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What is a bordoodle, you ask? The short answer is: smart. This medium-sized, relatively new crossbreed mixes the border collie with the poodle, thus combining two of the most intelligent dog breeds in the world into one super cute, family-friendly package.
Because she's such a new mix, potential pet parents should keep in mind that there's not much breed consistency, so everything from your bordoodle's size and behavior to health and coat texture can vary depending on how much the puppy is influenced by her parents' genes.
But it's safe to assume this hybrid will be bright, athletic, and affectionate, although her size can differ dramatically based on whether the poodle parent is a standard or miniature poodle, which may be used by some breeders to attempt to breed a mini bordoodle. They're likely to be fairly energetic, though the poodle genes might tamp down some of that famous—or infamous—border collie intensity.
Still, families bringing home a bordoodle should be prepared to provide consistent daily activity, some level of grooming, and a whole lot of devotion.
While cuteness is pretty much guaranteed, the bordoodle's coat and overall appearance is full of uncertainties. Even within one litter, you may find a variety of coat types stretching from wavy to curly, incorporating nearly all colors, and with shedding levels ranging from high to non-shedding.
"What the bordoodle puppies end up with cannot be guaranteed," says Maggie Brown-Bury, DVM. "And what the hair or fur looks like at six weeks cannot be trusted to reflect what it will be when it is grown; my dad, for example, has a doodle mix that was black as a puppy and silver by a year of age."
Coats may come in many colors and combinations, although black and white is a bit more common. The dog's size will depend heavily on the size of her poodle parent because standard poodles and miniature poodles offer such an enormous size range. But, typically, bordoodles will be medium-sized pups.
The product of a purebred border collie and a purebred poodle is considered an F1 bordoodle, which typically has a wavy or slightly curly coat and sheds lightly. When an F1 bordoodle is bred to either a purebred border collie or a purebred poodle, it's considered an F1b bordoodle (the b stands for "back" to the parent breed); in this case, breeding them back to a purebred poodle is usually the chosen path because that leads to a more consistent dog with a wavy or curly coat.
A bordoodle's eyes are generally brown, but you'll occasionally find one with one brown eye and one that's blue.
How's your ego? If it can handle the idea of a dog who might be smarter than you, you're in luck with the bordoodle. Both border collies and poodles have a reputation for being whip smart, and that makes them highly trainable—for the right family.
"They're very friendly and love people and companionship, but they might not listen on their own all the time," says Erin Askeland, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA, animal health and behavior consultant at Camp Bow Wow. "You want to start training and socialization as soon as possible, keeping it up throughout their lives, so they'll be that wonderful family dog you're looking for."
And they can be a truly fantastic pet for active families of all types—unlikely to choose favorites and happy to play (or snuggle) with whomever is available. However, the border collie side of her can be rather aloof with strangers, so you'll need to work with your pup to teach her that it's OK to warm up to new people, too.
Pet parents should be aware that, although both border collies and poodles can have a lot of energy, they have completely different work ethics.
"Border collies want a job—and they want to do it all the time. Poodles tend to be more playful. They like to work, but they also like to rest or just have fun," Askeland says. "So with a bordoodle, there can be real variation. You might have one that has a big work ethic, or they could have less need for stimulation or a job."
You'll want to take note of what makes your bordoodle tick and provide her enough activity to keep her happy and healthy so she doesn't become bored, which can lead to less-than-ideal behaviors. It's not that she's trying to be naughty, of course; she just might not understand what to do with her pent-up energy.
In case it's not yet clear, this crossbreed can be an excellent choice for families—especially those who are willing to incorporate their bordoodle into their daily lives, whether that includes car rides, hiking trips, or other dog-friendly activities. Living in an apartment probably isn't ideal for her, but if you're committed to including your pup in your routine and giving her fun activities to do each day, it may be possible.
Of course, because the bordoodle is a new mix breed and her temperament isn't entirely predictable, her ability to be happy in a small home with no yard depends a great deal on which parent breed she takes after—a poodle is no problem, but the border collie in her could be a challenge in that environment. But either way, she's unlikely to be a total couch potato.
"You should be able to get by with regular day-to-day activities [with a bordoodle], versus a dog like a purebred border collie who needs a job to do all the time," Askeland says. "A real border collie takes more effort, but with a bordoodle, you can stick with general exercise. Some walking, maybe some running, playing fetch and Frisbee, and then, of course, a little training and obedience along the way."
Outdoor activities are a great choice, so try hitting the trails or taking a dip in your local lake to give your bordoodle a treat. Another way to keep the bordoodle's paws and minds moving, Askeland says, is by teaching them new tricks.
"If they have that drive from the border collie and the playfulness from the poodle, they could do a lot," she says. "And teaching him new tricks, like learning to jump over your arm or leg, keeps it from getting stale."
The fact that bordoodles typically adore children is one of the things pet parents love about them, but if you're bringing one into a home with young kids, keep in mind one of her parents—the border collie—is a herding breed.
