Border Collie vs Sheltie

Border Collie vs Sheltie: Which One?

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Since the early ages, both Shelties (Shetland Sheepdogs) and Border Collies are amongst the two most popular dog breed choices for mankind due to their strong sporting instincts.

Both working class dog breeds are trainable, intelligent, agile, and adaptable. They even have an uncanny ability to tend to herd livestock and hold their own across large acres of land.

As modern civilization moves apace, human priorities were reformed. Today, a dog’s personality and suitability traits form and determine dog ownership.

These two breeds are well-loved for their shared qualities: a pleasant deposition, sociable, loyalty, energetically playful with a gentle temperament.

Border Collies and Shelties are similar, but different.

Which breed reigns supreme: a Sheltie or Border Collie?


True to its name, the Border Collie hails from the borders in between England and Scotland and has been registered with AKC since 1995. Bred to herd sheep in harsh weather, this nimbly beautiful breed is still renowned as an outstanding working class dog and canine sports competitor.

Registered with AKC in 1911, Shelties were named after the Shetland Islands, North-East of Scotland. Shetland Sheepdogs are descendants of farm dogs from both Scotland and Scandinavian territories. A Sheltie’s key role was to keep Shetland varieties of sheep, cattle and ponies in check and away from precious crops.

Temperament & Behavior

Border Collies

Border Collie playing with ball

Border Collies can be destructive because of their high energy, noise sensitivity, strong herding instincts and high intelligence. For unsuspecting dog owners, Border Collies can be a handful. As strong-minded and quick learners, they have a tendency to pick up unwanted bad habits, roam and disobey if there is inadequate training or pack leadership.

Other than the need for frequent exercise and constant mental stimulation, Border Collies are natural athletes with great stamina and endurance. Hence, Border Collies are best advised for members of physically active households with older children.


Priced by fanciers for their temperament and poise, Shelties are protective, sensitive, easy to train, smart but childishly playful. Similar to the Border Collie, Shelties do best for active families, with strict training regimens and plenty of exercise. Its size and lesser strength however, would be more suitable for associating and interacting with young children in comparison.

Physical Traits (Coat, Size, Color & Ears)

Border Collies

Border Collies’ weight and height ranges from 26 to 42 lb and 18 to 21 in for females. Males measure and weigh around 31 to 44 lb and 19 to 22 in. The breed has two varieties of smooth or rough double coats – single coats are rare. Common color fur patterns include: black tricolor, red tricolor, brown and white, blue merle. In some breed lines, fur pattern inclusions of brindle, blonde and orange can occur.

Eye colors can differ, with light and dark brown, hazel, green and blue being the most common. Ears are erect, semi-erect or fully dropped.


Sheltie playing with ball

For Shelties, both females and males weigh and measure at around the same range, with males being normally on the taller and heavier end, about 11 to 24 lb and 13 to 16 in. Shelties have thick, weatherproof and longer double coats with a narrower color range: sable-white, mahogany sable, black tricolor, blue merle, bi-blue and tan white.

Eye colors are mostly either blue and dark brown. Sheltie ears are mostly slightly tipped at the ends, at least a quarter of the whole ear. Although, certain Shelties can have naturally pointed ears.

Life Expectancy

The average lifespan for a Border Collie is about 10 to 14 years, while a Sheltie has an average lifespan of 12 to 14 years.


Border Collies

Border Collies are prone to seizures, Lens Luxation, and Osteochondritis Dissecans. Although occasional, they may also suffer from compulsive behavior, Cerebellar Abiotrophy, and Ceroid Lipofuscinosis.


Shelties however, are prone to allergies, Cataracts, Hemophilia, and Patellar Luxation. They are also susceptible to Epilepsy, Von Willebrand Disease, and even deafness.

Similarities & Recommendations

Adorable border collie

Although healthy, Border collies and Shelties have similar health problems due to their collie bloodline.

Common health problems include: Collie Eye Anomaly, Hypothyroidism, Canine Hip Dysplasia, Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA), and Progressive Retinal Atrophy.

We recommend requesting your veterinarian to run eyes, hip, DNA, CEA or thyroid tests on both breeds for early detection.


Border Collies require 1.5 cups to 2 cups of food twice or thrice daily, while Shelties require 2 to 3 cups of food, twice daily.

For a healthy coat and overall health, fish oil and multivitamin supplements are recommended.

Should you prefer to feed your dog with home-cooked food instead of kibble, please consult your veterinarian. Meal plans should be ideally well-balanced, allergen-free and tailored to your dog’s needs.


Ranked amongst the top 10 smartest breeds, Border Collies and Shelties are both known for their intelligence and high trainability. Naturally protective of their family, both breeds make excellent watchdogs.

Because of their high intelligence and eagerness to please, Border Collies and Shelties both excel in many areas – particularly in agility competitions and even as therapy dogs!

Funny sheltie

Their intelligence also comes with a tendency to disobey. Training should be conducted frequently and early on, but with a firm and gentle hand to discourage unwanted play-biting, nipping or herding. A proper introduction to dangers such as cars or other smaller animals is also recommended.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are border collies/shelties suitable for apartments?

Both breeds are high-energy dogs, so they might not be suitable for an apartment lifestyle. If you live in an apartment and wish to get either breed, it is important to ensure that your border collie/sheltie gets ample daily exercise and proper obedience training to prevent any unwanted behavior.

Are border collies/shelties suitable for first time dog owners?

Border collies and shelties are recommendable with caution, because of their shared stubborn personality trait. Should you still wish to get either breed, begin obedience training early, supplemented with constant mental stimulation and daily exercise.

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