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Border Collie & Golden Retriever Mix: Info, Pictures, Characteristics & Facts

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Golden Border Retriever

Height: 18–22 inches
Weight: 45–70 pounds
Lifespan: 10–15 years
Colors: White, fawn, pied, red
Suitable for: Active families, those looking for a super-smart and friendly dog
Temperament: Affectionate, intelligent, energetic, independent, curious

It’s hard to think of two more iconic dog breeds than the Golden Retriever and the Border Collie, so what could be better than mixing them? As it turns out, not much, as the resulting dog—the Golden Border Retriever—makes for a fantastic pet. Don’t think about bringing one home if your idea of a good time is watching Law & Order marathons, though. These are active dogs and they require a ton of exercise.

If you’re considering adding a Golden Border Retriever to your pack, the guide below will clue you in on everything you need to know about these pups.

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Golden Border Retriever Puppies

Golden Border Retriever puppy
Image Credit: Eric Isselee, Shutterstock

Given how well-known its parent breeds are, you may think that you already understand everything about Golden Border Retrievers—and you might be right.

Let’s face it, Golden Retrievers and Border Collies have quite a bit in common, to begin with, and most of their traits have been passed down to this new hybrid breed. If you’ve ever spent any time with either parent breed, you likely have a good idea of what a Golden Border Retriever is like.

That doesn’t mean that they’re not capable of surprising you, however. They’re not completely like their parent breeds, as they manage to be their own dogs in a few important ways.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Golden Border Retriever

1. These Dogs Love to Dig

There’s nothing a Golden Border Retriever loves more than to find the choicest spot in your backyard and relocate all the dirt they find there. We don’t know why they’re so fascinated with making holes, but these pups may well have some gopher in them for how much they love to dig. If you value your lawn or garden, this dog may not be right for you.

You’ll also need to make sure that your fencing is secure, as they can easily tunnel under substandard walls.

2. They’re Great for Novice Owners

Golden Border Retrievers are easygoing and eager to please, making them ideal for first-time dog owners. They’re not prone to aggression or many other issues that would make owning a dog a challenge. However, they do have a ton of energy, so you’d better be prepared to spend the time tuckering them out, regardless of how experienced you are.

3. Golden Border Retrievers Aren’t Big Barkers

These dogs are animals of few words. They generally don’t like to bark much, but they’ll alert you that something’s amiss if need be. That being said, don’t expect them to be ferocious guard dogs. If they see someone breaking into your house, they’ll bark to let you know—and after that, they figure it’s up to you.

Parent Breeds of Golden Border Retriever
Image Credit: Jumpstory

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Golden Border Retriever 🧠

Both Border Collies and Golden Retrievers are at the head of the class in terms of canine intelligence, so it’s no surprise that this offshoot breed should be a genius. These dogs can learn to do anything you want them to do—and they’d love for you to teach them. They’re incredible people-pleasers, and they can figure out even the most complicated tasks in record time.

Of course, if you don’t spend enough time tuckering them out, they’ll put their formidable noodles to work in more mischievous ways. It’s important to give them plenty of mental and physical stimulation, or they’ll create their own. They’re absolute sweethearts as well. They love everyone and everything, although they may be a bit shy around strangers. That’s one of the reasons it’s so important to socialize them: A poorly-socialized Golden Border Retriever won’t necessarily become aggressive, but it may turn into a completely terrified wallflower.

As long as you teach them how to be confident around new people and situations, though, they’ll spend their entire lives making friends.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

Golden Border Retrievers are perfect family pets. They’ll get along well with every member of the family, no matter how old, and they’re not prone to aggression. In fact, you may need to enlist the entire family in tuckering these dogs out, as meeting their exercise requirements may be overwhelming for a single person. Having multiple family members who can take turns throwing a ball or a stick definitely comes in handy.

No matter how large your family is, though, you’ll need plenty of room for these dogs to play. They’re not great for apartment dwellers, as you need a large backyard for them to run around in or at the very least, access to a large park. While it’s unlikely that these dogs would ever turn violent, they are fairly large and prone to zoomies, so be careful when small children or elderly family members are around. It wouldn’t take much for one of these pups to accidentally bowl them over at high speeds.

Golden Border Retrievers are generally welcoming to strangers, although socialization helps in this regard. Also, their natural gregariousness limits their effectiveness as guard dogs, so don’t expect them to chase off too many bad guys.

golden border
Image Credit: Erik Lam, Shutterstock

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets? 🐶 😽

Assuming they’re well-socialized, Golden Border Retrievers generally tolerate other dogs well. However, they’re less likely to play with a canine companion than some other breeds are, as they’re generally more interested in playing fetch or getting some one-on-one time with their favorite human.

They have moderate prey drives, so it’s important to train them to leave smaller pets alone. This is easier to do if you start when they’re young, so it’s going to be easier to bring a Golden Border Retriever puppy into a home with cats than the other way around.

Also, they have strong herding instincts, so while they may not chase or attack your cat or other small pet, they may try to push it around a little bit. You’ll want to nip this behavior in the bud before your cat tries to slice the dog’s nose off.

