Border Collie vs Standard Schnauzer – Complete Breed Comparison

The Border Collie falls under the Herding Dogs category and was specifically bred to guide and manage livestock like sheep, cattle, and reindeer. Their exceptional intelligence and responsiveness create a strong bond with human shepherds, making them highly trainable. These dogs possess high levels of energy that need appropriate outlets to prevent any destructive tendencies. With a natural protective instinct towards their owners and property, they excel as watchdogs and are well-suited for various dog sports due to their agility, intelligence, and active nature.

On the contrary, the Standard Schnauzer is grouped in the Working Dogs classification, initially bred to provide humans with aid in a multitude of tasks including but not limited to:

  • Sled and cart pulling
  • Safeguarding flocks and residences
  • Ensuring families’ safety

Breeds in this category are renowned for their substantial stature, formidable strength, remarkable intellect, and unwavering bravery. Given their robust physique and potent capabilities, working dogs necessitate a well-organized domestic setting and a regimen of consistent, authoritative, and just training led by a capable leader who refrains from resorting to anger or physical coercion.

Characteristics of Breeds

This incredibly intelligent and diligent dog is remarkable. However, it may be too much for owners who need more time, energy, or resources to keep them mentally and physically engaged. Despite their high energy levels, they do enjoy relaxing and cuddling after a day of work. They are athletic herders with a muscular yet agile appearance that remains timeless and unaffected by passing trends. Their agility, balance, and durability make them some of the most capable and active dogs.

Agility training provides an ideal outlet for their intelligence, athleticism, and trainability, and having a purposeful job to perform is vital for a Border Collie’s happiness.

On the other hand, the Standard Schnauzer combination of intelligence and sociability makes them excellent companions. With a unique character, they are often described by owners as almost human-like in their behavior and expressions. Despite being warm and affectionate, Standard Schnauzers possess plenty of energy and intelligence to handle various tasks. However, they are not passive pets and require owners who understand their nature and specific needs before bringing one into their home.

History of Border Collie and Standard Schnauzer

The Border Collie, a dog breed, originates in the border area between Scotland and England. These working collies proved invaluable for flock owners as they tirelessly managed vast flocks of sheep. Flourishing in the border region, they became known as the “Border Collie.” The breed’s heritage is intricately connected to the earliest stages of livestock farming and the wool trade across the United Kingdom and beyond.

The history of the Standard Schnauzer can be traced back to Germany during the Middle Ages. The wirehaired dog, later recognized as the modern Standard Schnauzer served multiple roles for German families including:

  • Guarding livestock
  • Hunting vermin
  • Providing protection as their owners traveled to and from the market

During World War I, the German army utilized Standard Schnauzers as guard dogs, while the Red Cross employed them as dispatch carriers. The breed began appearing in the United States during the early 1900s, brought either by German immigrant families or American individuals who had visited Germany and wished to have a Schnauzer as a companion.

Appearance and Difference

cute Schnauzer ears

The Border Collie and the Standard Schnauzer differ in appearance, reflecting their distinct roles and origins. The Border Collie possesses a typical herding dog look, with high, alert ears that may have partially folded tips. Their long, bushy tails extend over their backs without curling. The head varies in width and can be wide or narrow, while the nose can be long or short with a sloping or sharp stop. Their eyes come in various colors, usually matching, but some dogs may have different eye colors, including the striking “wall eye,” with one eye being a different color.

On the other hand, the Standard Schnauzer boasts a sturdy, square-shaped body with a rectangular and elongated head. Their eyes are dark, expressive, and oval-shaped, while their ears are set high and stand erect when cropped, or they fall forward if left uncropped. The muzzle highlights the rectangular head, and long hair on the muzzle and chin gives them a distinctive bearded and old man-like appearance.


The Border Collie, on average, stands at a height ranging from 22 to 27 inches (56-69 cm), with the withers height measuring between 18 to 22 inches (46-56 cm). Its body length typically falls between 28 to 34 inches (71-86 cm). This breed’s dimensions showcase its medium to large size, making it an agile and versatile working dog.

