Comparison between Border Collie and Fox Terrier – Who’s your Pick?

Are you ready to discover the differences between two incredible dog breeds? Let’s compare the Border Collie and the Fox Terrier to determine which one you prefer. Both breeds are highly energetic, intelligent, and possess unique qualities. Whether you are a dog enthusiast or seeking the perfect pet for your family, this is an ideal opportunity to delve into their histories, personalities, and physical characteristics.

Characteristics of Border Collie and Fox Terrier

The Border Collie, a breed known for its remarkable agility and endurance, exemplifies intelligence, athleticism, and trainability. These dogs thrive when given a job to perform, whether it be herding or participating in obedience work. The Border Collie’s happiness is closely linked to having a purposeful role. While they are amiable and sociable with friends, they may exhibit reserved behavior around strangers, showcasing their discerning nature.

On the other hand, the Wire Fox Terrier, once a key figure in traditional British foxhunts, has transformed into a charming and entertaining companion and a renowned show dog. This breed, weighing between 16 to 18 pounds, embodies a strong, well-proportioned physique with an alert expression that emanates intelligence from its dark, round eyes.

The Wire Fox Terrier’s rough and wiry predominantly white coat, along with neatly folded V-shaped ears, adds to its distinct and irresistible appearance. With a playful and friendly demeanor, this breed excels as a lively and engaging companion, making them an excellent choice for families seeking a pet with a vibrant personality.

Similarly, the Smooth Fox Terrier, often referred to as the “gentleman of the terrier world,” shares a close kinship with its Wire Fox Terrier counterparts. These lively and sociable terriers, originally bred for foxhunting in Britain, possess a carefree attitude that adds to their charm. Like their wire-coated relatives, Smooth Fox Terriers stand no more than 15.5 inches at the shoulder, with a notable V-shaped head as their distinguishing feature.

The dense and flat coat, primarily white in color, can be accompanied by black, tan, or black-and-tan markings. Despite their strength and sturdiness as skillful hunters, Smooth Fox Terriers retain an elegant and refined appearance without compromising agility.

Both the Border Collie and the Fox Terrier breeds demonstrate unique qualities that make them exceptional companions. Their distinctive physical attributes, intelligence, and engaging personalities contribute to their popularity among dog enthusiasts seeking a loyal and lively canine partner.

Overview Border Collie Fox Terrier
Group Herding Group Terrier Group
Colors Has 17 acknowledged colors Pure white, could have splotches of tan, black or even a mixed of these colors
Coat Layered and coarse Smooth – dense, hard and short

Wire – hard double coat, and curly

Weight (pounds) approximately 27 to 45 approximately 15 to 18 for Wire and Smooth

Height (inches)
about 18 to 22 about 15.5 for Wire and Smooth

History of Breeds

The Border Collie, originating from Scotland, has a rich history as a skilled sheepdog that was exported worldwide, leading to the formation of organizations like the Border Collie Society of America and the International Border Collie Association. This century-old breed is revered for its empathetic nature, high energy, and affectionate temperament.

Fox Terriers come in two main varieties: Smooth and Wire. Smooth Fox Terriers were developed in 18th century England to assist hunters in fox hunts, possessing the ability to enter fox dens and drive the foxes out. Believed to have originated from a mix of bull terriers, greyhounds, and beagles, these terriers arrived in America around 1879.

Initially, Wire Fox Terriers and Smooth Fox Terriers were regarded as a single breed, with the only notable differences being their coats and slight variations in head shape. However, Wire Fox Terriers have a unique lineage that can be traced back to black and tan terriers from regions such as Wales, Derbyshire, and Durham. Breeders subsequently crossed Wire and Smooth Fox Terriers to enhance the white fur and refine the head structure. Wire Fox Terriers made their way to America shortly after Smooth Fox Terriers.

Appearance Comparison

The Border Collie is easily recognizable by its resemblance to a lighter-weight Australian shepherd, distinguished by its feathered tail that extends to the hocks. With a collie-like head and a body slightly longer than its height, their ears stand upright but have tips that elegantly drop over, lending them a charming and animated appearance.

The Fox Terrier is composed of two varieties. The Smooth Fox Terrier exhibits a dynamic and lively demeanor, accompanied by a compact and muscular body that promotes agility and speed. It possesses a long, sleek face and ears that fold forward towards the cheeks. On the other hand, the Wire Fox Terrier gets its name from its dense and wiry coat, which should adhere to show standards without being curly. Like the Smooth Fox Terrier, it also has a long face and ears that fold forward towards the cheeks.

