The Lab Collie mix is a hybrid designer dog with a Labrador parent and a Collie parent. The Collie is an active, intelligent herding dog and the Labrador is a smart, cooperative retriever breed. Your Lab Collie mix puppy will be determined, confident, playful and attentive in nature. They thrive in active homes that take part in a dog centric activity like agility or fieldwork.
Active Working Origins
The Labrador, contrary to its name, actually originates from Newfoundland, Canada (not Labrador). This hardy dog is a descendant of the St John’s water dog, which was the dog of Newfoundland fishermen. It worked alongside the fishermen, in the water as often as on land, helping haul nets and lines, and retrieving fish.
The hunting and sporting community in the UK began to fall in love with these Labradors in the late 1800s and early 1900s thanks to their tireless energy, wonderful temperament and ability to work. The Kennel Club in England recognized the Labrador Retriever in 1903. The American Kennel Club followed suit 14 years later, in 1917. The Labrador is the most popular pet dog in the US and the UK today, and is the most popular working retriever in the world.
The Rough Collie is believed to have originated in the Highlands of Scotland in the 18th century, where it was bred as a sheepdog for herding and guarding the flock. It became a show dog in England in the 1860s, and the first English Collie was brought to the US in 1879. The Collie Club of America was founded in 1886, making it one of the oldest specialty clubs in American existence.
Lab Collie Mix Appearance
The Collie has a long rough coat everywhere except the head and the legs. This Collie comes in four different colors. Sable is the most popular. The Collie is considered a medium to large size dog, typically ranging 50 – 65 pounds for a female and 60 – 75 pounds for a male. Average height is 22-24 inches for the female and 24-26 inches for the male.
Labradors are also a medium to large dog. Male Labradors tend to range in size from 65 to 80 pounds, and 22.5 to 24.5 inches tall. Females range from 55 to 70 pounds and 21.5 to 23.5 inches tall.
Coats and Colors
Labradors have an undercoat, and a short, dense, water resistant top coat sometimes called a Guard coat. These dogs also have a distinctive otter tail. They come in three solid colors: brown, black and yellow.
Regardless of which color coat your Collie has, it will likely have a white collar, chest, legs, feet, tail tip, and sometimes a blaze, or white markings, on its face.
While similar in size, the face shape, coat type and coloring of these two parent breeds are very different. You might find a black lab collie mix, or any other combination of lab and collie mix. As you can see, there are many possible physical combinations that a Labrador Collie cross could end up with due to this.
Both the Labrador and the Collie shed seasonally. This means that they generally need more grooming during the winter months than when they are sporting their ‘summer coats.’
Lab Collie Temperament Traits
The temperament of an individual puppy can never be guaranteed, which is why proper socialization and training is always very important. However, we can look at the general temperament of both parent breeds to get a better idea of which characteristics Labrador cross Collie puppies are most likely to exhibit.
Labradors are an incredibly popular dog, and one of the reasons for this is their remarkable temperament. Labs tend to have very friendly, outgoing, and playful natures. They are high energy, very active dogs that typically get along with others, whether human or animal.
As sporting dogs, Labs are known for their instincts in woods and water and tend to love to swim. Labrador Retrievers have a reputation for being tireless and incredibly social, with stable, even temperaments.
The Collie is a dog who is proud, graceful, and completely devoted to its human family. These dogs are moderately active and incredibly intelligent. They tend to be very good with children, but require lots of human interaction and contact.
Collies have a tendency to be vocal and bark, but are not generally aggressive dogs.
With a healthy puppy from a good home, proper socialization and training, this interesting mix is likely to result in a very social, loving and active dog. The labrador collie mix temperament and personality should be amicable and stable.
Of course, socialization of any dog is important. Some dogs might take more work than others but even with friendly dogs, it is vital that you take proper care to familiarize them with new people, places and other animals. Fortunately for this mix breed, both parent breeds are friendly, outgoing and playful and loyal. Make sure to check out our guides on socialization of both puppies and older dogs.
Training and Exercise
Labradors are high energy dogs built for endurance. Collies are medium energy but still fairly active dogs that will enjoy and benefit from long walks.
Labradors are in the Sport Group of dogs and tend to excel at running, hunting, fetching, and swimming. Collies tend to excel at agility and herding; often enjoying and excelling at obedience and obstacle training courses that incorporate these skills. This means that regardless of whether you have a Black Lab Collie mix, a Chocolate Lab Collie mix, or a Yellow Lab Collie mix, your puppy is likely to need a fair amount of daily exercise. If this exercise includes mental stimulation such as teaching tricks, even better!
Proper training is important to ensure your pet is a well-adjusted and well-mannered companion. Thankfully, a Labrador Collie mix will likely be intelligent and eager-to-please, which should make training relatively easy, compared to more stubborn breeds.
Labrador and Collie Health
Your Lab Collie mix’s parents have the potential to pass along a number of inherited diseases. To avoid them, make sure that they are both fully tested for the conditions relevant to their breed.
The Lab parent should have good hip and elbow scores, a clear eye test and be PRA clear. The Collie parent should be clear for Collie Eye Anomaly and not have shown any reaction to drugs like Ivermectin.
The life expectancy of a Collie tends to be 12-14 years. The average life expectancy for a Lab is 10 to 12 years. So, you can expect your Labrador Rough Collie mix to live anywhere between 10 and 14 years. These are averages ages of course and will depend on the dogs’ general health and living conditions.
Do Lab Collie mixes make good family pets
Both Labradors and Collies are generally loving, social animals that do well in homes with small children and other pets. Labradors and Collies will enjoy prolonged periods of exercise outside, but not alone.
If Collies are kept outside for extended periods of time without human contact they will become bored and lonely, which could result in behavioral problems. In other words, Lab Collie puppies will do best in a home with a family that will take them out to suitable natural environments regularly for exercise and will be home often to provide social contact.
Finding a Lab Collie Puppy
Since Collie x Lab Puppies are not purebred and are not on the International Designer Canine Registry, it may be challenging to find breeders. When searching for Collie Lab puppies, make sure you’re getting the breed mix you’re expecting, and not a Border Collie Lab puppy.
If you’re considering getting a puppy from someone other than a registered breeder, it is also very important to ensure your puppy is coming from a reputable source. Pay attention to the type of living conditions the puppy is in. Ask about both parents and get as much information as you can to understand the background of your puppy. This will help predict any potential issues or areas for concern. Make sure you don’t miss our Puppy Search Guide.
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