Border Collie vs. Shetland Sheepdog: How Are They Different?

There are countless dog lovers who are debating which dog breed is best and even come to a point of comparing Border Collie vs Sheltie in the process. Naturally, mixed breed dogs are a great way to combine the best traits of two dog breeds. A Border Collie and Shetland Sheepdog cross is also known as a “Sheepie” are one such hybrid. Both the parent breeds have unique characteristics. So you don’t necessarily have to compare side-by-side Border Collie or Sheltie as each breed is perfect for every unique preference.

In this article, we will go through essential considerations when choosing whether a Border Collie or Shetland Sheepdog is right for you. Read on their differences to find out which one suit your lifestyle better.

What is a Shetland Sheepdog?

shetland sheepdog

The Shetland Sheepdog is a small-sized dog with a lifespan of 10-14 years. They are very social dogs that are great for families. These dogs are highly affectionate and thrive when they are part of a family. Shetland Sheepdogs are very easy to train and their high energy level makes them great for families that want to go for long walks or runs.

Shetland Sheepdogs have been bred to be part of a flock. These dogs can be great companions for people who are interested in raising chickens or ducks. Shelties can be great companions for people who live in apartment buildings and don’t have yards for their dogs to play in.

What is a Border Collie?

The Border Collie is a medium-sized dog with a lifespan of 12-14 years. It has different breed types and among which is a Rough Coat Border Collie. Regardless, these dogs have a high energy level, good for families that want a dog that can become a kid’s best friend. Border Collies are easily trainable and make great companions for active families. Border Collies are very affectionate dogs that are eager to please their owners. They also require a lot of mental stimulation, attention, and love which means you can’t leave them alone for too long as they can become destructive in their boredom.

smiling Border Collie

Border Collies have been bred to herd sheep and they have the instinct to do so. These dogs are highly intelligent dogs that are great if you want to participate in a lot of sports and activities with your dog. If you live near a farm, Border Collies can be great pets that help out with the daily chores.

History of Border Collie vs Shetland Sheepdog

owner enjoying her dogs

Both dog breeds are known to have exceptional herding ability. But let us guide you on how each specific breed is different from the other.


Border Collie vs Sheltie are both herding dogs, so they both have herding instincts. And they are both terrier breeds, so they both have bold and curious personalities. But there are still some big differences between the two breeds.

  • Border Collies are known for their calm and gentle temperaments. They are quiet dogs who like to spend time with their families, most especially the smooth coat Border Collie (another type of Border Collies). They are appropriate as family dogs and are also good for first-time dog owners.
  • Shetland Sheepdogs are also calm and gentle. They are vocal dogs who bark when they need you to know something is up. They are a great choice for families with active kids. They are also a great option for first-time dog owners.

Appearance & Characteristics of Border Collie vs Sheltie

Border Collies are larger dogs with long, thick coats. They can be either black and white or red and white. They come in a variety of different colors, sizes, and body types. In general, they are medium-sized dogs with white or black fur, long wavy coats, and a sturdy build. They also have bright, inquisitive eyes that are commonly compared to the “bright eyes” of a deer.

Shetland Sheepdogs are small, medium-sized dogs with short, soft coats. They are normally black and white. Their coats are short, soft, and easy to groom. They have round, dark eyes and sturdy bodies with short legs.

firm stance of a sheltie

Border Collies are calm and relaxed dogs that will enjoy lounging around the house with you. They will also like to go on walks, especially if you have a dog park nearby. Shetland Sheepdogs are more energetic and active dogs. They will definitely want to go on longer walks, and they will probably also love playing fetch and going to dog parks. It would be a great idea as well to take them to an indoor swimming pool so they can greatly exercise their muscles and joints.

Border Collies are great with cats, but they may chase and herd squirrels and other small rodents. Shetland Sheepdogs are less likely to herd squirrels and other rodents.


There are lots of differences in personality for Border Collie vs Sheltie. Border Collies are generally calm and quiet dogs. They are known for being friendly, gentle, and eager to please. They are also extremely intelligent dogs who excel at herding, agility, and trick competitions.

Shetland Sheepdogs are bold and curious dogs who are ready for anything. These dogs are also great at herding things other than animals, like toys, balls, and children. They are also a great option for families with young children but they may be a little too energetic for very young children.

Key Characteristics of Sheltie and Border Collie:

Border Collies Shetland Sheepdogs
Size Larger dogs with long and thick coats Small, medium-sized dogs with short and soft coats
Coat Long wavy coats Coats are short, soft, and easy to groom
Persona Calm and relaxed dogs More energetic and active dogs
Herding Herd squirrels and other small rodents  greatly with cats Less likely to herd squirrels and other rodents
Training Stubborn dogs or easily get bored Obedient

Training & Exercise of Border Collie vs Shetland Sheepdog

If you are an active person, this breed may be a great fit for you. They are high-energy dogs, so they will need plenty of exercises to stay healthy and happy. As a piece of advice from experts, see to it that you have a quality and durable dog harness to keep them with you at all times regardless of the activity. They are also very intelligent dogs, so they will need plenty of mental stimulation as well. If you are training your dog, doing positive reinforcement and praise can really boost their morale. Thus, rewarding them with treats when they’ve shown or done a positive behavior or action can keep them engaged in the process. 

