Take the Einstein of the dog world and mix it with the most playful yet friendliest dog on the planet and you’ve got a hybrid that is perhaps one of the easiest to work with, that is if you’ve got the personality to match its joyful nature, inquisitive personality, and insatiable passion for life. You see, as charming and adorable as the Borador (yes, that’s what they call this mix of a Border Collie and Labrador Retriever) is, it will still need the right person to cultivate its true nature and help it to grow into the well-rounded hybrid dog that it can be.
History of the Borador
As we always say in our articles on crossbreeds and hybrids, it is not easy pinpointing the origins of any hybrid dog since there is dearth of knowledge when it comes to the history of such canines. Don’t be disheartened, however, since the art of crossbreeding is nothing new. In fact, many of the dogs we now call purebreds started as a mixture of different breeds. It is only through the process of selective breeding as well as inbreeding that these dogs took on a more homogenous genetic makeup that they can now be classified as purebreds.
Don’t worry. If there are enough responsible Borador breeders in the world, who knows we might see its inclusion into the FCI books as a recognized purebred? It’s wishful thinking, but this is the same attitude of staunch supporters of a particular mixed breed that eventually became recognized as a purebred.
Contemporary literature says that the Borador, like all modern crossbreeds, may have started out in the last decade of the 20th century. This is just the general assumption since it was also around this time that crossbreeds were popping up in the puppy market like mushrooms sprouting after a few days of rain (pardon the analogy). We’d like to believe, however, that the Borador has been around for many decades, except that nobody ever cared to have the hybrid marketed as such.
Who are the Parents?
Some folks look at the Borador as a very odd combination of a fisherman’s dog and a herder. One is a natural in water while the other is as nimble as a heeler and flock herder. Getting to know the Borador essentially means getting re-acquainted with its parents.
In case you didn’t know, the Border Collie holds the record for the most number of nouns that can be accurately identified by a dog. Its vocabulary may not be as profound as what we humans have, but for a dog to know 1,022 nouns is simply unheard of. If that doesn’t amaze you, perhaps you’d be surprised that a Border Collie also holds the Guinness World Record for being the fastest dog ever to open a car window at 11.34 seconds.
Bred as herding and working dog by the livestock owners and farmers of the Anglo-Scottish border, the Border Collie is revered for its intelligence and obedience. How else can one of its members accurately recognize more than a thousand things if it wasn’t smart? They are acrobatic, athletic, and very energetic. Border Collies always bring home the bacon in dog sports and sheepdog trials.
Descendants of ancient dogs, Border Collies are believed to have been the result of crossbreeding Roman dogs (when they expanded into the British Isles) with local landrace collies especially those in Scotland. Some even say that Viking dogs were also added into the mix, although most consider this as outlandish.
Whatever the origins of the Border Collie are, one thing is certain, the modern Border Collie can always be traced back to Old Hemp. A tricolor dog having been borne from a black-and-tan father and a black-coated mother, Old Hemp had the temperament of a natural sheep herder. It was quiet yet powerful that flocks of sheep easily responded. Shepherds of the region used Old Hemp as a stud, allowing for its genes to be perpetuated into a dog everyone now calls as the Border Collie.
Owing to their intelligence, Border Collies have a very demanding personality. They require plenty of exercise and lots of playtime activities. They’re not for families of couch potatoes. This is the reason why many of them end up in shelters simply because their owners couldn’t keep up with the energetic, playful, and intelligent nature of the breed. They chew, scrape, and dig holes all out of boredom. They can easily get frustrated and distressed if left inactive, ignored, or isolated.
As such, Border Collies require only individuals who can match their stamina and exuberance in life.
Man’s best friend; that’s what people say about the Labrador Retriever, America’s favorite and most popular dog. Its gentle nature can only be matched by its passion for life. It has one of the dog world’s mildest and most even temperaments, making them exceptionally great with kids. Because the Lab is best known for its gentle nature, it is the go-to service dog by individuals who may have lost their sight or even their hearing. They can also be trained to serve as the arms and legs of disabled persons. Even those with wounded souls can find comfort in the endearing eyes of the Lab. That’s how invaluable the Labrador is today.
