Welsh Sheepdog vs. Border Collie – What Are The Differences?

We all know that there is a wide range of dog breeds available worldwide.

In fact, the American Kennel Club identifies more than 190 dog breeds, while the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) recognizes over 360 dog breeds.

As a result, it can be exceedingly daunting to find the most suitable dog for your home and family.

The Welsh Sheepdog and Border Collie are two herding dogs that have quickly gained immense popularity over the years.

Due to their attractive appearance, remarkable brightness, and vibrant personality, many people have grown fond of these canines.

In this comprehensive article, I will discuss the unique differences between Welsh Sheepdog vs. Border Collie.

AttributesWelsh SheepdogBorder Collie
Good For First Time OwnersNoNo
Good Guard DogYesWith Enough Training
Apartment FriendlyNoNo
Good Family DogWith Enough TrainingWith Enough Training
Barking And HowlingModerateModerate To High
Height20-22 inches (51-56 cm)18-22 inches (46-56 cm)
Average Life Expectancy12-15 Years12-15 Years


Welsh Sheepdog

Welsh Sheepdog by Richard New Forest (CC BY-SA 3.0)


With over 800 years of existence under its belt, the Welsh Sheepdog is a medium-sized dog that features a solid and muscular build and a well-proportioned body with long and strong legs.

Their wedge-shaped heads have a long and pointed muzzle, and their ears can have a small fold forwards, alert and pointed or held high.

Also known as the Welsh Collie, these dogs often come with a long or short coat, accompanied by a dense undercoat.

They also have three primary color variations, including black and white, merle, red, or tan.

It is also worth noting that their eyes are often blue when young and change to a warm brown color as they mature.


The Welsh Sheepdog is an active, curious, and brilliant dog. It is always a step ahead of its owners as it anticipates their next move.

They are independent and alert, making ideal guard dogs, herding dogs, and active K9 companions.

These dogs are happiest when given a task to complete, preferably one that requires running since they require constant mental and physical stimulation.

Generally, they need a minimum of two hours of daily exercise to keep up with the physical stimulation needs.

Additionally, these dogs are good with other pets and children.

However, they may show aggressive inclinations when approached by strangers. They also tend to become excessive barkers when bored.

Due to their intelligence and inquisitive nature, the Welsh Sheepdog requires an experienced owner who asserts dominance and exudes confidence when appropriate.

However, they are easy to train and do not require excessive repetition to perform tasks.


Similar to any other dog breed, the Welsh Sheepdog is prone to various health problems.

Despite being a generally healthy dog breed, there are several health conditions common in herding dogs that a Welsh Sheepdog parent should be wary of.

Some of them include Atopic Dermatitis, Epilepsy, Collie Eye Anomaly, Diabetes Mellitus, Hip Dysplasia, and Progressive Retinal Atrophy.

The Welsh Sheepdog has an average lifespan of 12-15 years.

Border Collie

The Border Collie is arguably the best herding dog and the most intelligent dog breed to walk the earth.

Especially in the United Kingdom, it is a reputable and well-known dog breed.


These dogs resemble a lighter-weight Australian Shepherd but possess a feather tail long enough to reach the hocks.

They feature a jaunty appearance since their ears stand high and the tips drop over.

Generally, the male Border Collie has an average height of 22 inches and an average weight of 45 pounds, while their female counterparts have an average height of 22 inches and an average weight of 42 pounds.

They have two coats, a sleek and coarse one, and are available in a wide array of colors, including all black, red and white, black and white, tri-colors, and black and gray, among many others.


Similar to the Welsh Sheepdog, Border Collies are hardworking, intelligent, and active dogs that significantly enjoy activities that involve running around.

They learn quickly and respond very well to praise.

Many people prefer these dogs because of their gentleness, relatively low maintenance requirements, and incredibly bright nature.

They are also quite protective, making excellent watchdogs, and guard dogs.


When it comes to their health, they are relatively healthy but similar to other dog breeds; they are prone to specific health conditions.

Thus, if you are considering adopting this breed, you should be aware of these possible health problems.

Border Collies are highly susceptible to health conditions such as Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Hip Dysplasia, Epilepsy, Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD), and Collie Eye Anomalies.

They are also prone to various allergies, including food allergies, inhalant allergies, and contact allergies.

It is worth noting that this dog breed has an average lifespan of 12-15 years.

Welsh Sheepdog vs. Border Collie – What Are The Differences?

Welsh SheepdogBorder Collie
Welsh Sheepdog by Richard New Forest (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The Welsh Sheepdog and the Border Collie are somewhat similar dogs, especially when it comes to their appearance.

Although they might be challenging to tell apart, they have several distinct characteristics.

For instance, although they are both purebred herding dogs, the Border Collie is more widely recognized by various Kennel Clubs worldwide.

On the other hand, the Welsh Sheepdog is not recognized as a standardized breed by any of these Kennel clubs.

Furthermore, the Border Collie is heavier and taller than the Welsh Sheepdog and also comes in various coats and colors.

The Welsh Sheepdog only has a feathered coat and comes in black, white, or red. Also, the Welsh Sheepdog requires less grooming compared to the Border Collie.

However, they both shed moderately.

Due to their stubborn personalities, Border Collies are ideal as service dogs, therapy dogs, sniffer dogs, detection dogs, or search and rescue dogs (SAR).

Alternatively, the Welsh Sheepdogs are ideal companions for first-time dog owners due to their easy-going and friendly nature.

Both dogs are easy to train, highly intelligent, and very playful.


There is indeed vast confusion in the dog community when it comes to the Welsh Sheepdog vs. Border Collie debate.

They have a relatively similar appearance since they are both medium-sized dogs with long and strong legs and an athletic body.

They also have long pointed muzzles and ears that stand high with tips that drop low.

However, once you analyze them closer, you will find several differences, similar to those outlined in this article.

So, if you want to adopt a Welsh Sheepdog or a Border Collie, I recommend conducting further research to know exactly what you are looking for.

After all, being a dog parent is not a task to be taken lightly.

Authored By

Madeline Wright

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