Comparing Herding Dogs: Border Collie vs Old English Sheepdog

When it comes to herding dogs, two breeds that often capture the imagination of dog enthusiasts are the Border Collie and the Old English Sheepdog. These two distinct breeds share a common heritage as skilled herders, yet they couldn’t be more different in appearance and temperament.

Characteristics Comparison between Border Collie and Old English Sheepdog

Border Collies and Old English Sheepdogs are beloved dog breeds but exhibit distinct characteristics that set them apart. Border Collies are renowned for their remarkable intelligence and agility.

They are often considered one of the most intelligent dog breeds, excelling in obedience training and tasks that require problem-solving skills. Their boundless energy and herding instincts make them excellent working dogs and agility competitors.

In contrast, Old English Sheepdogs are known for their shaggy, fluffy coats and gentle, affectionate nature. They are a large and sturdy breed, prized for their protective instincts and loving disposition, making them great family pets and watchdogs.

While both breeds are loyal and trainable, their differences in appearance, energy levels, and temperament offer distinct options for prospective dog owners.

History of Border Collies and Old English Sheepdogs

The history of Border Collies and Old English Sheepdogs is rich and intertwined with the pastoral landscapes of the British Isles. Border Collies, believed to have originated in the border region between England and Scotland, have a heritage that dates back several centuries.

These incredibly intelligent and agile herding dogs were bred for their remarkable ability to control and manage livestock. They gained recognition in the late 19th century, and their name reflects their geographical origin.

Old English Sheepdogs have a more shaggy and distinctive appearance with long, fluffy coats and bushy eyebrows. Originally known as “Drover’s Dogs” due to their association with cattle drovers, these dogs hail from the rural areas of England.

Their history can be traced back to the early 18th century when they were indispensable companions to shepherds and cattle drivers. Their lovable and gentle nature is in stark contrast to their robust appearance.

Both breeds share a deep connection with the agricultural heritage of the British countryside. They are celebrated for their exceptional herding instincts, loyalty, and versatility, making them beloved working dogs and cherished companions to this day.

Appearance Comparison

Border Collies and Old English Sheepdogs are two distinct dog breeds, each possessing its own unique and charming appearance. The Border Collie is renowned for its sleek and athletic build, characterized by a well-proportioned body with a moderate-length coat that can come in various colors, most commonly black and white. Their keen, intelligent eyes give them an alert and focused expression, reflecting their unmatched herding abilities.

Old English Sheepdog exudes an endearing, shaggy charm. Their thick, luxurious double coat, often in shades of gray or blue, conceals their sturdy frame. These dogs are recognized for their distinctive bear-like appearance, with expressive eyes peering out from beneath a cascade of fur, which gives them an affectionate and amiable look.

Breed size

The Border Collie and Old English Sheepdog are two distinct dog breeds that differ significantly in terms of size. Border Collies are known for their agility and medium-sized stature, typically standing around 18 to 22 inches (45 to 55 centimeters) tall at the shoulder and weighing between 30 to 55 pounds (14 to 25 kilograms). They are renowned for their herding abilities and athletic build.

Old English Sheepdogs are considerably larger dogs. They typically reach heights of 21 to 24 inches (53 to 61 centimeters) and can weigh anywhere from 60 to 100 pounds (27 to 45 kilograms) or even more. These gentle giants have robust, shaggy coats and were originally bred for herding livestock, making them an imposing presence in the herding dog category due to their substantial size.

Coats and Colors

Border Collies and Old English Sheepdogs differ significantly in their coats and colors. Border Collies typically have short to medium-length double coats that come in a variety of colors, with the most common being black and white.

Still, they can also have combinations of red, blue merle, and tri-color patterns. Their coats are smooth and weather-resistant, making them well-suited for active outdoor work.

Old English Sheepdogs have dense, shaggy, and long double coats that are primarily white with patches of gray, blue, or grizzle. Their coats are known for their distinctive, unkempt appearance, often covering their eyes and face.

