Miniature Border Collie: Can You Have One as a House Pet?

Two Mini Border Collie puppies sleeping on a farm

It’s easy to see the appeal of miniature or toy versions of certain canine breeds. You get the distinctive characteristics of the dog you want, but the smaller size makes them even more unique than they already are.

A miniature Border Collie is no exception. The handsome looks and majestic stance of this old breed in a pocket-size package—sometimes as small as a puppy—means they’re highly covetable dogs to have.

Here is everything you need to know about mini Border Collies.

What Is a Mini Border Collie?

A miniature Border Collie is a significantly smaller version of the standard Border Collie, a very old breed that originated from Northumberland. They are known for being very smart, athletic, and diligent dogs and commonly have a black-and-white coat, though other color combinations exist.

The Border Collie is a breed that has been developed to help out in farms. They are often seen in the country circling livestock, especially sheep, to herd them together and keep them under control.

The toy Border Collies may be smaller in stature, but the herding instinct still comes naturally to them.

Since their reputation as hardworking dogs precedes them, they are also known as the Working Collie and the Farm Collie. Other names include the Old-Fashioned Collie and the English Collie.

What Does a Miniature Border Collie Look Like?

The miniature Border Collie looks exactly like the traditional Border Collie but smaller, which is why they are sometimes called the toy Border Collie or teacup Border Collie.

Size differences aside, they have the same strong, well-proportioned, muscular bodies that make them agile for hard work.

Black Mini Border Collie sitting on grass
Photo from @barrettpup (IG)

Most mini Border Collies have a solid-colored body with a white blaze on their face and down the chest, as well as a white collar, white legs, and white fur at the tip of their tails. They are commonly black and white, but solid-colored coats and other color combinations exist.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes the following as breed standards for the Border Collie, which are often also seen in the pocket Border Collie.

  • Black
  • Blue
  • Blue Merle
  • Brindle
  • Gold
  • Lilac
  • Red
  • Red Merle
  • Sable
  • Sable Merle
  • Saddleback Sable
  • White & Black
  • White & Blue
  • White & Blue Merle
  • White & Red
  • White & Red Merle
  • White Ticked

White markings, tan points, and brindle points are also considered standard markings for this breed.

Border Collie Colors: All 24 Coat Colors Explained With Pictures

Mini Border Collie Size and Weight: How Big Does a Mini Border Collie Get When Fully Grown?

A mini Border Collie can grow anywhere between 13 and 16 inches, which is below the standards that kennel clubs have set for this breed. It can weigh between 15 and 30 pounds, depending on its height.

In comparison, the normal-sized Border Collie stands between 18 and 22 inches, with females being on the smaller end. The average weight is anywhere between 30 and 55 pounds.

Are Mini Border Collies Rare?

Mini Border Collies are rarer than their standard counterparts; however, the practice of “miniaturizing” them is growing in popularity because of a demand for more manageable-sized versions of them.

There may be a misconception among potential dog owners that a smaller Border Collie is ideal when they don’t need to be put to work in farmlands, but the temperament and herding instincts are ingrained in the dog breed no matter its size.

It’s important to note that there is a dog breed that looks exactly like the Border Collie but is smaller. The Shetland Sheepdog, which is another herding dog, is already naturally smaller than the normal-sized Border Collie. Meanwhile, a toy Border Collie is deliberately bred to be smaller.

Mini Border Collie Genetics: How Do You Get a Miniature Border Collie?

Every litter will usually offer a variety of sizes among its puppies. The runt of the litter may fall below the breed standards and can be considered a mini Border Collie, though some dog breeders may breed two runts together to deliberately produce a mini Border Collie.

It’s important to check for any health issues before doing this to make sure these won’t be passed on to puppies.

Unethical dog breeders may also introduce the dwarfism gene in order to get pocket Border Collies. A Border Collie with dwarfism will be bred with an otherwise healthy dog.

However, this often results in shorter legs that can be disproportionate to the rest of their bodies and cause skeletal problems later on.

The healthy way to get a mini Border Collie is to pair a standard-sized one with a naturally smaller dog breed such as Poodles, Pomeranians, or Chihuahuas. While it is often considered the most humane way and reduces health risks, it is also the most unpredictable.

Here are some common Border Collie mixes:

Border Collie Mix: Your Complete Guide To 8 Popular Collie Mix Dogs!

Do Kennel Clubs Accept Mini Border Collies?

Mini Border Collies fall below the guidelines set by most kennel clubs that uphold breed standards for pedigree, including the AKC and The Kennel Club from the United Kingdom and are therefore not recognized by any of them.

The American Border Collie Association (ABCA) and the International Sheep Dog Society (ISDS) are two registries that put emphasis on the working or herding abilities of dogs. However, neither organization has made its stance clear on mini Border Collies.

Miniature Collie: Things You Need to Know Before Getting One

Mini Border Collie Temperament: Do They Make Great Family Dogs?