The Standard Schnauzer, on the other hand, exhibits a height ranging from 23 to 26 inches (58-66 cm), with withers measuring between 18 to 20 inches (44-50 cm) and a body length of approximately 28 to 31 inches (71-79 cm). These dimensions portray the breed as a medium-sized dog with a well-proportioned, sturdy build.

The Border Collie and the Standard Schnauzer differ significantly in size and proportions. The former is larger and more agile, primarily utilized for herding tasks, while the latter is slightly smaller but sturdy, known for its versatile working capabilities.

Coats & Colors

The Border Collie breed offers two distinct coat types: rough and smooth. The latter is coarser and shorter than the longer, rough-coated variety. Both types feature a double coat with a soft, thick undercoat and longer, water-resistant fur on top. Border Collies exhibit a captivating array of colors, including black and white, blue merle, and red, among the most common. However, this breed boasts an impressive spectrum of 16 color and marking variations, each contributing to its unique and captivating appearance. From the striking contrast of black and white to the mesmerizing patterns of blue merle and the warm tones of red, every Border Collie showcases its charm.

On the other hand, the Standard Schnauzer showcases a dense, wiry outer coat with hairs standing upright from the skin, accompanied by a soft undercoat. The coat length on the back ranges from 3/4 to 2 inches. Standard Schnauzers are available in two color variations: pepper and salt, or pure black. The pepper and salt color results from a blend of black and white hairs, with additional white coats banded with black.

Personality & Temperament Comparison

Border Collies are highly active and dynamic dogs that thrive in rural environments. These dogs may become unhappy and exhibit destructive behaviors if deprived of physical and mental stimulation and companionship. With exceptional intelligence, they quickly grasp commands and respond positively to praise. Border Collies are known for their lively and energetic personalities, marked by alertness, hard work, and cleverness.

On the other hand, life with a Standard Schnauzer is always entertaining, thanks to their friendly, intelligent, and often humorous demeanor. They have a natural protective instinct towards their family, making them reliable guardians. The Standard Schnauzer fits well into family life and is particularly fond of children, acting as a loyal and trustworthy companion.

Their cleverness and curiosity make them a curious breed, although they can also display a stubborn and strong-willed side at times. The Border Collie’s dynamism shines through their intelligence, work ethic, and energy. At the same time, the Standard Schnauzer’s charm lies in their friendly and protective nature, making them both delightful and devoted companions for the right owners.

Simply put, Border Collies are highly active, intelligent, and dynamic dogs that thrive in rural environments. Owners of such dogs have to give them adequate physical and mental stimulation and companionship to stay happy and avoid destructive behaviors. Standard Schnauzers are friendly, intelligent, and humorous, making them great family dogs with a protective instinct. Both breeds are clever and curious and can be delightful and loyal companions with the right owners.


Border Collies are highly sought-after as fun family pets due to their energetic nature, but their boundless energy demands ample time, exercise, and attention to curb their mischievous tendencies. While their liveliness and playfulness make them delightful companions, potential owners must be prepared for the commitment required to meet their needs. With the proper care and dedication, Border Collies can thrive in a family setting, bringing joy and excitement to the household for many years.

Schnauzer breeds are renowned for being excellent family pets, as they were specifically bred to be close companions to humans, excelling in family relationships. Their hypoallergenic coats make them suitable for households with allergies. Besides, Schnauzers are known for their affectionate and loyal nature, forming strong bonds with their family members.

Both breeds have their advantages and appeal as family pets. Border Collies offer boundless energy and playfulness, while Schnauzers provide affection, loyalty, and hypoallergenic benefits. With proper care and dedication, Border Collies and Schnauzers can thrive in a loving family setting, enriching the household with joy and companionship.


While the statement that Border Collies make good family dogs may suggest they are good with children, there are essential factors to consider. Their herding instinct can impact interactions with kids. While Border Collies can be excellent with children, proper training is vital to establish boundaries and ensure appropriate behavior toward kids.

Standard Schnauzers boast a sturdy and lively disposition, rendering them loyal and fond companions for children. They typically establish harmonious relationships with youngsters across various age groups, partaking in mild and considerate play with the younger ones. Schnauzers commonly demonstrate patience, gentleness, and enthusiasm to engage in playful activities with children.