Dog Size

The Border Collie is a medium-sized breed with slight variations in size between males and females. Males typically stand as tall as 22 inches (56 cm) at the shoulder and weigh up to about 45 pounds (20 kg). On the other hand, females tend to be slightly smaller, reaching heights of around 21 inches (53 cm) and weighing up to about 42 pounds (19 kg). This breed exhibits a well-proportioned body, with the body length slightly longer than the height.

The Fox Terrier is comprised of two varieties, each with its own size range. Smooth Fox Terriers are compact, measuring 13 to 15 inches (33-38 cm) in height and weighing about 16 to 18 pounds (7-8 kg). Wire Fox Terriers are also small and slender, with males weighing around 18 pounds (8 kg) and females weighing around 16 pounds (7 kg). Their height ranges from 13 to 15 inches (33-38 cm).

Coats and Colors

Border Collies display a diverse array of coat variations, ranging from coarse coats that are approximately three inches long to sleek coats that measure around one inch in length. Additionally, this breed exhibits a wide spectrum of colors, including:

  • Black and white
  • Black and gray
  • All black
  • Red and white
  • Tri-color

Notably, Border Collies with longer hair often showcase an impressive mane and an equally striking tail.

The Fox Terrier consists of two varieties with distinct coat characteristics. Smooth Fox Terriers have a short, dense coat that lies flat and is primarily white with black and tan markings. On the other hand, Wire Fox Terriers have a predominantly white coat with black and tan markings, often displaying a slight wave but not being curly according to show standards.

Personality and Temperament of Border Collie and Fox Terrier

white Fox Terrier siting

The Border Collie is a breed known for its alertness and agility, possessing remarkable speed both mentally and physically. Border Collies have a strong desire to learn and engage in activities that allow them to channel their energy. They thrive in active households that provide ample opportunities for exercise and mental stimulation.

In terms of sociability, these dogs are generally friendly and enjoy the company of other dogs. With proper socialization from an early age, they can also get along well with cats.

Moving on to Fox Terriers, they are characterized as alert, lively, and intelligent dogs. Their mischievous nature adds to their charm, as they possess a knack for outwitting their owners while leaving them amused by their playful antics. Fox Terriers are known for their vigilance, making them excellent watchdogs. However, this watchful disposition can also result in them being frequent barkers, alerting their owners to any perceived threats or changes in their environment.

Family Interactions

Border Collies are energetic and intelligent dogs that thrive in active households with ample space, such as a large backyard or a farm. They require love, attention, and mental stimulation to effectively channel their energy.

Apartment living may not be ideal for them, as they have a strong need for physical activities like running, hunting, and exploring. However, Border Collies are highly trainable and well-suited for disciplined environments. If you are dedicated and can provide the appropriate setting, a Border Collie can make a wonderful addition to your family.

As for Fox Terriers, they are adaptable to various situations and lifestyles. Their zest for life makes them incredible companions, always ready to run, play, and embark on adventures. It’s crucial to allocate sufficient time for walks and engaging activities to cater to their high energy levels.

Smooth Fox Terriers, in particular, are highly energetic, which may require more experienced dog owners. While they can make suitable family pets, their exuberance may be too intense for younger children during playtime.

Attitude Towards Kids

When it comes to Border Collies, their compatibility with small children can be challenging due to their intense work ethic, lively personalities, and inherent herding instincts. However, many of these breeds can still thrive within families given the right circumstances. Their suitability for a family will depend on factors such as:

  • Proper training
  • Socialization
  • Addressing any behavioral issues
  • Meeting their exercise needs

With careful attention to these aspects, a harmonious relationship between a Border Collie and a family can be established.

Turning to Fox Terriers, the smooth variety is known for being friendly, energetic, and outgoing. They make wonderful companions for children and never seem to tire of engaging in various games and activities.

If you are planning to get a Wire Fox Terrier, it is imperative that you practice caution before you introduce them to children, especially the younger ones. A lot of respected breeders are recommending to introduce such breed with kids that are at least 7 years old and above.

Other People

When it comes to Border Collies, aggression is not a characteristic inherent to their nature. Instances of aggression in Border Collies typically arise from inadequate training by their owners. It is important to exercise caution when introducing a Border Collie to unfamiliar people, as they have a pack mentality and tend to be cautious around individuals outside their family. If a Border Collie perceives someone as a threat to their “pack,” they may display aggression.