While both breeds have double coats, the Border Collie’s coat is more practical for agility and herding, while the Old English Sheepdog’s coat is iconic for its distinctive, tousled appearance but requires more grooming and maintenance.

border collie puppy

Personality & Temperament of Border Collie versus Old English Sheepdog

The Border Collie and the Old English Sheepdog exhibit distinct personality and temperament traits that reflect their unique roles in herding and companionship. Border Collies are renowned for their high intelligence, unmatched work ethic, and unwavering loyalty.

They are highly driven, eager to please, and excel in obedience and agility activities. Border Collies are often described as intense and focused, with an insatiable desire to work and problem-solve.

In contrast, the Old English Sheepdog is more easygoing and gentle. These fluffy giants are known for their affectionate nature, making them excellent family pets. While they retain a herding instinct, they tend to be less intense than Border Collies and are often described as calm and good-natured.

Old English Sheepdogs are known for their shaggy coats and friendly demeanor, making them lovable companions for those seeking a loyal, affectionate, and laid-back canine friend.


Border Collies and Old English Sheepdogs can make wonderful additions to a family, but their compatibility depends on several factors. Border Collies are known for their high energy levels, intelligence, and herding instincts.

They thrive in active households where they can participate in agility or obedience training and get plenty of exercise. They can be excellent with children due to their protective nature, but their intense drive may require supervision around smaller kids.

Old English Sheepdogs are known for their gentle and calm demeanor. They are generally great with children and can adapt well to family life, making them a good choice for families seeking a more laid-back companion.

However, their thick, shaggy coat demands regular grooming and can be prone to shedding. Ultimately, both breeds can be great family pets, but prospective owners should consider their lifestyle, activity level, and grooming commitment when choosing between the two.


Both Border Collies and Old English Sheepdogs are generally compatible with living with kids, but they have some distinct differences in their temperaments and care requirements. Border Collies are known for their high intelligence and energy levels.

They thrive in active households and can be excellent companions for kids who enjoy playtime and exercise. However, their intensity may require careful supervision around young children to ensure they don’t become overly enthusiastic.

Old English Sheepdogs tend to have a more gentle and patient disposition, making them well-suited for families with children of all ages. Their shaggy appearance can be endearing to kids, and they are typically easygoing and protective, which can provide a sense of security.

Regardless of the breed, early socialization, training, and consistent exercise are key to ensuring a harmonious living arrangement between these dogs and kids.

Other People

Both Border Collies and Old English Sheepdogs are known for their friendly and sociable nature when interacting with other people, but they exhibit different styles of interaction. Border Collies are typically more alert and attentive, always eager to please and engage with new faces. They tend to be highly trainable and excel in activities that involve human interaction, such as obedience training or agility sports.

Old English Sheepdogs are known for their gentle and affectionate disposition. They are welcoming to people they meet. While both breeds can be excellent companions for social interaction, the Border Collie may lean towards more active and responsive engagement. At the same time, the Old English Sheepdog offers a more laid-back and affectionate approach, making them both compatible choices for those seeking canine companionship in social settings.

Dogs and Other Animals

The compatibility of Border Collies and Old English Sheepdogs when interacting with other dogs and animals can vary based on individual temperament, socialization, and training. Border Collies, known for their intelligence and agility, often excel in social situations and tend to get along well with other dogs and animals, provided they are properly socialized from a young age.

They may have a strong herding instinct, but with training, they can adapt to peaceful coexistence with other pets. On the other hand, Old English Sheepdogs are generally friendly and gentle, making them relatively amiable when interacting with dogs and other animals.

However, their size and exuberance can sometimes be overwhelming for smaller animals, so supervision is important. In summary, both breeds can be compatible with other dogs and animals, but early socialization and training are vital factors in ensuring harmonious interactions in any mixed-pet household.

Behaviour Issues

Border Collies and Old English Sheepdogs are two distinct breeds, each with its behavior issues. Border Collies might have behavior problems when not properly managed. Border Collies require mental stimulation and physical exercise to prevent boredom, which can manifest as destructive behavior, excessive barking, or digging.

Their herding instincts can make them prone to nipping or herding other pets or even children, which may need to be curbed through training and socialization. Additionally, their strong desire to please their owners can lead to separation anxiety if left alone for extended periods.

On the other hand, Old English Sheepdogs, known for their shaggy coats and amiable personalities, have behavior issues. They are generally friendly but can be quite independent, making training a bit challenging. Without consistent and firm training, they may become stubborn or unmanageable.

