Golden Retriever Vs Border Collie – What Is The Best Breed For You

Both these Scottish dogs have a long and proud heritage as working dogs. The Border Collie is used to herd sheep on farms and the Golden Retriever accompanied hunters to track and retrieve animals.

While some still fulfil these roles and others have been used to help with more modern services as well, both these breeds have become exceptionally popular options as pets as well.

Key Similarities

As is to be expected considering their shared backgrounds, Golden Retrievers and Border Collies have a lot in common.

Both are extremely energetic and playful, the Border Collie has extreme amounts of energy though, even more than the Goldie.

Both shed moderately and require an equal amount of grooming.

Their personalities are also alike, both are playful, loving, intelligent, eager to please and patient with children.

Importantly, because of their intelligence and temperament, both breeds are among the favourite to be used as service and therapy dogs.

Key Differences

While they are extremely similar, there are some factors that set these two apart. Golden Retrievers drool, while Border Collies do not.

The Border Collie prefers cooler weather while the Golden Retriever tends to be comfortable in most conditions.

Border Collies also tend to be more apprehensive of strangers and other animals, while a well-socialized goldie is friendly to everyone and everything.

Pros over each other

The Golden Retriever might be slightly more adaptable in terms of the climate and apartment living than the Border Collie and while they are very energetic and playful, they don’t require as much intense exercise as the Border Collie.

Border Collies have the advantage of not drooling and enjoying better health and a longer lifespan in general.

Who Should Consider Owning Each One?

These two dogs are extraordinarily similar. Both would be great additions to any family that can provide the love, attention and exercise they need. They both shed and they both need some space to release their energy. Which each individual will prefer will largely depend on which dog’s appearance they like more. Apart from that, people who do not like drooling would probably pick a Border Collie and people who live in warmer areas should consider a Golden Retriever.
In the end, both are great choices and are among the most popular breeds in the world for good reason.

All About the Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever came from Scotland and originated in the 1800s. The breed was designed for hunting ducks and waterfowl.

Golden Retrievers are excellent hunting dogs but are wonderful family dogs as well.

All About the Border Collie

Border Collies were originally bred to be used on sheep farms as herding dogs. Nowadays, they’re known to be loving and playful family pets.


The Spaniel breeds came from Spain and were all sizes and shaped. The types of spaniels were land, water, springer, field spaniels, and Sussex.

All of these spaniels were bred for different hunting duties. The dog’s size was the main point of difference between all these dogs.

The Cocker Spaniel was used to retrieve and flush out small game such as woodcock, pheasant, and quail. In 1946, both the American Cocker Spaniel and the English Cocker Spaniel were recognized officially by the AKC as separate breeds.

Size and appearance:

Cocker Spaniels have incredibly expressive faces and stand out in a crowd. However, their tail keeps wagging, their eyes are dark, and big floppy ears.

Your Cocker Spaniel’s weight will be between 24-28 pounds, with the male being 15 inches at the withers and the female being 14 inches. The head is graceful and round with a broad square muzzle. The ears are feathered long, and the dog’s back slopes towards the tail. There is feathering on the ears and the legs, underside, and chest. Most of the time, the tail is docked.

There are a variety of colors with Cocker Spaniels. The colors can be solid black, tan, or red. Other coats are bi-colored and tri-colored. The coats can be black and white, black and tan, or black and white with tan flecks.

The AKC has the Cocker Spaniel divided into three varieties for show. The divisions are parti-color, black, or ASCOB, which stands for Any Solid Color Other Than Black.


The life expectancy of your Cocker Spaniel is between 14 to 16 years.

Guard dog or family pet?

The guarding instinct is very low in this breed.

You can train them to bark when someone is at the door, but that’s about it. These dogs are friendly, gentle dogs who make great family pets.

First Impressions & History

Bred to herd sheep on the English and Scottish hillsides, the Border Collie has played an integral role in farming that it has been able to execute to perfection due to its high intelligence and boundless energy.

Size & Appearance

They are a medium-sized breed, growing to be between 18 and 22 inches tall and 30 to 45 pounds.

They are usually black and white with short to medium-length coats.

Grooming & Shedding

Accustomed to working in rough weather conditions and in the dirt, Border Collies don’t need a lot of grooming. Brushing and bathing them as needed will be enough to keep them looking good.

They don’t shed much, but they blow out their coats twice a year.