Nonetheless, it’s essential to acknowledge their innate inclination to pursue and guide smaller kids instinctively. To counteract this tendency, it’s advisable to initiate early obedience training and socialization, effectively averting undesirable conduct and nurturing a canine companion that is both well-mannered and adaptable.

Border Collies and Standard Schnauzers can be good family dogs, but they have specific considerations. Border Collies may interact well with kids, but training is essential to manage their herding instinct. Standard Schnauzers are affectionate and get along with children of all ages, but early training is necessary to control their natural chasing and herding tendencies towards younger kids.

Other People

Border Collies are well-known for their composed and calm demeanor, attributed to their high intelligence, strong work ethic, and ability to handle difficult situations. However, like any dog, they can exhibit aggression if provoked. It’s essential to approach the introduction of your Border Collie to new people with caution, considering their pack mentality and wariness towards individuals outside their family. When they perceive someone as a potential threat to their “pack,” they may respond aggressively.

On the other hand, most Standard Schnauzers have a natural protective instinct toward strangers. To help them distinguish between normal behaviors of friendly individuals and unusual actions, thorough socialization with familiar people is crucial.

Dogs and Other Animals

Schnauzer playing with other dog

Border Collies, being natural herders, typically display friendly behavior when interacting with other pets. They are nonaggressive and view other pets as potential playmates once they become familiar with them. Early socialization from puppyhood and channeling their herding instincts toward appropriate activities are essential for Border Collies to ensure harmonious relationships with other animals in the household.

On the other hand, while generally getting along well with other dogs and animals, Standard Schnauzers may show signs of aggression toward dogs of the same sex. This tendency is more common in Standard Schnauzers and is an essential factor for owners to consider when introducing them to other dogs.

Behaviour Issues

While border collies may be adorable and charming, they are not without their behavior challenges. Some common Border Collie behavior problems that pet owners should be aware of are digging, chasing things, barking, destructive chewing, separation anxiety, clingy behavior, leaping and jumping on things, nipping, and shyness with strangers.

Now, let’s delve into the behavior challenges that Standard Schnauzers may encounter, which are the same as those experienced by most dogs: Barking, Chewing, and Biting. Like many canine breeds, Standard Schnauzers can be vocal, using barking as a means of communication or excitement. Additionally, they may engage in chewing behaviors during their teething phase, necessitating appropriate toys and training.

While Schnauzers are generally friendly, unresolved behavioral issues can lead to biting incidents, making early training and socialization essential. By proactively understanding and addressing these challenges, pet owners can ensure a harmonious and well-behaved companionship with their lovable Standard Schnauzers.

Training & Exercise for a Border Collie vs Standard Schnauzer

Border Collies, renowned for their intelligence and activity, thrive on regular exercises to stay physically fit and mentally sharp. For example, agility training and herding/chasing activities tap into their intelligence and herding instincts. Some of the popular exercises for them include:

  • Walking
  • Running
  • Swimming
  • Frisbee

Short training sessions focusing on a few commands at a time and incorporating training into playtime are practical approaches. However, seeking veterinary advice before commencing any exercise routine for a Border Collie is essential. Balanced exercise and training enable these remarkable dogs to lead happy, healthy lives.

The Standard Schnauzer, known for its high intelligence, typically grasps new commands after 5-15 repetitions. As a working breed, they relish the mental and physical stimulation of acquiring new skills. Moreover, owners need to establish leadership early on due to their spirited nature.

Consistent training with a firm yet positive approach is crucial for a successful and enjoyable experience with this feisty breed.

Taking Care & Maintenance

The Border Collie is a brilliant and active dog breed, making them one of the most high-maintenance breeds. Their smart and busy brains require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation, demanding attention from committed and active owners on various fronts. Experienced owners who can dedicate time and effort will find Border Collies to be devoted companions excelling in agility, obedience, and dog sports, thriving in a well-prepared home environment.

To keep the Standard Schnauzer active and engaged, owners should provide daily mental and physical stimulation opportunities. This energetic breed enjoys regular walks, active play, and participation in various canine activities like agility, herding, lure-coursing, and barn hunt.