But even before the Labrador earned its reputation as a top dog in the service industry, it has already shown its mettle as a worthy fisherman’s friend. As a matter of fact, its ancestor, the St. John’s water dog, has been known to swim from boat to boat delivering seaman’s messages across the busy harbor. It swam in near-freezing waters just to retrieve fishing nets and the invaluable fish that lay at the end.
And if you think that the Labrador is purely a water breed, you’d be wrong. This canine is as useful on land as it is on water. It’s not a Bloodhound, but it can perform the task of sniffing through packages, crates, and travel luggage in airports and public transport terminals in search of contraband items. Ask any member of the uniformed services and they can vouch for the work ethic of the Lab.
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Given that the Border Collie Labrador Mix is a hybrid, it is quite difficult to establish any characteristic that can be described as a ‘standard’. In the crossbreed lingo, there are no standards. As long as you can prove that the parents of the Borador are a Border Collie and a Labrador Retriever, then it is a Borador. However, we’d still want to know what we’re looking for.
- The Borador can grow as tall as 17 inches, making it more as a medium-sized hybrid.
- It can weigh from 35 to 65 pounds, although you can expect the weight of individual Boradors to be highly variable.
- The coat can be either short or medium in length. Short-haired Boradors got their coat from the Lab parent while medium-haired Boradors obviously got their coat from the Border Collie parent.
- Majority of Boradors will have black-and-white markings typically in black, yellow, or brown coat.
- On the average, a healthy Borador can live for a dozen years, although they may top at 15 years.
- Boradors have been shown to have the mental abilities equivalent to a 24- to 30-month old toddler.
- The Border Collie Labrador Mix is duly recognized as a hybrid dog by the American Canine Hybrid Club, International Designer Canine Registry, Designer Breed Registry, Dog Registry of America, and Designer Dogs Kennel Club.
Things You Should Know
It is very obvious that the Borador is never intended for everyone. It is an intelligent and highly energetic hybrid that will thrive most in a household that values playtime, socialization, and exercise as part of their daily routine. Here are other important things everyone who’s considering on getting a Borador should know.
We have to keep on emphasizing the need for training a Border Collie Lab Mix as soon as you bring it home. The parents of the Borador are highly devoted working dogs – one is a herder, the other is a fisherman’s friend and service dog. They’re able to perform these tasks because of their inherent canine intellect.
Expect the Borador to take on the fine qualities of its parents including their intelligence. As such, it should be a joy to teach. That being said, you should also love teaching and training the Borador, otherwise you’re simply wasting its natural gift. This dog is meant to work and do a lot of stuff. The only way it can do such things is if you give it enough attention, structure its training sessions to keep it interesting, and to use only rewards in reinforcing desirable behaviors.
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One of the greatest health concerns for a Borador is bloat. As such, it is best to feed Boradors more frequently, but in smaller portions every day. An active adult female Borador that weighs about 40 pounds should get about 1,200 calories every day. You can give it 400 calories per meal 3 times a day or 300 calories 4 times a day. We strongly advise you to learn how to compute for a dog’s daily calorie requirements as this is the best way you can be sure you’re giving the right nutrition to your dog.
We’re not fans of ‘cup’ feedings, obviously. You may have 1 cup each of different dog foods yet each one will come with different calorie and nutrient composition. For instance, Product A may have 350 calories per cup while Product B can have 400 calories per cup. Obviously, Product B is more calorie-dense than Product A so you’ll need less of it to give to your pet.
Always stick with dog food that emphasizes animal proteins. We’re not vegetarians and neither are dogs. If you are a vegetarian, we beg you to leave your dog out of such a lifestyle. True, there are plant protein sources, but these are in no way comparable to the proteins derived from animals. You can call us biased, but when it comes to dog nutrition, animal proteins are a must; unless your dog has a medical condition that says otherwise.