It is important to have the right approach when working with this pet. Dogs of any breed can become easily bored with repetition when it comes to training, so variation is key to keeping your dog interested and motivated.

training shetland sheepdog

Shetland Sheepdogs, on the other hand, are less challenging to train. They are generally very obedient and eager to please, which makes them great family pets.

They respond well to repetition when it comes to training, so it is helpful to break down the training process into short sessions.

Shelties are also bred to be working dogs and require regular exercise to stay happy and healthy. This breed will need a lot of daily exercise to stay healthy and happy. They are also very intelligent dogs, so they will need plenty of mental stimulation as well.

Temperament of Border Collie vs Shetland Sheepdog

Border Collies are amazing working dogs and also wonderful pets. They’ll give you unconditional love and will be by your side no matter what you do. But like any dog, they come with their own quirks and behavioral patterns. The Border Collie temperament has its own set of characteristics that help to identify the breed.

They are very happy to run around and explore the world – especially when their human is there with them. They love a good game of fetch, and you’ll often see them running in open fields with their owners. Border Collies also enjoy more structured activities such as:

  • Agility
  • Herding

These activities help to channel their high energy levels and make them much happier.

Shetland Sheepdogs are very gentle, loving dogs that would be a great fit for any family. They get along well with other animals, children, and even strangers. Because they are so gentle, they are also a great option for families with small children.


Shelties are also a lot less vocal than Border Collies, so they may be a better fit for families with busy schedules that don’t want to deal with the occasional barking episode. They are a great choice if you want a dog that is gentle, but not as high-energy as a Border Collie.

Energy levels

Shelties are slightly lower energy compared to Border Collies, and this can help them fit in better with households who don’t have as much free time to spend with their dog.

Health & Nutrition of Border Collie vs Sheltie

As with most dog breeds, both the Border Collie and Shetland Sheepdog are prone to certain health challenges. 

Border Collies may be more prone to developing joint issues as they get older, and Shetland Sheepdogs may be more prone to developing digestive issues such as colitis. 

As recommended, you can try to reduce the risk of your dog developing health issues by feeding them a high-quality diet that keeps their nutritional needs in mind. You can also work with your vet to find out what diet they recommend for your dog.

Taking Care of Border Collie vs Shetland Sheepdog

Getting the right care for Border Collie or Sheltie is comparative since they’re both active dogs, you will want to make sure you’re giving them plenty of outdoor time as well as plenty of games, toys, and activities to do indoors. This will help them burn off some of their extra energy when they aren’t able to spend as much time outside.

Parenting a Puppy

When it comes to parenting a pup of either of these breeds, remember that they are both active and therefore, need a lot of exercise. This makes it a great idea to have plenty of toys and bones. This would give them some things to chew on when they are bored.

These dogs do share some common health concerns. As an owner, you must know that they are prone to ear infections, allergies, and joint issues. You’ll also want to be careful about their teeth. These dogs sometimes have a hard time keeping their teeth clean.


First things first: Always look at the list of ingredients! You may think that the recommended serving sizes or feeding guidelines are the priority. Actually, it’s knowing where your dog’s food is sourced from. Always look for an animal-based protein source as the main ingredient and avoid any grains at all costs.

Border Collies and Shelties are both very sensitive – finding the right diet for your dog needs to be tailored to each individual dog’s needs. For example, if you have a dog with a sensitive stomach, you’ll want to select a food that has easily digestible ingredients. The same goes for dogs with allergies – find a recipe that eliminates the possibility of your dog having an allergic reaction. To make the best decision for your beloved four-legged friend, bring them to a vet and seek for their professional advice.


Border Collie has more shedding than the Shetland Sheepdog, so you’ll have to spend a bit more time grooming this breed. You may also need to bathe your Border Collie more frequently, as this breed is prone to getting fleas and other insects.

Border Collie or Sheltie – Which One to Pick?

The first step in selecting a herding breed is to decide which breed actually suits your lifestyle. Let’s take a look at some things you should consider in choosing a herding breed.

  • Experience – Herding dogs, especially those that are more energetic and excitable, may be a good fit for experienced dog owners.
  • Environment – If you live in a rural area, herding dogs may be the best choice. These breeds need plenty of space to run, and are best suited to areas where they have access to large, unfenced areas of land.
  • Family – Herding dogs are a great choice for families with children who are at least six years old.
  • Activity level – Some herding breeds are more energetic than others. While all herding breeds have plenty of energy, some have higher activity levels than others.

Both the Border Collie and Sheltie are great breeds of dogs. Both are highly loyal, affectionate, and intelligent. The choice between the two really comes down to personal preferences. If you’re looking for a dog that can be great with kids and is easy to train, then the Sheltie is a great choice.

If you’re looking for a dog that can be great with kids and can also help out with the farm, then the Border Collie is a great choice. Choosing between these two breeds is a tough call. Though one thing is for sure, both are great pets that are sure to make wonderful additions to your family.


When you are ready to add a new member to your family, you should think about what you want that relationship to look like

Making up your mind on whether you should get Border Collie or Sheltie Breeds can be a tough one especially, if you want a dog that will lie quietly at your feet while you binge-watch Netflix, or a dog that is ready to go out and explore with you.

No matter which breed you choose, make sure you find a good breeder and get your dog from a reputable source. This way, you can be sure that you are getting a healthy dog with a good temperament.

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