The Border Collie and the Standard Schnauzer share similar traits and requirements as high-energy and intelligent breeds. They need active and dedicated owners who can offer daily mental and physical exercise. In a well-prepared and devoted home environment, both breeds form loyal and loving companions to owners who can meet their unique needs.

Grooming a Border Collie vs Standard Schnauzer

Border Collies, regardless of their coat type, require regular grooming at least once a week. However, they usually do not need trimming or frequent visits to a professional groomer. This breed’s coat maintenance is relatively straightforward, making it manageable for owners to keep their Border Collies neat and well-groomed. With consistent weekly grooming, owners can ensure their Border Collies maintain a clean and healthy coat without requiring extensive grooming sessions or frequent trips to the groomer.

Typically, a Standard Schnauzer’s coat should undergo hand-stripping every 4 to 6 months, especially if intending to participate in dog shows or maintain the correct coat texture. For household pets, machine clipping by a local groomer is a more straightforward way to keep the Schnauzer’s appearance, but it may soften the coat texture over time.

Regardless of breed, every dog requires essential maintenance such as nail clipping, ear cleaning, and coat brushing. However, wire-coated breeds like the Standard Schnauzer need even more grooming attention. Regular combing and brushing the beard and leg hair are necessary to prevent mat formation.

Border Collies and Standard Schnauzers require regular grooming, but their specific needs differ due to their coat types. In summary, while both breeds require grooming, Border Collies have a more straightforward maintenance routine compared to the specific needs of Standard Schnauzers with their wire-coated coats.


Border Collies shed a moderate amount for most of the year, and regular brushing two to three times a week can help keep shedding under control. However, during the spring and fall seasons, they undergo a significant shedding phase, blowing their coats entirely in preparation for the upcoming weather changes. During these times, daily brushing is necessary to manage the increased shedding.

On the other hand, the Standard Schnauzer has a dense, wiry outer coat that can be up to 2 inches long and comes in black or salt and pepper colors. They also possess a soft, thick undercoat that provides insulation from cold and hot weather. Unlike the Border Collie’s shedding pattern, the Standard Schnauzer’s is not as seasonal or extreme.

Health Comparison between Border Collie and Standard Schnauzer

Both the Border Collie and the Standard Schnauzer are generally healthy breeds; however, genetic diseases can be of concern. To mitigate the risk of these conditions, responsible breeders meticulously screen potential parents to reduce the likelihood of passing on such health issues to the puppies. As a buyer, it is crucial to ensure that health checks have been conducted on any pups or dogs you are considering.

For the Standard Schnauzer, a generally healthy breed, the breeder understands the owner’s dedication to caring for their beloved pet. By being aware of these health concerns, the breeder can customize a preventive health plan to monitor and potentially prevent certain predictable risks in the Standard Schnauzer’s well-being.

Life Span

Border Collies typically have an average life expectancy of 12 years, with some individuals living beyond 17 years while the Standard Schnauzer can live for up to 16 years.

Conversely, the Standard Schnauzer can enjoy a lifespan of up to 16 years. Diligent care, encompassing a well-rounded diet, consistent physical activity, and periodic veterinary assessments, is pivotal in promoting their overall well-being and extended life expectancy.

Diet & Nutrition

As Border Collies grow, their calorie requirements increase due to their high activity levels, necessitating around 1,400 calories daily. Adult Border Collies, on average, need approximately 1,000 calories for their well-being. However, as this breed ages and becomes less active, senior Borders may thrive on a daily intake of about 700 calories.

For any dog owner, it is imperative to provide a balanced and healthy diet for the well-being of your Standard Schnauzer. Weight, age, and activity level significantly influence the type and amount of food needed. Young and active dogs have different dietary needs than older dogs with a more sedentary lifestyle. Generally, they may benefit from approximately 15 grams of meat, 7.5 grams of vegetables, and 7.5 grams of rice per kilogram of body weight to ensure they receive essential nutrients.

