Difference between a Border Collie and Samoyed – A Complete Breed Comparison

The Border Collie is classified as a member of the Herding Dogs category. These dogs were specifically bred for the purpose of herding and moving livestock, such as sheep, cattle, and even reindeer. They work closely alongside human shepherds and are renowned for their inherent intelligence and responsiveness, which makes them highly trainable.

Due to their abundant energy levels, it is essential to channel this energy appropriately to avoid destructive behaviors. Border Collies, also exhibit protective instincts towards their owners and property, making them excellent watchdogs. With their combination of intelligence, agility, and activity, they excel in various dog sports.

On the other hand, Samoyed belongs to the Working Dogs group. The primary role of Working Dogs is to assist humans in various tasks, which may include pulling sleds and carts, guarding flocks, protecting homes, and defending their families. Due to their robust build, these dogs require a structured home environment and consistent, firm, and fair training from a leader who can assert control without resorting to anger or physical force.

Characteristics of a Border Collies and Samoyeds

This breed exhibits a strong drive, loyalty, and dedication to work. Border Collies find their greatest joy working or playing, only seeking relaxation and cuddle time after a productive day. They are sensitive to noise and will alert their owners to visitors, passersby, and any movements in their surroundings. Additionally, sudden loud noises like fireworks or thunder may also affect them.

The Samoyed is known for its playful nature, displaying a friendly temperament towards family members, strangers, children, and other pets. Being a herding breed with a history of working with other animals, socialization should suffice to maintain their amiable personalities.

As high-energy dogs, Samoyeds require owners who can dedicate ample time to meet their daily exercise and training needs. These dogs can tolerate warm temperatures but might prefer staying outdoors in cold weather due to their arctic background. Snowy days are particularly delightful for Samoyeds, and they eagerly engage in outdoor play or bury themselves in snow mounds.

Border CollieHerdingAround 18 to 22 inchesAround 28 to 48 poundsEnergetic, loyal, athletic, responsive, alert, intelligentAt least 10 yearsScotland
SamoyedWorkingAround 21 to 24 inches for male and 19 to 21 inches for femaleAround 45 to 60 pounds for male and 35 to 50 pounds for femaleLoyal, energetic, friendly, playful, alertMinimum 12 yearsSiberia

Breed History

The history of the Border Collie can be traced back to the ancient Roman Empire, despite its recognition today as an English/Scottish dog. In 43 AD, during Emperor Claudius’ victorious conquest of Britain, the Romans brought their herding dogs with them, and these dogs remained widely employed for centuries. Later, when the Vikings invaded, their smaller and quicker dogs became part of the mix.

Breeders eventually combined these two herding breeds, resulting in a small and fast herding dog that was well-suited for the rugged Scottish highlands. Border Collies were not officially acknowledged as a separate breed until 1906, and during that time, specific criteria were established to define their standards. Unlike typical breed standards, the emphasis for border collies focused on their working ability rather than physical traits. Even today, border collies are regarded as the world’s premier herding dogs.

On the other hand, Samoyeds were brought out of Siberia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to assist in pulling sleds during Arctic and Antarctic expeditions. The strength, gentleness, and magnificence of the Samoyed breed were crucial for these demanding tasks, and there could be no toy or miniature version capable of performing such feats.

Many of the Samoyeds found in England and the United States today can trace their origins back to the experienced sled dogs of past expeditions. The initial Samoyed, officially registered by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1906, was imported from Russia. Nevertheless, many present-day American Samoyeds can attribute their ancestry to canines that arrived following World War I.

Appearance Comparison

white Samoyed

The Border Collie possesses a distinctive appearance that perfectly matches our mental image of a herding dog. Notably, their ears sit high and often have partially folded tips, creating an alert and attentive expression. They also boast long, bushy tails extending over their backs, maintaining a straight form without curling, although they happily wag them when excited.

On the other hand, Samoyeds showcase a fluffy appearance, mainly due to their double-layered coat. One of the most notable features of this breed is their tail, which typically rests on their back and curls slightly to one side, further enhancing their charm. Interestingly, many Samoyed owners observe a fascinating behavior during colder weather, where these dogs tend to sleep with their tails wrapped around their noses, seemingly seeking extra warmth and coziness.