Moving on to Fox Terriers, the Smooth variety is known for its friendly, alert, active, and lively nature without being overly high-strung. With their keen expression, alert stance, and quivering tail, they give off an impression of readiness for any task or adventure. While they are bold, they generally do not exhibit aggression toward people.

In contrast, the Wire Fox Terrier is often described as a true “live wire.” These dogs have an inherent zest for life and are always ready for adventure. They thrive on play, exploration, running, hunting, and chasing.

Dogs and Other Animals

Border Collies, like all dogs, have a natural instinct to establish their territory. However, their herding tendencies can make them more sensitive to other canines. They may perceive unfamiliar dogs as a potential threat, which can result in aggressive behavior.

These dogs generally prefer to maintain their distance from other dogs and can be sensitive to loud barking in their vicinity. It is important to note that, with proper training and dedicated efforts, Border Collies can form friendships and develop positive bonds with other dogs.

As for Fox Terriers, their compatibility with other animals depends on their early socialization and upbringing. Fox Terriers raised with dogs or cats from a young age are generally more accepting of them. However, when it comes to small pets like rabbits, hamsters, or guinea pigs, caution is advised. These furry creatures resemble prey to Fox Terriers, and their natural hunting instincts may pose a threat to their safety.

Behavior Issues

Border Collies require proper training and consistent mental stimulation to prevent behavioral issues from arising. Without these, they may resort to herding and nipping at the heels of both children and adults.

On the other hand, Fox Terriers are known for their tendency to bark frequently, often emitting high-pitched barks. Despite their smaller size, Fox Terriers can be scrappy and may pick fights with larger dogs. It’s advisable to keep them on a leash when outside of a secure area to prevent any potential conflicts.

Both Border Collies and Fox Terriers can exhibit challenging behaviors if their needs for mental and physical stimulation are not adequately met. Providing them with proper training, engaging activities, and structured environments can help prevent unwanted behaviors and ensure a harmonious relationship with these intelligent and active breeds.

Training and Exercise of Border Collie vs Fox Terrier

Border Collies are highly intelligent dogs that require experienced owners and positive, reward-based training methods. It is crucial to start their training from a young age and continue it throughout their lives. They thoroughly enjoy training sessions and can greatly benefit from attending classes. Socialization plays a vital role in their confidence and overall behavior.

They are best suited for active households with access to safe, off-lead areas for exercise. Having a large and secure garden is necessary to meet their exercise needs. They typically require a minimum of two hours of exercise per day, along with mental stimulation through playtime and training sessions.

Similarly, Fox Terriers are also energetic dogs that require regular exercise, including two daily walks. Due to their strong hunting instinct, it is advisable to avoid off-leash running as it can be risky. Providing a well-fenced area is recommended to ensure their safety. Training a reliable recall command is particularly important. Fox Terriers enjoy playing and can be easily entertained with tricks and toys for extended periods of time.

Taking Care and Maintenance of Border Collie vs Fox Terrier

Fox Terrier with beautiful coat

The Border Collie is a brilliant and active breed that thrives on companionship and mental stimulation. They are not content with simply having space to roam; they require engaging activities and a purpose to fulfill.

If left bored or under-stimulated, a Border Collie may develop destructive behaviors such as chasing cars, digging, chewing furniture, or excessive barking. To ensure their well-being, it is essential to provide ample physical exercise, mental challenges, and interactive play sessions.

When it comes to Fox Terriers, providing them with proper care and attention is crucial for their overall happiness and well-being. These terriers thrive when they receive regular exercise, training, and socialization.

Engaging in activities that cater to their energy levels and instincts, such as interactive play sessions and challenging games, is important to keep them mentally stimulated and prevent boredom-related behaviors.


The Border Collie is known for its distinctive double coat, which can come in either a rough or smooth texture. Regular grooming is necessary to keep the Border Collie’s coat in good condition. Weekly brushing is recommended to prevent tangles and matting. While they are not frequent bathers, a bath every three months or as needed will help keep their coats clean and healthy.

In addition to coat care, it is important to pay attention to other grooming aspects of the Border Collie. Checking the nails regularly and trimming them as needed is essential for their foot health and overall comfort. Dental hygiene is also crucial, and brushing the dog’s teeth two to three times a week helps maintain good oral health.

When it comes to grooming the Fox Terrier, the approach will depend on whether the dog is a show dog or a family companion. Show dogs require hand-stripping of the coat, while pet dogs can be easily clipped into a shorter trim.

