Border Collie Lab Mix – The Ultimate Guide to a Borador

Also known as the Borador, this border collie lab mix, despite sounding like a holiday destination, is actually the most reliable dog you could wish for.

This intelligent and loving canine is the result of mating a Labrador Retriever with a Border Collie.

Due to the high intelligence of the Collie and the Labrador’s want to please people, these guys are a dream to train. They respond best to positive reinforcement and reward, with a consistent routine. The Labrador’s scavenging nature means food rewards are top of the list.

They are extremely energetic, so ensure you meet their daily exercise needs. Most owners of these dogs boast their dog as being the friendliest dog ever; most suited for families and the easiest to train!

Seems too good to be true?

Let’s have a look at this pooch in more detail, where she came from, what it takes to look after her on a daily basis and whether she lives up to her reputation.

Border Collie Lab Mix Infographic

Quick Breed Summary
Breed Type Mixes and More
Purpose Friendly Family Dog (i.e. Companion)
Suitable For They suit all families; happily co-existing with other family pets and being a loyal ally to children of all ages.
Size Upto 17″ to the withers (male) and 15” to the withers (female)
Weight 40 to 65 pounds
Lifespan 12 – 13 years
Color Variations Typical coat variations are: Black and White, Black, Brown and Yellow
Temperament Friendly, Intelligent, Loving and Energetic
Activity Levels High – Requires a minimum of 60 minutes of exercise each day
Daily Food Consumption Around 20 calories per pound of body weight so between 800 and 1,300 calories each day
Known Health Issues Deafness, Hip and Elbow Dysplasia, Heart Issues and Cataracts

So, What is a Border Collie Lab Mix (i.e. Borador)?

Borador sat on the grass
As with any cross-breed, the idea was to produce a new dog with the positive qualities found in its parent’s breed. It was hoped to find the new perfect family dog, super friendly and easy to train… the perfect companion.

The Border Collie Labrador Mix is a result of mating a Labrador Retriever with a Border Collie. The sire and dam in this breed are interchangeable (i.e. the mother can be either breed). Unlike smaller, designer breeds such as Puggles.

In a Rush?! Grab a free copy of our eBook on Border Collie Lab Mix with a full care guide and appearance summary.

As both of his parents have working backgrounds, you could argue that the Border Collie Lab Mix is a working dog. However, as it’s a mixed breed, and is not currently registered with any major Kennel Clubs, it is classed as a companion or designer dog.

The idea of creating this dog was to mix the intelligence of the Collie with the friendliness of the Labrador to create a hassle free family dog.

For a Border Collie Lab Mix puppy you should expect to pay anywhere between $200-$500. In a litter you would expect between 6-9 puppies!

Both Labradors and Collies have been around since, it feels like, the beginning of time, but we have only really noticed a rise in designer cross breeds in the last 10-20 years. There seems to have been a stable interest in that time.

To understand more of this seemingly perfect family companion, let’s have a look at his parents in more detail.

The Border Collie

Border Collie in Water

One half of the Borador, the Border Collie. They were first bred after the Viking’s invaded Britain during the dissolution of the Roman Empire. When they invaded, they brought their dogs. Crosses of the old Roman’s dogs with the Viking’s dogs produced what we now know as the Border Collie.

They sought an agile herder with an impeccable work ethic. It took a while for the Border Collie to venture further than Britain, with it not being recognized by the American Kennel Club until very recently in 1995.

Border Collies are renowned for their speed and athleticism, often being the dog of choice in agility rings. Their astounding intelligence, ranking number one of all dogs breeds, and work ethic means they are a dream to train.

Despite them having that happy go lucky face – they can be deemed quite highly strung. Meaning if they don’t have the exercise and stimulation they need, they will become destructive. Border Collies become bored very easily; they are best suited to a busy lifestyle and to people who enjoy spending time outside.

So one parent is a highly intelligent, athletic worker. Let’s have a look at the other parent.

The Labrador Retriever

Three Labrador Retrievers on a Door Step
These guys are super friendly, energetic and happy. An attentive, loving and gentle addition to the family.

Not surprisingly, the Labrador Retriever ranks number one for popularity with The American Kennel Club.

I bet everyone reading this can think of someone who has a Labrador Retriever in their family?

The Labrador has been around from the mid 1800s. It was spotted in Newfoundland for its impressive waterfowl hunting by English Nobles. The Labrador was first registered with the English Kennel Club in 1903 and then by the American Kennel Club in 1917.

The Labrador is often used as a working dog, but it has seemingly gained it’s popularity for its family companionship instead. In 1991, Labrador registrations topped the list in the AKC; this reign has stood ever since.

