Border Collie vs. Golden Retriever: Key Differences

Are you a first-time dog owner and torn between the Border Collie and the Golden Retriever? Obviously, these two dog breeds are both incredible. Aside from their looks, there are also other factors that make each one unique.


The creation of the diligent and intelligent Golden Retriever happened after many years of breeding. It resulted from the experimentation of Dudley Marjorbanks of the Scottish Highlands. From his purpose of breeding a gundog that would work out in the harsh terrain and wet weather, he mixed his Yellow Retriever with the endangered Tweed Water Spaniel.

dogs guarding over the hillsThe combination of the Romans’ powerful herding dogs and the Vikings’ Spitz-type herders gave birth to the Borders. The Scotts named this sheepdog “Collie” which helped it become more popular. At present, the Border Collie is one of the sharpest and best herding dogs. 

General Overview of Border Collie and Golden Retriever

A dog with patience and strong determination to help their owners is one of the great characteristics of the Golden Retriever. Add to these is their constant desire to please others.

Meanwhile, being one of the most intelligent herding breeds, the Border Collies has the ability to perform more difficult activities by themselves alone. Aside from that, their activeness allows them to function in different types of situation.


When differentiating the Border Collie vs Golden Retriever in terms of their looks, the latter has colored eyes ranging from dark to medium brown which are very expressive. They also have dark brown or black noses and feathered tails. The Golden Retriever’s coat color has a wide spectrum giving them red-golden, black-golden and solid gold furs.

An almond-shaped eyes that usually give an intense stare are one of the featured looks of the Border Collie. Their ears stand erect most of the time. And, like the Goldens, the BC also have feathered tails. In terms of their coat, it is basically double-coated and can either be rough or smooth. Merle, lilac, and tricolor are the usual coat colors of the Border Collie.


Among the other Border Collie imitators, the Golden Retrievers are highly distinguishable from the BC.

By just looking at their size, you will notice the difference of the Border Collie vs Golden Retriever. The Goldens are quite larger than the Border Collie. Additionally, the BC’s are shorter with just a few inches.

Personality & Temperament: Border Collie vs Golden Retriever

In general, the Golden Retrievers are highly sociable dogs. They love to be on the outdoors, mingling with people and please everyone around. If you have an active home, the Goldens are the best one to bring in. Aside from that, they always have the desire to make you as their best bud.

Dogs with the owners on the woods

On the other hand, the Border Collies are really obedient and loves to be with a human partner. They always like challenges and put under pressure most of the time. Long walks will do for them if they are looking for something to do. The BCs are also a loyal dog for their owners which may in turn result to aggressive behavior towards strangers and other dogs.


Being with the Goldens will allow you to discover that they are a spirited hunter. They really enjoy companionship and always want to have new friends. That is why they are perfect for large households.

In terms of the Border Collies, they have many wonderful qualities for working in the fields as it runs in their blood. But, it may generally cause chaos in the household. Therefore, the Border Collies are not necessarily the perfect family dog.


A Golden can be the ideal pet for a large family with several children. You will not worry about entertaining your kids because the Golden Retriever may generally do it. However, this doggo have the tendency to have mouthing behavior. So, it is crucial to train them from refraining for this.

Training the Goldens for peer interaction will also be of help. Additionally, total caring and monitoring should be done to the Golden Retriever especially when newborn is around.

The presence of toddlers and infants hinders bringing home of a Border Collie. Because of the strong sense of herding, the BC may able to get your playing kiddos into line. This dog breed may nip the kids once they darts away. They will generally perceive the kids as a piece of litter who needs to be pinched, or even bite back into line.

Other People

Since the Golden Retrievers are highly sociable breed, they always thrive to get anyone’s attention. That’s why they really love making new acquaintances. In case you are not a member of their family, the Goldens may still want to interact with you. They are highly confident enough to do this.

On the other hand, the Border Collies usually a very loving dog breed. However, they are very wary of strangers. They are nice and love to meet someone. Yet, engaging in social interaction is not what they really desire.

Other Dogs

If the Golden Retrievers are sociable with humans, they are also love to show this behavior towards other canines. Although there are instances that they may overreact when interacting with other dogs, they prefer to remain to themselves most of the time.

The difference of the Border Collie in this aspect is that they love to be with their human buddy than with other canines. At some time, this dog breed may get along well with other dogs, but they might not be up for vigorous play. Again their herding instincts make them to have a controlling behavior and be domineering towards other canines.

Animals in General

There are instances that cats and dogs are inseparable. One good examples of this is the interaction of the Golden Retrievers and felines. The Goldens may easily understand that cats should not to be retrieved. Yet, because of the “soft mouth” of this dog breed, they may try to pick-up the cat without biting, though this may aggravate the latter.

For the Border Collies, interacting with other animals is a nice thing to do. They have a low hunting drive which makes them not seize smaller animals. In terms of cats, the BC may try to herd them. A careful introduction and training is the best thing to do so.

Behaviour Issues of Border Collie and Golden Retriever

The Golden Retrievers are considered as one of the less sensitive canines. Meanwhile, the Border Collie does not really want to be punished. Their emotional state is a reflection of the behavior of their owners.

Both the Golden Retriever and Border Collie require a lot of interpersonal contact. They yearn to be near people or with them all the time. Due to their strong bonds with their owners, these two breeds frequently experience separation anxiety when left alone at home.

Training & Exercise of Border Collie and Golden Retriever

If you are looking for highly energetic dog breeds, don’t go any further because the Border Collie and Golden Retriever will give you that. Interactions and vigorous activities are what they need to be healthy and happy. They will become troublesome, dissatisfied, and destructive if you fail to give them the exercise that they demand.

