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Bordernese (Border Collie & Bernese Mountain Dog Mix): Info, Pictures, Characteristics & Facts

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Border Collie vv Bernese Mountain Dog breed

A mix of the Border Collie and Bernese Mountain Dog, the Bordernese manages to offer the best of both breeds. It counterbalances the laidback energy of the Bernese with the workaholic nature of the Border Collie, giving you a pooch who can put in a full day’s worth of work but also knows how to take a day off.

Height: 22–30 inches
Weight: 40–90 pounds
Lifespan: 12–15 years
Colors: White, black, brown
Suitable for: Working families, those looking for a medium-energy dog
Temperament: Protective, affectionate, gentle, intelligent, approachable

They’re incredibly affectionate and friendly, which makes them great around people—including criminals, unfortunately. These mutts won’t protect your TV, but they will probably make sure the burglar doesn’t forget the remote.

This is a relatively new designer breed, and so you may not know much about these wonderful dogs. In this guide, we’ll share all the pertinent information you need to know.

Bordernese Characteristics


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Bordernese Puppies

Bordernese puppy
Image Credit: Zuzule, Shutterstock

Bordernese dogs combine the coloring of Bernese Mountain Dogs with the fur of a Border Collie, which is to say that it’s almost impossible to stop petting them once you start. They won’t discourage you either, as they thrive on love and attention.

While they make incredible companions, they’re not without their flaws. They’re not ideal guard dogs (although their deep barks will make any prospective criminals think twice), and their thick fur makes them largely unsuitable for warmer climates. They’re also fairly prone to an array of health issues.

They’re incredibly smart, but they rarely use that brainpower for nefarious purposes. They’d prefer to figure out new ways to spend time with you rather than look for opportunities to undermine your authority.

Parent Breeds of the Bordernese
Image Credit: Jumpstory

Temperament & Intelligence of the Bordernese 🧠

Often, super-intelligent dogs can be extremely difficult to own, as they demand constant stimulation and enjoy challenging your authority. That’s not the case with the Bordernese, however. While they’re incredibly smart, they’re also easy-going and eager to please. They prefer making you happy over trying to usurp your authority.

They’re amazingly good-natured as well. They’re accepting of just about any creature that crosses their path and rarely have issues with aggression.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

Bordernese are the perfect family dogs. They’re patient and gentle with small children while also capable of roughhousing with older kids. Your children can have friends over without you worrying about how the dog will react. They’re generally calm and well-mannered, so you don’t have to worry about them tearing through the house and knocking anyone over.

While they’re protective of their families, they’re accepting of strangers, so they’re not always the best guard dogs. Fortunately, they at least know to bark at suspicious activity, and their deep voices may be enough to deter some evildoers.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets? 🐶 😽

These dogs love playmates and they don’t discriminate. They’re incredibly accepting of other dogs, cats, and small pets like chinchillas, making them a perfect addition to your growing menagerie.

However, the Border Collie in them gives them a strong herding instinct, and some animals don’t appreciate being herded. Still, you shouldn’t have issues with aggression or an over-active prey drive.

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Things to Know When Owning a Bordernese

So far, we might’ve made it seem like the Bordernese is the perfect dog, but just because these dogs are low-maintenance, that doesn’t mean there aren’t important things you should know before buying one.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

While these dogs can get quite large, they won’t necessarily eat you out of house and home. Their relatively low energy levels keep their dietary needs from getting out of hand. Still, expect to go through a bag of food every month or so. You should feed them a food packed with high-quality protein and avoid ingredients like corn, wheat, soy, and animal by-products.

The fact that these dogs won’t pester you for exercise means they can be prone to obesity if you’re not careful, so be sure not to overfeed yours. We recommend two meals a day rather than allowing them to free-feed. The breed can be prone to joint problems, so if their kibble doesn’t have a good amount of glucosamine and chondroitin in it, you should consider adding a supplement to their food.

Exercise 🐕

Your average Bordernese is flexible with their exercise needs. They can be satisfied with a half hour of vigorous playtime or a long walk, but they can also keep up with you on an all-day hike if needed.

