Dogs Similar to Border Collies: Top Breeds to Consider

Border Collies are known for their intelligence, agility, and incredible herding skills, making them popular among dog enthusiasts and families alike. If you’re considering adding a canine friend to your home that shares many of these endearing traits, you might want to look at breeds similar to the Border Collie.

dogs that are similar to border collies

Several dog breeds share genetic backgrounds or temperament qualities with the beloved Border Collie. Some breeds, such as the Scotch Collie and Shetland Sheepdog, have close ties to the Border Collie in terms of origin and purpose.

Others, like the Australian Shepherd and Belgian Sheepdog, demonstrate comparable herding skills, athleticism, and devotion to their human families.

In the following sections, you will discover a variety of dog breeds that resemble Border Collies in appearance and character. Each breed has its unique qualities that make it stand out yet still holds true to the essence of the admired Border Collie. This useful information can help you find the perfect furry companion to fit your lifestyle and needs.

Attributes of Border Collies

Border Collies are well-known for their intelligence and remarkable herding abilities. As you explore breeds similar to these intelligent canines, it’s crucial to recognize the characteristics that make Border Collies unique.

Energy and Drive: Border Collies are known for their high energy levels and strong work ethic. Bred for herding livestock, they have an innate desire to be active and working. Your Border Collie will thrive when given plenty of physical and mental stimulation.

Intelligence: Often considered one of the most intelligent dog breeds, Border Collies are quick learners and have an incredible problem-solving capacity. With proper training and guidance, they excel in various tasks and dog sports such as agility, obedience, and herding trials.

Loyalty: Border Collies are incredibly loyal to their families, and they bond closely with their owners. They make excellent companions for people who can dedicate the time and effort into meeting their mental and physical needs.

Responsiveness: These dogs are known for their responsiveness and keen attention to their handler’s cues. Their eagerness to please and ability to adapt make them well-suited for training and participating in various activities.

Some dog breeds that share similar attributes to Border Collies include:

  • Scotch Collie
  • Koolie
  • Australian Cattle Dog
  • Rottweiler
  • German Shepherd
  • Rough Collie

While some of these breeds may possess different physical characteristics or skills, they all share certain attributes with the Border Collie. Whether you’re looking for a loyal working dog or a highly trainable companion, these breeds are worth considering as alternatives to the beloved Border Collie.

Australian Shepherd

dogs that look like collies

The Australian Shepherd, often referred to as an Aussie, is a highly intelligent and active breed that shares similarities with the Border Collie. While they may appear similar at first glance, there are some distinct differences between the two breeds.

Appearance: The Australian Shepherd is a medium-sized dog with a muscular and agile build. They have a thick double coat that can come in a variety of colors, such as blue merle, red merle, black, and red, often accompanied by white and tan markings. Aussies have striking eyes that can be blue, brown, amber, or even a mix of these colors.

Temperament: Australian Shepherds are known for their loyalty and eagerness to please. They are good-natured, affectionate, and bond closely with their families. They can be protective of their loved ones and may act as a guardian to their home. However, they are also friendly and social dogs that get along well with others, including children and other pets.

Activity Level: Like Border Collies, the Australian Shepherd thrives on physical exercise and mental stimulation. They require daily walks, play sessions, and activities such as agility or obedience training. Your Aussie will appreciate the opportunity to use their problem-solving skills and physical prowess to complete tasks and overcome challenges.

Trainability: As intelligent dogs, Australian Shepherds are easy to train and excel in various dog sports and activities. They respond best to positive reinforcement techniques, and early socialization is crucial to prevent anxieties or behavioral issues. The Aussie is very versatile and can excel in roles such as herding, search and rescue, therapy, and service work.

Health: Australian Shepherds are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they can be prone to specific health issues. Some concerns include hip dysplasia, cataracts, and epilepsy. Regular vet check-ups and a well-balanced diet can help maintain their health and ensure a long, happy life.

By understanding the characteristics of the Australian Shepherd, you can determine if this breed is the right fit for your lifestyle. Remember to provide adequate exercise, mental stimulation, and proper training to keep your Aussie happy and healthy.

