When you combine two already-awesome things, you usually wind up with something even better. And this is especially true when you are talking about mixed-breed dogs.
For example, Labradoodles, chorkies and Gerberian Shepskies are a few of the most well-known and popular designer dogs, but few mixtures are as reliably awesome as the borador – a cross between a border collie and a Labrador retriever.
The Parent Breeds: Labrador + Border Collie = Borador
Anytime you are considering adding a mixed breed pooch to your family, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the basic traits of both parent breeds. While mutts aren’t always a perfect blend of their parents, and many favor one parent or the other, it is important to make sure you are prepared for your new pooch.
Labrador retrievers are one of the most popular breeds in the world (the most popular breed, according to the AKC). They are famous for being loving, fun, energetic and intelligent pups, and most people who can provide proper training and sufficient exercise fall in love with their labs.
Although originally developed to help fishermen collect their nets and retrieve escaping fish, they also excel in hunting, therapy and bomb-sniffing contexts.
Of course, labs also make fantastic family pets; they are gentle with children, friendly with strangers and simply love to hang out with their people.
Labs are medium-sized dogs, who typically weigh somewhere in the 50- to 80-pound range. They have very thick, short- to medium-length hair and come in three different color forms: Black, golden and chocolate.
Border collies were originally used as herding dogs, but they also make great family pets.
Border collies have one of the most well-developed work ethics of any breed, and they are very smart (many authorities consider them the most intelligent breed). This means that you must keep them busy and stimulated, or else they may become destructive.
Border collies are very good at a number of different jobs, and people frequently use them in agility, disc, obedience and tracking competitions. Most are very friendly and loving with their families, although they occasionally exhibit a bit of dog aggression.
Border collies are covered in fairly long, soft hair, and they are generally black with white masks, chests and feet. However, some border collies also display patches of brown. Most weigh between about 30 and 50 pounds.
Borador Traits and Characteristics
While boradors can vary from individual to individual, most are relatively similar in terms of appearance, personality and skills.
Size and Shape
Boradors are medium-sized dogs, who are generally about 15 to 17 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh between 35 and 65 pounds. However, all dogs are individuals, and some will fall outside of this range. Boradors usually have a lab-like build, although they are often on the thin side.
Most boradors have black and white markings, like their border collie parent. However, the amount of white fur varies greatly, with some individuals being nearly black and others possessing several large, white patches. The most common places to see white on these dogs is the face and chest.
Boradors are typically lovely dogs, who are sweet and affectionate with their families. While they will gladly bark at strange noises or people, they make friends quickly and generally get along with people and dogs alike.
Boradors are usually gentle with children (although they may “herd” children, thanks to their border collie ancestry).
Boradors usually prefer to be with their pack as much as possible. This can lead to separation anxiety and other problems, if they are left alone for long periods of time. Accordingly, these dogs aren’t a great choice for homes that remain empty most of the day.
As you may expect, when you cross two of the smartest dog breeds in the world, their offspring tend to be pretty sharp puppies. While this is usually viewed as a positive trait, you’ll need to be sure to keep their brains active to keep them from acting out in destructive ways.
Make sure to have some dog puzzle toys on hand to keep those canine brains sharp!
Given the fact that both of their parent breeds are bursting with energy, it should come as no surprise that boradors are some of the most energetic dogs on the planet.
Owners who are not willing to go on multiple walks and toss the ball for a while on a daily basis should look elsewhere for a pet. Boradors who do not get enough exercise and playtime often become very destructive and depressed.
Most boradors love to work with and please their person, so they are generally easy to train. However, their impressive intelligence can occasionally make training difficult, as they can be headstrong from time to time.
Nevertheless, most boradors respond well to firm, consistent training based on positive reinforcement, so grab your clicker and a handful of treats and teach your borador a new trick!
Boradors are generally healthy dogs, who are not especially susceptible to many illnesses or ailments. Like most other dogs, they can become obese if overfed and under exercised, which can lead to things like diabetes and joint problems, so you’ll want to keep your pup fit and trim.
Bloat can also be a concern, given their relatively deep chests, so encourage your dog to eat slowly (consider investing in a slow eating bowl or – even better – start a hand feeding routine) and insist on a period of calmness after meals.
Boradors tend to have the short hair of their lab parent, which means they need relatively little grooming or maintenance.
You’ll need to bathe your pup regularly (once every week or two is a good dog bathing schedule), brush him off afterward to remove as much fur as possible and that’s about it. Of course, you’ll also want to use a good flea and tick medicine too.
The average lifespan of boradors can vary widely, but most probably live between 10 and 12 years. Dogs who receive proper veterinary care, a healthy diet and plenty of exercise will generally outlive those who don’t, so owners play an important part in their dog’s lifespan.
Best People and Families for Boradors
The best families for boradors are active and love to get out and about with their pooch. They want a lot of attention from their family, but this doesn’t mean lazing about on the couch all day – they want to get out and do something.
Fortunately, these are glass-half-full dogs, so it doesn’t matter very much what you do!
They are perhaps better suited for large families than they are for small families, as this will allow the humans in your pack to take turns trying to wear out the pup (it won’t be easy), rather than the responsibility falling to one person.
They may not be the best choice for families that already have other pets (particularly cats), although some seem to get along with other pets more than others.
Have you ever met a borador, or do you have one yourself? We’d love to hear about your experiences. What kinds of things surprised you about your borador? Did she present any special challenges?
Let us know in the comments below!