Miniature Border Collies are known to be highly intelligent and extremely hardworking while also having a lot of energy. For these qualities, they can be challenging dogs to own.

They will thrive in an environment where they can be physically and mentally challenged, such as farmlands where they can run around and help you out with herding livestock. They will also be happy in a home with a big garden, but they are people-oriented and require attention.

This is not a dog breed that will be content with merely having the space to run around—they need you to play with them as well. Take them out on frequent walks and do mentally stimulating games with them such as catch or frisbee.

If they are left alone for too long and are not kept busy, they can get bored and destructive. They also need to be well-supervised with small children, as their herding instincts can come into play. They tend to be very alert and notice the smallest movements.

However, mini Border Collies are quick to learn. Domesticate and socialize them, especially with children and other pets, at a very young age and they will make great family dogs.

Mini Border Collie Health: Are They Prone to Health Risks?

While miniature Border Collies can be perfectly healthy, inhumane breeding practices such as deliberately breeding dogs with known health defects to produce a smaller Border Collie can come with many complications.

Introducing the dwarfism gene may be especially problematic, as this can result in much shorter legs that are disproportionate to the rest of their bodies. Mobility problems will greatly affect the quality of life for this hardworking breed.

Other than issues that stem from intentionally breeding smaller dogs, teacup Border Collies are also at risk for ailments that are common to the Border Collies in general. Here are some conditions, as determined by the ABCA:

  • Osteochondritis Desicans (OCD): A degenerative disease of the joints, often affecting the shoulders. It is said to be caused by a rapid growth rate.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): An progressive eye condition that usually shows up in dogs at around 2 years old. It starts off decreasing a dog’s ability to see at night and eventually leads to complete blindness.
  • Focal/Multifocal Acquired Retinopathy (FMAR): An inflammatory eye disease common to working breeds and is frequently seen in Border Collies. It manifests as eye lesions that can grow over time and lead to blindness.

How Long Do Miniature Border Collies Live?

Miniature Border Collies generally have a long lifespan and can live up anywhere from 12 to 14 years, and sometimes even older if they don’t have any accidents or health conditions. According to Wired, the oldest Border Collie lived up to 25 years.

Mini Border Collies are said to be slow to mature and can act like puppies all the way up to 4 years old. So even at an advanced age, they can act younger than they actually are.

Border Collie Lifespan: How Long Do Border Collies Live?

How to Care for Your Mini Border Collie’s Basic Needs?

Food and Diet

Mini Border Collies do not have a lot of dietary restrictions, although active working dogs will often have a huge appetite and require a lot of calories to fuel them throughout the day.

Keep your dog nourished with high-quality dog food that packs on a lot of necessary nutrients. Kibble can be good for teeth and gum development, though it’s also best to alternate with canned or wet dog food.

You may also choose to create homemade meals instead. Maintain a well-balanced diet with healthy servings of proteins and carbohydrates.

Here are some foods you can give to your mini Border Collie:

  • Cooked eggs
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Beef
  • Deboned salmon
  • Chicken
  • Lamb


Miniature Border Collies are outdoor dogs and will thrive best with wide-open spaces. Apartment living can be very tricky with this breed unless the owner commits taking the dog out for walks and runs.

Even if you have a big garden for your mini Border Collie to play in, this will not be enough. Since it craves attention, you need to be more active in spending time with your pet.

Despite being a smaller version, a mini Border Collie will still be very energetic and needs intense, mentally-challenging exercises and games. Playing fetch or frisbee with them is perfect, as it nurtures their gathering instincts.

Cleaning and Grooming

The mini Border Collie is a double-coated dog and can have either rough or smooth fur.

They shed moderately all year round and blows their coats twice a year, usually in early spring and late fall, to prepare for the summer and winter seasons respectively. It is essential to brush their hair regularly to get rid of excess hair.

Mini Border Collies do not emit a strong odor. Bathing should only be done when necessary so you don’t dry out their skin. Make sure to rinse off all shampoo and dry them thoroughly.

Since they like spending time outdoors, they are prone to fleas and ticks. These can cause blood infections when not controlled or treated accordingly, so remove them as soon as you see them, take preventative measures and keep your surroundings clean.

Training and Socialization

Just like many other dog breeds, miniature Border Collies need to be socialized at a young age. They especially need to be supervised with children and other pets early on, as any small movements may trigger their gathering instincts.

Mini Border Collies are highly intelligent and get mentally stimulated with training. They are diligent and fast to learn, so you can housebreak a puppy easily.

How Much Do Miniature Border Collies Cost? Puppy Prices and Cost of Raising Them

Miniature Border Collie puppies for sale

The price for a miniature Border Collie puppy starts at around $600. It can go up to $1,200 depending on the pedigree and availability. However, it’s also important to check how reputable the breeder is.