Shetland Sheepdog


The Shetland Sheepdog, affectionately known as the Sheltie, is a dog breed that shares many similarities with the Border Collie. Both breeds have their origins in herding livestock and are highly intelligent, energetic, and active dogs. However, there are some key differences that set these two breeds apart.

In terms of appearance, the Shetland Sheepdog bears a resemblance to the Border Collie but is generally smaller in size. Shelties typically stand between 13 and 16 inches tall and weigh between 14 and 27 pounds. Their coat is long and thick, with a mane-like ruff around the neck and feathering on the legs. This gives them a distinct, well-groomed appearance that is both elegant and hardy.

When it comes to temperament, Shelties are known for their loyalty and devotion to their families. They are very intuitive when it comes to human moods and needs, making them excellent family pets. Like Border Collies, they require plenty of mental stimulation and physical exercise to stay happy and healthy. They excel in activities such as agility, obedience, and herding trials.

As herding dogs, both the Shetland Sheepdog and Border Collie share similar working backgrounds, with their herding instincts deeply ingrained. However, the Shetland Sheepdog may have a slightly stronger inclination to bark, a useful trait in their original environment as they worked to control livestock on the rugged terrain of the Shetland Islands.

In summary:

  • Shetland Sheepdogs are smaller than Border Collies, standing between 13 and 16 inches tall and weighing between 14 and 27 pounds.
  • Shelties have a long, thick coat with a distinctive mane-like ruff and feathering on the legs.
  • Highly intuitive and loyal, Shelties make excellent family pets.
  • They excel in agility, obedience, and herding trials.
  • Shelties and Border Collies share similar working backgrounds, though Shelties may have a stronger inclination to bark.

By understanding the similarities and differences between the Shetland Sheepdog and the Border Collie, you can better determine which breed might be the right fit for your lifestyle and family.

English Shepherd

The English Shepherd is a dog breed that shares similarities with Border Collies in both appearance and temperament. As you may know, Border Collies are highly active and intelligent herding dogs, and English Shepherds also possess these qualities.

Originally bred for herding livestock and protecting families on farms, English Shepherds, like their Border Collie counterparts, have a strong work ethic. This makes them an excellent choice for those seeking a reliable and devoted working companion.

When it comes to size, you’ll find that English Shepherds are quite comparable to Border Collies. They generally weigh around 40 to 60 pounds and have a height of 18 to 24 inches. However, their coat can appear slightly different, as they tend to have a more diverse variety of coat colors, including sable, black and tan, black and white, or tricolor.

In terms of temperament, English Shepherds are known for being versatile and adaptable. While they boast a strong herding instinct like Border Collies, they can be more laid-back in certain situations. This adaptability makes them a great option for farm work, search and rescue, or even as therapy dogs.

To ensure the happiness and well-being of your English Shepherd, it’s essential to provide them with ample physical and mental stimulation. They thrive when given tasks to keep them occupied, and they require regular exercise to maintain their overall health.

Some key points to remember about English Shepherds include:

  • Similar size and temperament to Border Collies
  • Versatile and adaptable, with strong herding instincts
  • Coat colors can differ from Border Collies
  • Require physical and mental stimulation for happiness and well-being

As you consider which dog breed is best suited for your needs and lifestyle, it’s important to keep these characteristics in mind. If you’re drawn to the loyal and hardworking nature of Border Collies, an English Shepherd could be a fantastic alternative.

Belgian Malinois

Belgian Malinois are a breed of dog that shares some similarities with Border Collies. Both breeds are known for their intelligence, high energy, and strong work ethic. They were originally bred for herding purposes, so they have a natural instinct to be active and engaged in tasks. In this section, you’ll learn more about the Belgian Malinois and how they compare to Border Collies.

Physical Traits

The Belgian Malinois has a lean, muscular body that is slightly larger than the Border Collie. Their coat is typically short and dense, with colors ranging from rich fawn to mahogany and black. Although not as fluffy as the Border Collie, their coat provides them with some protection from different weather conditions. A distinctive feature of the Belgian Malinois is their black facial mask, which is not present in Border Collies.


