Updated: April 24th, 2022
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If you are looking for a loyal, high-energy companion, then a Golden Collie, also known as a Gollie (among many other names), might be the perfect pup for you.
Gollies are a mixed-breed dog that is the result of bringing together a golden retriever and a border collie, two of the most popular dogs in the United States.
Their crossbreed pups are very intelligent, loving, friendly, highly energetic, and in need of constant companionship. This is why Gollies are best for parents who want a partner in crime for their own active, high-octane lifestyle.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about these unique dogs and decide whether they are the right addition to your family.
Main Characteristics: Border Collie And Golden Retriever Mix
- 22 to 26 inches tall
- 50 to 75 pounds
- 12 to 15 year lifespan
- High energy – Needs at least 90 to 180 minutes of exercise per day
- Medium-to-high shedding
- Family-friendly – best with older children
- Not suitable for apartment living
- Not suitable to be left alone for extended periods
What Is A Golden Collie?
Border collie and golden retriever mixes, also known as Gollies, are a very popular mixed-breed created by crossing a purebred golden retriever and a purebred border collie. Despite its pedigree ancestry and huge popularity, the Gollie still isn’t recognized by any major canine organization and is considered a designer dog.
To understand the golden border retriever mix, you will first have to know more about its parent breeds.
The highly popular and loved golden retriever was originally bred to be a gundog and used during hunting to gentle retrieve shot waterfowl without damaging the birds. Nowadays, Goldens are mostly kept as pets and used as assistance dogs or as search and rescue dogs.
The border collie, on the other hand, is a working dog breed and was originally developed for herding livestock, especially sheep. Considered the most intelligent dog breed, border collies are energetic and obedient workaholics that make excellent pets.
When you mix the two, you get a Golden Collie – a cute-looking and extremely smart companion dog that will love being out and about.
Golden Retriever Border Collie Mix Appearance
Like any other mixed-breed dog, no two Gollies are exactly the same, and your dog’s appearance will be determined by genetics. However, you can generally expect your Gollie to have a sturdy build, a straight back, and a shaggy tail.
In terms of other features, they tend to look like their golden retriever parent but with shorter ears. In most cases, their coat will look like that of their border collie parent.
Size, Height & Weight
When it comes to size, fully-grown border collie golden retriever mixes should be large, sturdy, athletic dogs. They are usually 19 to 24 inches tall and weigh around 45 to 75 pounds. Females are generally smaller than males, but that isn’t always the case.
Coat & Color
The Golden Collie has a very dense, medium-length wavy coat that makes them highly adaptable to a wide range of different weather conditions. When it comes to coat colors, your mix can primarily take after one of its parents or have a combination of both parents’ colors.
The most commonly seen coat colors are:
Golden Retriever Collie Mix Temperament
As with all other mixed-breed dogs, it’s very hard to predict the exact personality and temperament of an individual Gollie. Your mix may take more after its collie parent breed or vice versa, so you should meet both of your prospective pup’s parents first to get a better sense of their temperament and personality traits.
Both golden retrievers and border collies are intelligent dogs, so you can expect your mix to be smart as well. Due to their higher intelligence, Gollies are very easy to train and will learn complex commands and tricks after just a few repetitions. To tap into your dog’s full potential, use positive reinforcement techniques and never yell at or punish your dog in any way.
While they are friendly by nature, the golden retriever border collie mix tends to be a bit shy around new people at first and will grow up to be timid if not properly and consistently socialized from a young age. Thus, start socializing your puppy as soon as you bring them home by letting them meet other dogs and people and experience different situations.
The Gollie is a friendly and loyal dog that makes an excellent companion to both families with children and single people alike. They are known to form strong bonds with their people and like to be involved in everything their families are doing. Besides getting along well with adults and strangers, this mix also likes children and particularly loves to be the center of their attention.
