Female vs Male Border Collie: what are the differences?

female male border collie

Border Collies are one of our favorite dogs. Originally bred to work in the hilly land between Scotland and England, they’ve become a loved pet all over the world. They’re highly intelligent, have bundles of energy, love to work, and are incredibly loyal to their family.

So no wonder you’re thinking of adopting one of these adorable pups! But does it matter if you get a male or female Border Collie?

What to consider

If you’re thinking of adopting a Border Collie puppy (or adult), of course, their sex is going to be important. This shouldn’t, however, be the defining reason you choose a specific dog. Both male and female Border Collies can make wonderful pets and be a great addition to your home. Adopting either can give a pup a new life and, with the right training and attention from you, you’ll have a happy pup that’s ready for work and affection.

Male or female Border Collie – the similarities

Before we look at the differences, it's worth noting that there are many similarities between the two sexes. Both male and female Border Collies need a lot of exercise, so think long walks, good runs, and lots of playing. They’re both highly intelligent and need to put their brains to use as well as their legs. Puzzle toys are a great way for them to learn and to keep them active when you’re not out and about.

Because they're herding dogs at heart, Border Collies love to be put to work. In fact, even when they’re not officially working you may find them herding you (my friend has a Border Collie and you can’t even go to the kitchen without him herding you back to the flock in the living room). They excel in many forms of training and will really enjoy it. Generally speaking, both male Border Collies and females grow to a similar size and weight too.

Border Collie male vs female – the differences

There are, however, some key differences between a male and a female Border Collie and you may want to take these into account when thinking about your future pup and your circumstances. Here are a few of the biggest ones.



It’s thought by many that male Border Collies are more affectionate than their sisters and mothers. They have an easier time socializing with other dogs and humans and, generally, attach better to their owners. They’ll also be happier to have cuddles with strangers and, of course, from you.


A female Border Collie, on the other hand, will enjoy affection much more if she’s the one to initiate it. She’ll enjoy a cuddle but won’t want to be cuddled or stroked all the time (as male Border Collies probably would) so it's best to let her come to you!



Male dogs are slower to reach mental maturity compared to females, so they may be a little more childish and playful during their younger years. They’re loving and will be happy to be with any member of the family. They’ll enjoy playing with their friends in the dog park and will be interested in most things around them. They can, however, be a bit more stubborn than female Border Collies. Good training from an early age can help to reduce this.


Females are typically happier doing their own thing and need a little less input from you. That doesn’t mean they won’t want attention, it simply means they won’t be at your feet all day asking you to throw their favorite toy. Males on the other hand…

Females are also very loving and tend to bond with one family member more than others. They’re not as stubborn as their brothers but can be territorial around their home and family. They can also be a little moody or even grumpy. This usually passes if you give them some space and don't force them to play or socialize.

As with all dogs, early training and good socialization can help to keep most unwanted behavior at bay.


Both a female Border Collie and a male will really enjoy training and it should start the first day you bring them home. Obedience training will ensure their brains are active and that they don’t get bored or become mischievous. Both sexes are responsive to positive reinforcement and react well to rewards.


It may take you a little longer to train a male Border Collie and you’ll probably need to put in more effort. Especially male Border Collie puppies. Normally male dogs are happier to just mess around and play. However, if you make training fun and full of positive experiences, they’ll start to like it and will excel in agility and many field tests. They’ll love a good game of frisbee!


Female Border Collies excel in training too and can do anything males can – in some cases even better. Because they mentally mature before the males, they’ll be more willing to learn and it's easier to train female dogs from an early age. They’ll also be happy to take on more responsibility.

Better with children?

Border Collies are beloved pets and make great family members. With any pup, it’s really important you teach children to respect them. They should know how to play with them so that it’s fun but not rough (so no tail pulling)! If a kid is too young to understand, they shouldn’t play with a dog as the dog may nip if they feel threatened.


Generally speaking, well-trained male Border Collies are great with children. They love affection and are naturally playful – which children are too. They’re a little more lenient with children and their games!


Female Border Collies can also be great with children and if they’re well trained they’ll be fun, protective, and a great friend for your child. Unlike male Border Collies, they can be a little more aloof so may not be up for playing all the time, which kids need to respect.

Health Problems


Whether you have a male or female Border Collie, they both need regular exercise to keep them fit, healthy, and mentally happy. They can both suffer from health conditions but it’s possible that males suffer more from joint and bone issues because they grow quicker than female Borders.


Female Border Collies tend to suffer more from skin infections and irritation. Regular check-ups at the vet can help to diagnose conditions early on and to find the correct treatment. Good quality food, plenty of toys, and enough exercise are also really important.

Both male and female Borders are wonderful dogs and make excellent additions to any family. There are a few differences between them, but the exact specifics will really depend on your individual pup. Lots of training, socialization, and the right amount of affection from you will ensure you have a wonderful pet!

Do you have a Border Collie? Do you notice any other differences between males and females?

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One Comment

  1. I think the main difference between female and male border collies is that female border collies are typically smaller than male border collies.

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