Comparing the Border Collie vs Golden Retriever based on their activity level may give a good conclusion that the BC is the most active. This should be highly credited for their 12 hours or more a day working in the field as herder and farm dog.

With that, the BC will need at least 60 to 90 minutes of vigorous exercise and the Goldens should have at least 60 minutes. 

Two dogs wandering on a boat

Both the BC and the Goldens are intelligent, but the first one is undoubtedly the smartest. Give these dog breeds packs filled with dog toys to make them amused for a few hours. Puzzle-solving toys are also a good considerations to entertain them.

Both of these dog breeds are obedient and highly trainable. Novice dog owners who want to have a dog but don’t have much experience in teaching tricks should look for either a Border Collie or a Golden Retriever. It will be simple if you use the positive reinforcement training approach.

As early as puppyhood, engage them into training programs like socialization and early obedience training. Allow them to meet other dogs and domestics animals, even people. Also, take them to new places and get them familiarise with it.


The Golden Retriever is a calm breed. Meaning, it barks less frequently and tends to be quieter than Border Collie. Touching the barking aspect, the Border Collies will be more vocal than the Golden Retrievers.

Grooming of Border Collie and Golden Retriever

Both the Golden Retriever and the Border Collie have different coat lengths. With that, their grooming routines generally vary. For brushing the Golden Retriever’s coat, a 2-3 times a week schedule is good enough for maintaining its health and preventing mats.

The Border Collie with medium-length fur does have similar brushing requirement. Perhaps, a shorter coat BC needs to have at least once a week brushing.

The bathing schedule for these two breeds is every 8-12 weeks. Both the Golden Retriever and Border Collie need a mild, conditioning shampoo. Fur matting will be less likely as a result.

These breeds should also go through the same grooming procedures, including dental and ear cleanings. Since they would probably have poor eye health, you should be cautious when it comes to their eyes.


Shedding is an essential factor to consider when deciding to bring home a dog. Because of their difference, the Border Collie sheds heavily! The shedding of Golden Retrievers is less. However, a good requirement for this is frequent brushing as prevention of shedding is impossible.

Taking Care of Border Collie and Golden Retriever

Dogs spending time outdoor

The food requirement of the Golden Retrievers every day seems to be a lot. This is due to their big body build. And, giving them a lot of food necesitates them to engage into numbers of activities. Since they also go to the restroom frequently, you must pay close attention to this.

Taking care of the Border Collie needs you to look for the nipping behavior of the Border Collies as it is the most noteworthy behavior of this breed. It is also a hardly challenging BC attitude to break. The Border Collie are also a shy dog breed and because of that, they need a huge amount of socialization to establish superior skills.

To understand how to manage them, these two breeds must be introduced to other people and various situations. You can always have a healthy dog that is fun to be around if you take the right care for them. It is not a cause to stay away from these breeds entirely.

Health of Border Collie vs Golden Retriever

One of the healthy dog breeds to consider are the Golden Retriever and the Border Collie. Dogs’ diet, frequent exercise, and origin from tested and healthy parents are the secrets to the overall wellness of these two dog breeds.

Life Span

Often, the Golden Retrievers can live up to 11 years approximately. They need a physical examination, on average, every 15 months and are susceptible to a number of health problems common to the breed.

On the contrary, Border Collies require veterinary visits at a minimum of once a year and have an expected lifespan of 14 years on average.


It seems that some dog breeds are more prone to allergies. The breeds of dogs connected to this group of Retrievers as well as a few others tend to be particularly prone to allergies. No exception applies to Border Collies.

Health Issues

Similar to the other purebred dogs, these two breeds are prone to breed-specific health issues. The Border Collie should have their hips examined for the occurrence of hip dysplasia. The Border Collie can also be tested for a number of eye disorders, such as cataracts, collie eye anomaly, and progressive retinal atrophy.

Dogs having rest on the floor

Hip dysplasia can also strike the Golden Retrievers. They may, however, be predisposed to elbow dysplasia. Vets visit must not be ignored to check for any cardiac problems as well as ocular diseases.

Additionally, they may also experience a rare medical disorder known as neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis which may affect the dog’s neurological system. The Golden Retrievers also have the greatest incidence of cancer.

Diet & Nutrition

Both the Goldens and BC feed on a similar amount of food daily, even though there is a difference between each breed. Three cups of food per day can be consumed by the Golden Retriever, whereas the Border Collie consumes about two and a half cups. Despite the fact that they are different in size, the Border Collie burns a lot more calories compared to the Golden.

The energy of the Border Collie and the Golden Retriever would be maintained all throughout the day by giving them a premium dog food. Additionally, high-quality kibbles should not be taken out of their diet. A kibble made for large size dogs would be much better for the Golden Retriever. While a breed-specific kibble is good for the Border Collie.

How Much Do They Cost?

A trustworthy breeder will charge around a similar amount for a puppy. The Border Collie costs around $600 to $800 which is a little less than the Golden Retriever that will be bought for about $1,000 to $2,000. This is due to popularity reasons. And, because of the large list of health difficulties the Golden Retriever has, be wary of backyard breeders.


One of the famous imitators of the Border Collies are the Golden Retrievers. Both of them have lustrous double-coated fur. Yet, Goldens are a few inches taller than the Borders.

They have some differences from each other while they also share some commonalities. But, whichever breed you prefer between the Border Collie vs Golden Retriever, you will surely get a loyal and ever-loving four-legged companion.

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