Their strong herding instincts can lead to them chasing or nipping at moving objects, including cars or bicycles. They can also be territorial and may exhibit guarding behaviors if not properly socialized from an early age. Their thick double coat requires regular grooming and can lead to matting if not adequately cared for, which can be uncomfortable and even painful for the dog.

Overall, both breeds are wonderful companions when their needs are met through proper training, socialization, and care. Still, without these, they can exhibit challenging behavior issues that need to be addressed by experienced dog owners.

Training & Exercise Comparison

The training and exercise needs of Border Collies and Old English Sheepdogs, two distinct and beloved dog breeds, differ significantly due to their unique characteristics and histories. Border Collies, renowned for their intelligence and herding instincts, require mental and physical stimulation.

They excel in obedience training and dog sports like agility, flyball, and herding trials. Daily exercise is essential for their well-being; they thrive on activities such as fetch, frisbee, and long walks or runs. Mental challenges like puzzle toys and obedience training are crucial to preventing boredom-related behavioral issues.

In contrast, Old English Sheepdogs are known for their gentle and easygoing nature. While they are intelligent dogs, they may not be as eager to please as Border Collies. They still benefit from regular exercise, but they are less likely to engage in high-intensity activities.

Moderate exercise, such as leisurely walks and playtime in a secure yard, suits their needs well. Training should focus on consistency and positive reinforcement, as they can be stubborn at times. Both breeds require early socialization to ensure they get along with other dogs and people, and positive reinforcement-based training methods are effective for both, albeit with different approaches.

In essence, Border Collies thrive with intense physical and mental engagement, while Old English Sheepdogs appreciate a more relaxed and patient training and exercise routine that respects their calmer disposition. Understanding these differences is crucial to providing both breeds with the best care and ensuring their happiness and well-being.

old english sheepdog breed

Taking Care and Maintenance of Border Collie and Old English Sheepdogs

Taking care of Border Collies and Old English Sheepdogs requires commitment, attention, and love. Both breeds are known for their intelligence, agility, and herding instincts, which make them incredibly rewarding companions but also come with specific care and maintenance needs. Regular exercise is crucial for these active breeds; daily walks, playtime, and mental stimulation are essential to keep them happy and prevent behavioral issues.

Border Collies, in particular, thrive on agility and obedience training, while Old English Sheepdogs benefit from consistent grooming to maintain their thick, shaggy coats. Both breeds should be fed a balanced diet to support their energy levels and prevent obesity, but it’s essential to monitor their weight as they can be prone to joint issues.

Regular vet check-ups, vaccinations, and dental care are crucial for their well-being. Socialization from a young age is essential to ensure they are well-behaved around other dogs and people. Additionally, providing a safe and spacious environment is essential, as these dogs need room to move and explore.

Both breeds are known for their loyalty and affection, so building a strong bond through positive reinforcement training and quality time together is key to a happy, well-adjusted Border Collie or Old English Sheepdog. Ultimately, the love and dedication you invest in these wonderful breeds will be reciprocated with unwavering loyalty and companionship.

Grooming Comparison

When it comes to grooming, the Border Collie and the Old English Sheepdog exhibit distinct differences in their care routines. The Border Collie boasts a sleek, medium-length double coat that requires regular brushing to prevent matting and the removal of loose fur. This breed tends to shed moderately year-round, with more substantial seasonal shedding.

In contrast, the Old English Sheepdog sports a thick, profuse, and dense coat that demands more attention. Their luxurious fur can easily become tangled, so daily brushing is essential to prevent matting. Additionally, they have a propensity for shedding year-round, necessitating vigilant grooming to keep their coat in top condition.

Both breeds require routine maintenance of their ears, nails, and dental hygiene, but the Old English Sheepdog’s grooming requirements are more intensive due to their voluminous coat. Ultimately, prospective owners should consider their grooming commitment when choosing between these two charming breeds.


The Border Collie and the Old English Sheepdog are known for their luxurious coats but exhibit different shedding patterns. With its sleek and dense double coat, the Border Collie sheds moderately throughout the year. Their undercoat provides insulation against cold and heat, so brushing them to remove loose fur and prevent matting regularly is essential.

