The black Lab Border Collie mix will be energetic, intelligent and friendly. It often has a black coat with some white markings. But, there’s a chance it could be all black, or even brown and white. The only way to know is to see what puppies look like when they arrive.
If your heart is set on getting an all black Borador puppy, or a black and white Borador, speak to your breeder about your preferences.
Let’s take a closer look at what you can expect from this new and interesting mix.
What is a Black Lab Border Collie Mix?
A black Lab Border Collie mix is simply a cross between a purebred Border Collie and a purebred Labrador Retriever with a black coat. As the name suggests!
This mix is also known as a Borador. But, just because a breeder is advertising Borador puppies doesn’t mean that their puppies have a black Lab parent.
Many potential Borador owners want to find puppies with fully black, or black and white coats.
Even though the genes for a black coat are dominant over others, you have a better chance of getting a black Borador if you breed a Border Collie with a black Lab.
Black Lab Border Collie Appearance
Since the black Lab Border Collie mix is a first generation hybrid (between two purebred dogs), there can still be quite a lot of variation in its appearance.
But, it is likely that these puppies will have either a fully black coat, or a black and white coat.
Border Collies often have black and white coloring. But, many people don’t realise that black Labs can also have white markings.
These white markings may be on their chest, paws, face, or other parts of their body. They are known as mismarks.
Labs with mismarks aren’t eligible for show, but they still make wonderful pets. In fact, some people believe that certain mismarks hark back to original Labrador breed lines.
But, there’s no telling exactly which genes a first generation mix puppy will inherit. So, you won’t know if they have a fully black, or a black and white coat until the litter arrives.
Size and Shape
As well as their coat color, a black Lab Border Collie can also vary in their size and general appearance.
Labs are large breed dogs. They tend to grow between 21.5 and 24.5 inches tall, weighing from 55 to 80 pounds.
Border Collies are small to medium dogs. They can be anywhere from 18 to 22 inches tall, weighing 30 to 55 pounds.
In both breeds, females tend to be smaller and lighter than males.
Predicting Adult Size
So, on average, a Borador will usually be between 19 and 24 inches tall, weighing anywhere from 30 to 80 pounds.
For a best estimate, look at the size of the exact parent breeds used. Puppies will usually be somewhere between their sizes.
But, other things can impact size, including the amount of food they’re given, birth order, and general health.
Both parent breeds have a double layer coat that sheds moderately all year and more heavily in shedding seasons.
Border Collies can have smooth or rough coats. Smooth coats are short and thick, they may be slightly longer on the legs and chest.
Rough coats are medium length with feathering on the chest, neck and legs. Their hair may be straight or may have a slight wave.
So, either way, your black Lab Border Collie mix will have a double layered coat.
A black Lab Border Collie mix will need regular grooming, increased to brushing several times a week during shedding season.
Those with longer coats will need more grooming than those with shorter coats to work out the common knots and tangles.
Black Lab Border Collie Temperament
A black Lab Border Collie will have the same general temperament variation as any other Borador mix.
But, since they are a first generation cross, there is likely to be variation among puppies.
So, a Borador mix will likely inherit the same traits that make both parent breeds such great working companions.
They will be intelligent, very active, and eager to do a job alongside their people. They usually form strong bonds with their owners, and therefore are often easily trained.
As long as they are socialized well as puppies, a black Lab Border Collie mix will get along with most people and other animals.
But, if they aren’t socialized well, they may be over protective, and aggressive towards strangers and other animals.
The natural instincts that make the Borador’s parent breeds such great working dogs can also have drawbacks.
When Labradors retrieve, they use their mouths. Modern Labs are very mouthy dogs. They will explore the world with their mouth, which means owners must be vigilant in keeping their floors and surfaces tidy.
If your Borador takes after their Lab parent, they won’t hesitate to hoover up stray socks or pieces of food, even if it could harm them.
Border Collies, on the other hand, retain strong herding instincts. So, Boradors that take after their Collie parent may try to herd small children or other pets in your home.
This could involve some barking, chasing, and nipping at heels, which can be stressful for young kids and other animals.
So if you have young kids or other pets at home, you may be better off with a different mix.