Keep in mind that this people-oriented dog needs a lot of attention and affection to stay happy and content. Otherwise, they can develop separation anxiety or even become depressed or destructive. So, if your mix is going to spend more than six hours a day alone, this isn’t the right dog for you! You can either look for a more independent breed or consider hiring a dog sitter to keep them company while you’re away.
Having a Golden and a collie as parents means your mix is going to be a highly energetic, playful, and agile dog. Gollies have a lot of energy and need a decent amount of exercise and several play sessions every day to stay in shape.
Generally, collie Goldens need around 90 minutes of exercise every day, but some Gollies may need up to 180 minutes of physical activity to really burn off all their excess energy.
Besides daily long walks, you can also jog, hike, or take your mix for a swim. Additionally, these dogs love to play fetch and retrieve, so throwing a Frisbee or a ball is a great way for your dog to have fun and get some exercise at the same time.
You can expect your mix to be fairly alert and observant depending on how much it takes after its border collie parent. However, while your dog will be vigilant, don’t expect him to be a great guard or watchdog.
In most cases, golden border retrievers are too friendly to be guard dogs and won’t know what to do with intruders except lick them senseless. However, you can expect your mix to bark if something seems suspicious, and they will probably alert you if someone is at the front door.
Border Collie And Golden Retriever Mix Health Problems
While mixed-breed dogs are generally healthier than their purebred counterparts, the Gollie can inherit certain health problems that affect Golden Retrievers and Border Collies.
The most common health problems seen in this mix are:
- Hip dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia
- Eye problems
- Ear infections
The best way to avoid these issues from arising is to get your golden collie mix from a reputable breeder. Ask the breeder to show you the parents’ hip and elbow scores and results from any ophthalmologist exams.
Gollies are considered to be generally healthy and have an average life expectancy of 10 to 15 years. Because of this, you’ll need to be prepared for a long-term commitment and some veterinary bills down the road before you bring this mix home.
Feeding A Collie Golden Retriever Mix
Diet plays a huge role in the life of every dog and is very important for the overall well-being and health of your mix. Keeping that in mind, your Gollie’s diet should consist of lots of protein, fats, healthy carbs, and all essential vitamins and minerals.
An adult Golden Collie mix should eat dog food designed for large breed dogs with high energy and have two evenly-spaced meals a day. Since this mix can easily become bloated, you should stick with a consistent feeding schedule and avoid free-feeding your dog.
When it comes to puppies, opt for a high-quality puppy food for large breed dogs and feed your mix four times a day until they reach adulthood. Once you bring your new puppy home, continue feeding the same brand of dog food the breeder was using and wait at least a month to transition your pooch to a different formula.
Border Collie Golden Retriever Mix Grooming & Care
Due to their dense, medium-length coat, Gollies tend to be high-maintenance dogs when it comes to grooming. They are moderate to heavy shedders, so be prepared to be engulfed in dog hair, particularly during the shedding season.
To stay on top of all of that loose hair and remove dirt and dander, you will have to brush your Gollie mix three times a week. During the shedding season, you should brush your dog daily or every other day, depending on how much loose hair he or she is leaving all over your house.
When it comes to bathing, you should bathe your Gollie only when necessary, or roughly every couple of months. Avoid frequent baths, since they will dry out and irritate your dog’s skin, and don’t forget to use a shampoo that is specially formulated for dogs.
The rest of your mixed breed’s grooming should consist of basic care and involves regular teeth brushing, nail trimming, and ear cleaning. You should brush your dog’s teeth daily and start early to give your mix time to get comfortable with this routine.
When it comes to nails, you should trim them every four to six weeks, and if you aren’t comfortable doing it at home, ask your vet or a groomer to do it for you.
Last but not least, since collie Goldens are prone to ear infections, you should check your dog’s ears weekly and clean them as necessary. If you notice anything unusual like redness or swelling, take your dog to the vet as soon as you can to avoid the occurrence of painful ear infections.
Should You Get A Golden Collie?
