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Looking for your next furry companion and not sure which one to choose? Check out this Golden Retriever Vs. Border Collie guide to make the right decision.

Golden retrievers and border collies are popular dog breeds famous for their athleticism, strength, and loving natures, but they have major differences.

The differences between a Golden retriever and a Border collie are based on their grooming, family needs, and exercise. A Border collie requires a large area and active family to release its boundless energy. In contrast, Golden retrievers have more grooming needs and are kept as house pets.

There are several other major differences when it comes to a Golden retriever and a Border collie, such as temperament, training, appearance, health, etc. Both are extremely popular dogs and an excellent choice for a large family. Your decision between the two is also governed by the fact that whether or not you lead an active lifestyle and have kids and what your outdoor activities are.

In this article, we will guide you through the ultimate discussion of which dog to choose in our Golden retriever Vs. Border collie article. But first, let’s learn about these two dog breeds.  

Table of contents


Golden Retriever

Initially bred as hunting dogs, Golden retrievers are a perfect addition to a large family with kids. It loves to spend time with its family and is eager to please them. These fun-loving dogs are easy to train and enjoy physical outdoor activities. According to the AKC, golden retrievers have a life expectancy of 10-12 years and averagely weigh around 55 to 75 pounds.  


  • Golden retrievers, even as adults, like to act like the baby of the family and love to play around and cuddle.
  • It loves to socialize and is great with other pets, dogs, and humans.
  • As they usually belong to working families, these dogs are very easy to train and good at following commands even in distracting situations.  


  • If dog hair is something you are not comfortable with, we wouldn’t recommend going for a golden retriever. They shed a lot and have high grooming needs.
  • These dogs require constant attention in terms of playtime, food, and grooming.
  • Golden retrievers need a positive outlet to release their high energy levels, or it could lead to destructive behavior.
  • They don’t like to be separated from their owners.

Border Collie

Border collies are one of the most intelligent dog breeds available. They are used as herding animals and rank top in agility sports and training. A Border Collie is extremely active and thus needs a family that lives on a farm or engages in multiple outdoor activities. Keep in mind that its exercise needs are high. According to the AKC, its fur coat comes in a variety of colors and patterns, and its average height is between 19 to 21 inches, with a life expectancy of 12-15 years.


  • It has a high energy and endurance level and loves to play around and engage in physical activities like hiking, agility training, etc.
  • It is a loving dog breed that loves to spend time with its family and cuddle.
  • It is extremely intelligent and can learn new tricks and commands easily and quickly.


  • Border collies are an extremely territorial breed and stay loyal to their family. Thus, they might act aggressively towards strangers and other dogs, so make sure all their interactions are positive and safe.
  • They need to develop socialization skills.
  • They need to release their excessive energy through exercise and training, or else they get anxious or nervous

Golden Retriever Vs. Border Collie

Now that you know the distinct differences and similarities between a golden retriever and a border collie, let’s discuss the major differences in detail to make a well-informed decision.


The first and most important difference between Golden retriever vs. Border collie is their breed history and when and where they originated.

Golden retriever owes its development to Lord Tweedmouth in the late 1800s to create a gun dog. It all started when he purchased the only yellow dog in a litter of black-coat retrievers and brought it to his estate. He wanted to create a dog that was fit for the Scottish climate, game, and terrain. The result was a Tweed Water Spaniel, an extinct breed, which gave birth to several yellow puppies, thus creating the foundation for golden retrievers.

Border collies originated on the border of England and Scotland and were bred for the purposes of herding sheep. These dogs quickly gained popularity due to their keen herding eye, intelligence, and strength. Queen Victoria also became well acquainted with the breed in the 19th century, and it became one of her favorite furry companions, which contributed to its popularity and development.


Both are extremely adorable; you can easily tell a golden retriever and border collie apart. Golden retrievers are large dogs and have an average height of 20-25 inches. Don’t be intimidated by their size; these dogs love to cuddle with you on the couch. Their weight can reach up to 75 pounds, and thus it’s important to keep them physically fit. Golden retrievers have a medium fur coat length that comes in 3 colors; gold, dark golden, light golden. The larger fur coat means they shed a lot and have higher grooming needs than a border collie.

Border collies are also considered large dogs, but it is smaller than golden retrievers, and their average height is around 19-21 inches. This beautiful and energetic dog breed loves to play around the house and snuggle up with you on the bed. Border collies weigh around 35 pounds and make great house pets for active families. They also have a medium-length fur coat that comes in different textures, such as straight and silky. Border collies have a large variety when it comes to fur coat colors, such as; black, gold, brindle, lilac, red, blue merle, and more.


Golden retriever Vs. Border collie, which has the better personality? The personality of the dog you choose needs to suit your current living situation, your family, and how much you socialize.