Labs are renowned for being friendly and super people orientated. They are energetic and happy; they love nothing more than playing ball in the yard and hiking in the woods. Equally, they love chilling on the sofa at the end of a busy day.

Labradors are people pleasers; making them a dream to train!

So if we combine the energy and intelligence of the Collie and the friendliness and happiness of the Labrador, it seems we have a pretty perfect family dog?

Let’s see!

Breed Personality and Border Collie Lab Mix Temperament

Characteristic Rating
Friendliness 5 Star Rating for Friendliness
Ease of Care 5 Star Rating for Ease of Care
Trainability 5 Star Rating for Trainability
Exercise Requirements 5 Star Rating for Exercise Requirements
Social Tendencies 5 Star Rating for Social Tendencies

You read that review table right. It almost sounds like these perfect dogs are too good to be true?

We have an intelligent people pleaser who is a dream to train. She is able to mix with all families, those with babies, those with toddlers, those with teenagers, adult only homes; everyone. She has the energy to hike up mountains and will retrieve from the lake until the sun sets.

Perfect!

Almost.

You have to remember that she is still a cross breed. You cannot guarantee what personality traits you are going to get in your mixed breed dog. We also know that her intelligence can be an issue if she isn’t stimulated and gets bored. She will bark and she will chew the legs off your chairs! She also isn’t a fan of being left alone for long periods of time. She’s energetic and likes to be busy – with you.

Let’s have a look in more detail at what it takes to look after her on a daily basis.

How to Care for a Lab Corder Collie Mix

Food and Diet Requirements

Your Border Collie Lab Mix should be fed a high quality food. Do your research; there are many on the market including: dry, wet, raw and dehydrated.

Ensure the food you are feeding meets the daily nutrient requirements for your pooch. As a puppy his nutritional requirements will be different to when he is fully grown.

Border Collie Lab Mix Calorie Requirements
Weight Puppy Calorie Needs Adult Summer Needs Adult Winter Needs
40 pounds 2000 calories 800 calories 1200 calories
50 pounds 3400 calories 1000 calories 2000 calories
60 pounds 3600 calories 1200 calories 2400 calories

Ideally a puppy’s daily food allowance should be split into four meals. When they have reached around six months old, this can be reduced to two meals per day. Most dogs remain with two meals for the rest of their life.

Fresh water should always be available for your pooch – dogs who are fed dry food will always drink more than dogs on a wet or raw diet.

Keep an eye on your Border-collie Labrador’s weight – if they have retained the Labrador’s scavenging gene they will easily put on weight.

Ensure you can always see a waistline and that you can feel his ribs.

Exercise Requirements

Border Collie Lab Mix Temperament

Both parent breeds are highly active; which means your Border-collie Labrador Mix will be too. Expect to walk for upwards of 60 minutes per day.

They will explore woods, hike up mountains, play ball in the yard, and chase their friends in the dog park. They will definitely keep you on your toes.

Like their parent Collie, many Border-collie Labrador mixes excel in obedience, agility, rallies and flyball.

Consider taking up a hobby like this to keep their working genes busy!

Their intelligence and need to please people makes brain games a brilliant bonding session.

Work their love of food to your advantage with the brain game below.

What you will need:

  • A muffin tin
  • Some tennis balls or toys
  • High value food treats

How to play:

  • Put the food treats in the muffin holes in the tray
  • Hide the food treats placing toys or tennis balls on top of them in the holes
  • Encourage your dog to figure out how to get to the treats.

Training Requirements

Labradaor Retriever Guide Dog

As we said earlier in the article, these guys are a dream to train.

Generally. We know they respond best to a consistent routine, positive reinforcement training (i.e. clicker training) and rewards.

Avoid the use of punishment or negative coercion based training. As we know this can cause fear and anxiety in dogs, resulting in problematic even aggressive behaviors.

When she is doing what you expect of her, reward her. Whether this is a toy or food reward.

As a puppy, try to have a consistent routine; let them out for the toilet after each meal and at regular intervals throughout the day. This makes it much easier to set them up to succeed at toilet training.

The Border-collie Labrador Mix is loved for being a stable, reliable dog.

As much as we hope the parent’s temperaments contribute to this, we also need to acknowledge that the environment plays a huge part. She needs to experience everything the world has to offer, slowly and in a safe way. From a young age, socialize her. Introduce her to people, tall people, short people, those wearing hats, ski jackets and carrying umbrellas. Let her investigate machines and loud noises; reward her when she reacts calmly. She needs to know that she can have all these experiences and they are positive. She should understand that kids move pretty quickly, but that’s OK – if they’re getting too much she can just move herself away.