Overall, both the Border Collie and Samoyed have unique physical characteristics that set them apart and make them easily recognizable breeds, ideally suited to their respective herding and Arctic working roles.

Size Comparison

The Border Collie breed displays slight variations in size between males and females. Male Border Collies typically stand at a height ranging from 19 to 22 inches, while their weight falls between 35 to 45 pounds. On the other hand, female Border Collies usually have a standing height of 18 to 21 inches and weigh between 30 to 40 pounds.

When it comes to Samoyeds, there are distinct size differences based on gender as well. Male Samoyeds have a withers height (shoulder height) between 21 to 23.5 inches and their weight ranges from 45 to 65 pounds (20 to 29.5 kilograms). Meanwhile, female Samoyeds typically have a withers height between 19 to 21 inches and weigh approximately 35 to 50 pounds (15.9 to 22.7 kilograms). The overall body length of a Samoyed ranges from about 28.5 to 35.5 inches (72 to 90 centimeters), while their standing height measures between 24.5 to 30 inches (62 to 76 centimeters).

These measurements provide an overview of the typical size ranges for both the Border Collie and Samoyed breeds, helping prospective owners better understand the physical characteristics and differences between male and female individuals within these beautiful dog breeds.

Coats & Colors

Border Collies display a unique duality in their coat types: rough and smooth. Both variations feature a double-layered coat with a soft and plush undercoat and a coarser outer layer. The rough-coated Border Collies present a moderate-length coat with feathering, particularly noticeable on their legs, abdomen, and chest, contributing to their overall fluffiness. Conversely, smooth-coated Border Collies sport shorter fur that covers their bodies, displaying minimal feathering.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes 21 distinctive colors within the Border Collie breed. However, within this spectrum, the AKC designates 17 colors as the “standard colors” for this breed. Some recognized standard colors encompass Black, Blue Sable, Red, White & Black, and White & Red.

The Samoyed dog possesses an exquisite and majestic appearance reminiscent of Spitz dogs. This breed features a thick, furry coat that is most prominent around its neck, adding to its allure. The coat colors for Samoyeds include:

  • White
  • Biscuit
  • Cream
  • Combinations of white and biscuit

Personality & Temperament of Border Collies and Samoyeds

Collies are naturally alert and enthusiastic, always ready for action, especially when it involves running and fetching. Taking them on a long morning jog is ideal to give them a perfect start to the day. Remember to bring a ball and be prepared to use your strong throwing arm. When they come back with the ball, make sure to reward and praise them, as it will encourage them to continue the game and avoid turning it into a game of chase.

On the other hand, Samoyeds are highly active and possess a curious, quick-witted, and mischievous nature that persists even as they age. Their playful spirit remains intact throughout their lives. Their dark, intelligent eyes sparkle with a twinkle, and their ever-present “Samoyed smile” adds to their charm. Moreover, Samoyeds are perceptive and sensitive, effortlessly picking up on their owner’s emotions and how others treat them. They can tell when you are happy or sad or show different levels of affection toward them, and they will respond accordingly.

Both breeds, Collies and Samoyeds, thrive on physical activity and mental stimulation, and their loving and responsive nature makes them excellent companions for those who can provide them with the attention and care they deserve.

Dog towards Family

Collies excel as watchdogs, displaying their keen ability to quickly alert the family to intruders in the yard. Moreover, they have earned a reputation for being protective of their family members. Their exceptional qualities are appreciated by children and adults, who value Collies for their versatility.

Border Collies are incredibly versatile and active dogs that present numerous opportunities for engagement with their human family. One of their most prominent roles is in farm herding activities, where their innate instincts and exceptional intelligence shine. They demonstrate remarkable control over livestock, assisting farmers in guiding sheep, cattle, and other animals precisely and efficiently.

As for the Samoyed breed, they embody a gentle, intelligent, and fiercely loyal nature, finding joy in nothing more than being with their beloved family. Their kind and affectionate disposition makes them a perfect fit for participating in household activities, where they eagerly become an integral part of the family dynamic.

In summary, Collies and Samoyeds are both remarkable breeds known for their loyalty and affection toward their families. Collies impress as vigilant watchdogs, while Samoyeds captivate with their gentleness and intelligence. Both species form deep bonds with their human family and eagerly embrace opportunities to participate in various activities, making them cherished and loving companions.