Wire Fox Terriers, with their coarse and hypoallergenic coats, require regular brushing to prevent matting and keep their coat in good condition. Smooth Fox Terriers, on the other hand, have a hard and dense coat that should be groomed weekly using a thick brush to remove shedding hair.

In general, the specific needs of a Fox Terrier will depend on its coat type and whether it is being prepared for dog shows. Regular brushing and occasional hand-stripping or professional grooming may be necessary to maintain their coat’s condition and appearance.


Border Collies are renowned for their abundant, long-haired double coat, which makes them prone to shedding. Shedding is particularly noticeable twice a year, during the fall and spring seasons when it can become excessive. As a result, keeping up with Border Collie shedding requires ongoing maintenance for owners. Their hair tends to accumulate in corners and conceal itself in inconspicuous areas of the home, such as beneath furniture or on carpets.

Smooth Fox Terriers, on the other hand, have short hair that undergoes a rapid growth cycle. This means they are constantly shedding dead hair to make room for new ones. The nature of their hair makes it prone to sticking into the fabric, upholstery, carpets, and anything it can find its way into. With regular brushing using a good quality bristle brush or a de-shedding tool, shedding can be effectively reduced.

Wire Coat Fox Terriers, on the contrary, are considered a low-shedding breed. While they do shed some hair, it is not as noticeable as their smooth-coated counterparts. This is because their coat resembles human hair more than regular dog hair or fur. As a result, it does not fall out at the same rate as most other dogs’ coats.

Health Comparison

Like all breeds, Border Collies can be prone to certain health concerns. Some common health issues that can affect Border Collies include hip dysplasia, a condition where the hip joint doesn’t develop properly and can lead to pain and mobility problems. Epilepsy, a neurological disorder characterized by seizures, can also occur in some breeds. Another potential health concern is hypothyroidism, which affects the thyroid gland and can lead to weight gain, lethargy, and skin problems.

Similarly, Fox Terriers are generally considered a healthy breed. However, like all dogs, they can be susceptible to certain health problems. Some common health issues that may affect Fox Terriers include heart disease, such as mitral valve disease, which can lead to heart murmurs and heart failure. Cataracts, a condition that causes clouding of the eye lens, can also occur in some individuals. Additionally, luxating patellas, a condition where the kneecap slips out of place, and wobbler syndrome, a spinal condition that can cause weakness and instability, are potential health concerns in Fox Terriers.

Life Span

Border Collies have an average lifespan of 10 to 17 years, although it is more common for them to live around 12 years. However, there are exceptional cases where Border Collies have been known to live up to 18 years, showcasing their potential for a long and fulfilling life.

To ensure that your Border Collie enjoys a healthy and extended lifespan, it is essential to provide them with proper care, regular exercise, a balanced diet, and routine veterinary check-ups.

As for Fox Terriers, both the smooth and wire varieties have an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years, as reported by the American Kennel Club (AKC). This range reflects the typical lifespan for these energetic and spirited dogs.

To promote longevity and overall well-being in Fox Terriers, it is important to provide them with regular veterinary care, a nutritious diet, ample exercise, and mental stimulation. By addressing their specific needs and monitoring their health, you can help ensure that your Fox Terrier lives a happy and healthy life for many years to come.

Diet and Nutrition

When it comes to nourishing a Border Collie, it is crucial to provide them with a well-rounded diet that meets their nutritional requirements. Many owners opt for a raw food diet, consisting of raw meat, raw vegetables, raw meaty bones, fish, muscle meats, and dairy products like eggs. This diet aims to meet their dietary needs and promote overall health and well-being.

Supplementing their diet with fish oil and kelp can be beneficial if needed. A raw food diet can be particularly helpful for Border Collies prone to allergies, as it allows for complete control over their food intake, making it easier to identify and manage any potential food-related allergies.

Similarly, for Fox Terriers, a raw food diet is often considered the best option. Providing natural, whole foods can help promote overall health and prevent common health issues such as:

  • Obesity
  • Joint problems
  • Dental issues
  • Digestive problems
  • Allergy symptoms like excessive itching and skin complaints

A balanced diet for a Fox Terrier includes high-quality protein, healthy fats, essential vitamins and minerals, and fiber from vegetables and berries. It is essential to choose a diet appropriate for their life stage and energy needs to ensure their nutritional requirements are met.

