Golden Retriever vs. Border Collie: Which Dog Breed Should You Get

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Golden Retriever vs Border Collie

You are comparing two of the most popular dog breeds, the Golden Retriever and the Border Collie, and wondering which is the best dog breed for you? Or maybe you are just curious about the differences between these two intelligent, friendly, and energetic breeds of dogs. Either way, you have landed on the right page!

In this article, we will compare Golden Retrievers and Border Collies in terms of their physical appearance, temperament, energy levels, trainability, and what type of home environment they thrive in. By the end of this article, you’ll better understand each breed and which one might be the best fit for your lifestyle.

Golden Retriever Border Collie
Weight 55 to 75 pounds 30 to 55 pounds
Height 21 to 24 inches 18 to 22 inches
Size Medium-sized dogs Medium-sized dogs
Temperament Gentle, Friendly, Intelligent Intelligent, Energetic, Hard-working
Trainability 5.0 out of 5.0 stars 5.0 out of 5.0 stars
Energy Level 4.5 out of 5.0 stars 5.0 out of 5.0 stars
Life Expectancy 10-12 years 12-15 years
Shedding Moderate Moderate
Hypo­allergenic No No
Puppy Costs $1,000 to $5,000 $1,000 to $4,000
Suitable For Suitable for people who live a semi-active lifestyle. They love being outdoors and going for walks but will be just as content lying on the couch with their human companion. They make great cuddle buddies and are patient and gentle, making them ideal for families with young children. Suitable for people who lead an active lifestyle and seeking a highly energetic and enthusiastic dog to join them on all their adventures. These pups thrive on having a job to do and need plenty of mental and physical stimulation.

Breed History & Origin

Golden Retrievers were originally bred in Scotland in the mid-19th century to hunt waterfowl. They are a cross between several breeds, including Tweed Water Spaniels, the now-extinct yellow Retrievers, flat-coated Retrievers, Irish Setters, and Bloodhounds. They were brought to the United States in the early 20th century, recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1925, and it wasn’t long before they became one of the most popular breeds in America.

Border Collies were developed in the border regions of Scotland and England to herd sheep. And it was believed that they were a cross between the Viking’s Icelandic Sheepdog and the old Roman dogs during the Roman occupation of Britain. Recognized by the AKC in 1995, Border Collies are still used as a livestock herding dog breed on farms and ranches today and are considered the world’s top herding dog breed.


Golden Retrievers are medium-sized dogs, weighing 55 to 75 pounds and standing 21 to 24 inches tall at the shoulder. They have a thick, double coat, with the outer coat being dense and water-repellent and an undercoat that’s soft to insulate against the cold. Their coats can come in various shades of gold, from a light cream to a dark reddish-gold.

Border Collies are also medium size but much smaller than Golden Retrievers, weighing only 30-55 pounds and standing 18-22 inches tall at the shoulder. Like Goldens, they also have a thick, double coat that’s water-resistant and insulating but comes in a lot more colors and patterns, including black, blue, merle, gold, brindle, lilac, red, and sable. So, if you have a preference for a certain coat color, you’re more likely to find it in a Border Collie.


It’s easy to see why Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular dog breeds in America. These pups are known for being gentle, friendly, and loyal. They have a great temperament and get along well with other pets and people of all ages. In fact, they’re often used as therapy dogs and are one of the best breeds of dogs for families with small children. They are also very social canines and love to be around people, which makes them great companions, but that also means you don’t want to count on them as your security system, as they’re more likely to greet an invader with a wagging tail and try to make friends with them!

Border Collies are also friendly dogs but have a very different personality than Golden Retrievers. They are much more independent and can be reserved around strangers. Also, their strong herding instinct may result in them herding children and other pets. Well. You can’t really blame them, though, as that’s what they were bred to do! So, if you’re thinking of getting a Border Collie, make sure to socialize them from an early age. This way, they’ll learn how to behave around people and other pets.

Exercise Needs

Both Golden Retrievers and Border Collies are high-energy canines that need a lot of exercises. Without it, they can become destructive. Yes, even the loving Golden Retriever! So, if you’re considering getting either of these breeds, be prepared to provide them with plenty of physical and mental stimulation daily.

For Goldens, they’ll need at least an hour of exercise a day, whether it’s going for a long walk, running, or swimming. They also love to play and will need several play sessions throughout the day to stay happy.

