Skip to Content
The Puppy Mag is an Amazon associate and earns a commission for qualifying purchases. Affiliate Disclosure

10 Best Companion Dogs For Border Collies (Updated)

If you’re considering a companion for your Border Collie, it’s crucial to pick the right breed.

As all dogs have different personalities and behaviors, it can be tricky knowing which breed will get on well with your collie.

This article covers the top 10 most compatible breeds for border collies and explains why. Let’s get into it.


Key Points About a Border Collie’s Character

Before thinking about other breeds, it’s important to understand the basic characteristics of Border Collies themselves. This is crucial for picking the right kind of companion breed.

Opposites may attract when it comes to humans, but in the dog world, this isn’t usually the case. So we must first know the typical facts about Border Collies.

1. Collies have high energy & exercise requirements

Border collies are hard-working dogs that have bundles of energy! Collies need 1-2 hours of exercise per day and will even seeker further playtime where possible.

Some breeds are the complete opposite of this, English Bulldogs, for example, would rather lay down on the couch than go for a walk. A breed like this likely isn’t going to be much fun for your collie and it may eventually get in the way of her vigorous exercise routine.

2. Collies love to play (and nip)

Border Collies and other herding breeds have developed a tendency to nip. It’s an effective tactic to keep sheep going in the direction they want them to, but it carries over to everyday life.

Ideally, this behavior has already been trained against before getting another dog, but even if it hasn’t, it helps if the other dog can “keep their own” so to speak.

Some dogs hate engaging in rough play and a Collie may be too much for many breeds to handle. Not only would this be unfair for the new dog, but it won’t bode well for a good relationship.

3. Collies crave having a job or role to fulfill

Border Collies love to be trained, follow commands, and be of great use to their owner.

If you were to get a dog that’s notoriously disobedient and troublesome, the chances are that your Collie’s current level of greatness will drop. And we can’t have that, can we!

While it’s not mandatory to get a dog that’s as smart as a Border Collie, it will without a doubt lead to a stronger bond between the two dogs. Not to mention, your life will be easier!

4. Collies have a strong prey drive & herding tendency

One of the most notable behavioral traits of Border Collies is their ability and desire to herd. When there are no sheep around, it’s not uncommon for collies to even try herding their human family.

Herding is actually considered a modified version of the prey drive and smaller animals including tiny dog breeds could be at risk when left alone with a Border Collie (especially in the early stages).

Further reading: Your Border Collie Won’t Eat? Here’s What to Do

10 Most Compatible Breeds For Border Collies

Below we’ll cover 10 breeds that Border Collies get along well with. These breeds share most of the same personality and behavioral traits as the Border Collie.

  1. German Shepherd
  2. Australian Shepherd
  3. Standard Poodle
  4. Golden Retriever
  5. Dalmatian
  6. Labrador
  7. English Pointer
  8. Belgian Tervuren
  9. Boxer
  10. Siberian Husky

1. German Shepherd

German shepherds are extremely similar to Border Collies and are often considered an ideal companion breed.

German shepherds are not only extremely intelligent, they love to learn, follow commands and have a great work ethic. These two dogs will complement each other in their learning and obedience.

GSDs also require a lot of exercise, most have high energy, and they will certainly hold their own during rough play.

If you have an active household, a German Shepherd will be a great second dog for your Border Collie.

2. Australian Shepherd

Aussies are becoming forever more popular and are making their way into more households every year.

Despite being named “Australian” Shepherds, they have no association with Australia and were bred in California as herding dogs to work on ranches.

Aussies are very intelligent, love to follow commands, work, herd (just like collies), and they’re a great all-around family dog with a lot of affection to give.

An Australian Shepherd will match up perfectly in size and character with your Border Collie. Just be extra cautious if you have young children, two herding dogs may become overwhelming for kids. So this is certainly something to think about. (Border collies with young children information)

3. Standard Poodle

Poodles come in all shapes and sizes, but it’s the standard Poodle that matches up particularly well with Border Collies.

Standard Poodles are very similar in size to a Border Collie and will hold their own when engaging in a little rough play.

