If you’re looking for the ultimate dog, you’ll no doubt have considered the prospect of welcoming a Border Collie Lab Retriever Mix into your home.
Labradors are one of the most popular dog breeds on the planet.
Not far behind them are Border Collies.
So it makes sense that Lab Collie crosses are a big hit too.
The intelligence of the Border Collie and the affection and loyalty of a Labrador.
What’s not to love?!
This mixed breed is sometimes known by the rather amusing portmanteau ‘Borador’ and really does offer up one of the most perfect mixed breed dogs out there.
We’d like to take this opportunity to really drill down into the details and specifics of this wonderful mixed breed.
Let’s examine some of the controversy that surrounds the idea of cross breeding dogs…
Purebred Dogs and Designer Dogs: The Controversy
One of the first questions people looking for a new dog have to ask themselves is this – ‘do I opt for a purebred or a mutt…?’
And it’s a good question. And one of ethics.
In making an informed decision, the difficulty lies in sourcing reliable information.
There are two camps, essentially – one advocates pure breeding, the other puts forward the idea that mixing breeds is healthier.
Purebred fans claim that keeping breeds intact and ‘pedigree’ means that the dog is bred to a tightly regimented set of standards.
The puppies are predictable in their genetic make-up and lineage is traceable.
Proponents of mixing breeds say that widening the gene pool is far healthier and results in fewer inherited illnesses, disorders and weaknesses.
The decision you make is entirely yours.
The debate is many layered and multi-faceted.
For a more detailed examination of the issue, we’d recommend you read this more involved discussion of pedigrees vs. mongrels here.
Designer Dogs: What Does Science Say About It?
The complexity of the debate is furthered by what appears to mixed messages from the scientific community.
You can find studies and research which advocate both mixing breeds and not mixing as healthier options.
Definitive answers are difficult to come by, but the weight of scientific opinion on the subject seems to fall on the pro-mixed breeding side.
All we can say for absolute certain, however, is that – mixed or pedigree – animal welfare and care is the most important thing in the world of dog breeding.
So long as dogs are being bred and raised in safe and sensible ways, the puppy should grow up to lead the best life possible.
If you’d like to find out more about the importance of crossing genetically distinct subpopulations of dogs, this article from the Institute of Canine Biology explains it perfectly and in some depth.
Origins of the Border Collie Labrador Mix
As with most mixed breed mutts, Border Collie Lab Mix dogs can’t have their ancestry precisely mapped.
No one can say when the first cross was born, but we can trace its recent surge in popularity.
The Borador has seen an increase in intentional breeding over the past 20-30 years, with things starting in North America and gradually spreading across the rest of the world.
Origins of the Border Collie
Dogs have been used to herd livestock throughout their history and were first bred for the job way back in the Roman times.
Later, when Vikings invaded Britain, they brought with them their own herding dogs, far smaller than the Roman herders.
Border Collies were the result of the breeding between these two separate herding dogs.
Origins of the Labrador
British noblemen visiting Canada, specifically Newfoundland in the early 19th century, were struck by the usefulness and pleasant nature of the Labrador and decided to take some back to the UK. They quickly spread due to their popularity.
The breed dates back to the 17th century and counts St. John’s Water Dog, Newfoundland and Mastiffs among its ancestors.
What Are Collie Labradors Crosses Like?
It’s vital to note that there can be no definitive answer to a question like this.
Mixed breed dogs will demonstrate traits and characteristics from their parent breeds, but it’s almost impossible to predict in what amount.
Be it physically or in terms of behaviour and personality, a mixed breed dog may be an exact 50/50 split, or be almost all one breed or another.
There really is no saying, unfortunately!
Size, Height and Weight of a Border Collie Lab Mix
How big do Border Collie Lab Mixes get?
Well, that all depends. Like with all mixed breed, when it comes to Border Collie Lab Mix sizes, it’s not an exact science.
A Border Collie Lab Mix full grown will generally weigh in at just over that of a purebred collie. So you’re looking at around the 40lb-60lb mark.
Like we say, though – Border Collie Lab Mix weights can differ based on family history, metabolism, activity levels and feeding habits.
You can expect them to grow up to around 16-19” in height.
Defining Physical Characteristics of a Labrador Border Collie
Most Boradors are primarily black in colour, with the odd splash of white (especially around the face and chest).
Though you can find them with brown or yellow coats.
One of the most strikingly notable things about these dogs are they huge doleful dark eyes.
Be careful, though…
One look and you’re in love!
Temperament & Behavior of a Border Collie Labrador
Border Collie Lab Mix temperaments are almost perfect.
Intelligent, loving, loyal, relaxed and positive, they really do make for perfect pets.
It’s the smarts that really stand this mixed breed out, though.