10-17 Years

Quick Facts

  • They are highly trainable and can be taught to respond to the subtlest commands and even preempt what their owners want them to do.
  • They require a lot of exercise, playtime and work to allow them to get rid of their vast energy reserves.
  • They herd everything, so they will constantly be rounding up your children or pets.
  • Because they are intelligent and curious, they do have a tendency to escape yards.

Golden Retrievers In More Detail

Temperament And Behavior:

Golden Retrievers are naturally well-behaved and friendly. Their temperament is playful, gentle, and outgoing. Plus, this breed is intelligent and devoted to its family.

A Golden Retriever gets along with other animals. However, these dogs do exuberant jumps on people when young. Plus, this breed does tend to mouthiness and likes to carry things around.

Training and obedience:

A Golden Retriever has a puppy frame of mind until he is over three years old. Early training is essential so you can instill good manners and calmness.

Even if he is eager to please, your dog will be distracted by the wonderful new sights and smells, so patience is a must.

Exercise Needs:

These dogs are from the sporting class, so they need exercise. If your dog can’t vent his energy and you find him interesting things to do, then he’ll find them. This breed has an extremely high energy level and a high exercise level.

An hour of exercise at least will help keep your dog’s exuberance under control. After that, your dog will love to retrieve stuff and bring back just about anything thrown to him.

Shedding, grooming, and maintenance:

Golden retrievers shed a lot and often. They require regular brushing to keep ahead of the hair shedding.

Because the breed is a hunting and waterfowl dog, the outer coat is dense and will repel water.

You will regularly need to brush and comb your dog to avoid his coat getting matted and tangled. Some dogs of this breed have a medium-length coat that isn’t as hard to groom. Other dogs have a heavier coat with lots of feathering.

Plus, Goldens need to be clipped and scissored occasionally, so a trip to the groomers may be necessary to keep your dog sanitary. Keeping nails trimmed is also a part of the grooming. These dogs shed moderately in the winter and summer but heavily in the spring and fall.

Because this breed has fold-over ears, they are prone to ear infections. The ears create an environment for bacteria and fungus to grow. It appears as black dirt-looking particles with a terrible odor. Simply gently wipe the outer ear with a cotton ball that’s been dampened with pH-balanced ear cleaner.

Health issues:

Golden Retrievers are prone to cancer, heart problems, skin allergies, eye defects. Plus, they gain weight easily, so overfeeding should not be done. In addition, they are susceptible to bloat, hypothyroidism, and hip dysplasia.

Quick Facts:

These dogs have a distinctive doggy odor and produce a lot of dander.

The breed is a good match for children, other dogs, cats, families, and seniors. They are excellent dogs for first-time pet owners, and these dogs love water.

The cost of a Golden Retriever is about $500.

Border Collie In More Detail

Temperament & Behaviour

Being a breed that is born to work, they don’t like laying about all day.

They need a lot of exercise and playtime to keep them mentally and physically stimulated, otherwise they may become bored and unhappy which could lead to unwanted behaviour.

Intelligence Levels & Affections Levels

They are highly intelligent and extremely attuned to their owners wants and needs. Therefore they grow to form very strong bonds with their owners.

Training & Obedience

Because they are so intelligent and all they want to do is make you happy, Border Collies are known for being remarkably trainable. This is evident when one sees them herding large flocks of sheep.

Boredom and not being allowed to use up their energy might lead to them misbehaving.

Exercise Needs

They are a highly active breed. They require a lot of exercise and won’t be happy living somewhere where they don’t have space to run around freely.

When they can’t expend their energy they become restless and naughty.

Guard Dog Or Family Pet

While they are excellent at guarding and herding sheep, they aren’t large enough to provide security for you and your family. They will alert you to danger and protect you with all their might but should be seen as a family pet, rather than a guard dog.

Gets On With Other Pets, Animals And Children?

They are obedient enough not to be a threat to other animals or children, but their herding instincts might cause them to play a bit rough or even nop at animals or children. A well-socialized dog will be able to control these instincts better.

Who Should Consider Buiyng

The perfect conditions for them would be working or at least living on a farm, but if you can provide enough space for a Border Collie to run around, and are willing to invest a lot of energy in training them, you will be rewarded with a remarkable pet that is highly intelligent and very obedient.


Seeing a Border Collie in action, herding sheep is one of the most amazing things to experience. This is where they really get to showcase their talents.

Getting one for your family will bring you endless amounts of joy and laughter, but it is absolutely essential that you ensure that you are able to satisfy this breed’s needs before deciding on adopting one.