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Are you the proud owner of a Border Collie Lab Mix? It’s also called a Borador, which is a cross between a Border Collie and a Labrador Retriever. It does not come as a surprise that Boradors possess a combination of the parents’ characteristics that make them a wonderful family pet.
That is because both the Labrador and Border Collie are intelligent, active, loyal, and very loving.
The Borador itself is a naturally happy breed with an exceptional level of energy, yet incredibly sweet and gentle with children and other pets.
Borador Key Characteristics
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Labrador Border Collie Mix Highlights
Here are some highlights worth noting of if you are set to get a Borador as a lifetime companion.
- They are a cross of Border Collie and Labrador Retriever. Both parents are intelligent, highly trainable, and loving breeds.
- Due to the varying size of the parents, Boradors range from medium to large regarding They stand at around 20 to 22 inches tall and weighs approximately 40 to 65 pounds.
- They are never aggressive or violent. They inherited the intelligence, gentleness, and the friendly nature of their parents. These qualities make Boradors great service dogs.
- They are adorably cute. Some may resemble one of the parents more than the other. The color of their coats vary, and length ranges from short to medium.
- To compensate for their seemingly endless energy, they need a nutrient-dense diet. Feed your Borador a balanced diet according to age and life stage. This ensures that your dog is getting the right nutrients based on his or her needs.
- Boradors need an active lifestyle with plenty of exercises. If this is not met, they get bored and restless.
- Originally bred as service dogs, they can easily be trained. They are keen to learn and very eager to please.
- The most common health issues you may encounter when raising a Borador are: Elbow and Hip Dysplasia, Allergies, Collie Eye Anomaly, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, and Hypothyroidism
- Different organizations across the globe recognize the breed. Some of these organizations include: American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC), Dog Registry of America (DRA), Designer Dogs Kennel Club (DDKC), Designer Breed Registry (DBR), and International Designer Canine Registry (IDCR)
- With proper care, you can expect your Borador to shower you with love for about 12 to 15 years.
Border Collie Lab Mix Breed History
There is no specific data as to the exact period when the breed first existed. Although they are popular today, this hybrid is still a newly recognized breed. The parents originated in different places and periods in history. The combination of the two resulted in a mixture that is accepted by canine clubs and other designer dog registries worldwide.
Many believe that Boradors became popular in the United States. There has been a surge in demand for this hybrid dog for the past decade due to the range of abilities Boradors hold. They are one of the most sought-after breeds that can serve as service dogs for people with disabilities, guide dogs for the blind, bomb and drug detection dogs in the police force, and they are also a perfect candidate for dog performance competitions.
Here is a short video introduction to the breed:
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Border Collie Labrador Mix Trainability
Because both parents hail from intelligent and highly-trainable lineages, Boradors share the same traits. They are capable of learning quickly and are very eager to please their owners.
These are the reasons why they are usually hired to become bomb and drug detection dogs for the police or guide dogs for the people with disabilities. These jobs are tough, but because of this breed’s trainability, they can make people’s lives more comfortable and more manageable.
Like most dogs, obedience training should start as early as eight weeks old. The puppies are keen to learn and can quickly grasp new tricks. Owners should practice proper obedience training with firmness and consistency.
Simple tricks should progress to teaching tricks that are suitable for the kind of service you want from your Borador, may it be as a guide dog for the blind or just a simple and intelligent family pet that can also compete in agility competitions.
Like other dogs, they respond well with positive training. Be firm but not harsh. Use a reward system when training your dog. Associate a treat for every correct command and ethical behavior. Most of all, never punish using loud voices, harsh words, or unethical training tools like shock and choke collars. Use ethical collars instead.
Lab Border Collie Mix Appearance
Like most mixed breed dogs, a litter of Borador puppies may vary in appearance. Some may resemble one parent more than the other while some may be somewhere in-between. Since both parents built athletically, you can expect them to look powerful and muscular.
In general, they range from medium to large. The head, muzzle, and neck are broad, the jaw looks powerful, and the overall build is sturdy. They have strong bone structures, and the limbs are well-proportioned and robust.
They stand around 20 to 22 inches in height at the withers and weigh between 40 to 65 pounds. This is just a rough estimate as the height and weight of parents may factor into a new Borador’s final average weight.