Health Issues

keeping your Schnauzer healthy

Both the Border Collie and Standard Schnauzer breeds may be prone to certain genetic health issues that potential owners should be aware of before making a decision. The American Border Collie Association advises thoroughly researching the breed to understand potential health concerns. For Border Collies, genetic issues like Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA), Hip and Elbow Dysplasia, Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD), Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), and Epilepsy are among the health conditions that can affect them.

Conversely, Standard Schnauzers might inherit a genetic predisposition for three specific ailments:

  1. Hip dysplasia
  2. Eye issues
  3. Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Ethical breeders typically conduct pre-breeding tests to minimize the likelihood of these conditions emerging. Hip dysplasia impacts the hip joint and can be addressed through surgical intervention or medical care. As dogs age, they could develop eye complications like cataracts and dry eyes. Dilated Cardiomyopathy represents a grave cardiac disorder; however, the availability of a DNA test aids in lessening its occurrence.

Understanding these potential health issues can help prospective owners make informed decisions and ensure the well-being of their furry companions. Regular veterinary check-ups, responsible breeding practices, and proper care can contribute to a healthier and happier life for both Border Collies and Standard Schnauzers.

Cost of Breeding a Border Collie versus Standard Schnauzer

The price of a Border Collie from different breeders can vary significantly. However, for most owners, a purebred Border Collie typically costs between $600 and $1,200, a considerable investment but considerably less than a show-quality puppy. It’s essential to thoroughly research any breeder you consider to ensure there are no concerns about their facility or the well-being of their dogs.

Schnauzers can be classified as Miniature SchnauzersStandard Schnauzers, and Giant Schnauzers, with some of these are pretty rare outside Germany, making prices soar high, ranging from $600 to $5,500.


When purchasing a Border Collie puppy from a reputable breeder, prospective owners should be prepared for a range of prices. These intelligent and active pups are typically priced between $800 to $1,500 on average. However, for those seeking a top-quality Border Collie with exceptional traits and pedigree, the cost can soar to $3,500 and even higher. The price variation hinges on several critical factors, including the puppy’s age, gender, overall quality, pedigree, and the breeder’s location.

Similarly, for those interested in welcoming a Standard Schnauzer into their homes, the average price for a puppy usually falls between $1,500 to $2,500. This breed, known for its spirited and loving nature, can command a higher price depending on specific considerations. Breeders invest significant time, effort, and resources in raising litter, and this investment is often reflected in the final price. Additionally, the breeder’s location and the pedigree of the puppies play a significant role in determining the cost.

Breeders & Centers

You can adopt a Border Collie puppy for an adoption fee ranging from approximately $200 to $400. Numerous shelters and animal rescue centers offer this adorable breed, and the adoption fee often includes the vet’s examination, spaying, or neutering. In some cases, rescue organizations may even provide basic training lessons at a discounted price, typically around $100 to $300, which is an excellent additional benefit.

For those interested in adopting a Standard Schnauzer, the cost is significantly lower than purchasing one from a breeder. The adoption fee for a Standard Schnauzer is approximately $300, which covers the expenses of caring for the dog before adoption. Conversely, buying Standard Schnauzers from breeders can be prohibitively expensive, ranging from $500 to $1,500, depending on their breeding.

Conclusion: Which is Better, Border Collie or a Standard Schnauzer?

The question of which is better, a Border Collie or a Standard Schnauzer, ultimately depends on individual preferences, lifestyle, and specific needs. Both breeds have unique qualities and characteristics, making them excellent companions for the right owners. The Border Collie is renowned for its intelligence, work ethic, and high energy levels. These dogs excel in dog sports, agility, and obedience training, making them ideal for experienced owners who can provide the time and effort required to meet their demanding needs.

On the other hand, the Standard Schnauzer is an energetic and intelligent breed that enjoys family life. They are protective and make excellent watchdogs, often forming strong bonds with their family members. Their moderate energy levels and friendly nature suit various living environments and families with children.

Ultimately, the “better” breed is subjective and dependent on individual preferences and circumstances. It is crucial to research both breeds thoroughly, spend time with them if possible, and consider their unique traits and requirements before deciding. Regardless of the choice, providing a loving and supportive home for any dog will lead to a fulfilling and rewarding companionship.

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