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15 Dog Breeds That Look Like Border Collies You’ll Love

Border Collies, renowned for their striking appearance and remarkable intelligence, have a distinctive look often echoed in other dog breeds. This article delves into the world of canine breeds that share a resemblance with the beloved Border Collie. 

Known for their keen often blue eyes, athletic build, and often a beautifully patterned coat, Border Collies set a standard for a certain aesthetic and functional design in the canine world. As we explore these similar breeds, we find physical similarities and shared traits in intelligence, agility, the need for physical exercise and herding instincts. 

From the Shetland Sheepdog’s luscious fur and expressive face to the Australian Shepherd’s vibrant coloring and boundless energy, each breed we will discuss carries a piece of that distinct Border Collie charm. 

This exploration is not just a study of appearances; it’s a journey through the diverse yet interconnected world of herding breeds, each with its own history, personality, and unique spin on the classic Border Collie look. Here is all pet parents should know about dog breeds that look like border collies.

15 Dog Breeds That Look Like Border Collies

1. Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherds and Border Collies share a striking resemblance that often makes them mistaken for one another. Both breeds boast a medium build and a similar range of coat colors, including black, white, and merle, making their appearances quite parallel. 

The Australian Shepherd, often affectionately called an ‘Aussie’, shares the Border Collie’s alert, intelligent expression, characterized by bright, observant eyes reflecting keen intelligence.

australian-shepherd dog breeds that whine a lot

Their coats, while similar in color variety, also show parallels in texture and length. Australian Shepherds typically have a medium-length coat that’s slightly wavy, much like the Border Collie’s, providing them both with a rugged yet graceful appearance. 

Both breeds also have a similar athletic physique, built for agility and endurance, a testament to their shared herding lineage. This athleticism is evident in their poised stance and graceful movements. While there are subtle differences in features, like the Aussie’s typically broader head and the Border Collie’s slightly leaner build, their overall physical resemblance is remarkable, reflecting their shared heritage as skilled and intelligent herding dogs.

2. Shetland Sheepdog (Sheltie)

The Shetland Sheepdog, affectionately known as the Sheltie, resembles the Border Collie, both heralding from herding backgrounds. One of the most striking similarities is their luxurious, long double coats. Shelties often exhibit coats of different colors and patterns akin to Border Collies, including sable, black and white, and merle, with the distinctive white collar being a common feature in both breeds.

Size-wise, Shelties are generally smaller than Border Collies, but their physical structure, with a well-proportioned and agile body, mirrors the Border Collie’s athletic build. Both breeds possess similar expressive, almond-shaped eyes, conveying intelligence and alertness. 

Shetland Sheepdog

Their ears also tend to be similarly set and shaped, adding to their comparable facial expressions. The Sheltie’s elegant gait and poised posture further emphasize their likeness to Border Collies. This resemblance is not just skin-deep; it extends to their intelligent demeanor, herding abilities, and energetic nature, making Shelties appear like a smaller, more compact version of the Border Collie.

3. English Shepherd

The English Shepherd resembles the Border Collie, both breeds being descendants of old herding types from the British Isles. One of the most notable similarities is their medium-sized, athletic build, designed for agility and endurance, essential for herding. 

English Shepherds often have a coat that is similar in texture and length to that of Border Collies, typically featuring a mix of black, white, sable, or tricolor patterns. Their facial structure also bears a resemblance, with intelligent, alert expressions common to both breeds. 

English Shepherd

This is complemented by their medium-length muzzles and ears that are pricked or semi-pricked, much like those of the Border Collie. While English Shepherds can sometimes be heavier and have a broader build than Border Collies, their overall physical appearance and movement still strongly reflect their shared herding heritage. 

Both breeds exude a sense of keen alertness and readiness for work, typical traits in dogs bred for intelligence and responsiveness in fieldwork.

4. Rough Collie

The Rough Collie, famously known as “Lassie,” shares a familial resemblance with the Border Collie, both originating from herding stock. One of the most noticeable similarities is their elegant, elongated face with a tapered snout, expressive almond-shaped eyes, and perky ears, partly standing and partly folded. This gives them a look of intelligence and alertness, characteristic of both breeds.