Collies are good pets for families. But while Border Collies are often considered good family dogs, it’s essential to delve into the specifics regarding their interactions with children. While kids naturally want to play with these dogs, we must be mindful of the quality and appropriateness of the playtime.

Play serves as mental stimulation for the Border Collie, but ensuring that the interactions are well-supervised and adequately managed is equally vital. Merely assuming that a young child’s playtime with the dog provides sufficient interaction can lead to potential issues. As highlighted earlier, proper training and engagement are essential to ensure a harmonious relationship between the dog and the children.

On the other hand, Samoyeds stands out as an excellent choice for families with kids. Their loyalty, high activity level, playful nature, and friendly demeanor make them perfect companions for children. They thrive when they are actively involved in family life and relish being a part of the household. For families considering getting a puppy, the Samoyed breed can be an ideal and loving addition to the family dynamic.

Other People

When people choose a pet dog breed, they often choose friendly ones. But if you need a watchdog, avoiding overly friendly breeds is better. According to Border Collie experts, they rate 3 out of 5 for how well they get along with strangers.

On the other hand, Samoyeds display a watchful nature, yet they are not particularly guarded or aggressive. They are keenly aware of their surroundings and will bark to warn their family of approaching intruders. However, their friendly disposition remains evident even with unwanted visitors, and they do not exhibit aggressive behavior.

Nonetheless, it’s important to remember that even the friendliest dogs can react negatively if they feel threatened or scared. Hence, it is advisable to exercise caution around any dog, regardless of their typical temperament.

Dogs & Other Animals

is Samoyed good with other dogs

Border Collies, as herding dogs, typically do not have harmful intentions when interacting with other pets. Their nature is nonaggressive, and once they become comfortable, they welcome other pets as playmates. However, some of their herding behaviors can inadvertently cause harm to other pets. It is essential to understand that this behavior stems from their herding instincts, not malicious intent. Nevertheless, before introducing another pet into the household, some effort and training may be required to ensure a harmonious and safe environment.

On the other hand, Samoyeds generally exhibit excellent compatibility with other dogs. Their friendly and sociable nature extends to both humans and fellow canines, making them great companions. However, due to their herding instincts, they may display boisterous behavior during playtime and attempt to herd and control other dogs, which can sometimes be bothersome to their playmates. It’s essential to be aware of this aspect of their personality and manage their interactions accordingly to maintain a positive and peaceful dynamic with other dogs.

Having said that, Border Collies may not have harmful intentions. Still, their herding instincts can unintentionally pose risks to other pets, requiring preparatory work before introducing new furry members to the family. On the other hand, Samoyeds are generally friendly and enjoy the company of both humans and other dogs. Still, their herding instincts may lead to boisterous behavior during play, which may not always be well-received by their fellow canines.

Behavior Issues

Let’s talk about some behavior issues that you should be aware of when it comes to border collies, despite their undeniable cuteness. Border collies are renowned for their intelligence, but it’s essential to acknowledge that they can also display potentially harmful behaviors. These problems of behavior include digging, chasing things, barking, destructive chewing, separation anxiety, clingy behavior, nipping, leaping and jumping on things.

When it comes to Samoyeds, they have a tendency to alarm bark, especially if left alone for extended periods, which may lead them to become nuisance barkers. Another potential problem with Samoyeds is their inclination to dig, often driven by a desire to find a more excellent spot for resting. Being herding dogs, they might exhibit a tendency to chase or nip, which is something to be mindful of when interacting with them.

Training & Exercise

exercising your Samoyed

Border Collie puppies exhibit some of the highest energy levels among all dog breeds, necessitating substantial amounts of daily physical exercise. Fortunately, these puppies are highly trainable, readily learning new games to play with you. Whether you engage them in indoor or outdoor activities, it is crucial to ensure they have the opportunity to play and exercise each day.

As for Samoyed puppies, they develop close bonds with their human companions but also possess independent minds. This can present a challenge during training, making it imperative to begin the training process as soon as you bring your pup home. A firm yet gentle approach is recommended when training Samoyeds, with positive reinforcement being the most effective method.

Keeping each training session brief and enjoyable and identifying the most valued reward for your puppy (whether it be treats, praise, or play) will yield the best results.

The upside is that Samoyeds are intelligent dogs, which means they respond well to training when approached with patience and consistency.