Their coat is usually short, thick, and glossy. Markings and coat colors vary as well. Common colors that you may see are the following:
- Tan/Dark Brown
- Chocolate Merle
- Red Merle
- Blue Merle
- White and Brown
- White and Black
- White and Dark Brown/Tan
- White and Black
Most Boradors inherited the webbed feet of the Labrador that make them great swimmers when necessary. They also inherited the tail that is thick at the base and gradually tapers to the tip and curls over the back.
Border Collie Lab Mix Temperament
To some people who are not familiar with the breed, Boradors may appear intimidating and scary. The truth is, they are a very loving and gentle breed. They are easily adaptable to changing situations of their owners. They are also prone to a wide array of behaviors and emotions that are human-like. If you own one, expect to have plenty of fond memories with your Borador.
What makes them the perfect family dog is their gentleness, even to young children. They can easily coexist with other pets as well when given the proper introduction and supervision. Although the puppies tend to be too playful, impulsive, curious, and excitable like other pups, this is not necessarily an aggression problem.
Adult Boradors can behave well when trained properly. They are active, but they can also have a relaxed and calm demeanor. Your Borador may be lounging on the sofa with you and your family one minute, the next they’ll be running around and doing tricks hoping to get a treat.
Let us not forget that they are originally bred to be service dogs. They are keen watchdogs and can smell a stranger with bad intentions from a mile away. Although they are not aggressive, they can deter strangers with their barking. Such behavior is usually done to put on a show to protect their owners and their family. Strangers can testify that this breed is very warm to newcomers and friends of the family when owners introduce them to each other.
Border Collie Lab Mix Breed Health and Nutrition
They are no different from other large and active breeds of dogs. They need a nutrient-dense diet to support their growth and lean muscles, promote a shiny coat and healthy skin, boost their energy and immunity, and give them all the necessary nutrients for optimal health.
Energetic dogs need food fuel that is healthy and nutritious to keep them going. Their diet should be protein-rich and have the necessary vitamins and minerals for optimal health. It is best to consult with your vet to find out if your dog has a specific condition or food allergies before you feed him or her a particular brand.
A nutritious formula must include protein, calories, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids such as Omega 3 and 6. Beware of dog food that contains grains and meat by-products. They usually cause GI problems and food allergies. However, some dogs, especially mixed breeds are less likely to develop allergies to those types of dog food.
Like most dogs, feeding varies according to the age and life stage of your Borador. An adult dog can be fed once or twice a day. For puppies, they must eat puppy food for Boradors that is specific to their age two to four times a day. Puppy food has higher levels of calories to support their growth and compensate for their energy levels.
The same goes for nursing dogs. They need a nutrient-dense diet such as puppy food to be able to generate the right volume of milk to feed the whole litter. Once the puppies have been weaned off of their dam’s teats, they can start eating regular adult food. You can start feeding them solid food around eight weeks after they are born. If possible, continue having them breastfed to transition them slowly to solid food.
Since both parents are active working dogs, expect them to show the same levels of energy as its parents. Boradors are energetic and athletic. They require a great deal of physical exercise as well as mental stimulation. If an owner does not provide these needs, they can become restless, bored, or worse, destructive.
Like most active dogs, they enjoys an active lifestyle with a healthy routine. Although they can adapt to their environment easily like living in an apartment, they are still the happiest and healthiest when they get to expend their energy with vigorous activities outdoors. A brisk daily walk in the park or an hour of running or outdoor playtime every day may suffice.
Common Health Problems
Breeders and longtime owners of Boradors can tell you that they rarely encounter serious health problems with their dogs. However, this does not mean that they are invincible to common health problems that include the following:
Allergies and Skin Problems – Boradors can develop allergies from food and their environment. If not detected early and managed properly, these skin conditions can lead to a more severe problem in the future.
If you notice symptoms such as excessive itching and scratching that often lead to skin inflammation and rashes, your dog may be suffering from a skin allergy called Atopic Dermatitis.
If your dog is exhibiting the symptoms mentioned above with sneezing, watery eyes, and digestive issues such as vomiting, your dog may be suffering from a food allergy. Please take note that a food allergy is different from food intolerance. It is imperative that you seek professional help at the onset of the problem and not try to treat your dog yourself.
Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA) – This is a congenital disability that a Borador may have inherited from the Border Collie parent. Not all get this genetic condition, but since this is a common problem of Border Collies, it is highly likely that it could be passed down to crossbreeds.
