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Black Lab Border Collie Mix: What To Expect From A Borador

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If you are looking for a friendly and energetic dog to adopt into the family, then the Borador, which is a mix between a Labrador retriever and a border collie, might be a perfect choice!

Attractive, intelligent, and friendly to a fault, these dogs have the perfect temperament for playing at home with the kids or accompanying their parents on epic adventures.

However, they do need lots of love and attention to thrive.

Border Collie Lab Mix

While there exists a diverse range of different types of Boradors, the most popular mix is between a black Labrador and a border collie.

This typically results in a distinctive and sleek black pup, often with white accents.

The Borador is one of the latest designer dogs you can get from a breeder, but it’s also common to find them in shelters in need of a home.

Always consider heading to your local shelter before purchasing a pup.

When I was in the 6th grade we rescued a Lab Border Collie mix from the local animal shelter named Maffy. He had many traits from both his Lab and Border Collie side including the love for water along with energy that would not end. Maffy was a wonderful family dog who was with us for nearly 20 years!

Read on to learn everything you need to know about Boradors and decide whether they are the perfect pup to join your home.

Borador Principal Traits: Overview

  • Height: 19 to 24 inches
  • Weight: 40 to 65 pounds
  • Lifespan: 10 to 15 years
  • Personality: High Energy, Intelligent, Easy to Train, Friendly

Borador: History Of The Breed

You get a Borador when you mix a Labrador retriever with a border collie, both of which are working dogs that were developed in the United Kingdom.

The Labrador retriever, or just “Lab” for short, is a retriever-gun dog developed in the UK from imported Canadian fishing dogs.

The breed was established in the 1880s and has been one of the most popular dog breeds in the Western world ever since.

Their friendly nature, intelligence, and eagerness to please make them ideal working dogs, and you will often see Labs in service dog roles such as disability assistance.

Their composure makes them the ideal dogs to accompany their owners into public spaces, though they are known as big shedders.

The border collie is a herding dog that was developed along the Anglo-Scottish border. It was officially recognized as a breed in 1915.

Border collies are both intelligent and athletic, which has made them favorites as sports dogs, particularly in sheepdog trials.

It is believed that initial combinations of Labs and border collies were probably accidental, but breeders soon realized the combination made for a very desirable mix.

While all kinds of Borador mixes exist, the most popular mix is between black Labradors and border collies, creating distinctive-looking black dogs with white accents.

How Are Boradors Different From Purebred Dogs?

The term “crossbreed” refers to dogs that have been deliberately created by mixing together two pure breeds.

The term is not generally used for accidents, but rather specifically for these designer dogs that are emerging.

However, it is important to differentiate between crossbreeds and pure breeds. Pure breeds tend to pass down physical and character traits in a very predictable way, making it possible to define the breed.

When it comes to crossbred dogs, though, there is less consistency in the way characteristics manifest. So, there is no definition of “true to breed” with crossbreeds.

It is possible to generalize to an extent about what to expect from a crossbred dog, and breeders do control for characteristics as much as possible.

Still, though, it is worth knowing that, when you adopt a crossbreed pup, they could grow up to be very different than what you expect, as their parents’ traits often combine in unexpected ways.

Luckily, when it comes to Boradors, you are working with two incredibly intelligent and friendly breeds, so the result always tends to be something special.

Borador Appearance

Labrador and border collie mixes are medium-to-large-sized dogs that tend to fall somewhere between the size of their two parents.

If you are able to meet your pup’s parents, remember that the mother always tends to be the larger of the two.

Breeders typically make sure the mother is larger so they have no trouble passing the baby pups.

Labradors tend to be between 21.5 and 24.5 inches tall and generally have a stocky build and a relatively broad face. They usually weigh between 55 and 80 pounds.

Border collies are a bit smaller, reaching between 18 and 22 inches in height and weighing between 30 and 55 pounds.

They tend to have a longer muzzle and a leaner physique, though this is not always easy to see through their medium-length hair.

As a result, you can expect a Borador to be between 19 and 24 inches tall and weigh between 40 and 65 pounds.

Remember, you can get a better idea of the potential height and weight of a puppy by looking at their parents.

Most Borador pups tend to have the slightly heavier build of the Labrador, though they are usually a little on the thin side.

They also tend to have the broad face of their Lab parent, though with a longer, more pointed nose.

You can usually expect your Borador puppy to be a mix of whatever color their parents were.

Most puppies take on the more solid black color of their Lab parent coupled with the white markings of their border collie parent.

So, if you are mixing a black Lab with a border collie, you can expect a mostly black dog with white accents.

Boradors typically have a double coat that will either look like the short hair of a Labrador retriever or the medium-length hair of a border collie. 

Regardless of their coat color, your Borador will shed quite a lot, as both Labradors and Border Collies are known for their high-shedding coats.

Borador Personality

Labradors and border collies have a lot of personality traits in common, so the characters and temperaments of Boradors are relatively easy to predict.

First and foremost, both breeds are considered to be highly intelligent. They can both learn new things quickly, and they are also able to think independently.

