Labrador vs Border Collie — Which breed is better?

In a nutshell…

Both Labradors and border collies are super intelligent, friendly, warm, and social. Labradors shed a little less than border collie. A border collie is more protective than Labrador and Labrador is more friendly than a Border collie. So, you have to read the comparison and choose one that’s right for you. 


You can guess certain characteristics of a dog by knowing its origin and the behavior of its ancestors. This will help you determine how much effort you’d have to put in to train your pup.

History also shows the genetic make-up of dogs and the diseases they are prone to.


Labradors were first created in Canada for the purpose of retrieving fish and birds for hunters. They were meant to be smart and agile. They were trained to hold the prey carefully in their Jaws so that they don’t bite it. This is the reason that labs don’t feel the urge to bite someone.

Labradors are now famous as loyal family pets. They still retrieve things for their owners and even children. They are very smart and friendly breed.

Border collie:

The border collie was first created on Borders of Scotland where it was a great herding dog.

Border collies were bred as people wanted more alert and intelligent breed than other herding dogs.

So, as border collies were created to herd live stocks, especially sheep, so they are very smart, alert, protective, and tough.

Border collies are now owned as family pets and they are great companions.

So, Labradors are retrieving and sporting dogs while border collies are working and herding dogs. 

Size and lifespan


Labradors are medium to large-sized. They grow 21 to 24 inches tall and weigh anywhere between 45 to 80 pounds.

Labradors life span is 10 to 12 years.

Border collie:

Border collie belongs to a medium dog breed. It can grow 18 to 22 inches. Border collies are muscular and athletic. They can weigh from 27 to 45 pounds.

The lifespan of a border collie is 12 to 15 years.

So, the Border collie is slightly lighter than Labrador and tends to live longer. 

Shedding and Grooming

Shedding is the process that replaces a dog’s old fur with new. During the shedding season, you’ll find your dog’s hair in your home. The quantity depends upon the rate at which they shed.

Also, those dogs who shed more need more grooming.

You’ve to go for a dog that sheds less so that you don’t have to spend too much time on their grooming.


Labradors she’d throughout the year. They have a thick double coat. Their shedding process is rather slow so they don’t need much grooming.

Border collie:

Border collie has a thick double coat that sheds moderately. They shed throughout the year.

Border collie needs to be groomed on a regular basis, although the grooming process is not that time taking.

So, although Border collie sheds moderately it’s more than Labradors and that’s why they need more grooming.

General Characteristics

Friendly Nature:

The dog that is loving and affectionate is the one to go for as a family pet. As in families, everyone has children, seniors, guests, and members with different moods. So, it’s important that your pet dog understands everyone and behaves nicely.


Labrador is a very friendly and affectionate dog. In fact, it’s famous for its loving nature and people adopt it for this reason.

Labradors want to be with you all the time. They hate any alone time. They prefer to be surrounded by their lovely owners instead.

Border collie:

A border collie is very friendly and affectionate. It wants its owners to be around all the time. Border collie is not only friendly but protective as well.

Due to their protective nature, they first recognize a stranger and then act as a friend. So, border collie avoids being frank with anyone and everyone.

See also  My Dog Ate A Ham Bone - Should I Be Worried?

So, both Labradors and Border collies are friendly and loving but Border collies are protective as well and they take time to recognize a stranger. 


A dog who has the sense to meet and greet new people should be your go-to pet. See if the dog you want to own is socially active or not. A social dog is friendly, kind, and love to meet new people.


Labradors are very social. They don’t hesitate to smile at strangers. They love to meet new people every day.

Labradors are also loving towards other dog pets and animals. They are also good for cats! So, all in all, labs want to hang out with you and meet new people every day.

Border collie:

Border collies are extremely social. They love to be around people and animals all the time. They can’t tolerate loneliness.

So, if you want to own a border collie, make sure you’re ready to spend time with him and take him out daily.

So, both Labradors and border collies are socially active but Border collies are more social.


A smart dog will learn faster. It will be able to understand your gestures and commands easily. Also, a smart dog tends to be gentle and friendly with your family as it really knows who are friends and who are foes.


Labradors are the Seventh most intelligent dog breed in the world. They are smart and sharp. They not only understand gestures but also 300 human words as well.

Border collie:

The border collie is one of the brightest dog breeds. It is very smart and understands their environment way better than many other dog breeds.

A border collie is meant to be smart as they are herding dogs. They are very alert and react instantly if they smell any danger.

So, both Labradors and Border collies are considered to be very smart. 



Labradors are very sweet and soft tempered. They are kind and don’t get aggressive easily. They know how to win the hearts of their owners by their lovely gestures.