CEA is a condition where one or both eyes do not develop normally while the puppy is still inside the womb. Vets can only check for this once the puppy opens its eyes around 7 to 10 days old after birth. The condition could be a lesion in one or both eyes that could impair the dog’s eyesight or cause complete blindness.
The owner can immediately tell if one or two of the puppies from the same litter caught the condition when there is evidence of poor eyesight, such as the puppy using their sense of smell instead of sight to locate food, bumping into objects, and if the puppy does not blink when you wave your fingers close to their eyes.
CEA can be detected early and will not become worse over time. Unfortunately, there is no treatment or cure for this condition. The puppy will carry the damage throughout its life.
Elbow and Hip Dysplasia – Most large breed dogs are prone to these conditions. Both are developmental abnormalities of the elbow or hip. Hip dysplasia is a condition where the hip or elbow joint is dislocated or displaced from its socket due to poor tendon, muscle sheath, or joint health. It is relatively common and is usually passed down by the Labrador parent.
A responsible breeder should prevent passing the problem to puppies by getting the Labrador parent tested before breeding. Signs of elbow and hip dysplasia are usually apparent when the puppy reaches five months onwards.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) – This is another congenital disease that comes from either parent of the dog. The condition is degenerative. It causes blindness in adult dogs over time. The first noticeable symptoms include “eye glow” or excessive shine in the eyes. Dogs may also experience night-blindness, wherein they cannot see or walk clearly in the dark.
However, according to experts, this is no longer a hopeless case. If you suspect that your Borador has PRA, have him or her checked by a veterinary ophthalmologist to determine the severity of the condition before administering necessary actions such as starting an antioxidant supplementation for his or her vision.
Hypothyroidism – This condition can affect all dog breeds. The thyroid gland is responsible for generating the hormone thyroxine that controls the metabolism and the process that turns food into energy. Hypothyroidism is a condition wherein the thyroid gland fails to create enough hormone, which results in slowed heart rate, lethargy or sluggishness, and weight gain in dogs.
Other symptoms include hair loss, thin and dull coats, flaky skin with dark patches, and infections in the ear and toenails. They are prone to weight gain, but this should not be enough to diagnose the condition. A series of blood tests are necessary to determine if your dog has the disease.
It may sound alarming, but pet owners should not worry. This condition is not life-threatening and is manageable if detected early. Your dog will be prescribed oral drugs that you have to administer for the rest of his life.
Boradors have an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. You can expect 12 to 15 beautiful years and great memories with your fun-loving dog. Just make sure to feed them the right type of food, give them plenty of exercise, and treat them as if they were part of your family.
Border Collie and Lab Mix Grooming
Borador dogs do not necessarily need high maintenance grooming. Their coats range from short to medium length because they inherited some of these traits from their Border Collie parent. It is generally easy to maintain the shine of their coat. Brushing once or twice a week can do the trick.
Regular brushing should be done primarily during shedding seasons. They usually happen during spring and autumn. Always brush your dogs during these seasons to minimize large deposits of fur inside the house.
As for bathing, it is hardly necessary to give regular dog baths. Given the type of coat they have, it is practically self-cleaning. If you happen to live in a big house with an open area where your dog is free to roam around and play, it is okay to give them baths as often as necessary if they are filthy.
Use appropriate dog shampoo to clean your dog. Using ordinary shampoo for humans or harsh detergents may harm your dog and cause skin problems.
Just beware of your dog hopping on the sofa when they are dirty especially if they are allowed to sleep or rest on it. Dogs do not know the difference between clean and dirty. So do not be harsh and punish them when they accidentally stain your newly cleaned sofa. Use positive reinforcement by removing them from the furniture and giving them a treat for staying away.
The ears should be cleaned once every two weeks to avoid the build-up of wax within the ear canal. Unfortunately, this is also something they inherit from their Labrador parent since Labrador retrievers are prone to ear wax build up.
Other grooming practices such as toothbrushing and nail clipping should be introduced while they are still puppies. At this stage, they are still accepting of new habits. Daily brushing is okay depending on the owners’ preference, and nail clipping is required every so often. However, vets recommend that you brush your dog’s teeth daily, especially if they are on a wet dog food diet.
Border Collie Lab Mix Puppies
A Borador can give birth to a litter of 9 to 10 adorable puppies that vary in colors. As puppies, you will notice that they look more like the Labrador retriever parent because their coats are not as thick as their Border Collie parent yet.