Labradors and Collies are both fiercely intelligent, so it’s no surprise to learn that American Psychological Association’s research has them as demonstrating the same mental aptitude as two and a half year-old children.
Grooming and General Care of your Collie Lab Mix
Border Collie Lab Mix shedding isn’t a massive concern for owners and grooming isn’t a daily chore.
Twice weekly brushing with a bristle brush should suffice.
If the dog takes after its lab parent, you may need to pay a little more attention to their grooming needs.
Health Issues of Labradors Border Collies Crosses
While, as we’ve said, the matter is a much-debated one, we firmly believe that crossing breeds reduces the likelihood of major breed-based health concerns.
Luckily for Border Collie Lab Mixes, both original breeds are known to be very healthy anyway.
So there’s little to be overly concerned with on this front.
According to the American Border Collie Association, congenital deafness is something to watch out for in Border Collies.
It’s usually caused by blood flow issues to the cochlea and vascular malformations in the ear.
Elbow and hip dysplasia is also not hugely uncommon in Border Collies.
As for Labradors, they can be prone to heart defects and cataracts.
But the most common affliction in these dogs is joint related. Again, hip and elbow dysplasia is most commonplace.
Our advice? If you’re getting a puppy, do your utmost to find out the parents’ history of joint problems.
With dysplasia in both breeds, if both bitch and stud suffer, it’s likely the puppy will also have joint issues in later life.
Socialization and Training Requirements for a Labrador Border Collie Cross
Socialisation is key with any dog, pedigree or cross.
This mix has everything in its make-up to make the ideal dog, but without well thought-out and executed socialisation, there could be trouble.
It’s important to expose your Borador to other dogs as well as humans early.
Do that and you’re all but guaranteed a sociable pooch with a reliable, predictable and stable temperament.
When it comes to Border Collie Lab Mix training, prepare to get fit!
They’re pretty high energy and daily exercise is required.
Long walks are much loved, but so too are things like obstacle courses.
Anything to tire them out and get them thinking is a winner.
Border Collie Lab Mix Life Expectancy
How long do Border Collie Lab Mixes live for? It’s a good question…
Now, of course, as with all dogs, there are no absolute certainties concerning how long your collie/lab cross will live.
That said, generally, a Border Collie Lab Mix lifespan is around 12 – 15 years.
Of course, the healthier and fitter your pet, the longer it’s likely to live.
But again, there are no certainties in life, so please just consider these numbers as merely guidance.
How to Pick a Border Collie Lab Mix Puppy
Border Collie Lab Mix puppies are, of course, almost unbelievably cute.
How do you pick one, though…?
One way we would recommend you definitely do not go about it is by being overly charitable.
Feeling sorry for the runt of the litter is natural, but only select the runt if you’re sure it’s the best course of action.
While it’s extremely tempting to opt for the ‘poor little one’, you may well come to regret it later on.
Runts (smaller, weaker members of the litter) can often develop health problems in later life.
They may well be smaller and cost more in vet bills. This isn’t always the case, but it could be.
Proceed with caution is all we really say on the matter.
Border Collie Lab Cross puppies are probably best found online, especially if you don’t know any breeders yourself.
Ensure that you visit the breeder in their home and see the mother in her home environment, relaxed and with her puppies.
You’re looking for a suitable and stress-free home, healthy puppies, a knowledgeable breeder and a relationship between puppy, mother, litter mates and any and all humans in the house.
Should I Get a Lab Border Collie Cross?
This isn’t a question we can answer. Only you can.
If you’re keen on the breed, based on what you’ve read here – great!
These dogs really are perfect pets, provided you understand them and treat them well.
If you have the time, patience, space and know-how, you won’t regret taking in a Border Collie Labrador Mix…
Whatever you decide to do – good luck and have fun!
References and Further Reading
- The American Kennel Club.
- The Kennel Club UK.
- The Institute of Canine Biology.
- The Border Collie Society of America.
- The Border Collie Club of GB.
- The Institute of Canine Biology.
- Smith GK, et al, 2001, Evaluation of risk factors for degenerative joint disease associated with hip dysplasia in German Shepherd Dogs, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, and Rottweilers, Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
- Dollevoet K, et al, 2018, Labrador Origins and Timeline, Lorken Farms Kennels.
- Fields-Babineau, Miriam, 2005, Training Your Mixed Breed, Kennel Club Books.
- Bellumori TP, et al, 2013, Prevalence of inherited disorders among mixed-breed and purebred dogs: 27,254 cases (1995–2010), Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
- Wooliams JA, et al, 2011, Canine hip and elbow dysplasia in UK Labrador retrievers, The Veterinary Journal.
- Danourdis, A, et al, 2015, Canine elbow dysplasia Aetiopathogenesis, diagnosis and current treatment recommendations, Journal of Companion Animal Medicine.