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Are border collies good with small dogs? (know this)

Border collies are often considered a serious, stern breed, which results in many people questioning how they’ll react with other dogs, particularly those smaller than themselves.

If you have a small dog and want to get a border collie (or the other way around), this article has all the important information you need to know.

The quick answer: Yes, Border collies can get along well with small dogs, but their are multiple factors affecting how quickly they bond including age, level of socialization, training, and the way they are introduced.

That’s the brief answer, all will be explained below!

Can Border Collies Get Along With Small Dogs?

are border collies good with small dogs

The truth is that border collies can get along well with any dog regardless of their breed AND their size… Little or large, it doesn’t matter.

Border collies generally have a friendly social temperament so long as they are properly socialized and exposed to many new dogs and people as they are growing up.

Still, the physical size difference does bring up some points i’ll discuss below.

Myth busting:

There seems to be a misconception about border collies that they aren’t particularly friendly… But this simply isn’t true.

My take on it, is that people misunderstand the stern and serious “look” and posture that collies gives off.

Border Collies With Small Dogs: What To Consider

So let’s run through the main factors affecting how well a border collie may or may not get along well with another dog, particularly those smaller than them.

1. Border collie rough play

Some border collies love to engage in a little rough play. All three of mine do.

While this is perfectly fine so long as it’s controlled, it can be too much for smaller dogs. There’s no doubt about that.

If one dog is constantly dominating the other dog it can get overwhelming, frustrating, and even quite scary for the smaller dog. This could quickly turn into a fight or nasty interaction.

So, with that said, it’s crucial that any one with a border collie and a small dog, have full control over rough play.

This is especially important if we are talking about your collie interacting with a random small dog at the dog park. Always consider the other dog and never let the situation get too far.

2. Level of socialization (for both dogs)

Perhaps one of the most important factors is level of socialization that both dogs have.

Ensuring both the collie and smaller dog have been raised with adequate socialization will almost certainly lead to a friendly encounter and easy bond.

When it comes to a dog’s level of friendliness and approachability, their early-on socialization experience is everything.

If the collie has not been exposed to many other dogs growing up, there’s a strong chance they’ll be aloof and even aggressive to another dog (regardless of their size).

3. Their age

Age also has an impact on how border collies interact with other dogs.

In the case that you are raising a puppy collie with a small breed, there’s plenty of time for the two to socialization and bond before the collie outgrows the other dog.

If the collie is already an adult, then it comes back to their level of socialization. Sometimes an adult collie is better able to form friendships with other dogs due to their maturity and sensibility.

Lastly, with senior collies (over 8 years old) it can go either way. Some elder collies are very mellow and relaxed, while other collies have short tempers and want little to no interaction… So it’s important to consider the age differences between the two breeds as well as your collie’s temperament.

4. Their introduction to each other

The way in which the collie is introduced to the smaller dog will also impact their initial bond and connection.

If you introduce a hyper collie with a hyper smaller dog, it could be too much combined energy, and result in volatile reactions.

It’s usually best to introduce dogs to each other after they’ve already had some exercise and training for the day.

Of course, if we are talking about unexpected interactions at the dog park, this isn’t something we can necessary plan.

Can You Get a Small Dog If You Have a Border Collie?

If you already have a border collie in your home and want a small dog, you’ll have to consider the above. Particularly your collie’s level of socialization.

If your collie is already friendly with other dogs in the dog park, that’s a great start, but we do have to consider territorial tendencies too.

Ultimately, the answer is that depends on your collie and their temperament.

Things to consider:

  • Is your collie already friendly at the dog park?
  • How has your collie reacted before to other dogs being in your home?
  • How does your collie react to strangers entering?

If your collie has no issue with a stranger entering the home, AND they’re friendly with other dogs in general, then it’s likely you would be able to permanently bring another small dog into the home without issues.

On the other hand, if your collie has already showed signs of aggression or high stress around other dogs or when a strangers comes close to the home, then it’s no doubt going to be risky bringing in another dog.

One of the best ways to get your collie familiar with another dog is to first get them used to the smell of the dog before ever meeting them.

If you repeatedly expose your collie to the smell of another dog, it can even form a bond with them before they’ve met.

Last thoughts

I believe border collies can get along with any dog regardless of their size: small or large. The possibility of a positive bond ultimately depends on both dogs level of social experience, their age, and the way they are initially introduced.

Owners must also be ready to intervene and correct behaviors that indicate aggression or frustration.

It’s true that not all collies will get along with other dogs. And it’s crucial for owners to consider everything discussed above in relation to their own collie.

10 Breeds Border Collies Get Along With


Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.