Male vs. Female Border Collie: 7 Key Differences

Written by Amber LaRock
Updated: September 28, 2023
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Border collies are loyal, hardworking, smart, and energetic canine friends. They were originally bred to herd sheep and help their owners on the farm, but they can also be well-rounded family dogs. If you plan to welcome a border collie into your family, you may wonder if you should choose a male or female. There are a few physical, behavioral, and temperamental differences between sexes. Join us as we discuss male vs. female border collies!

The 7 Key Differences Between Male vs. Female Border Collies

Search and rescue dogs - Border Collie

Border collies are a wonderful canine companion for an active family.


Whether you’re looking for a show dog, a working dog, or a family pet, it’s important to understand the differences between the male and female border collie. Each of them can succeed in any role, but their biology can influence subtle changes in behavior, personality, and physical appearance. Let’s break down the differences between male and female border collies in terms of appearance, temperament, and health!

1. Physical Differences

Like many other dog breeds, the male border collie tends to have more prominent features than females.

Male: Male border collies are often stockier and taller than female collies. They are often 10 to 22 inches tall, and typically weigh anywhere from 32 to 44 pounds when fully grown. Male border collies will often have more muscle mass than females.

Female: Female border collies are often a bit leaner than their male collie companions, but this can vary based on their activity level. They are often 18 to 21 inches tall, and they can weight anywhere from 28 to 40 pounds when fully grown. You may even notice that your female border collie has a smaller head than male border collies.

2. Temperamental Differences

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Intact males tend to struggle with territorial aggression and marking.

©Julia Zavalishina/

The male and female border collies only have slight personality differences between the two, but the temperament differences are much more obvious if the dog is not spayed or neutered. Intact male border collies tend to exhibit more territorial aggression and marking.

Male: Temperamental differences in male border collie are most obvious if the male collie has not been neutered. Male reproductive hormones can increase the likelihood of territorial aggression, escape attempts, and marking. Sterilized border collies are known for being much more laidback and easy going.

Female: Females are known to form closer bonds with their owners. Females are often incredibly loyal and devoted to their families, but because of this, they can struggle with being left alone.

3. Trainability

Border collies are intelligent and motivated! As long as their training program is engaging and positive, they are eager to learn.

Male: There is no concrete proof of this, but border collie parents claim that male border collies tend to get bored much faster during their training. These pups need something highly engaging to keep them motivated. The male also appears to be more prone to destructive behaviors if they don’t get enough exercise, but this can happen in any canine friend.

Female: The female loves nothing more than spending time with their owner, so they thrive in a training program that is led by their pet parents. The female may struggle when left alone for long periods, so it’s important to make sure they get plenty of daily exercise to decrease their interest in destructive behaviors when left alone.

4. Health Differences

Black and white border collie running on the green grass

©Aneta Jungerova/

Overall, there are not many health differences in male and female border collies. Both are prone to issues like hip dysplasia, joint disease, glaucoma, cataracts, and neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (NCL).

Male: Overall, there are not many health differences in male and female border collies. However, intact male border collies can develop reproductive cancers and infections impacting their testicles, penis, and prostate.

Female: Overall, there are not many health differences in male and female border collies. However, intact female border collies can develop reproductive cancers and infections impacting their mammary glands and uterus.

5. Relationship with Other Dogs

Border collies need to be well-socialized from the moment you adopt them to make sure they interact well with other dogs. When offered proper socialization and training, the collie can play happily with other canine friends.

Male: Male border collies tend to be a bit apprehensive and snippy around new dogs at first. However, this behavior can be managed with socialization early on. Intact border collies will often struggle more with territorial aggression and same-sex aggression.

Female: Female border collies tend to be a bit more reserves and cautious around new canine friends. However, when they feel comfortable, they are often playful and friendly.

Just keep in mind that all border collies have a high prey and chase drive, so we always recommend being careful with your collie around small dogs and small pets, or even avoiding these interactions completely. Even the most well-behaved border collie can chase small dogs and other animals.

6. Relationship with Children

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Border collies have such a strong herding instinct that they may be tempted to ‘herd’ children.


Border collies can get along well with children when well-socialized, however, they have such a strong herding instinct they may be tempted to ‘herd’ your children. This often involves nipping at their ankles and shoving them aside, so this could knock over small children. A border collie may not be the best option for a home with small children for this reason.

Male: Male border collies may become easily frustrated with small children, so it’s important to teach your child how to safely interact with dogs. The male border collie may also nip at your child’s ankles in effort to herd them.

Female: Female border collies are often slightly better with children due to their desire to form close bonds with their families. The female is just as likely to herd small children as a male.

Advantages Of the Male vs. Female Border Collie

Dog breed Border Collie sitting in the garden

No matter the gender you choose, you are sure to end up with a devoted canine friend.

©Olga Aniven/

Based on the information above, you can better understand that choosing between a male and female border collie can be difficult. Both genders have unique characteristics, each of which can better suit certain families. Let’s highlight some of the advantages of each gender below!

Female Border Collies

  • Form close bonds with their owners
  • Love to please their owners
  • Are often easy going throughout the training process
  • Are less likely to struggle with territorial aggression

Male Border Collies

  • Are more energetic and playful
  • Are strong and muscular
  • Are not as prone to separation anxiety
  • Are easy going

No matter the gender you choose, you are sure to get a devoted canine friend that loves spending time with their family. Both genders are active and highly motivated, making the male or female a wonderful addition to any active family. Overall, gender won’t have a major impact on your pet parent experience, because these pups are truly wonderful no matter what!

Final Thoughts on Male vs. Female Border Collies

Male and female border collies may possess slight behavioral, temperamental, and health differences. Review the information above to determine if a boy or a girl is right for your family!

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Julia Zavalishina/

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About the Author

Amber LaRock is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering topics surrounding pet health and behavior. Amber is a Licensed Veterinary Technician with 12 years of experience in the field, and she holds a degree in veterinary technology that she earned in 2015. A resident of Chiang Mai, Thailand, Amber enjoys volunteering with animal rescues, reading, and taking care of her two cats.

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