Taking Care & Maintenance of a Border Collie and a Samoyed

Border Collies are highly intelligent, energetic, and driven dogs. They are considered one of the most demanding breeds in terms of care because they not only enjoy lots of exercise but actually need it to stay mentally and physically fulfilled. Their versatility allows them to excel in various dog sports, especially those involving obedience, heelwork to music, agility, and other active pursuits.

Training Samoyeds is crucial for them to become well-mannered and obedient companions. They should start their training early, given their intelligence and desire to please.

Positive reinforcement techniques, like praising and rewarding, work effectively when training Samoyeds.

Enrolling them in obedience classes or seeking guidance from a professional dog trainer can help instill good behavior and strengthen the connection between you and your furry companion.

Grooming Comparison between Border Collies and Samoyeds

The Border Collie is equipped with a double coat, wherein the guard coat is longer than the undercoat. Grooming is necessary every 4 to 8 weeks, with more frequent sessions during spring and fall when they undergo coat changes. Regular grooming, particularly the removal of the undercoat, ensures that the outer guard coat can provide ample shade for the dog, maintaining its comfort.

Conversely, Samoyeds demand substantial and consistent grooming to maintain their remarkable coat effectively. To avoid the coat becoming tangled, brushing them at least every other day is essential. Utilize a sizable pin brush, starting from the base of their coat and gently brushing through to the tips, diligently detangling any knots or mats that might have developed.

In summary, the Border Collie and Samoyed breeds require proper grooming to keep their coats in top condition. For Border Collies, grooming is essential to manage their double coat and provide adequate shade, while Samoyeds require consistent brushing to prevent matting and maintain their impressive appearance.


Border Collies tend to leave fur-balls scattered around your home, seemingly with a mind of their own. These fur-balls make their way under furniture, into corners, and all over bedrooms. Vacuuming becomes a regular part of your daily routine, and you may find yourself needing as many lint rollers as you do toilet paper rolls. However, the shedding doesn’t stop there; your Collie will experience a “shedding season” twice a year, during which they will undergo a substantial shedding process, seemingly producing an infinite amount of fur.

As for Samoyeds, they possess a dense, weather-resistant double coat that sheds heavily throughout most of the year. During seasonal “coat blow” in spring and fall, the shedding becomes even more pronounced and can last for around 2-3 weeks. Daily brushing is necessary to maintain their coat and minimize shedding.

Health Profile of a Border Collie and Samoyed

The Border Collie is renowned for its overall good health; however, several genetic diseases can be severe and prevalent in the breed, necessitating special attention. Responsible breeders must conduct comprehensive screenings of potential parents to minimize or eliminate the risk of these diseases appearing in their offspring. Anyone considering bringing a Border Collie puppy or dog into their home must ensure that the breeder has performed these necessary health checks.

On the other hand, Samoyeds require early obedience training due to their independent and mischievous nature. This breed thrives when provided with tasks to perform, as they are complex and enthusiastic workers. Generally, Samoyeds are robust dogs known for their excellent health and vitality.

In summary, both the Border Collie and Samoyed breeds are generally healthy; however, responsible breeding practices and early obedience training are essential to maintain their well-being and bring out their best qualities as devoted and energetic companions.

Life Span Comparison

Border Collies, known for their intelligence and herding prowess, is generally considered a healthy breed with an average lifespan ranging from 12 to 15 years. These dogs are highly active and require regular exercise and mental stimulation to keep them happy and healthy throughout their lives. Responsible breeding practices and proper care can contribute to their longevity and well-being.

On the other hand, the Samoyed breed, renowned for its fluffy white coat and friendly demeanor, is also considered hardy and resilient. With their loving and friendly nature, Samoyeds can easily live beyond 15 years and even longer, making them wonderful long-term companions.

Diet & Nutrition

If you are planning to bring a Border Collie into your home, it is crucial to have a well-thought-out feeding plan in place to ensure their health and happiness. Opting for a natural, raw diet is considered the best choice, as it allows you to have complete control over what your Border Collie consumes. This type of diet centers around providing raw, meaty bones, and other natural foods, giving your canine companion the nutrition they need to thrive.