After learning more about this delightful crossbreed, you might still be wondering whether a golden collie is the right dog for you. Ask yourself the following questions to help decide.
Where Do You Live?
Golden border retrievers are relatively large dogs, and they also have lots of energy. That means they don’t do well in apartments or otherwise being confined in small spaces. To be at their happiest and healthiest, these dogs need enough space to gallop around and play on a regular basis. They will do best if they have a bit of outside space to call their own.
Also, are there dog parks near you where your dog can get their daily exercise? Living within walking distance of an off-leash dog park is ideal when you have a Gollie.
How Much Time Do You Have?
These dogs not only make great companions, but they also need a lot of companionship. If they are left alone for extended periods of time, they are likely to develop depression and anxiety. Not only is this bad for them, but it can also be bad for you, as their restlessness tends to manifest as destructive behavior.
If you are going to need to leave your pup home alone for more than six hours at a time on a regular basis, you might need to consider a different breed.
Do You Have An Active Lifestyle?
One of the things that stands out most about collie golden dogs is how much energy they have.
In order to manage their excess energy, they need anywhere from 90 to 180 minutes of exercise per day! That means you and your pup will need to take several outings every day, and a relaxing walk isn’t going to cut it. They will need to be able to run off-leash and play fetch.
Is this consistent with your lifestyle? Do you and your family have the time and energy to give this dog the exercise that they need? Are you up for weekend hiking adventures and swims? If you prefer to spend your weekend on the couch, then you aren’t a great match for this breed.
Are You Experienced With Dogs?
These dogs are highly intelligent and eager to please, which means that they are easy to train, even if you don’t have much experience. With that said, however, these playful pups also need a firm hand to guide them. They do best with someone who is confident with dogs, which means you’ll need to be able to handle their size and energy.
How Old Is Your Family?
If you have kids in the house as well, you might want to consider the age of your kids. Not only do these dogs tend to have the urge to herd younger children, but their energy and playfulness can be overwhelming for younger family members.
Plus, you might not want to be running around caring after both a toddler and a hyperactive collie Golden. They fit in much better with older children who can share in the responsibility of looking after them.
Border Collie Golden Retriever Mix FAQs
How much is a Golden Retriever Border Collie mix?
Exactly how much you can expect to pay for a collie Golden pup always depends on the supply and demand in your area.
In general, for quality mix-breed pups, you can expect to pay between $300 and $900 per dog. Though they are desirable, these dogs still sometimes find themselves in rescues, so don’t forget to check with your local shelter first.
How big do Gollies get?
Golden border retrievers can grow to be quite large, typically measuring up to 26 inches tall and weighing up to 75 pounds, but they can also be significantly smaller.
To get an idea of how big a pup is likely to be as an adult, look at their parents. Remember that the female is always the largest of the two to prevent complications at birth. You can expect female pups to be roughly the same size as the smaller of their parents, while males usually take after the larger parent. However, there are always surprises with mixed-breed dogs.
The Verdict On Gollies
When you mix a border collie and a golden retriever, you get a friendly and intelligent Gollie that is incredibly eager to please. However, although they are very friendly and playful, these dogs aren’t for everyone.
Golden collies are extremely high energy dogs. They need lots of exercise, lots of mental stimulation, and lots of love. It is a serious long-term commitment to adopt one of these dogs into your life. If you spend extended hours in the office and prefer to spend the weekend on the couch, you might find that you are not a good match for them.
Still, while these dogs are certainly a lot of work, they are more than worth the effort. There are few dogs that are more loving and affectionate. The bond that you will form will be transformational, and you might wonder how you managed before they came into your life.
Overall, Gollies are:
- Friendly but not the best watchdogs
- Highly intelligent and loyal
- Extremely athletic and high-energy, meaning they need regular, intense exercise
Do you have experience raising border collie and golden retriever mix dogs? Share your thoughts with the community in the comments section below.