"They can get a little obsessive when it comes to giving chase," Askeland says. And that must not be tolerated with children—or other pets, for that matter, although these dogs tend to be good with other animals (including cats!). Getting her involved in something like lure chasing, where she can chase safely, is an option. But if you don't have a mechanical lure chasing set up near you, herding behaviors may be something you want to teach her to avoid entirely.
Grooming needs will vary from dog to dog because the bordoodle's coat can be furry like a border collie's or more like a poodle's curly hair. But it's a safe bet she'll need her coat brushed at least a couple of times a week. And if she's more in the border collie coat camp, brushing and the occasional bath as needed, may be all the grooming she requires—although the downside is she's more likely to shed.
If her coat takes after her poodle parentage, shedding is likely to be low, but regular and professional grooming may be required to keep that fur from matting. Keep an eye (and ear) on her nails; if you can hear them tapping on the floor, it's time to trim them. And those cute, floppy ears may need a little help staying clean, so check those regularly, too.
Regular exercise and mental stimulation is non-negotiable, but it doesn't need to be anything excessive. The bordoodle shouldn't have her border collie parent's insatiable drive to work nonstop, so a couple of nice walks each day should suffice—especially if you pair that with some fun brain games, like training her to do tricks using positive reinforcement. That being said, if you live a more active life, she may make for an engaging running or biking partner, so don't hesitate to bring her along.
Early socialization, along with training, will help ensure the friendly, curious nature of your bordoodle is first and foremost and that any aloof or wary tendencies don't take over.
Just as temperament and appearance can vary greatly with a recently created mix like a bordoodle, so can the potential inherited health issues.
"I think it is important to understand that when you are looking at any doodle mix, the predictability of what to expect is going to be decreased compared to a true breed," Brown-Bury says.
Still, there are some things she suggests discussing with your breeder and veterinarian. "The parent stock should 100 percent have their hips and eyes cleared, if nothing else, as those are the overlapping concerns with the two breeds," she says.
Depending on the size and shape of the dog you end up with, bloat (also known as gastric dilation volvulus) may be an issue, as it's seen commonly in deep-chested standard poodles. Brown-Bury suggests chatting with your vet about whether a prophylactic gastropexy procedure might be a good idea. Addison's disease is also something seen more in poodles than other breeds, so it's wise for poodle mix owners to be familiar with warning signs and symptoms.
"Ear care and maintenance is important for any dog with furry and floppy ears, which both parent breeds are," Brown-Bury says. And, because this is likely to be an athletic pooch, she recommends staying on top of any injury. "Knee injuries are very common in dogs and can really impact a dog's ability to enjoy being active long term," she says.
Hip dysplasia may also be a concern, but Brown-Bury notes that, although it is genetic, it's not a simple inheritance because there are multiple genes that impact it. "Therefore, the mother and father having certified excellent hips does not guarantee the puppies will have excellent hips," she explains. "Especially when you are crossing breeds, it is not safe to make assumptions and the progeny should have their hips checked."
The border collie-poodle mix is a relatively new hybrid pup on the block, and the exact origin of the bordoodle is unclear. As is the case with most designer mixes, it's likely that border collies and poodles have been unintentionally mixing for ages, but it's only been in recent years that breeders have begun working to standardize the bordoodle.
And no wonder! This mix of two wildly intelligent, fun, and friendly breeds has real appeal, and the bordoodle is currently recognized (albeit as the "borpoodle") by the American Canine Hybrid Club, the Designer Breed Registry, the Designer Dogs Kennel Club, the Dog Registry of America, and the International Designer Canine Registry.
Still, when considering this crossbreed—or any dog that's being sold as a designer mix by a breeder— make sure to thoroughly research any bordoodle breeder due to the prevalence of puppy mills in the designer dog market. This might not be a purebred dog, Brown-Bury says, but, "the usual recommendations apply. If at all possible, meet the parent dogs, see where they are housed, where the puppies will spend the first few weeks of their lives. This will help you know what to expect, because the personality/temperament/health/size of the parents will be the best information you have for making predictions about the puppy—especially in the absence of an established purebred expectation."
Unscrupulous breeders are quick to take advantage of increasing popularity of different breeds, including crossbreeds, and then go on to breed dogs in inhumane conditions where they don't pay the attention to their health and well-being that responsible breeders provide.
Keep an eye out for these red flags to ensure you don't fall for a puppy mill scheme:
- There are multiple mixed breeds for sale from the same breeder.
- The website offers wait times for puppies.
- The breeder offers to ship puppies.
- It's difficult to identify breeder contact information (no phone number, contact email, etc.).
- Bordoodles can inherit heterochromia, where one eye is blue and the other is brown, from their border collie parent. This has absolutely no bearing on her eye health, although it sure makes her look cool.
- It's easy to mistake a bordoodle for an Aussiedoodle, which is a poodle mixed with an Australian shepherd. And that's understandable, as border collies and Australian shepherds look a great deal alike!
- Bordoodles are also sometimes called borderdoodles, borpoos, or borderpoos. It's up to you whether you prefer the doodle or the poo suffix.
- Add a little more cuteness to your timeline by following bordoodles including Rosie, Molly and Dougal, and Griffey on Instagram.