They are born tiny and can fit the palm of your hand. They will grow at a constant rate until they reach their full size by six months to one year of age. After six months, their growth spurt will seem to slow down until their first birthday.
Puppies may need constant supervision, especially around the house with children. The first few weeks of the puppies after birth is crucial. You should be able to see which puppy is weak and does not get enough milk. Your attentiveness can save that puppy’s life.
Also, at this point in their life, a series of vaccines and check-ups may be necessary to ensure they are healthy. It is also necessary for protection against specific viruses.
When they reach eight weeks and starts to wean off their dam’s teats, you may need to supervise their transition to dry food and check if they have developed allergies to a particular type of food.
A Lab Border Collie puppy is a ball of energy. Like most puppies, they are curious, energetic, and playful. They need toys for mental stimulation as well as for training purposes. This will allow them to differentiate what is theirs and what things they are not supposed to play with at home.
All the grooming habits you want your Borador to learn and practice until he or she gets older should be introduced at this stage. This will make it a lot simpler for them to establish the habit as a part of their routine that they will carry out until adulthood.
It is also highly advisable to start obedience training and socialization skills during this period. It will be a lot easier for the dog to learn tricks and acceptable behaviors. It will also be less stressful for you. You won’t have to fret about your dog behaving in an unacceptable way around people and other dogs.
List of other Lab Border Collie Mix Breeds
- Borador Aussie Mix – When mixed with the German Shepherd, you get a Border Aussie mix. It is one of the most popular mixed breeds in Australia.
- Borador Pitbull Mix – They are more common in the United States and other Western Countries because of the common occurrences of Pitbulls mating with Boradors.
- Black Lab Borador Mix – The Black Lab is not as common as the Choco and Sandy Labrador. It is a special Borador Mix that still has the same characteristics.
- Corgi Borador Mix – These are more uncommon, but the Borador characteristics still stand out more than its Corgi parent.
- Great Dane Borador Mix – The Great Dane mix is more prominent in size and can take on the dominant traits like pointed ears and square jaws.
- Great Pyrenees Borador Mix – The Great Pyrenees Mix is quite rare and a bit unconventional when it comes to traits. The Pyrenees parent is not as active as the Borador, so you’ll have to wait and see which traits come out of the puppy.
- Husky Borador Mix – The Husky Mix is just a big ball of energy. The puppy may inherit the eyes of the Husky parent.
- Blue Heeler Borador Mix – Also known as the Australian Cattle Dog, it is a great combination to emphasize the worker dog trait of the Borador.
- Newfoundland Borador Mix – Like the Great Dane Mix, the Newfoundland Mix is bigger in size than other mix breeds of the Borador. However, Newfoundlands are more excited to become worker dogs than the Great Dane, who is more of a companion and guard dog.
This Border Collie and Labrador Retriever mix is recognized by different breed organizations across the globe. Some of the recognized clubs are the following:
- American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC)
- Dog Registry of America (DRA)
- Designer Dogs Kennel Club (DDKC)
- Designer Breed Registry (DBR)
- International Designer Canine Registry (IDCR)
However, since they are a mixed breed, it is not recognized by the prestigious and world-renowned American Kennel Club.
Border Collie Lab Mix Price
As they are very common in the US that finding one to adopt for free in animal shelters is easy. You can even find people who are looking for loving families for Borador puppies online for free. But for those who cannot find one to adopt for free, their price ranges from $250 to $350. The cost of a puppy is slightly higher than that of an adult Borador.
Make sure that you only buy from a reputable breeder and not just a puppy mill. Aside from the assurance that you are getting the breed that you want, you will also get the reassurance that their puppies are healthy and cared for. They can also provide the necessary paperwork and health record of the parents.
Nothing is more heartbreaking than paying for a dog that you already learned to love only to find out days later that he or she has some severe health issues. Even then, you can still adopt the dog so that you can take care of it and live a happy life even if they only have a few years left to live.
This intelligent, playful, energetic, sweet, and loving breed makes a perfect family, service, and police dog. Boradors or the Border Collie Lab Mix are generally easy to take care of, groom, and train. The only thing they need is a proper diet, plenty of exercises, and your love and care. You will not regret getting this breed as a lifetime companion. They will add color and fun to you and your family’s life.