This makes it easy to fit them into your life without the need for drastic changes. You can give them whatever time you can spare during the week, and then make it up to them with a weekend full of activity, knowing that they won’t hold a grudge. Their impressive IQs make them naturals for demanding sports like agility training, and they can easily be taught to excel as hunting or tracking dogs.

They make great working dogs too, so if you have sheep that need to be kept in line, the Bordernese is just the pooch for the job.

Training 🦮

Given that these dogs aren’t prone to aggression or other negative behavioral traits, training is as much to give them something to do as it is to teach them manners. That doesn’t mean you can blow it off, though. Socialization is also important, and you should be diligent about both from the first day you bring your puppy home.

They can generally pick up on obedience training quite quickly, and their people-pleasing personalities make them easy to teach. You should vary up your routine often, though, because they can get bored easily.

They do equally well with one-on-one training sessions or group classes; just be careful that they don’t spend all their time socializing at the latter.

Grooming ✂️

You might think that given their long hair, the Bordernese would be a nightmare to groom, but that’s not the case. These dogs shed, but not excessively, and you can likely get away with brushing them once a week or so.

You will need to clean their teeth and trim their nails regularly, although the latter might not be as important if your dog is especially active. Cleaning their ears is extremely important, especially if they’ve spent time in the water. They’re prone to ear infections, so it’s essential that you clean out the dirt and grime with a damp cotton ball at least once a week. You should dry them after bathing or swimming too.

Health and Conditions ❤️

The Bordernese is a significantly healthier animal than the Bernese Mountain Dog, which is riddled with issues due to generations of inbreeding. However, they still may inherit a few issues, such as:

Minor Conditions
  • Ear infection
  • Entropion
  • Deafness
  • Alopecia
Serious Conditions
  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Meningitis
  • Von Willebrand’s disease
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Epilepsy
  • Histiocytosis
  • Collie eye anomaly
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Male vs. Female

Physically speaking, the male Bordernese tends to be a few pounds heavier and a few inches taller than the female Bordernese. The difference isn’t particularly striking, however. In terms of behavior, male Bordernese are much more demanding of your attention and are likely to nose you in the arm to subtly encourage you to pet them. They’re also more prone to separation anxiety.

Female Bordernese are more independent, although they still love affection. They’re also usually more stubborn and can be a bit more difficult to train.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Bordernese

1. They’re Content in Just About Any Living Situation

Some dogs are built for apartment life, while others need the wide-open space that a large backyard provides. The Bordernese can thrive in either situation.

They do need a way to get physical exercise, but they’re relaxed enough that they won’t destroy an apartment while waiting for their next walk. So, if you’ve been wanting a bigger dog but thought you had to wait until you owned a home with a yard, the Bordernese may be just what the vet ordered.

2. They’re Well-Suited for a Variety of Activities

No matter how you like to spend your free time, there’s a good chance a Bordernese will fit right in alongside you. They’re perfectly content to lounge around on the couch for a movie marathon, and they’ll also have a blast if you take them for a day on the beach. They’re happy so long as they can be around you.

This also makes them suitable for a wide range of pastimes, from agility training to strength competitions.

3. They Love Having a Job to Do

Both of the Bordernese’s parent breeds are working dogs, and that work ethic has certainly been passed down to them. They love having a job to do and will take to just about any task you ask of them. Whether that’s herding sheep on the farm or bringing you the paper, they love to be of service.

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Final Thoughts

The Bordernese represents a best-of-both-worlds compromise between its two parent breeds, as they’re calm, low-maintenance, and less prone to certain diseases. These dogs make great family pets, and they love to spend their time doing whatever you’re doing. Their natural gregariousness limits their worth as a guard dog somewhat, although they can still scare off an intruder with their intimidating barks. They’re equally happy in a small apartment as they are in a large house, so long as their modest exercise requirements are met.

While just about any breed can realistically lay claim to being a perfect dog, the Bordernese certainly lives up to the title. They’ll quickly win over your heart and become your best friend, and they won’t judge or nag you if your lifestyle doesn’t live up to their expectations.

What more could you possibly ask for?

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Left – Border Collie (jorgland24, Pixabay); Right – Bernese Mountain Dog (maxxxiss, Pixabay)

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