Border Collies need even more exercise than Golden Retrievers, as they were bred to work all day long. There’s a reason why they’re often referred to as the “workaholic” of the dog world! They’ll need two hours of exercise a day. This can include walking, running, biking, playing fetch or Frisbee, and participating in agility courses or other dog sports. Basically, anything that can get them moving and help burn off their excess energy. Also smarter than Goldens, they will need more mental stimulation, so be sure to give them plenty of toys to keep their minds challenged.


Golden Retrievers and Border Collies are intelligent breeds, so training either one won’t be too difficult.

However, Goldens are easier to train than Border Collies. That’s because they’re very eager to please and food-motivated. With positive reinforcement dog training methods, such as praise, petting, and treats, they will quickly learn obedience commands, tricks, and anything else you want to teach them. And that’s also the reason they are often the breed of choice for first-time dog owners.

While Border Collies are more intelligent than Golden Retrievers and are often ranked as the smartest dog breed, they are independent thinkers and can be a bit stubborn, meaning you may need to put in a bit more effort than you would with a Golden Retriever. Some might not agree with this, but it’s crucial to understand that being smarter doesn’t mean they’re easier to train. In fact, they can be quite the opposite as they can outsmart you! Nonetheless, they are still highly trainable dogs.


Generally, both Golden Retrievers and Border Collies are healthy breeds. However, Golden Retrievers have a shorter life expectancy than Border Collies, which typically live around 10-12 years, while the sheepdog can live for up to 12-15 years.

Golden Retrievers are also known to have more health problems than the sheepdog. Some of the most common health problems for Goldens include hip and elbow dysplasia, skin problems, and hypothyroidism. And sadly, one study has found that they are ranked second on the list of a total of 82 breeds for cancer mortality.

Border Collies, on the other hand, are relatively healthy. But like all dogs, they are susceptible to certain health issues, such as hip dysplasia, epilepsy, and eye problems, including progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), cataracts, and collie eye anomaly (CEA).

The key to keeping your Golden Retriever or Border Collie healthy is to provide them with regular exercise and a nutritious diet and to take them for routine check-ups. Getting your dog from a reputable breeder who health tests their breeding stock is also crucial as that will help reduce the risk of your dog developing any genetic health problems.

Nutrition & Diet

Golden Retrievers and Border Collies are both high-energy breeds, so you’ll want to ensure their diet is rich in protein and fat to help fuel their active lifestyle.

One thing to note is puppies and young dogs of a similar size, in particular, need more calories and protein to help them grow and develop properly. So you’ll need to feed them puppy formula until they reach adulthood, typically around 12 months old. And if your dog is particularly active or if they’ll be working, then you may want to feed them a performance formula to match their metabolic needs.

When it comes to how much to feed them, this will depend on their age, activity level, and weight. But as a rule of thumb, adult Golden Retrievers will need around 3-4 cups of high-quality food daily, divided into two meals. Adult Border Collies will need slightly less, at about 2 cups daily, divided into two meals.

Grooming Needs

The Golden Retriever and Border Collie both have a double coat, which means they will shed year-round and blow their coat two times a year. Goldens will, however, shed more than the Border Collie. So if you are not a fan of dog hair but want one of these two breeds, then the Border Collie might be a better choice.

Both require regular brushing to help manage their shedding and keep their coats healthy and free of mats and tangles. Two to three times a week will be enough, but you may need to brush them more often during their heavy shedding periods.

When it comes to bathing, you’ll only need to do so once every four to six weeks or as required. But just be sure to use a dog-specific shampoo to avoid drying out their skin, and always rinse thoroughly to remove any soap residue. Aside from that, both breeds will also need their nails trimmed regularly, typically every two to four weeks, and their teeth brushed daily or at least a couple of times a week to prevent tartar buildup and keep their breath fresh.

Which Dog Breed Should You Get

So, which dog breed is right for you? Well, both the Golden Retriever and Border Collie make great companions. They are both intelligent, active, and lovable dogs.

However, the Border Collie is the more active breed, so if you are outdoorsy, this might be the better breed for you. On the other hand, if you are looking for a more laid-back and cuddly companion who will be content chilling at home with you, then the Golden Retriever might be a better choice.

It really comes down to which breed’s personality better matches your lifestyle. But whichever breed you choose, you are sure to get a devoted and loving furry friend who will bring tons of joy into your life.