The Miniature Border Collie: A Small But Fascinating Dog

Border Collies are known as one of the best herding dogs in the world. Many people around the world own these dogs, but not many know about their miniature version.

The Miniature Border Collie is a miniature variation of the Border Collie breed. It is as energetic, playful, and intelligent as its larger counterpart. It is a great pet for people that prefer smaller dogs. But there are a few things to know about this dog before getting one for yourself.

What Is A Miniature Border Collie?

The Mini Collie is a smaller variation of the standard Border Collie dog. Many people prefer having a smaller dog at home, so this is a great option to have.

Where Does It Come From?

Border Collies originate from the border region between England and Scotland, hence getting the name “Border”. These dogs have a long history of being used as herding dogs. In fact, they are considered one of the best herding dogs in the world.

Their origins date back as far as the 1700s. They were officially accepted by the AKC in 1995. These days, a lot of Border Collies are still used to herd sheep, but there are a lot of them kept as pets.

How Is This Dog Created?

There has been a rise in interest for any popular dog breeds in a smaller, more compact version. And small dog breeds have been popular even in the middle ages.

Many years ago, miniature dogs were referred to as “sleeve dogs”. This is because they were carried in the big puffy sleeves of the big dresses that ladies wore. Besides that, small dogs were perfect for hunting vermin and pests out of the house. 

Border Collies are amazing dogs, hence why there are ways to develop a smaller Border Collie than the one we know.

Dwarfism Gene

Dwarfism is a condition where the dog does not grow as big as the standard version. It is developed with the help of a dwarfism gene.

This can occur as a condition called osteochondrodysplasia where the bone and the cartilage develop improperly. It can also occur as achondroplasia, the condition because of which Corgis have short legs.

Either way, breeders pick out the Border Collies that carry this gene and let them breed with each other. That results in more small Border Collies that a lot of people prefer.

Breeding Runts

Runts are dogs that didn’t get enough nutrients in utero, or developed some kind of a genetic condition that made them the smallest puppy in the litter. These dogs are small and underdeveloped and are at risk of becoming very sick.

That said, some breeders take the runts that survive and let them breed resulting in really small dogs. The problem with these small dogs is that they will be exposed to a lot of health problems in their life.

Doing such things for profit is unethical and we recommend avoiding these kinds of breeders.

Mixing With Smaller Breeds

A more humane way to get a mini Border Collie puppy is to mix a standard Border Collie with a smaller dog breed. This will result in a much healthier pup due to hybrid vigor. That means that the first generation of the mixed breed will have a much smaller chance to inherit any genetic defects from its parents.

One drawback of getting a mixed dog breed is the unpredictability of the situation. The mixed puppy might lose a lot of the desired traits of the Border Collie. It might also not be as small as the owner might want.

How Big Are Miniature Border Collies?

Depending on how it was bred, the full size of this pup can vary. They can have a height ranging from 12-16 inches, and a weight of around 15-35 pounds. For reference, a standard Border Collie is around 18-22 inches tall, and 30-55 pounds heavy.

Even the smallest Border Collie will share the same appearance traits as its larger counterparts. Although it will be little, its body will be robust and sturdy. It has a square-shaped head with upright-pointing fox-like ears, and a long, slender tail.

Coat And Colors

A double, medium-length, wavy coat is characteristic of Border Collies. This coat is big enough to retain warmth and is also water-resistant.

The color of the coat can vary with black and white being the most common. Other possible colors include blue, brindle, gold, red, sable, seal, slate, lilac, and merle. These can be combined with white, merle, or tan markings.

Are Miniature Border Collies Smart?

Miniature Border Collies are known for their high intelligence and workaholic attitude. In fact, they are considered to be the most intelligent dogs in the world, according to “The Intelligence of Dogs”. But they also have other quality traits.

Even if you have a Teacup Miniature Collie, it will be filled with energy and love to play. These dogs were bred for herding, so they developed high energy levels, but also a very bossy attitude. They have a knack for herding people and might start nipping at your feet in order to herd you.

These dogs are affectionate with their family and need to have someone around to play with. They shouldn’t be left alone for too long as they might become destructive.

Taking Care Of A Mini Border Collie

Even if it’s a smaller version of the Border Collie, this puppy will still need to be taken care of properly.

Lifespan And Health Issues

The standard Border Collie has a life expectancy of 12-15 years. Usually, smaller dogs live more than larger ones, so the miniature version should live for longer. That said, if the dog was bred inhumanely, there may be some health defects that will result from poor breeding practices.

All that said, there are a few health diseases specific to Border Collies that you should test for early on.

  • Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis – This is a genetic disease caused by a mutation in the CLN5 gene. It results in an accumulation of metabolic waste in the cells, most notably the nerve cells, thus causing them harm. Some symptoms include lethargy, ataxia, convulsions, blindness, and behavioral changes.
  • Trapped Neutrophil Syndrome – Another genetic disease caused by a mutation in the VPS13B gene. It causes a decrease in the white blood cells, thus making the dog exposed to infections. Toy Border Collies affected will suffer from chronic infections, and some may have narrow elongated skulls and slender extremities.
  • Osteochondritis Desicans – This disease causes inflammation in the cartilage separating it from the underlying bone. It can affect the shoulder, knee, elbow, and hip joints. Dogs with this disease can be seen limping and having lameness in the affected legs. Their joints will also be painful to the touch.
  • Collie Eye Anomaly – An inherited developmental disease that affects the eyes of Border Collies. Usually, it is characterized by blindness with a varying degree of severity. Other eye abnormalities associated with this disease include microphthalmia and anophthalmia. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is another common eye disease in these dogs.


Because it is smaller than the standard Border Collie, this dog should also get less food than its larger counterpart. The amount of food you give depends on the age, size, and physical activity of the pup. On average, these Collies need around 1.5 cups of dog food daily. This can be split into two meals, one in the morning, and one in the evening.

Make sure you only feed it high-quality food from trusted brands like Pedigree or Purina. The food should have a lot of protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fatty acids. It should also be low in carbs and artificial ingredients.

Exercise And Training

Even if it is a small Border Collie breed, this dog will need the same amount of exercise as its larger counterpart. Because they were bred as herding dogs, these dogs need at least 2 hours of exercise every day. This can be split into morning and evening sessions and include walking, running, hiking, or playing games. These dogs also need mental stimulation due to their high intelligence.

Because they are so intelligent, giving this dog training will be easier. They are eager to please dogs but can sometimes become stubborn and require some persistence. Make sure you start obedience training and positive reinforcement from an early age. 


Because Border Collies have a fluffy coat, they need to be brushed at least 2-3 times a week. This helps prevent knots and mats from forming while maintaining the beautiful look of their coat. These dogs shouldn’t be bathed too often. Once every two months should be enough to keep their coat clean. Bathing too often and using bad shampoos might damage their skin and coat.

Border Collies will also need their ears checked and cleaned regularly to prevent infections. Then they will also need their teeth brushed and their nails clipped to prevent any serious health issues.

Getting A Miniature Border Collie

Border Collies are amazing dogs and it’s no wonder people want to own one as a pet. Finding a miniature version might be a bit more complicated, but it is possible in two ways.

Buying From A Breeder

On average, the price for one of these miniature dogs will go from $600-$1200. This price will be higher for puppies whose parents have won awards at dog shows. Make sure you inform yourself about the way the dog was bred. There are many unethical ways to breed a dog like this, and breeders like that should always be avoided.

Research the breeder well and ask them to give you all the information on the dog. You can also request to visit the kennel and see its parents and siblings.

Border Collie breeders you can contact are the Holther Border Collies and Rising Star Border Collies.

Adopting From A Shelter

Another good way to get yourself a dog is by adopting one from a rescue shelter. The dogs from the rescue shelters may not be the ones you want, but they do need a good home. You will come across older dogs, or mixed breeds that were left unwanted by breeders. Adopting one for yourself will be very humane and will leave you with a lifelong friend. It is also a much cheaper option than buying from a breeder.

Some Border Collie rescues you can check out are the Arizona Border Collie Rescue and the Border Collies In Need

A Miniature border collie in the park

What Did You Learn About The Miniature Border Collie?

Border Collies are amazing dogs known for their herding capabilities and high intelligence. It is no wonder that people want to have one at home, but many also want to get a miniature version of this beautiful dog.

Creating this miniature breed works by breeding dogs with dwarfism genes, or mixing them with other smaller breeds. What you get are smaller dogs than the standard Miniature Collies but as athletic and playful as their larger counterparts.

These dogs are relatively healthy but should have regular vet checkups and screens to prevent any genetic diseases. Otherwise, proper nutrition, grooming, exercise, and training are needed to keep the dog healthy and happy.


Can Mini Border Collies Be Left Alone?

Border Collies are social dogs and want to have company around. A full grown Miniature Border Collie should not be left alone for more than 8 hours, otherwise, you risk it becoming destructive and anxious.

Do Mini Border Collies Shed a Lot?

Because they have their fluffy double coats, Miniature Border Collies will shed moderately throughout the whole year. This increases during spring and fall, also known as the “coat blowing” seasons.

Do Mini Border Collies Bark a Lot?

Due to being a herding dog, the Miniature Border Collie tends to bark a lot. The reasons for this can vary from pure boredom to alerting to danger. Some health problems can also cause excessive barking in dogs.

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