Poodles are actually second on the list of the most intelligent dog breeds, so it goes without saying their trainability, obedience, and willingness to follow commands are perfectly in line with a Collie.

They also have high energy and require just as much exercise as a Border Collie. Poodles often make great family dogs and are considered to be an all-around breed. Definitely a great match-up for most Collies out there.

Recommended: Can You Leave a Border Collie Home Alone?

4. Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever is arguably the world’s most-loved breed and they are considered to be one of the best “all-round” breeds.

They are regarded as incredibly friendly, loving, kind, playful, highly intelligent, and obedient.

A Golden Retriever will make a great partner with any Border Collie and they’ll be a great matchup.

If at any time you’ve considered getting a Golden Retriever, then think no further, this breed will be the ideal addition to your family.

5. Dalmatian

Dalmatians may be one of the very few breeds that require more exercise than a Border Collie. This high-energy breed used to run alongside horses and carriages across the country.

By nature, Dalmatians make great companions for both humans and other canines, so there likely won’t be an issue in the two dogs getting along well.

Although intelligent, Dalmatians have a mischievous and stubborn streak in them, so this breed would require more time and attention to ensure good behavior. Training is absolutely essential for Dalmatians to behave.

As long as you have the time to train and socialize this breed, a Dalmatian will be a great addition to the family.

6. Labrador

Labradors are extremely similar to Golden Retrievers, in that they are very kind, affectionate, good-natured, intelligent, and highly active.

Getting a Labrador is another safe bet if you’re unsure on which breed will work well for both your Collie and your family.

Although intelligent, labradors have it in them to be unruly if not properly trained.

A Lab will certainly make the best playmate for your Collie and will hold their own in rough play.

7. English Pointer

English pointers are significantly decreasing in popularity, but not because of anything bad. In fact, English Pointers are considered to be an all-around breed, being affectionate, kind, intelligent, loyal, and easy to train.

A Pointer will be your Border Collie’s perfect exercise partner as they are similar in size and have matching amounts of energy and desire to play.

If you’re not worried about the declining numbers of the English Pointer population, this is a good breed to consider.

8. Belgian Tervuren (Belgian Shepherd)

Belgian Shepherds are very similar to both Border Collies and German Shepherds. They are fairly larger than a Border Collie so you’ll need to be happy with getting a big dog.

Belgian Shepherds are strong, loyal, and protective dogs, and are very similar to German Shepherds. Their courage and guard dog capabilities are also met with equal amounts of love and affection.

They are highly energetic and will require just as much exercise as a Collie.

If you’re looking for a large second dog that’s easily trained, the Belgian Shepherd could be for you.

9. Boxer

The Boxer is a highly energetic breed that loves to play and is very capable of holding their own. They need just as much, if not more exercise than a Border Collie, so your situation should allow for that.

Boxers are intelligent but they are known to have a mischievous streak in them which could transfer over to your collie if training isn’t prioritized. That said, boxers still do like to follow commands and obey their owner

Oh, and they shed minimally compared to a collie!

10. Siberian Husky

The Siberian Husky usually raises a lot of eyebrows, and rightfully so, huskies are by far the least similar to Border Collies on this list, but there’s a reason why they are added.

Huskies and Border Collies seem to just get along, time and time again. I personally know owners who have both a husky and collie together and the relationship between them is great.

Their energy levels, desire to play and work are all matched. Not to mention they are of similar physical size too.

Huskies are, however, hard to train and although very intelligent, will often choose to be stubborn and mischievous. Training a husky is tough, but rewarding.

If you’re ready for a lot of work and training, this pair will prove to be one of the best match-ups.

The Puppy Mag Favorites

👍 Set & Forget Interactive Dog Toy
Perfect for mental stimulation.
😍 The No.1 Low Calorie Dog Treat
Perfect for healthy treat-giving.

Psst. Don’t miss this! One of the best ways to train your border collie is with Brain Training For Dogs. Owners report improvement in obedience, behavior, and even friendliness in record time. Okay, back to the article!

Breed Characteristics That Suit Border Collies

This list only contains 10 other breeds, but there are far more out there.