Black Lab Border Collie Mix Health
Mixed breed dogs combine genetics from two gene pools, which means there is wider gene variation compared to a purebred dog. So, mixes like the Borador can potentially be at lower risk of inheriting health issues than their purebred parents.
However, they will still be prone to hereditary issues. Particularly if breeders don’t health test dogs before breeding them.
Black Lab Border Collie mix owners should be aware of the following health conditions:
- Hip and elbow dysplasia
- Canine bloat
- Exercise Induced Collapse
- Collie eye anomaly
- Autoimmune thyroiditis
- Centronuclear Myopathy
- Heart issues
- Primary Closed Angle Glaucoma (PCAG)
On average, both the Border Collie and Labrador parent breeds live to around 12 years of age.
But with good breeding and great general care throughout their lives, they can live into their late teens.
So, you can expect a black Lab Border Collie mix to live into its teenage years.
Finding a Black Lab Border Collie Mix Puppy
It’s important to choose a reputable breeder when searching for a black Lab Border Collie mix puppy. Reputable breeders take the best care of their puppies and health test parent dogs before breeding.
This means that your puppy is at the lowest possible risk of inheriting certain health issues, as only parents with clear health tests are used.
Reputable breeders will be happy to show you where the puppies are kept, to let you visit, and to let you meet the mother dog, if not both parents.
They will also be able to show you evidence of health testing with clear scores.
The best breeders will ask you just as many questions as you ask them. They will be keen to make sure their puppies are going to a good home!
Avoid Puppy Farms
As designer breeds like the black Lab Border Collie mix gain popularity, puppy mills, puppy farms, and pet stores tend to jump on the trends to make a quick profit.
Puppies from these places often suffer from a larger number of health and behavioral problems, as they are bred for money alone, not for health.
It’s important that you do not buy puppies from these places. Instead, stick to reputable breeders.
Or, if you are struggling to meet the high prices that designer breeds can bring, you can also consider adopting an older black Lab Border Collie mix dog.
Black Lab Border Collie Mix Rescue
It isn’t always easy to find a reputable breeder close to home, but rescue is another great option to consider.
Many rescue dogs are older, so you may miss out on those early puppy months. But the upside to this is that many rescue dogs will already have basic training.
You will also have a better idea of their temperament. Work with rescue center staff to find the best match for you and your lifestyle, including if you have pets or kids at home.
Finding breed specific rescues for mixed breed dogs isn’t always possible at the moment.
But, check general rescue centers. And check rescue centers dedicated to the purebred parent breeds.
Many of these types of rescue centers will take in mixed breeds as long as the dog has one relevant parent breed.
Do You Have a Black Lab Border Collie Mix?
Have you managed to get your hands on a black Lab Border Collie mix? We would love to hear how their coat turned out!
Do they have some typical Border Collie white patches? Or is their coat all black like the traditional Labrador coat?
Let us know in the comments!
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References and Resources
- Beuchat, C. ‘The Myth of Hybrid Vigor in Dogs… is a Myth’, The Institute of Canine Biology (2014)
- Ginja, M. (et al), ‘Diagnosis, Genetic Control and Preventive Management of Canine Hip Dysplasia: A Review’, The Veterinary Journal (2010)
- Taylor, S. (et al), ‘Exercise-Induced Collapse in Labrador Retrievers: Survey Results and Preliminary Investigation of Heritability’, Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association (2008)
- Lowe, J. (et al), ‘Linkage Mapping of the Primary Disease Locus for Collie Eye Anomaly’, Genomics (2003)
- Xun, X. ‘Risk Factors and Prevention of Canine Gastric-Dilatation Volvulus’, Nanjing Police Dog Institute of Ministry of Public Security (2012)
- The Canine Health Information Center
- Farrell, L. (et al), ‘The Challenges of Pedigree Dog Health: Approaches to Combating Inherited Disease’, Canine Genetics and Epidemiology (2015)
- Adams, V. J. (et al), ‘Methods and Mortality Results of a Health Survey of Purebred Dogs in the UK’, Journal of Small Animal Practice (2010)
The Labrador Site Founder
Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.
She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and the Dogsnet Online Training Program
Pippa's online training courses were launched in 2019 and you can find the latest course dates on the Dogsnet website