In terms of coat, Rough Collies have a luxurious, dense double coat, similar in texture to that of the Border Collie but generally longer and more abundant. The coat colors also show parallels, with both breeds displaying variations of sable, tricolor, and blue merle. 

rough collie

While Rough Collies are larger and have a more pronounced mane around the neck, their overall body structure, including a strong, agile build suitable for herding and agility, closely mirrors that of the Border Collie.

Both breeds not only look similar but also share traits like intelligence, loyalty, and a strong working ethic, reflecting their shared heritage as versatile and capable herding dogs. The Rough Collie, with its regal bearing and lush coat, can be seen as a more glamourous, larger cousin of the more workmanlike Border Collie.

5. Bearded Collie

The Bearded Collie, often affectionately known as the “Beardie,” shares several physical traits with the Border Collie, indicative of their common herding heritage. One of the most prominent similarities is their medium to long, dense double coat, which is designed to protect them in harsh weather conditions.

While the Bearded Collie’s hair is generally longer and shaggier, especially around the face, giving them their characteristic “bearded” look, the texture and the range of colors, including black, blue, brown, and fawn, often with white markings, are reminiscent of the Border Collie’s coat.

bearded collie dog

Both breeds are similar in size and build, possessing a sturdy, agile frame that is well-suited to active work. Their expressive faces, with bright, intelligent eyes and a keen gaze, are also comparable. Though the Bearded Collie tends to be larger and bulkier than the Border Collie, both breeds exhibit an energetic demeanor and agility that reflect their shared lineage as working dogs.

These physical resemblances are complemented by similar behavioral traits, such as high intelligence, trainability, and a strong herding instinct, making the Bearded Collie appear like a longer-haired, more robust cousin of the Border Collie.

6. Australian Kelpie

The Australian Kelpie, a breed renowned for its herding prowess, shares several physical characteristics with the Border Collie, reflecting their common working dog heritage. First and foremost, their size and build are quite similar – both breeds are medium-sized, with lean and muscular bodies built for agility and endurance. This physique is essential for their herding tasks, allowing them to maneuver quickly and efficiently.

In terms of coat, while Kelpies typically have short hair, more weather-resistant coats than the Border Collie, they share common coat colors like black, chocolate, and red, often with the same white markings on the chest and paws. Though shorter, the texture of their short coat is similarly dense and serves the same purpose of providing protection in various outdoor conditions.

Australian Kelpie

Both breeds also exhibit an alert and intelligent expression, with keen eyes and pricked ears, always ready to respond to their owner’s commands. This alert demeanor is a hallmark of their shared herding lineage. While distinct in some ways, the Australian Kelpie mirrors the Border Collie in its agile build, working capabilities, and intelligent, responsive nature. Mental stimulation is key with both of these breeds.

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7. Belgian Sheepdog

The Belgian Sheepdog, known for its versatility and intelligence, shares several visual and temperamental traits with the Border Collie, reflecting their shared herding origins. One of the most striking similarities is their size and build. Both breeds possess a medium to large stature with a strong, athletic frame designed for endurance and agility, essential for herding and active work.

Their coats, while differing in texture, also bear resemblance. Belgian Sheepdogs typically have long, straight, and dense fur on their long coat, often in solid black, which can remind one of the thicker-coated Border Collies. Both breeds have a similar bushy tail and a proud, alert stance, showcasing their readiness for action.

Belgian Sheepdog black

Facially, Belgian Sheepdogs and Border Collies share an intelligent, keen expression, with bright, observant eyes that reflect a sharp mind. Their ears are similarly shaped and positioned, adding to their alert and attentive appearance.

 Though the Belgian Sheepdog may be larger and more robust, its overall physicality, com.ined with a strong work ethic and intelligence, closely parallels the characteristics of the Border Collie,

8. McNab Shepherd

The McNab Shepherd, a lesser-known but highly skilled herding breed, exhibits several physical traits that closely resemble those of the Border Collie. Both breeds share a similar medium build, characterized by a lean, athletic body that’s well-suited for agility and stamina, crucial for their herding tasks. 