So this list below will summarize the characteristics found in other breeds that will naturally work well for your Border Collie.

Good traits to look for:

Similar in size
Intelligent and trainable
Naturally sociable
Enjoys rough play
Naturally obedient
Not overly territorial
Requires a lot of exercise
Enjoying working and having a job to fulfill

Breeds with most of the above qualities will likely get on well with a Border Collie, and your family.

But it’s important to remember that all dogs are different, and sometimes individual behavior may not align with breed stereotypes.

Recommended Read: Why Is My Border Collie So Small?

Are Border Collies Better in Pairs?

What about two Border Collies? So far this article has been about different breeds, but if you’re interested in two Collies, read on.

Like with most breeds, they are often better off in pairs. They are able to keep each other company, and dogs are pack animals after all.

Each Collie will likely be extremely similar, which instantly bodes well for a strong relationship that will make each dog happy.

According to science, a dog is happier when they have another canine companion around them.

It’s yet to be confirmed whether dogs recognize their own breed or not. So whether your Collie actually knows their new friend is another Collie will never be known.

But the chances of them getting along are very high.

Recommended: When Do Border Collies Go Into Heat? Complete Guide

Do Border Collies Get Along With Small Dogs?

The truth is that border collies can get along with any dog, including small dogs. But the way in which they are introduced, their level of socialization, and their age and gender call all play a part in how difficult this relationship will be to nuture.

We have an entire article dedicated to how border collies get along with smaller dogs. So you might wanna check this out too.

Still, it’s important to remember the risks involved with this, as border collies do have a very high prey drive. This can make things a tad risky, as a collie might view another tiny breed more like a rabbit, than an equal.

Naturally, dogs with high prey drives (herding or not) have the ability to chase and in some instances even kill small animals like rabbits, squirrels and small dogs are no exception.

Border Collies do not have a reputation for attacking/killing small dogs, but they do have a very strong prey drive in them and are physically capable of doing so.

If you really want a small breed for your second dog you’ll need to take extra precautions for a long time before you can be confident that the two dogs have an established relationship.

So yes, Border Collies can get along with small breeds, so long as extra precaution is taken, and their general behavior traits match up as explained above.

Trending: How Often Should You Bathe a Border Collie

How To Know Which Breed Your Border Collie Will Like

One of the best ways to know what breed your Border Collie will like is to visit doggy play centers, and your local park (more than you already are).

Going to the park or dedicated doggy play sessions will give you a chance to observe your Collie interact with other breeds.

Do this for one or two months and you will see a clear pattern between the kinds of breeds your Collie gravitates towards.

You may notice that your Collie does in fact play very well and gently with smaller breeds, or you may witness your Collie consistently avoiding smaller breeds. You may see that your Collie frequently chooses to play Labradors above all other breeds.

This is truly the best way to find compatible breeds for your Collie.

Recommended read: How To Deal With Border Collie Shedding
Trending article: When Do Border Collie Ears Stand Up?

Most Recommended For Border Collies

Best Brushes For Shedding 

No matter how much you brush your border collie, if you aren’t using the correct brushes, you won’t be getting the most out of each session! A simple Undercoat Rake and a Slicker Brush are by far the two best brushes to maintain your collie’s coat.

Best Online Training Program

Brain Training For Dogs has become increasingly popular with working dogs in the last few years and is now recognized as one of the best ways to train dogs, especially border collies, in the most stress-free, positive way.

Best Low-Calorie Treats

Keep your collie lean and agile by switching out the high-calorie treats and opting for something healthier. Zuke’s Mini Naturals contain only 2 calories per treat and are made from natural ingredients, making these some of the healthiest treats on the market.

Last Thoughts

So there you have it. You now have a great idea of which breeds work well with Border Collies and how you can go about figuring that out with your Collie yourself.

As always, getting a second dog is a big responsibility and shouldn’t be any less important than getting your first. A second dog shouldn’t just be to keep the first dog company and you and your family are responsible for loving, caring, and showing just as much time and attention to the second dog, as you did with your first.

View all Border Collie articles >>


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.