Both breeds are known for their intelligence and high energy levels. Belgian Malinois, like Border Collies, excel in demanding tasks and enjoy a challenge. They thrive in working and training environments, often excelling in dog sports and police or military work. However, the Belgian Malinois can be more assertive and dominant to other dogs compared to Border Collies, requiring a strong and consistent owner to guide them.

Exercise Requirements

As highly active breeds, both the Belgian Malinois and Border Collie require a significant amount of exercise to keep them mentally and physically stimulated. Daily walks, runs, or play sessions are essential for these breeds, but bear in mind that the Belgian Malinois may require even more exercise than a Border Collie.

While there are similarities between the Belgian Malinois and Border Collie, it’s essential to understand that each breed has its unique characteristics and requirements. Take the time to research and fully understand both breeds before deciding on one as your next canine companion.

Australian Kelpie

The Australian Kelpie is a herding breed that shares many similarities with the Border Collie. Known for their intelligence and agility, both breeds excel in herding and are quite energetic. These traits make them well-suited for active families and working environments.

One of the primary similarities between the Australian Kelpie and Border Collie is their medium-sized build. Both breeds have a short, dense coat, which can come in a range of colors. In case of the Kelpie, they typically feature black, black and tan, red, and chocolate, while Border Collies often have black and white, red and white, or tri-color variations.

When it comes to temperament, both breeds are known for their intelligence, loyalty, and strong work ethic. They’re happiest when given a job to do which can be anything from herding livestock to participating in dog sports like agility or obedience competitions. You can expect these dogs to have a high energy level, requiring regular exercise and mental stimulation to keep them happy and content.

While there are many similarities between the Australian Kelpie and Border Collie, there may be a few differences you should keep in mind. The Australian Kelpie might have a more independent streak, whereas the Border Collie can be more sensitive. However, both dogs are highly trainable and can adapt well to various environments as long they receive enough stimulation and proper training.

By considering your lifestyle and environment, you can determine whether the Australian Kelpie or Border Collie would be a better fit. With either choice, you’ll have a loyal, intelligent, and hardworking companion.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are common Border Collie mix breeds?

Some common Border Collie mix breeds include the Border-Aussie (Border Collie and Australian Shepherd), Border-Lab (Border Collie and Labrador Retriever), and the Borador (Border Collie and Labrador Retriever). These breeds typically have similar herding abilities and energetic personalities as their Border Collie parent.

Which herding dog breeds are similar to Border Collies?

Breeds similar to Border Collies in the herding dog category include Australian Shepherds, Shetland Sheepdogs, and Belgian Shepherds. All these breeds are known for their intelligence, agility, and strong herding instincts, making them excellent working dogs and companions.

What are some alternative breeds to the Border Collie?

If you are considering a breed other than the Border Collie, you might want to look into the Rough Collie, Smooth Collie, or Australian Kelpie. These breeds share some similar characteristics, such as intelligence and a strong work ethic, but may have slightly different temperaments and physical appearances.

Which Collie breeds look most like Border Collies?

The Australian Shepherd is a breed that looks quite similar to the Border Collie, with both breeds sporting a rough, double coat and similar markings. However, they differ slightly in size and physical structure. Another breed that resembles the Border Collie is the Shetland Sheepdog, although they have a smaller build and a fluffier coat.

Are there smaller dog breeds that resemble Border Collies?

The Shetland Sheepdog is a smaller breed that resembles the Border Collie, with a similar coat pattern and herding instincts. They are also known for their intelligence and agility, making them an excellent option for someone looking for a smaller, Border Collie-like breed.

What rare herding dog breeds share characteristics with Border Collies?

Some lesser-known herding breeds that share characteristics with Border Collies include the Beauceron, a French breed known for its versatility and work ethic; the Finnish Lapphund, whose intelligence and herding instincts make it an excellent working dog; and the Swedish Vallhund, a small breed with an energetic, playful temperament and strong herding abilities.