Golden retrievers are extremely social dogs that love to hang around with their family and meet new people and dogs. They are fun-loving, loyal, and easy to train. These dogs have a high-energy level and love to please their owners. Thus, a great chance for you to train and teach them new tricks, commands, and more. Overall, golden retrievers are the perfect dogs for huge families with lots of kids.

Border collies are also fun-loving dog breeds that are extremely loyal to their families and love to spend time with them and please them. Used as herding animals, these dogs are intelligent, smart, and easy to train, especially for agility training and sports. They can be territorial if you have other pets, so make sure to introduce them gradually.


Both Golden retriever and Border collie are quite similar in terms of their need for exercise, with one overpowering the other in its physical exercise needs.

Golden retrievers are highly energetic dogs that need a positive outlet to relieve their boundless energy, or otherwise, they will get bored, anxious, etc., all of which will lead to destructive behaviors. That’s why it’s considered the best dog for large, active families that can give them a lot of attention and love.  

In contrast, Border collies are a bit handful. These dogs are not only strong and energetic but are also highly intelligent. They need a rigorous exercise regime to keep them physically and mentally strong. Collies need large open spaces and freedom to expel excess energy.


Golden retriever Vs. Border collie, which is better in training? There is a reason both dogs are considered for agility sports because they are easy to train.

Being one of the brightest dog breeds, golden retrievers are very easy to train and quick to pick up on new commands and tricks. It loves to please its owners and put on a fabulous show to make them smile. You can teach them basic commands like sit, stay, come, and advanced commands like a bow, using the toilet, and more, easily.

Border collies are equally intelligent, if not more, and easy to train. It is the top-ranking dog for agility sports. It quickly learns commands, hand signals, and cues and has improved recall memory. Thus, they can do what you want without you having to ask for it.


No dog in the world doesn’t love its family, isn’t loyal, and doesn’t love to cuddle with its owner in front of the couch. But besides their unconditional love, there are other qualities that families and owners look for when choosing a dog.

Both Golden retrievers and Border collies are perfect for families that engage in outdoor activities. But that doesn’t mean they don’t like to stay in the house. Yes, they do require more open space to run around and give chase, but they are loyal to the core and would do anything to please their families.

Overall, Golden retrievers are confident, friendly, smart, loving, and sociable. In contrast, Border collies are extremely intelligent, energetic, territorial, alert, and loyal.


Golden retrievers and Border collies are both healthy dog breeds that do well with an active lifestyle, but there is still a need for regular veterinarian check ups as both breeds are prone to some health issues.

Golden retrievers have a shorter life expectancy than Border collies, 10-12 years. It requires a physical checkup after every 12 to 18 months and can suffer from multiple health issues prevalent in its breed. For example, epilepsy, hip dysplasia, cataracts, osteosarcoma, hypothyroidism, and allergies are some common issues.

In contrast, Border collies have a life expectancy of 12-15 years and need a vet checkup at least once a year. Common health problems include eye anomaly, hip dysplasia, allergies, epilepsy, progressive retinal atrophy, and more.

Grooming Needs

Golden retrievers Vs. Border collie, which has the higher grooming needs? A golden retriever has a long fur coat length, which means they need to be groomed and brushed 2 to 3 times a week. We know this sounds excessive, but if you don’t, it can increase hair shedding, knots, and tangles that can be uncomfortable for your dog. Grooming is also important if you don’t want your house to be covered in dog hair.

Border collies have a medium-length fur coat that requires brushing and grooming twice or thrice a week. Like golden retrievers, it is also prone to hair shedding.

It is better to groom your dogs 2 to 3 times weekly and bathe them once every 10 weeks with an unscented shampoo and conditioner. This will help detangle knots and keep the hair silky, smooth, and easy to brush.

Food Consumption

To keep your dog physically strong and fit, you need to feed them the best quality of dog food available. There are many choices in the market nowadays, and they vary depending on the dog breed you have.

On average, a Golden retriever eats about 3 cups of food a day, and a Border coolie eats 2 to 3 cups a day. This can also vary depending on their size and daily activity. The food expenditure of a golden retriever is higher than that of a border collie.

Golden retriever Vs. Border collie, which is the better dog? Both have a lot of similarities, such as both are athletic, full of energy, loyal, and easy to train. This makes them fit for families with large open areas and interests in outdoor activities. But they do differ in their personality, food intake, grooming needs, and health issues.

Before making a decision, it is important that you are aware of all the pros and cons of petting a golden retriever and border collie. Both of these dogs can be a handful if you are not prepared to give them attention and provide an outlet to release their excessive energy.

If you love to socialize, Golden retrievers are the one for you, but if you are interested in agility sports, go for Border collies. Both are child-friendly, suitable for work, and pet-friendly.

The ultimate choice depends on your family, your way of living, the resources you have, and if you are a first-time dog owner who is willing to take on the challenge. We hope this article helps in making the best decision for you.