Border collie:

Border collie knows how to manage its temperament. They’re smart, active, friendly, and kind.

Border collies don’t get aggressive unless they see any danger coming.

So, both Labradors and border collies have a good temperament. 

Exercise need

All the dogs need some sort of exercise to release their energy. The dog breeds that are highly energetic and active need to be taken out for a walk and jog every day.

So, you have to choose one that suits you. If you don’t want to go out for a walk daily then don’t adopt a very active dog.


Labradors are super active and energetic. They like to run and jump around all the time. They sleep very little. Labs love to go out with you and play. They can’t fit well in apartments. They like spacious areas where they can easily roam around.

Border collie:

Border collies are highly energetic and athletic. They can’t sit or stay in small apartments. They need extra space to roam around and exert their energy in positive ways.

You’ve to take your border collie out for running on a daily basis. This habit will keep him active and fresh.

So, both Labradors and Border collies need to walk and run a lot but Border collies are more energetic than Labs.

Special skills


Labradors are great retrievers. They capture fish and birds missed by their owners during hunting. Their agility makes them able to participate in dog sports.

Labradors are also good as therapy dogs and guide dogs. They are also great swimmers.

Border collie:

A border collie is a very bright dog with a very active sense of smell and hear. They are working and herding dogs. They can be used as watchdogs, guard dogs, and in airports for checking purposes.

Health issues

The general health of a dog breed should be taken into account before adopting a pup. You should know about the history and genetic diseases a dog is prone to.

See also  My dog ate silica gel - Should I be worried?

Only a healthy dog can make the best companion for you.


Labradors are overall healthy but they can catch ear and eye infections frequently. Other than this, they are prone to dysplasia and even cancer.

Border collie:

Border collies are overall healthy dogs. But border collies are prone to hip dysplasia, epilepsy, collie eye anomaly, and allergies.

So, it’s very important to take your collie to the vet on a regular basis for check-up and vaccination.

So, both Labradors and Border collie are overall healthy dogs but prone to many diseases when they are grown up. It’s important to take them to the vet for regular check-ups and vaccinations. 


The dog that’s smart and obedient would be trained quickly. You have to choose the dog with high obedience as well because if they aren’t obedient, they’re not gonna listen to you even if they’re smart.


Labs are smart and people pleasers. That is why they can be trained quickly. They observe and learn keenly. They are smart enough to be trained within days.

Border collie:

A border collie is a very obedient, smart, and friendly breed. They can be trained very easily with little effort.

Border collies love to please their owners. So, they copy what you do and obey what you say.

So, both Labradors and border collies are very easy to train.

Caring for the pet

A family dog would be the one that needs very less grooming and care.


Labradors need healthy food three to four times a day. Labs don’t need much grooming and can be managed easily.

Labs don’t ask for too much care. They can be managed without compromising your budget.

Border collie:

Border collies need healthy and fresh food three to four times a day. Other than that they need a moderate level of going also as they shed throughout the year (although the shedding process is very slow)

Labrador as a family pet

Labradors are very famous family pets. They are friendly, smart, active, social, like to snuggle, and most of all they are loving in nature.

Labradors are very playful towards children and seniors. They are always happy to help as well.

Labradors are great for novice owners. They are easily adjustable and can be trained with little effort.

Labradors aren’t for apartment living. So, adopt one if you have a spacious area in your home for your dog and you can manage to take him out daily. They need to exert their energy in positive ways for their good health.

Border collie as a family pet

The border collie is a very famous pet breed due to its friendly nature, smartness, and alertness. Border collies serve as great watchdogs as well.

Border collies love children. They like to be around humans, pet dogs, and other animals all the time. They are gentle and warm. They like to snuggle and sit beside you.



You’ll get a labrador pup for $1000 to $2000.

Border collie:

You can get a border collie anywhere between $800 to $3000. If you’re interested to buy a superior pedigree then spare almost $4500 for that.

The Takeaway

If you’re looking for smart yet friendly pet dog then you’d surely come across two breeds- the Labradors and the Border collie. Both are extremely brilliant, playful, friendly, and social. But obviously you’ve gotta choose one.

So, the hard work is already done for you. Above is a detailed comparison between these two adorable breeds, for you to choose the one that’s of your type. You just have to go buy your favorite pup right away.

Photo of author

Nadine Oraby

My name is Nadine; I am a passionate writer and a pet lover. People usually call me by the nickname “Joy” because they think that I am a positive and joyful person who is a child at heart. My love for animals triggered me to create this blog. Articles are written by vets, pet experts, and me. Thanks for visiting. Your friend, Nadine!

Leave a Comment