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Things to Know When Owning a Golden Border Retriever

Golden Border Retrievers are the stereotypical all-American dog, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your research before adding one to your pack. Here are a few things you should know about the breed before you bring one home.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

These dogs can run all day long if they need to—in fact, it’s what their parent breeds were designed to do. As a result, you’ll need to make sure they get plenty of high-quality fuel. That usually means kibble with plenty of protein in it, preferably from a variety of lean meats.

Protein burns more slowly than carbs do, so your pup will have plenty of energy to stay active all day long. Also, if you can’t give them as much exercise as they need, protein is less likely to turn to fat around the midsection. The primary ingredients to watch out for in a kibble are cheap fillers like corn, wheat, and soy. These are packed with empty calories and can cause digestive issues in some dogs. Instead, look for high-quality fruits and veggies.

Just because they need plenty of fuel doesn’t mean you should stuff them to the gills, though. Give them a few cups of kibble morning and night, and don’t let them free-feed, as obesity can cause all manner of complications in these dogs.

Golden Border Retriever
Image Credit: Ksenia Raykova, Shutterstock

Exercise 🐕

Owning a Golden Border Retriever isn’t a good idea if you enjoy a lazy, relaxed lifestyle. These dogs fail to see the appeal of an afternoon spent in front of the television. They need exercise—a great deal of it. An hour of vigorous physical stimulation per day is the bare minimum, but they’ll gladly take more than that if you offer it. Don’t neglect their minds either. These brainy pups love to be challenged, so obedience training, agility work, and puzzles are all likely to go over well with one of these pooches.

They’ll play fetch all day long, so taking them to a park and throwing a tennis ball for an hour or two is a great way to bond. They’re at home in the water as well, so a day at the beach or paddling around the pool should tucker them out in a low-impact fashion.

If you don’t give them all the exercise they need, though, these dogs will let you know. They’re not above destroying shoes, gnawing on furniture, or doing their best Bugs Bunny impersonation in your yard.

Training 🦮

These dogs are natural-born people-pleasers, so training is usually straightforward and painless. Their big brains can quickly figure out what you want them to do, and they love to make you happy. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take training seriously, though. As noted above, these dogs have destructive tendencies that need to be curbed, and they need proper socialization if you expect them to have good manners in public.

You can teach these dogs to do just about anything. It’s worth buying the biggest book of dog tricks you can find because there’s a good chance your Golden Border Retriever will be able to master every command in the book.

They respond well to positive reinforcement while punishing them is likely to backfire. Praise and affection are generally all you need to use as rewards, so be careful about handing out treats. You can quickly overload these dogs with cookies if you give them one every time they do something right.

Parents of the Golden Border Retriever
Parents of the Golden Border Retriever, Credit: Chendongshan, Shutterstock

Grooming ✂️

Their coats generally take after one of their parent breeds or the other, rather than a mix of the two. Regardless of which parent breed they resemble, though, one thing’s for certain: You’re going to need to do a lot of brushing. These dogs shed frequently, so they’re not a great choice for people with allergies or those who insist on keeping their home immaculate. You’ll need to brush them every week at least, but every day is better.

They’re more prone to ear infections than many other breeds, so it’s essential to clean their ears out every week or so. Also, be sure to dry them out if they’ve been in the water.

Their other grooming needs are fairly typical. They need their teeth brushed several times a week, their nails trimmed as needed, and their body bathed a couple of times a year. Be careful not to bathe them too often, though, as that can strip their coats of essential oils and dry out their skin.

Health Conditions ❤️

Golden Border Retrievers are healthy dogs for the most part, but when they get sick, they really get sick. Below are a few of the issues that may come up if you bring one of these dogs home.

Minor Conditions
  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Allergies
  • Sebaceous adenitis
Serious Conditions
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Bloat
  • Patellar luxation
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Epilepsy
  • Periodontal disease

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Male vs Female

Given the fact that the Golden Border Retriever is a relatively new breed, there’s still quite a bit of variation from one dog to the next, as well as from one litter to the next. As a result, it’s hard to give definitive answers to how males and females behave differently. Typically, though, males are more fun-loving and eager to please, while females are a tad bit more independent and stubborn.

Females are also more likely to show aggression toward other dogs, especially if it’s another female. If you plan on owning multiple pups, it’s probably best to get one of each gender. These behaviors will be affected by whether the dog is spayed or neutered, of course, and they’re only general guidelines—your pup may be completely different.

One thing both genders have in common, however, is that they both make excellent dogs.

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Final Thoughts

If you want a high-energy, playful companion, the Golden Border Retriever is hard to beat. These dogs have limitless energy, and they love nothing more than to spend time with their owners. However, they require a ton of exercise, so make sure you’re up to the task before adopting one. Also, they love to dig, so it’s best if you’re not too attached to your lawn.

If you’re willing to put in the work, one of these fantastic dogs will change your life in amazing ways. At the very least, you’ll get more exercise from filling in all those holes in your backyard.

Featured Image Credit: Ksenia Raykova, Shutterstock

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