It is both nature and nurture that produces a perfect family dog.

Grooming Requirements

Border-collie labrador mix grooming requirements
Relatively low on the grooming maintenance front, these guys only really need to be brushed a couple of times a week. They will shed their hair, so you will probably spend more time vacuuming your home than brushing them.

The Border-collie Labrador mix is pretty low maintenance on the grooming front. You shouldn’t need to brush her more than a few days a week.

You may find that she needs a professional groom at a grooming salon 3-4 times a year; she would have a bath and all her dead hair would be removed. Her ears and eyes would be cleaned, and nails trimmed.

You should check and clean her eyes and ears regularly and clean her teeth. If you start these checks from a young age, it makes it much easier when they’re fully grown.

Appearance of a Borador: Coat, Color and Grooming

Border Collie Lab Mix
As the Border Collie Labrador Mix is a cross breed it is impossible to say for certain the size of dog you will end up with. The parent’s size is a good indicator.

The Border-collie Labrador Mix can range in it’s appearance, sometimes looking very similarly to one of it’s parents. They generally have a longer, softer coat than a Labrador. You tend to find them most commonly black in color with white markings. You will also find them yellow and brown with various markings.

As it’s a cross breed, the appearance of your Border-collie Labrador Mix will never be certain.

Generally, they tend to look very similarly to either one of their parents. They tend to have softer floppy ears and small collie eyes. They often have a softer collie coat, slightly longer than a Labrador.

The most common color is black with white markings, but they can be solid black and have even been yellow or brown! The most common marking is a white flare up their chest; just like the Collies!

You are more likely to have a yellow or brown Border Collie Labrador Mix if the Labrador parent was chocolate or yellow.

Known Health Problems

Although generally healthy, we are seeing some of the health issues passed down from their parents. Unfortunately, some Border-collie Labrador mixes are presenting with some of the same health conditions. Thanks to the Collie parent we see deafness and elbow dysplasia and thanks to the Labrador parent we are seeing hip dysplasia, cataracts and heart issues.

Deafness – This is a common issue found in Collies. It seems to be associated with Merle Collies. Testing can be carried out and those dogs demonstrating a predisposition should not be bred from.

Hip and Elbow Dysplasia – this is where there is abnormal development in the joints resulting in arthritis, lameness and stiffness. Unfortunately both Labradors and Collies suffer with both hip and elbow dysplasia. Testing can be carried out and dogs with affected joints should not be bred.

Heart Issues – more and more Labradors are presenting with heart disease and defects. Some heart conditions can be inherited.

Cataracts – a study on 1399 Labradors found that 6.6 percent of those Labradors suffered with cataracts and 5.5 percent of those cataracts were hereditary. Again this highlights the need to research breeders and establish the health of parent dogs.

It is important to attend annual physical examinations with the veterinarian; this will highlight any potential health concerns with your pooch and keep up to date with his vaccination schedule.

Border Collie Labrador Mix FAQs

How long do Border Collie Lab Mixes live?
Both the Border-collie and Labrador have a life span of around 13 years so it is generally expected that the Border-collie Labrador Mix will have the same.

How big do lab border collie mixes get?
As they are mix, it is sometimes difficult to predict how big they will get. However, Border-collie Labrador dogs generally grow to around 17” in height and can weigh up to 65lbs!

What is a Borador?
A Borador is a puppy from mating a, typically, black lab and border collie.

Summary of Breed

Boasted as the most friendly dogs of all time, we can see why. The Border Collie Labrador mix sounds almost too good to be true. They are loving, reliable, stable and easy to train. These qualities mean they will fit in with any family.

Thanks to their Collie parent they have outstanding intelligence; a consistent routine with positive reinforcement and reward will ensure you have no issues training them. But, keep them active; they need daily exercise with plenty of mental stimulation. Falter here and expect barking and destruction. Bored dogs aren’t happy dogs!

They have picked up their friendly genes from their Labrador parent – but remember you also need to socialize them if you truly want this well-rounded dog that everyone talks about.

This gentle, happy pooch will definitely keep you on your toes, but it’s wagging tail will always be by your side. So is it time for you to get a Border Collie Lab mix? Let us know in the comments below, we hope you loved reading this guide.

John Woods Autho Bio Picture
John Woods is the founder of All Things Dogs, member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, graduate in Animal Behavior & Welfare and recognized author by the Dog Writers Association of America.

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