This allows them to adapt to new situations and determine what is expected of them, even if they have not been provided with specific instructions.

However, bear in mind this also makes them pretty good problem solvers, so they are very skilled at escaping spaces that aren’t fenced in properly.

But unlike very independent dogs that can be difficult to train due to their stubbornness, both Labradors and Border Collies were bred to work alongside humans.

This has made them very eager to please, which makes training through reward and positive reinforcement highly effective.

This is also why Labradors can be trained to complete the complex tasks required of a guide dog for the blind and why border collies can be trained to deliver elaborate tricks in a sporting dog competition.

You can expect a Borador to be highly trainable as well.

Both dogs tend to be friendly with strangers and other animals rather than territorial.

They are more likely to be curious and keen to make friends than to raise the alarm. This quality makes Boradors great companions but not very effective guard dogs.

Their affectionate nature tends to be particularly notable with children, around whom they are instinctively careful.

It is generally considered safe to let Labradors and border collies play with small children, though they should be supervised at all times in case of any mishaps.

Boradors often inherit their border collie parent’s imperative to herd, so they may fall into the habit of herding younger members of the family.

This can involve giving them a nip that is designed to surprise rather than hurt. Fortunately, they can easily be trained out of this behavior if you notice it and implement corrective training early on.

Boradors are highly sociable, and they won’t be happy if they are left on their own for hours on end.

While they can safely be left alone for up to four or five hours at a time, they can develop anxiety if they are left alone for long periods of time while everyone in the household is off working.

You can expect them to respond with destructive behaviors, such as digging and chewing. This is not done out of vengeance but rather boredom or frustration.

Finally, these dogs are very energetic, and they need lots of exercise. Ideally, they should get at least an hour of activity each day, spread out over two shorter sessions.

They will also love to accompany you on weekend field trips and hiking adventures.

Due to their size and energy levels, Boradors do best when they have a big home with a nice backyard to play in.

While they can be trained to put up with apartment living as long as they have regular opportunities to stretch their legs, it is not the ideal environment for them to thrive in.

Borador Health Risks

You can expect a Borador to have a lifespan of around 10 to 15 years, which is respectable for a dog of their size.

While they are generally healthy dogs, they are at risk of some health conditions.

In particular, they may develop elbow or hip dysplasia, which is a painful malformation of the joints that can make movement difficult, especially as they get older.

Boradors are less likely to develop this condition if they get sufficient exercise and have a healthy diet. An orthopedic bed will also give them a lot of comfort in later life.

Boradors are susceptible to a variety of different eye conditions that can cause them to partially lose their sight in later years.

This can be highly disorienting for them, but they can still feel comfortable in a familiar home where they know where everything is.

Finally, Boradors can also be prone to obesity, as they have little control over their hunger hormones.

This is why it is imperative that they get enough exercise and that you monitor their calorie intake, reducing or increasing portions as required.

Never leave food out for these dogs; they do best with strict and limited meal times.

Is A Lab Border Collie Mix Right For You?

With all that information in mind, you might still be wondering whether a Borador is the right dog for you. Here are a few questions to consider when making your decision.

Are You A First-Time Dog Owner? 

A Borador can actually be a great dog for first-time owners.

They are easy to train and they have a friendly temperament, so you are unlikely to find yourself dealing with an aggressive or troublesome dog.

Our Borador, Maffy was very smart and very trainable. The one thing I’d point out to a first-time dog owner is to be prepared to exercise your Borador. If you’re a couch potato then a Lab Border Collie mix might not be right for you.

Do You Have Time To Spend With A Dog? 

While there are some dog breeds that are pretty much happy to be home alone as long as they get the occasional walk, these dogs aren’t one of them! 

A Borador will want to be part of the family and involved in everything.

They can’t be left alone for long periods, and they will want to be nearby when you are about.

You also need to invest time in exercising them and teaching them, as they need the mental stimulation of training.

Do you have time to look after a dog like this? If so, the Borador is likely a good choice.

How Big Is Your Home? 

Boradors are pretty big dogs with lots of energy, so they do best when they have quite a bit of space.

Will your home feel full with a 24-inch-tall dog wandering about? Additionally, do you have an outdoor space where they can let off energy when needed?

Our Borador, Maffy was on the small side and had more of the Border Collie size. He was lean and around 35 pounds.

Do You Have Asthma Or Allergies? 

Boradors tend to be high shedders, so they aren’t good choices for anyone with asthma or allergies.

Are You Ready To Commit To Taking Care Of Your Dog For The Next 10 To 15+ Years? 

When you bring a Borador puppy home, you can expect them to live for anywhere from 10 to 15 or more years. 

Can you handle the responsibility of caring for them for that time, including the financial responsibility of caring for them?

Do you have people who can look after them when you go away or in case of an emergency?

Dog ownership is a big responsibility, regardless of the breed you adopt.

Our Borador lived for over 20 years.!

Borador FAQs

Are border collie Lab mixes good dogs?

Yes, Boradors are considered very good dogs, especially if you are looking for a loyal and fairly easy-to-manage family dog.

They are highly intelligent, very trainable, and bond with families quickly. 