When determining the most suitable food for a Samoyed, it is vital to take into account their anatomy and digestive system, which have remained the same from their undomesticated wolf ancestors. Fresh, high-protein-based diets, primarily comprising meat, bones, and offal, are best suited for their needs, aligning with what we refer to as ‘species-appropriate nutrition.’ A natural, raw diet aims to replicate this type of nutrition for Samoyeds.

The ideal diet for a Samoyed should be well-balanced and tailored to their life stage and energy requirements. This typically involves a combination of high-quality protein, healthy fats, essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber from vegetables and berries, ensuring that they receive all the necessary nutrients to maintain their health and well-being.

Health Issues

Like all dog breeds, Border Collies have specific health concerns that potential owners should be well-informed about. To help you become a prepared puppy parent, we will identify 5 of the most common health issues found in Border Collies, and these are:

  • Collie Eye Anomaly
  • Osteochondritis Dissecans
  • Progressive Retinal
  • Atrophy Hypothyroidism
  • Epilepsy

However, while Samoyeds have the potential to live a lengthy life of around 14 years, they might inherit a genetic inclination towards certain health issues. These include eye and heart ailments, hip dysplasia, and kidney disease. Moreover, their vulnerability to higher temperatures can give rise to additional medical concerns, including Uveodermatologic Syndrome, Retinal Diseases, Heart Problems, Samoyed Hereditary Glomerulopathy, and Hip Dysplasia.

Comparing Cost

The cost of acquiring a Border Collie can differ considerably based on various factors, including the breeder’s reputation and the dog’s pedigree. The distance between you and the breeder may also impact the overall cost. On average, most owners can anticipate spending between $800 and $2,500 to bring home their new pet. While the price may be higher when dealing with a reputable breeder, it is crucial to prioritize this aspect to ensure you receive a healthy dog without genetic issues.

On the other hand, Samoyeds are reasonably priced compared to other purebred dogs. Most Samoyeds fall within the price range of $600 to $1500. However, certain Samoyeds, particularly those from award-winning bloodlines, can cost $3,000 or even more. Samoyeds are generally regarded as one of the more expensive dog breeds available for purchase.


white Samoyed pup

Border Collies bred as family pets are typically priced between $500 and $1,800. If you explore online platforms, you may find some puppies available for a range of $250 to $1,000. However, if you opt for puppies from the American Kennel Club marketplace, the majority of them will fall in the price range of $1,500 to $2,500.

Samoyeds are generally recognized as one of the pricier dog breeds to acquire. Pinpointing the precise cost of these puppies can prove challenging due to considerable price fluctuations. On average, a puppy from a reputable breeder falls anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000. In contrast, exceptionally high-quality Samoyed puppies can command prices as steep as $6,000. The puppy’s cost depends on age, gender, quality, lineage, and the breeder’s location.

Breeders & Centers

If you are thinking about adopting a dog breed, you have the wonderful opportunity to bring home a Border Collie puppy at a relatively low cost of approximately $200 to $400. These lovable dog breeds are readily available in numerous shelters and animal rescue centers.

If you’re considering adopting a Samoyed from a rescue or a local shelter, you can anticipate an adoption fee ranging from $200 to $800. Not only is adoption a more budget-friendly option than purchasing a Samoyed, but it also allows you to positively impact a dog’s life by providing it with a caring forever home.

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

If you are looking for an intelligent, highly trainable, and energetic dog, the Border Collie might be a better fit. They excel in agility and obedience training and are great companions for active individuals or families who can provide them with plenty of mental and physical stimulation.

On the other hand, if you prefer a gentle, affectionate, and fluffy companion, the Samoyed could be the right choice. They are known for their friendly and social nature, making them excellent family dogs that enjoy spending time with their human pack.

Determining which breed makes a better pet, whether a Border Collie or a Samoyed, depends on various factors, and there is no definitive answer. Both breeds can be wonderful pets but have different characteristics and care requirements. There are some points to consider, such as:

  • Energy level
  • Trainability
  • Temperament
  • Grooming
  • Size
  • Time and Commitment

Ultimately, the “better” pet depends on your lifestyle, preferences, and ability to meet the specific breed’s needs. It’s essential to research both breeds thoroughly, interact with individual dogs of each breed if possible, and consider your living situation and available time before making a decision. Additionally, consider adoption from a rescue or shelter, as many wonderful dogs of both breeds are waiting for loving homes.

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