Health Issues

For Border Collies, it is important to be aware of certain conditions. Hip Dysplasia is a common concern where the hip sockets form abnormally, leading to mobility issues. Osteochondrosis (OCD) is another condition that affects the development of cartilage on the end of bones, potentially causing lameness. Additionally, Collie Eye Anomaly is an inherited disease that can impair vision, although it is usually mild. Responsible breeders can screen for this condition to ensure healthier offspring.

Similarly, Fox Terriers may be susceptible to certain genetic conditions. Cataracts, which cause cloudiness or opaqueness in the eyes, can be a concern and may require surgical intervention. Primary Lens Luxation (PLL) affects the lens of the eye and can lead to blindness if left untreated.

Glaucoma, a condition that affects the pressure inside the eye, can also occur and should be monitored by a veterinarian. Elbow and Hip Dysplasia, commonly associated with large breeds, can also affect Fox Terriers and impact their mobility. Luxating Patella, where the knee joint slips out of place, and Wobbler Syndrome, a neurological disorder affecting mobility, are additional conditions that may be observed.

Cost of having Fox Terrier Compared to Border Collies

For a Border Collie puppy, the price can range from $300 to $1,000, with an average cost of $700. The first-year expenses, including supplies, training, medical costs, food, treats, grooming, license, microchip, and more, amount to around $2,500. Subsequently, the annual cost averages at $1,395, or approximately $116 per month.

Over the lifetime of a Border Collie, the average total cost of ownership is estimated to be $20,635. It’s worth noting that these figures don’t include optional expenses such as pet insurance or dog walking services. If additional services and procedures like spaying/neutering, pet insurance, boarding facilities, and dog walking are included, the total cost of ownership may range from $86,325 to $225,105.

For a Fox Terrier puppy, the price typically falls between $500 and $1,500, with an average cost of $900. First-year expenses amount to approximately $3,325, covering essentials like supplies, training, medical expenses, food, treats, grooming, licenses, and microchipping.

After the first year, the annual cost averages at $1,015, or around $85 per month. Over the course of a Fox Terrier’s lifetime, the average cost of ownership is estimated to be $16,520. Similar to Border Collies, optional expenses such as spaying/neutering, additional medical expenses, dog walking, boarding, and pet insurance are not included in this estimate.


For a Border Collie puppy, the average cost is around $700. However, the price can vary significantly depending on factors such as lineage, pedigree, and whether the puppy comes with registration documents. Approximately 80% of Border Collie puppies fall within the price range of $300 to $1,000. If you’re looking for a purebred Border Collie with proper documentation, the price can go up to $1,900.

Similarly, for a Fox Terrier puppy, particularly a Smooth Fox Terrier, the average cost is approximately $900. The price range for these puppies typically falls between $500 and $1,500. Within this range, you can find a variety of factors influencing the price, including the breeder’s reputation, bloodline, and the overall quality of the puppy.

Breeders and Centers

When it comes to the cost of acquiring a Border Collie, adoption can be a more affordable alternative. Rehoming fees for rescued Border Collies typically range from $50 to $500. By adopting a dog, you not only save money but also provide a loving home for a deserving animal. It’s essential to research and find a reputable rescue organization or shelter to ensure the well-being of the dog you adopt. They can provide valuable information about the dog’s health, temperament, and any specific needs they may have.

Similarly, with Fox Terriers, adoption can be a more affordable option. Rehoming or adoption fees for Fox Terriers typically range from $50 to $500. By adopting, you not only save money but also provide a second chance for a dog in need. Reputable shelters and rescue organizations can guide you through the adoption process and help you find the right Fox Terrier for your family.

Conclusion: Which Is Better, Fox Terrier versus Border Collie?

In conclusion, the comparison between the Border Collie and the Fox Terrier highlights two exceptional dog breeds, each with its own unique qualities and attributes.

The Border Collie’s intelligence, agility, and herding skills make it an ideal choice for active individuals or families who enjoy outdoor pursuits. On the other hand, the Fox Terrier’s spirited nature and lively personality bring a sense of joy and playfulness to any home.

Ultimately, the decision between these two breeds depends on personal preferences and lifestyle considerations. Whether you are drawn to the Border Collie’s brilliance or the Fox Terrier’s exuberance, both breeds offer unwavering loyalty and the potential for a deep bond.

Take the time to assess your needs and desires, and allow your heart to guide you in choosing the perfect furry companion. Regardless of your choice, the love and happiness that these remarkable dogs bring into your life will be immeasurable.

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