Additionally, they are naturally friendly and rarely have problems with other people and animals, though they don’t make very good guard dogs.

Boradors are high-energy and need a lot of attention, so they are best for families that have time to enjoy them.

How smart are border collie Lab mixes?

Both border collies and Labrador retrievers are considered among the smartest dog breeds, alongside the likes of poodles and German shepherds.

As a result, you can expect crossbreeds that bring together their genetics to be highly intelligent.

Our Borador, Maffy was super smart! When we first met him at the shelter he responded to basic obedience commands like sit, down, and shake from inside his kennel! He appeared very calm with a great temperament. However, we soon learned that Maffy tricked us. He was full of energy and not quite as obedient as we thought. 🙂 But still a wonderful family dog.

How much does a border collie Lab mix cost?

If you are buying directly from a breeder, you can expect to pay between $200 and $500 for a Borador pup, depending on where you are in the country and the reputation of the breeder.

Can Boradors swim?

Most dogs can swim, though they don’t all love water.

Labrador retrievers are known for their love of playing and swimming in water, so there is a good chance their Borador offspring will also love a good swim.

If they have the longer coat of their border collie parent, just beware of the amount of water that they are likely to drip after a swim!

Our Borador, Maffy had a love for water. In fact, he’d go swimming in our pool when no one was around. His game was to drop his tennis ball into the pool then, wait till it floated away, and then jump in after it.

When is a Borador fully grown?

Boradors actually remain playful puppies for quite some time and can take quite a long time to reach their full size.

You can expect females to reach their full adult size when they hit around 24 months, while males take a bit longer and are not fully grown until around 36 months.

While the dogs will also lose most of their puppy energy upon reaching adulthood, they will remain energetic and athletic dogs for most of their lives.

Don’t expect your Borador to truly  “calm down” until they reach around 7 years old.

The Verdict

If you are a first-time dog owner or anyone looking for a friendly, intelligent, and easy-to-manage dog to adopt into your family, a Borador is a great choice.

Since their Labrador and Border Collie parents are both intelligent, trainable, and friendly dogs, their offspring are sure to inherit these wonderful traits.

Overall, the Borador crossbreed is:

  • High energy and needs plenty of space to feel comfortable
  • Agreeable, friendly, and loyal, though they are prone to developing separation anxiety if left alone for long periods of time
  • Quite large dogs, like their Labrador and border collie parents

While Boradors are generally easy to manage, they also need quite a bit of your time and dedication to stay happy.

Take time to consider whether you have the time to look after one of these pups properly before taking them home.

Thinking of adopting? Read our complete adoption guide here.

Do you have any experience with Boradors?

Share your insights with the community in the comments section below.

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  1. My husband and I had a borador for almost 15 years. He was the best dog ever. He passed in March, 2023 and we both feel a part of our hearts went with him. He was loving, smart, active, protective, just the best dog ever. He loved his pool, Frisbee’s, his cat siblings, and would give the best kisses. If your ever lucky enough to adopt a borador consider yourself to be blessed.

  2. Just heard that my wonderful dog is a Borador! A lady stopped me whilst walking our dogs and gave me all the info. Hayley is a rescue , I had no idea what combination she was, and was very quiet at first. She absolutely adores water and is full in on our walks. Lots of water available to roll around in! My car doesn’t love her so much though, it’s always full of sand! Very clever and also great guard dog even though here they say not. But she’s super friendly when out though she does like to wander off and do her own thing. I recently adopted an old dog , half blind and almost totally deaf to get him off the streets in his old age. She has been a bit jealous but they’re fast becoming friends now. She’s a lovely popular dog on our walks with lots of friendly comments! I’m going to try her on the beach soon!! That should be interesting

  3. Had a Borador for 12 of her 13 years. (Rescue dog) Greatest, smartest , overall best dog we’ve ever had. Funny, obedient, sweet and wonderful. She loved her long walks, which we did everyday.

  4. We have just been given a 5 year old border lab cross as a rescue and she is a wonderful dog. All black with one white toe and and a white strip down her chest. She is so friendly and such a loveable girl. Turns on a sixpence when you call her and loves walks and cuddles. She’ll nuzzle in for a stroke and is so loyal. Best dog ever.

  5. Just put mine down at 13 yrs old. The most loyal dog ive had and to think i got pick of the litter and no charge. I happened to be a frisbee player for years and when i got him i was hopinng to make a bond to the game with him.Rudy and I went thru over 400 frisbees in our days. He was know to carry a frisbee most all the time and ready to play night or day. The more people watch us play the better he got. When Rudy went down he took alot of people hearts with him. Great dog,, gone but never forgoten.

  6. We have an 11 year old border and this is a very accurate description of him. He is wonderful with our three young children. Is still able to learn new commands and is the gentlest dog I’ve ever known. Wonderful family dog and great for first time dog owners.

  7. Great article!
    I just rescued a Borador pup
    5 months old OMG beautiful dog smart and already ready to please! A bit shy since she was a rescue and moved around from foster home to foster home argghhh. My wife and I love her to death.
    Enough said!!!
    Wonderful and beautiful dog.

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