Collie vs Border Collie: What Are 8 Key Differences?

Border Collie, 1.5 years old, sitting and looking away against white background
© Eric Isselee/

Written by Jennifer Gaeng

Updated: December 26, 2022

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Are you unsure of the distinction between a Collie and a Border Collie? Believe it or not, they are, in fact, two distinct dog breeds. For example, the Collie is the breed featured on the popular television show “Lassie,” but the Border Collie is a smaller heeler dog. Is size, however, the sole difference between these two dogs?

In this article, we’ll go through eight distinctions between the Collie and the Border Collie in terms of appearance, personality, and health.

Collie vs Border Collie: A Comparison 

collie vs border collie
The Collie is the breed featured on the popular television show “Lassie,” but the Border Collie is a smaller heeler dog.
Key DifferencesCollieBorder Collie
Height22 – 26 inches18 – 22 inches
Weight53 to 70 lbs.27 to 45 lbs.
Coat typeRough or Smooth, Thick, Double CoatDense, Feathered
ColorsBlack, White, Tan, Blue, Merle, Sable, Multi-coloredDozens of color options
TemperamentFriendly, Gentle, Hard WorkingAlert, Tenacious, Energetic
TrainabilityVery EasyEasy
Life Expectancy14 – 16 years12 – 15 years
Energy LevelsAverageVery High
Collie vs Border Collie: A Comparison

Key Differences Between Collie And Border Collie

collie vs border collie

Border Collies are a smaller version of the Collie and come in many more colors including seal, brindle, lilac, and speckled.

©Lucia Horvath Photography/

The term “Scottish Collie” or “Scotch Collie” was first used in the Victorian era to refer to the collie dog that originated in Scotland and the surrounding areas. The boundary between Scotland and England is referred to as the “border” in the Border collie breed name. This is where this breed originated geographically. When these dogs are observed closely, their differences become considerably more noticeable. Let’s look.


collie vs border collie

A male Border Collie’s height is between 19-22 inches while a male Collie’s height is 24-26 inches.


Collie vs Border Collie: Height

A male Border Collie’s height is between 19-22 inches while a male Collie’s height is 24-26 inches.

Collie vs Border Collie: Weight

Did you know that Border Collies are medium-sized dogs that are physically smaller and shorter than Collie dogs? Border Collies typically weigh between 27 and 45 pounds, but Collies can reach 70 pounds.

collie vs border collie

Border Collies are medium-sized dogs that are physically smaller and shorter than Rough Collie dogs.

©Grisha Bruev/

Collie vs Border Collie: Coat Type

Collie breeds are available in both rough and smooth coats. The “Rough” Collie is characterized by a coarse coat and medium-length feathering on the legs, chest, and belly. There is no breed called a “Rough Collie.” The word, “rough” only pertains to the coat length of an individual dog. A Collie can have a rough coat or a smooth coat, just as a Border Collie can. However, the coat of the Border Collie is typically shorter and smoother than that of the Collie.

Collie vs Border Collie: Colors

Border Collies are commonly bicolor, tricolor, and sable, and have merle, tickled, or speckled patterns. They very rarely have a single solid color. Additionally, this breed is available in seal, slate, gold, lilac, red, and brindle. Collies come in a variety of colors, including black, white, tan, blue, merle, sable, and multi-colored.


collie vs border collie

Collie breeds are available in both rough and smooth coats, while the “Rough” Collie is characterized by a coarse coat.

©Ann Tyurina/

Collie vs Border Collie: Temperament

Compared to their Border counterparts, Collies are more laid-back and calmer. They appear to be content as family pets and thrive in homes with children.

Border Collies are not unpleasant when taught and managed properly, but they have a strong drive to herd and nip, which can be difficult for young kids. They require a great deal of activity to expel their above-average energy levels.

Collie vs Border Collie: Trainability

While both breeds are very straightforward to train, Collies are more eager to please. They require little discipline and are widely used in competitions. Collie training is simple since they enjoy learning new commands and tricks when they are having fun.

Border Collies consistently surpass most other breeds in a range of canine activities, including obedience, agility, tracking, jumping, and flying. The Collie is an energetic and athletic breed, which makes training them enjoyable.

Health Factors

Rough Collie or Scottish Collie isolated over white background

Collies live slightly longer than border collies on average.

©Nikolai Tsvetkov/

Collie vs Border Collie: Life Expectancy

Both breeds are long-living and are generally considered healthy with few major concerns.  Border Collies have a 12 to 15-year average life expectancy. Collies live even longer, with an average of 14 to 16 years! Both breeds can live even longer than their averages with good genes and proper care.

Collie vs Border Collie: Energy Levels

The Collie requires less exercise than the Border Collie – a daily walk and occasional family playtime are sufficient. On the other side, the Border Collie is a high-energy, wiry dog designed for agility and speed. They require ample time outdoors and room to play.

Wrapping Up Collie vs Border Collie

Border Collie - Portrait

The Border Collie has extremely high energy levels and needs to play and run daily to avoid becoming unpleasant.


Since there are numerous types of the same breed, there are bound to be many similarities, particularly in terms of looks. At first glance, the only similarities between the Collie and the Border Collie appear to be their coats and similar hues. Both dogs are also extremely trainable and intelligent household pets.

Although they both require a decent amount of exercise and activity to keep them busy and entertained; the Border Collie is much more energetic requiring more activity and attention. Either way, both are great dogs with endearing personalities and long lifespans, making them excellent pets.

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About the Author

Jennifer Gaeng is a writer at A-Z-Animals focused on animals, lakes, and fishing. With over 15 years of collective experience in writing and researching, Jennifer has honed her skills in various niches, including nature, animals, family care, and self-care. Hailing from Missouri, Jennifer finds inspiration in spending quality time with her loved ones. Her creative spirit extends beyond her writing endeavors, as she finds joy in the art of drawing and immersing herself in the beauty of nature.

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