The McNab Shepherd’s structure, with its strong legs and balanced proportions, mirrors the Border Collie’s physique, designed for efficiency and endurance.

McNab Shepherd

In terms of coat, while McNab Shepherds typically have a shorter, smoother coat compared to the Border Collie’s medium or long fur, they often share similar color patterns. These can include black, white, and merle, with distinctive markings that are common in Border Collies.

Both breeds also have an alert and intelligent expression, with bright, keen eyes that convey their attentive nature. Their ears, which can be pricked or semi-pricked, further enhance their vigilant appearance. 

9. Australian Cattle Dog

The Australian Cattle Dog and the Border Collie, while distinct breeds, share some similarities that highlight their herding dog heritage. One of the most noticeable shared features is their compact, muscular build, reflecting their agility and strength, essential for herding and active work. Both breeds are medium-sized dogs with a sturdy physique, enabling quick, energetic movements.

australian cattle dog

In terms of coat, the Australian Cattle Dog has a unique coat pattern, often blue or red speckled or mottled, which is different from the Border Collie’s more traditional colorations. However, both breeds possess a dense, double coat that serves a similar purpose: protection against harsh weather conditions and rough terrain, a necessity for outdoor working dogs.

Facially, Australian Cattle Dogs and Border Collies share an intelligent and alert expression, with keen, bright eyes and pricked or semi-pricked ears, always ready for action. Though the Australian Cattle Dog’s appearance is distinguished by its distinctive coat patterns and broader head, its over.all physicality, work-driven temperament, and energetic demeanor echo the attributes of the Border Collie

10. Collie (Smooth)

The Smooth Collie, a close relative of the Rough Collie, shares several characteristics with the Border Collie, making them appear akin in many aspects. One of the most notable similarities is their overall body structure. Both breeds exhibit a medium-sized, athletic build, with a strong, agile frame that is well-suited to their herding background. This similarity is a testament to their shared heritage and functionality as working dogs.

collie smooth dog

In terms of their coat, while the Smooth Collie has a shorter, sleek smooth coat compared to the Border Collie’s typically medium-length fur, they often share similar color patterns. These can include sable, tricolor, blue merle, and black and white, often with distinctive white markings, particularly around the neck, chest, and legs.

Both breeds also have a similar head shape, with a long, tapered muzzle and alert, intelligent expressions complemented by their bright, observant eyes. Although the Smooth Collie’s coat is less dense, their physical attributes, including their poised stance and keen gaze, closely mirror those of the Border Collie.

11. Old English Sheepdogs

The Old English Sheepdog, with its distinctive shaggy coat and amiable nature, shares certain traits with the Border Collie that hint at their shared lineage as herding breeds. While the Old English Sheepdog is larger and fluffier, its thick, double rough coat, often in shades of grey and white, can be reminiscent of the longer-haired Border Collies. The coat on these white dogs serves the same purpose – protection from harsh weather, which is essential for working dogs.

old english sheepdog

Both breeds have strong, athletic builds suited to their herding roles, though the Old English Sheepdog’s is hidden beneath its abundant fur. They possess a similar robustness and agility necessary for their active working lifestyle. The Old English Sheepdog’s face, often partially obscured by its fur, reveals expressive eyes that resemble the intelligent, alert gaze of the Border Collie.

Despite their size and coat differences, both breeds share an enthusiastic demeanor and a strong work ethic, typical of herding dogs. The Old English Sheepdog, with its more laid-back personality, still mirrors the Border Collie’s intelligence and loyalty, making it a larger, more tousled counterpart to the more streamlined Border Collie.

12. Welsh Sheepdog

The Welsh Sheepdog, a lesser-known but highly capable herding breed, exhibits several similarities with the Border Collie, reflecting their shared ancestry and working dog roles. One of the most notable resemblances is their medium-sized, athletic build. Both breeds have a strong, agile physique tailored for stamina and quick movements, which is essential for their herding tasks.

welsh sheepdog dog breeds that look like border collies

In terms of appearance, Welsh Sheepdogs often display a coat color and pattern similar to Border Collies, including black, red, and tricolor, sometimes with white markings. While their coat can vary in length, it often has a texture and density akin to that of Border Collies, providing protection and adaptability in various weather conditions. Regular exercise is key for both as is proper training.