In contrast, the Old English Sheepdog has a dense and shaggy fur that needs a lot of attention to maintain. They possess a thick double coat that must be frequently brushed to prevent tangling and knotting, and they tend to shed more during seasonal transitions. It is crucial to regularly groom and brush both breeds to ensure their fur is healthy and to control shedding.

Health Comparison between a Border Collie and Old English Sheepdog

Border Collies, known for their incredible agility and high energy levels, are generally considered a healthy breed with a relatively long lifespan of 12 to 15 years. However, they can be prone to certain hereditary conditions such as hip dysplasia, epilepsy, and Collie’s eye anomaly. Their boundless energy demands ample exercise, and they may be susceptible to obesity if not provided with enough physical and mental stimulation.

On the other hand, Old English Sheepdogs, with their shaggy coats and endearing personalities, also have a decent lifespan of around 10 to 12 years. They are prone to some specific health issues, including hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, and hypothyroidism.

Their dense, double coat requires regular grooming to prevent matting and skin issues. Both breeds may also face common dog health problems such as dental issues, obesity, and allergies, so a well-balanced diet, regular vet check-ups, and good grooming practices are essential for both.

Ultimately, while both Border Collies and Old English Sheepdogs can lead healthy lives with proper care, prospective owners should be aware of the breed-specific health concerns and commit to providing the necessary attention, exercise, and medical care to ensure their furry companions thrive. Consulting with a veterinarian and responsible breeding practices can further help mitigate potential health issues in these beloved canine companions.

Diet & Nutrition

The Border Collie and the Old English Sheepdog, two distinct and beloved canine breeds, require careful attention to their health and diet to ensure their well-being. Border Collies are renowned for their boundless energy and agility, making regular exercise a must to maintain their physical fitness. A balanced diet rich in protein and essential nutrients is essential to support their active lifestyle, promoting strong muscles and overall vitality.

Conversely, the Old English Sheepdog is known for its shaggy coat and robust frame. Regular grooming is vital to prevent matting and to keep their skin healthy. A nutritious diet tailored to their size and age is essential, as they can be prone to obesity.

Both breeds benefit from regular veterinary check-ups, ensuring early detection of any health issues. In summary, a combination of exercise, grooming, and a well-balanced diet is crucial for keeping Border Collies and Old English Sheepdogs in top shape, allowing them to thrive as cherished family members.

Health Issues

Border Collies are renowned for their intelligence and boundless energy, but these traits can sometimes come with health challenges. They are predisposed to hip dysplasia, a genetic condition where the hip joint doesn’t develop properly, often resulting in arthritis and discomfort. Another hereditary concern is Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA), a condition that affects their eyes and can lead to varying degrees of vision impairment.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is yet another genetic eye disorder in Border Collies, causing a gradual loss of vision over time. Epilepsy, a neurological disorder characterized by seizures, is also more common in this breed. Furthermore, their active lifestyle and agility can put them at risk for joint issues, such as cruciate ligament tears.

Old English Sheepdogs, known for their shaggy coats and gentle disposition, have their own set of health considerations. Like Border Collies, they are susceptible to hip dysplasia, which can cause pain and mobility issues. Cataracts are a prevalent concern in this breed, potentially leading to cloudy vision and vision loss.

Some Old English Sheepdogs may inherit congenital deafness, necessitating special training and care. Heart issues, particularly valvular disease and dilated cardiomyopathy, are also known to affect this breed.

Additionally, Old English Sheepdogs are prone to bloat, a potentially life-threatening condition where the stomach twists on itself. This condition is more common in deep-chested breeds like the Old English Sheepdog.

Both of these wonderful breeds require not only a nutritious diet but also regular exercise to keep them physically and mentally fit. Proper grooming is essential, especially for the Old English Sheepdog’s distinctive coat. Responsible breeding practices, including thorough health screenings of parent dogs, play a crucial role in reducing the risk of passing on hereditary conditions to the next generation.

Regular veterinary check-ups are imperative for early detection and effective management of these health issues, ensuring a long, happy, and healthy life for your beloved Border Collie or Old English Sheepdog. Additionally, providing mental stimulation and engaging them in activities tailored to their respective needs such as challenging puzzles for Border Collies’ intelligence and energy or social interaction for Old English Sheepdogs’ need for companionship and exercise—will contribute to their overall well-being.

