Border collies were originally developed as a breed in a region along the border of Scotland and England, hence their name. Throw in the fact that "collie" is a Scottish description of a sheepdog, and you have a good idea of what they were bred to do. Border collies are high-energy, working dogs who excel at herding, agility, and even search and rescue.
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Therefore, any collie dog mix is apt to be equally as smart, athletic, and energetic as a purebred border collie, which is important to consider when selecting a companion for your border collie mix. A border collie or border collie hybrid is likely to get along with a dog of a similar energy level if they are introduced at a young age. Otherwise, a dog breed from within his cross might be good company, especially if their personality traits are similar.
Companions for a border collie mix
Selecting a companion for your border collie cross depends on the nature of your pup. Is she more like a border collie or her other parent? Border collies bond well with their human family but can be aggressive toward other dogs they see as a threat to their pack. If your mix leans toward a border collie personality, equally smart working dogs, such as an Australian shepherd or Australian cattle dog, might be the best companion.
Otherwise, intelligent breeds, such as Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, or poodles, can make good border collie mix buddies. Not coincidentally, these are also the breeds with which border collies are frequently mated to produce less-intense hybrids. Remember that border collies are first and foremost working dogs, so becoming less active house pets can take adjustment.
Border collie and Labrador mix
Border collies can be intense, demanding dogs and aren't recommended for first-time dog owners. So, like many pure breeds, they're often crossed with other breeds to temper some herder characteristics and possessiveness without losing any intelligence.
For instance, the usually mild-mannered Labrador retriever can be both a good friend for a border collie and an effective genetic mix. Called boradors or labracollies, the border collie and Labrador hybrid is generally intelligent and eager to please but slightly more chill than a purebred herder.
Other border collie mix breeds
Other popular mixed border collie breeds include the border Aussie, a border collie and Australian shepherd cross, which is sometimes slightly calmer. This is not to be confused with the border heeler — a border collie and an Australian blue or red heeler cattle dog — because this cross will likely inherit the herding qualities of both parents. Competitive dog sport enthusiasts are partial to this active hybrid.
Finally, the borderdoodle is a mix of collie and poodle. (There are few popular dog breeds that haven't been mixed with a poodle.) Known as the most obedient of the border collie hybrids, this cross is teddy bear cute but rarely hypoallergenic like other doodles. Collies shed a lot, so that trait will likely dominate.
Training mixed border collie breeds
Border collies need a lot of activity and stimulation, and this is the same for border collie mixed breeds. They will require dedicated training and positive reinforcement because they are sensitive dogs who are easily prone to behavioral issues if their energy is not worked off constructively. With the correct reward-based training strategies, border collie mixed breeds (like their purebred cousins) are eager to please their humans and can make great family pets.
However, like border collies, a collie dog mix might inherit a strong herding instinct. This manifests in two ways. The first is intense eye contact and staring, which might unnerve some dog breeds, especially those bred for guarding. Second, collies and collie crosses might nip at other dogs' legs or other pets and people if not redirected. Heel nipping can cause other dogs to become reactive. Ultimately, border collie mixed breeds blend best with easy-going canine companions or like-minded pack pals.