Both breeds share an intelligent, focused expression, with bright, alert eyes that showcase their keen awareness and responsiveness. This alertness is crucial for their work as herding dogs and they have a similar temperament.

13. Bergamasco Sheepdog

The Bergamasco Sheepdog, known for its unique, matted coat, shares certain traits with the Border Collie that point to their common herding heritage. While the Bergamasco’s most distinctive feature is its felt-like, dreadlocked coat, its size and build bear a resemblance to the Border Collie. Both breeds are medium-sized and have a sturdy, muscular physique, suitable for the demands of active herding work.

In terms of facial structure, the Bergamasco Sheepdog, underneath its abundant fur, has an intelligent and alert expression similar to that of the Border Collie. Their eyes, conveying a keen and observant demeanor, are reminiscent of the Border Collie’s intense gaze. 

Bergamasco Sheepdog

Although the Bergamasco’s coat is significantly different in texture and length, their body shape and agility come to the fore, highlighting their similarities with the Border Collie when groomed or sheared.

Both breeds also share behavioral traits such as high intelligence, strong herding instincts, and a loyal, attentive nature. The Bergamasco Sheepdog, with its unique appearance and gentle temperament, can be seen as a more rustic, rugged version of the sleek and agile Border Collie.

14. Scotch Collie

The Scotch Collie, an ancestor of the modern Border Collie, shares several physical and behavioral traits with its descendant. These border collie breeds exhibit a medium-sized, agile build, essential for their shared herding tasks. This similar physique reflects their ability to maneuver quickly and efficiently, a necessity in their traditional sheepdog role.

scotch collie

In terms of appearance, this energetic dog often has a coat with long hair that is similar in texture to that of Border Collies, though it can be longer and more abundant. Their coat colors also show parallels, with variations including sable, tricolor, and blue merle, much like the Border Collie’s distinctive markings.

Facially, the Scotch Collie and Border Collie share an intelligent and alert expression, with bright, responsive eyes that indicate their keen awareness and problem-solving abilities. While the Scotch Collie may have a broader head and a more pronounced muzzle, its overall appearance, demeanor, and herding capabilities closely mirror those of the Border Collie. And this breed is good with young children.

15. New Zealand Herding Dog

The New Zealand Herding Dog, particularly the New Zealand Huntaway, exhibits several characteristics that are reminiscent of the Border Collie, stemming from their shared herding background. While these farm dogs are generally more extensive and more robust than the Border Collie, both breeds possess a similarly athletic and agile build, crucial for their demanding work as sheepdogs.

The Huntaway often sports a short to medium-length coat, which can be similar to some Border Collies, especially those with shorter fur. Their coat colors can vary, but standard shades like black and tan sometimes mirror the traditional color patterns of Border Collies.

New Zealand Huntaway

Behaviorally and temperamentally, the New Zealand Huntaway and the Border Collie share many attributes. These active dogs are both are known for their high intelligence, trainability, and strong work ethic, essential for effective herding. 

While the Huntaway is distinct for its use of loud, deep barking to herd sheep, as opposed to the Border Collie’s quiet, intense stare, both breeds exhibit a deep focus and dedication to their work, showcasing their herding heritage. These smart dogs, with their robust constitution and keen herding instinct, have many similar traits to the qualities admired in the Border Collie.

NB: The New Zealand Herding Dog is a different breed from the New Zealand Heading dog.

If you are going to look at getting a puppy make sure you work with a reputable breeder – check out this article from the American Kennel Club to help guide you.

Dogs that Look like Border Collies in Conclusion

Each breed, from the agile Australian Shepherd to the robust New Zealand Huntaway, shares certain traits with the Border Collie, be it their physical build, coat characteristics, or herding instincts. These similarities underline the shared ancestry and functional roles of these breeds as herding dogs. Understanding these elements are key to finding the right dog or the right breed for you and your family.

Yet, each breed also retains its unique qualities and distinctions. Exploring these breeds not only highlights the versatility and adaptability of herding dogs but also celebrates the broader tapestry of canine breeds, each with its own history, abilities, and charm.

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