Border Collies can run several miles at a time and all day long just so they can herd headstrong flock. Labradors can swim and play the whole day without tiring. They are able to live their lives to the fullest because they have a lot of things to keep them busy. Now imagine if you are going to confine your Borador inside your house with nothing to do. It will grow bored and depressed. If it’s the former, the Borador will chew on your furniture, carpet, and beddings and even scratch on them if it can. If you’ve got a backyard, it will dig holes and ruin your garden. If your Borador grows depressed, it can hide itself, become a nuisance barker, and have a severe form of separation anxiety.
Why is the Borador going to behave like this? Well, you’re not spending all that energy inside its body. It’s a medium-sized dog that has the energy levels of a large dog. It loves to play. It loves to work. As such, if you cannot meet its exercise requirements, you’re better off not owning a Border Collie Labrador Mix.
The Lab can be friends with almost any other individual and other pets. Their friendliness has become the trademark. The Border Collie, on the other hand, can be quite another story. Its herding instincts are quite strong so you can expect it to be bullish among livestock. This is a trait that the Borador may carry in its genes. It may look at other animals as its herd or flock. The good news is that it doesn’t really view them as prey.
This can be addressed if you socialize your Borador early enough. Dog parks, dog shows, and other festivities where there are a lot of people and other dogs in attendance can be excellent opportunities to hone the social skills of a Borador.
Folks who absolutely hate combing and brushing their dogs will love the Borador. Its short to medium length coat is very easy to manage with simple once-weekly brushing. The Border Collie Lab Mix is also a low-shedding hybrid so it’s good news for those who are unfortunate enough to be especially hypersensitive to pet dander.
Bathing should never be an issue for the Borador. One of its parents is a natural swimmer while the other doesn’t really mind playing in water. Just don’t bathe the Borador on a weekly basis; lest you remove all the natural oils on its skin, leading to irritation and dryness. Once-monthly shower with a good quality dog shampoo is enough.
Don’t ever forget brushing the Borador’s teeth. Having a healthy appetite often means lots of food debris left on its teeth and gums. If you leave these as is, they can turn into gum disease. Everyday brushing is optional, but twice-weekly care of the teeth is a must. Inspecting and cleaning the ears should also be done on a weekly basis while trimming the nails can be done every 6 to 8 weeks.
Hip dysplasia and bloat are relatively common among Border Collie Lab Mixes. They may also be at risk for Wobbler’s Syndrome, rupture of the cruciate ligament, panosteitis, and hypertrophic osteodystrophy. Regular visits to the vet should help screen for such health problems early on so that appropriate measures can be initiated.
The Border Collie Lab Mix is perfect for those…
- Who are highly active folks who integrate lots of exercise and playtime in their daily routines
- Who are knowledgeable of using treats, praises, and other rewards in training dogs
- Who can play or engage with their dogs for a minimum of 1 hour everyday
- Who are diagnosed with pet dander hypersensitivity
The Borador is not recommended to the following individuals.
- Idle folks who want nothing of any outdoor exercise, play, or any activity
- First-time owners of dogs who don’t have a clue how to effectively train and socialize dogs
Calm, sociable, and very friendly. These traits best epitomize the temperament of the Border Collie Lab Mix. It loves to play, given its limitless energy. It is intelligent, too, allowing the Borador to easily win the approval of its owners and their kids. It is affectionate towards its family and may display a guarded disposition towards new faces in its territory. It will never attack strangers, but it will announce their presence.
If not properly trained and socialized, the herding instincts of the Borador can easily manifest. If not given enough opportunities for play and exercise, it can be as destructive as a Category 5 hurricane. But when trained and socialized well from puppyhood, the Borador can be the best companion for the whole family.
The Border Collie Labrador Mix may not have the elegant look of a Poodle or even a Siberian Husky, but it more than makes up for it with its intelligence. Train it well and you’ll be rewarded with the best canine companion. Renege on this responsibility and you’ll see the little Leprechaun inside this hybrid.