Cost of breeding a Border Collie versus Old English Sheepdog

The price of Border Collies and Old English Sheepdogs can fluctuate based on a variety of factors, including the breeder’s reputation, geographical location, the puppy’s lineage, and whether the breeding intent was for show-quality or pet-quality dogs.

Border Collie puppies are typically priced between $600 to $1,200. On the other hand, Old English Sheepdog puppies for pet purposes are usually priced between $1,000 to $2,000. It’s crucial to remember that these figures are general estimates, and actual prices can deviate based on several determinants.

Furthermore, as breed demand and popularity shift over the years, it could influence these prices. Before purchasing a puppy, it’s always recommended to conduct extensive research on breeders to ensure their credibility, ethical standards, and dedication to the well-being of their animals.

It’s also worth exploring local animal rescues or shelters, as numerous dogs, even purebreds, are in search of a nurturing home. This adoption pathway can not only be more cost-effective but also provide a dog with another opportunity for a joyful life.

The cost of breeding a Border Collie might be lower in terms of veterinary care, grooming, and food expenses. Additionally, the breeding fees for a Border Collie might be lower since they are a more common breed.

On the other hand, breeding Old English Sheepdogs could be more expensive due to the higher maintenance of their coats, increased risk of health problems, and potentially higher breeding fees. Ultimately, the cost of breeding either breed will depend on the breeder’s location, the quality of the breeding stock, and the level of care provided to the dogs during the breeding process.


Border Collies and Old American Sheepdogs typically have varying litter sizes. Border Collies are known to have smaller litters, often ranging from 4 to 6 puppies, although larger litters are possible. Old American Sheepdogs, on the other hand, tend to have larger litters, often ranging from 6 to 10 puppies or even more.

These numbers can be influenced by factors such as the individual dog’s genetics, age, and overall health, as well as the quality of care they receive during pregnancy. Regardless of the breed, the arrival of a litter of puppies is always an exciting and heartwarming event for dog owners and enthusiasts alike, each puppy bringing its unique charm to the world.

Breeders & Centers

Breeders and centers dedicated to Border Collies and Old American Sheepdogs play a crucial role in preserving and promoting these remarkable canine breeds. Border Collies are renowned for their intelligence and herding abilities, while Old American Sheepdogs, also known as Old English Sheepdogs, charm with their shaggy coats and gentle personalities.

Responsible breeders prioritize the health and well-being of their dogs, carefully selecting breeding pairs to maintain breed standards and genetic diversity. These breeders also offer valuable guidance and support to puppy buyers, ensuring each dog finds a loving and suitable home.

Additionally, rescue and adoption centers dedicated to these breeds provide a second chance for dogs in need, offering them the opportunity to find forever homes where they can thrive. Together, breeders and rescue organizations work tirelessly to uphold the unique qualities and legacy of Border Collies and Old American Sheepdogs in the dog-loving community.

Conclusion: Which Is Better, Border Collie or Old English Sheepdog?

Deciding whether a Border Collie or an Old English Sheepdog is “better” largely depends on one’s needs, preferences, and lifestyle. Both breeds come with their own unique sets of characteristics and can fit various households differently.

Border Collies are known for their remarkable intelligence, agility, and working ability. They require significant physical and mental stimulation and thrive in active households.

If you’re seeking a pet for competitive events or one that can keep up with high-energy activities, a Border Collie might be a more suitable choice. Their intelligence also means they can be a joy to train, but it can equally lead them into mischief if they become bored.

Old English Sheepdogs are affectionate, playful, and often seen as gentle giants. While they also have herding roots, they might be slightly more laid back than Border Collies. Their thick coat requires regular grooming, which can be a bonding experience for the owner and dog. An Old English Sheepdog could be an excellent fit if you’re after a family-friendly, protective, and loving dog.

In conclusion, neither breed is objectively “better” than the other. Instead, prospective dog owners should evaluate their living conditions, activity levels, and personal preferences when deciding. The Border Collie and the Old English Sheepdog have so much to offer, and either can be the perfect companion in the right setting.

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