Expect to pay more for a puppy from a superior or champion line, with prices going all the way up to $5,000.

The expenses don’t stop once you have a mini Border Collie. A new dog will set you back at least $1,000 in its first year as you buy some of its supplies and pay for certain services for the first time, although the cost will go down in subsequent years.

Here are some essentials you need to spend on:

  • Food, including treats
  • Food and water dishes
  • Collar and leash
  • Microchipping
  • Spaying or neutering
  • Obedience training
  • Vaccinations
  • Flea and tick prevention
  • Grooming supplies

Alternatively, you can adopt a puppy from an animal shelter or rescue organization. You may not necessarily get a Border Collie in a smaller size, though you may stumble upon a runt.

More importantly, you will be giving a homeless dog the forever home it deserves. Adoption fees will set you back between $50 to $150 or more.

Another benefit of adopting from shelters is that medical expenses such as initial vaccinations and spaying/neutering are included in the processing fees.

RELATED: How Much Does a Border Collie Cost? (2023 Price Guide)

Places to Find Mini Border Collie Puppies for Sale and Adoption

If your mind is set on a mini Border Collie and you’re prepared to care for one, the next step is finding one, whether for sale or adoption.

If you plan on buying one, you can look into AKC-registered breeders and ask to see their litter. Since a litter of puppies offers a variety of sizes, you can opt for the smallest or the runt of the litter if you want a miniature Border Collie.

Be wary of questionable breeders or pet shops who may be incorporating the dwarfism gene or deliberately breeding two runts, which can cause health problems and additional expenses down the line.

Here are some places to shop for a mini Border Collie:

  • AKC Marketplace – A listing of AKC-registered Border Collie breeders and their litters from all over the United States.
  • Greenfield Puppies – A Pennsylvania-based breeder that has listings for Border Collies and miniature Border Collie mixes.
  • Gold Creek Ranch Border Collies – A 97-year-old ranch in Montana that has been the breeding grounds for top-quality Border Collies registered with the ABCA.

If you want to adopt instead, here are some places you can look into:

  • Petfinder – A database of animals who need homes in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
  • Adopt-a-Pet – North America’s largest non-profit pet adoption website.
  • Border Collie Save & Rescue – A non-profit organization run by volunteers that hopes to look after Border Collies in Central and North Texas.
  • Come Bye Border Collie Rescue – An organization that rescues Border Collies and Border Collie mixes from the midwest states, including Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, and Mississippi.

RELATED: 10 Best Border Collie Breeders (2023): Our Top 10 Picks!

Related Questions

Mini Border Collie walking outdoor on leash
Photo from @barrettpup (IG)

Is It Better to Have a Male or Female Miniature Border Collie?

Whether your new mini Border Collie is male or female, there will certainly be a lot to love. There are no distinctions that make one gender better than the other, although there are advantages and disadvantages that may dictate your preference.

Every dog will have its own personality and temperament. However, males generally are more energetic and hardworking, while females are more focused and intelligent. Male mini Border Collies will also tend to grow a little bigger than their female counterparts.

Male vs. Female Border Collies: Which Is Better for You?

Can Mini Border Collies Be Left Alone?

Mini Border Collies are very people-oriented and crave attention and affection from their families. Teaching them to be alone is not impossible, though that may require a lot of patience and training.

Even then, they get easily bored and may become destructive when they are left alone without interaction for too long.

Do Mini Border Collies Bark a Lot?

A mini Border Collie is a barking breed. It will bark for all the reasons it can think of, whether it wants to alert you about something or it simply wants your attention. They will bark at everything that arouses their curiosity and excites them, and they will also bark when they get too bored.

Do Mini Border Collies Shed a Lot?

Mini Border Collies are double-coated dogs and will shed moderately throughout the year. Twice a year, they will undergo a period of extreme shedding, which is called blowing their coats.

This is a phase that replaces their coats to prepare them for changes in the weather. In early spring, they will blow their winter coats to get ready for the warmer summer months, and in late fall, they will blow their summer coats to stay warm for the cold winter.

During this period, expect to be cleaning up after them, as they will get fur everywhere. You can manage it as best as you can by brushing their coats thoroughly every day.

Final Thoughts: Should You Get a Mini Border Collie?

As a very intelligent and hardworking dog, it’s hard to go wrong with a mini Border Collie. Its work ethic is admirable, and its diligent temperament assures you that it will do its fair share of helping you out especially if you put it to work.

However, it is not an easy dog to own if you intend to have one as a simple house pet. It is highly energetic and demands human attention, so it is well-suited for people who keep their dogs as close companions and can give them the affection they deserve.

They are also ideal for people who live active lifestyles and can take them for walks and runs.

Their herding instincts also make them challenging for families with small children and will need training and socialization at a young age so they can adapt better to their forever homes.

With a lot of patience and care, they will thrive as house pets and stay with you for years to come.

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