In comparison, Dutch Shepherds exhibit a moderate shedding pattern, but the extent of shedding varies based on the specific coat type of each dog. For instance, long-haired Dutch Shepherds typically shed more than their short-haired and rough-haired counterparts.

Health profile of a Border Collie and a Dutch Shepherd

healthy Dutch Shepherd running

Border Collies and Dutch Shepherd typically enjoy good health, although, like any breed, they can be susceptible to specific health issues.

Life Span Comparison

Border Collies typically live between 10 to 17 years, while Dutch Shepherds have an expected lifespan of around 11 to 14 years. When comparing these two breeds, it’s clear that Border Collies generally have a more comprehensive range of potential lifespans, with some breeds living longer than Dutch Shepherds. However, both breeds have relatively long life expectancies for dogs.

Diet & Nutrition

The key factor to focus is providing a well-balanced diet for your Border Collie. This entails offering a raw diet composed of uncooked meat, raw vegetables, meaty bones, fish, muscle meats, and dairy products like eggs. It’s advisable to avoid grains, as Border Collies often struggle to digest them and can be prone to allergies. Additionally, you can incorporate supplements like fish oil and kelp if necessary.

When determining the optimal food for a Dutch Shepherd, it’s crucial to consider their anatomical and digestive characteristics. Dogs’ digestive systems have not significantly changed since their days as undomesticated wolves, and they are best suited for fresh, protein-rich diets primarily consisting of meat, bones, and offal. This approach, known as ‘species-appropriate nutrition,’ closely mimics a natural, raw diet.

Health Issues

Border Collies are widely recognized for their resilience and agility, but like many dog breeds, they can still be prone to specific genetic health issues. Among these potential concerns are hip dysplasia, epilepsy, Collie Eye Anomaly, Multidrug Resistance Mutation (MDR1), Trapped Neutrophil Syndrome (TNS), and Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis (CL). These health conditions can vary in severity, and some may affect the dog’s quality of life if not properly managed.

Similarly, while robust and active, Dutch Shepherds may encounter specific health issues that are relatively common in their breed. These issues might include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and progressive retinal atrophy. These health concerns can significantly impact a Dutch Shepherd’s well-being and may require medical intervention and management.

Regular veterinary check-ups and health screenings are crucial to ensure the best possible health and quality of life for both Border Collies and Dutch Shepherds. Routine examinations can help identify potential health issues early, allowing prompt intervention and treatment.

Additionally, responsible breeding practices that include health screening of breeding dogs can help reduce the risk of passing on genetic health problems to future generations of these breeds. Dog owners must be proactive in caring for their pets’ health and seek guidance from veterinarians to address any health concerns.

Comparing the Cost of Breeding

The price range for Border Collies can vary significantly, ranging from $600 to $4,000, depending on whether you’re seeking a show-quality puppy. The cost tends to increase substantially for those looking for top-notch show dogs.

Dutch Shepherds, on the other hand, are generally considered pricey dogs due to their exceptional qualities and limited availability. The typical cost for Dutch Shepherd puppies falls within the range of $1,000 to $2,000. However, if you’re interested in top-tier dogs intended for show purposes or to maintain their pedigree lines, you may need to budget as much as $3,500.


Border Collies and Dutch Shepherds, like many dog breeds, exhibit differences in the size of their litters when giving birth.

In the case of Border Collies, they usually deliver litters that consist of 4 to 8 puppies. The average litter size for this breed tends to hover around six puppies. This relatively consistent litter size can be attributed to the breed’s well-established genetic traits and characteristics.

Conversely, Dutch Shepherds display more variability in the number of offspring they produce compared to Border Collies. Their litter can range from 6 to 10 puppies, showing a broader spectrum in litter size. Various factors, including the genetics of individual dogs within the breed and the health and reproductive capabilities of the mother dog, might influence this variance.

It’s important to note that while these are general averages and tendencies for each breed, individual cases may vary. Various factors, such as the health and age of the mother dog, as well as the specific breeding practices employed, can influence litter sizes within both Border Collies and Dutch Shepherds.

Breeders & Centers

Opting for adoption when looking to bring a Border Collie into your home is the most cost-effective choice. The cost of adopting a Border Collie can differ based on the shelter’s location. In general, you can anticipate spending $300 or less.

Similarly, choosing adoption as the route to acquire a Dutch Shepherd is a wallet-friendly alternative. The expense of rescuing a Dutch Shepherd can vary depending on your geographical location, typically ranging from as low as $50 to as high as $500.

Conclusion: Which Is Better For Me, Border Collie or Dutch Shepherd?

Choosing between a Border Collie and a Dutch Shepherd depends on your needs and preferences. Both breeds have unique characteristics:

  • Activity Level: Border Collies are quite active and they greatly excel in herding and agility while Dutch Shepherds share the same characteristics, they are less intense than the former.
  • Temperament: Border Collies are popular for being loyal and very intelligent dogs whereas Dutch Shepherds lean more on being obedient, protective and loyal.
  • Training: Both breeds are highly trainable but they are unique in their own rights like for instance, Border Collies are more of a problem solver while the Dutch Shepherds respond better to training sessions.
  • Grooming: The double coats of Border Collies call for regular grooming while Dutch Shepherds need less of it.
  • Allergies: Both breeds can elicit allergic reactions in individuals who are sensitive to allergens.
  • Time Commitment: Both need time and stimulation.
  • Compatibility with Your Lifestyle: Consider your routine and activity level.

Ultimately, the choice depends on your circumstances. If active and highly trainable, a Border Collie may suit you. A Dutch Shepherd could be the choice for loyalty and protection with slightly less intensity. Research and assess your situation before deciding and consider adopting a rescue organization.

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