Siberian Husky VS Border Collie: Complete Breed Comparison

In this guide, we’ll break down the Siberian husky vs border collie, including the main differences and similarities to help you choose between the two.

Siberian huskies and border collies are quite evenly matched in terms of size, but the main differences come from appearance and trainability. Border collies are much easier to train, whereas huskies can be more stubborn and independent.

Both make great family dogs, but huskies are generally more suited for this role as they get along better with children.

Here’s a quick rundown of the comparisons between these two popular dog breeds, before we get into an overview of each one and the similarities and differences between them.

An infographic summarising the husky vs border collie and all the differences

Border Collie Quick Overview

Border collies are incredibly intelligent and are a working breed that are used to herd sheep.

Border collies have almost unlimited energy and can be very difficult to own if you aren’t prepared.

If you give them enough exercise and mental stimulation they make amazing family dogs as they are always eager to please and fulfil their role.

Siberian Husky Quick Overview

Huskies were bred by the Chukchi people of Siberia to assist with pulling sleds over long distances.

Huskies have a pack mentality and were not used for guarding or hunting, but rather as a functional part of a pack to work.

Huskies retain a large capacity for exercise due to this and like to be around other dogs due to their pack mentality.

They are very intelligent but difficult to train as they can be stubborn and independent.

They have a thick double coat that requires regular grooming and are not suited for being left alone as they will get bored easily and can develop destructive behaviors.

Husky Vs Border Collie Appearance

Let’s get the most obvious one out of the way first.

Huskies and border collies look very different. Huskies are known for their wolf-like appearance, which is found amongst many artic breeds like the Alaskan malamute for example.

Border collies have a distinctive ‘collie look’ and are less intimidating to those unfamiliar with the breed.

Border collie vs husky comparison image

This is by far the most obvious difference between these two, so let’s take a look at some others that are less noticeable.

Differences Between Husky Vs Border Collie

Let’s first take a look at the key differences between border collies and huskies.


Huskies are notoriously hard to train as they can be stubborn and have little willingness to please.

Border collies, on the other hand, are one of the most trainable dogs in the world and are frequently seen competing in obedience competitions around the globe.

This trainability comes from their intelligence and also a drive to please their owners, something that huskies definitely lack.

If you want to train your dog, border collies are definitely the better option.


Huskies are definitely no slouches when it comes to the intelligence department, but border collies are a cut above.

Dog experts far and wide agree that border collies are incredibly intelligent, and you’ll find a lot of people who put them as the number 1 dog in terms of intelligence.

Border collies will learn new tricks and commands very quickly and will pick up working duties like second nature.

It does require a confident trainer, and the correct use of positive reinforcement to get this right, however.

Huskies can still learn a lot of tricks and are a pretty smart breed, but they are not on the same level as the border collie and show less enthusiasm to learn.

Similarities Between Husky Vs Border Collie

You might be surprised to see just how many similarities there are between border collies and huskies…

Work Ethic & Exercise

Border collies and huskies are both working breeds that require a lot of exercise and mental stimulation.

Each breed needs at least 2 hours of exercise each day alongside other mental stimulation to keep them happy.

Life Expectancy & Overall Health

Huskies and border collies have great overall health and life expectancies.

Huskies live 12 to 15 years on average, and border collies have exactly the same expectancy.

For a medium-sized dog, this is quite a respectable life expectancy. In terms of health issues, there are a few common problems that can affect both breeds:

  • Hip dysplasia – This is a condition that occurs during the growth stage and results in the loosening of the hip joint. This leads to arthritis, muscle atrophy and limited mobility. (via petMD).
  • Hypothyroidism – This is most commonly caused by an underactive thyroid gland that causes the metabolism to slow down. Symptoms include weight gain, lethargy and more (via VCA Hospitals).
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)- This is an inherited eye disease that leads to blindness. There is currently no available cure for PRA (via Cornell).

It’s worth noting that a lot of these issues are seen across many dog breeds, and huskies and border collies are still considered to be very healthy dog breeds.

Grooming Requirements

Both breeds have a double coat which requires regular grooming.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term, a double coat is simple where the coat is made up of two layers instead of one, hence the name.

A double coat has a short dense undercoat that has a woolly texture with a top coat made up of longer guard hairs.

In a practical sense, you should groom their coats daily and multiple times per day when they are blowing coat. Blowing coat is a term used to describe the process of a double-coated breed changing into its summer coat, or out of it.


Border collies stand anywhere from 18 to 22 inches tall and weigh around 30 to 55 pounds on average.

Huskies are very similar in size and grow to 20 to 23.5 inches with a weight between 35 and 60 pounds on average.

So, huskies might be slightly larger on average, but the difference is not very noticeable.

Prone To Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is a condition where a dog becomes restless and anxious when left alone.

It’s usually caused by past trauma, and breeds like the husky or borer collie are prone to it. It is even worse in these types of breeds because they are so smart and require lots of mental stimulation so they can become bored easily when left alone.

It’s typically dealt with through positive reinforcement and taking small steps towards making your dog feel more comfortable when they are alone.

Strong Prey Drive

Border collies and huskies share a high prey drive by nature.

This means that they are prone to chasing small animals, and if they do so it can be very difficult to recall them.

They are not hunting breeds, so it’s very unlikely that they would harm the animal they are chasing, but they will chase without giving it a second thought.

This is why it’s often advised to keep these breeds on a leash.

Lack Of Aggression

Border collies and huskies are both not aggressive breeds by nature.

The downside of this is that neither are very good guard dogs, but that isn’t something that people associate with these types of breeds anyway.

In Summary

Border collies and huskies are a lot more similar than you would initially expect, especially given their appearances.

Both breeds are a lot of work, and it’s a real commitment to own either one of them.

If you’re considering getting either one of these dogs you need to do your homework to make sure you can provide the right environment and meet their needs, both physical and mental.

Want to see more husky breed comparisons? Check out some of our others here:

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About The Author

Caitlin is the owner and lead writer for The Malamute Mom. She has over 10 years of experience with Alaskan Malamutes and Huskies. She is currently working on getting her PhD in materials science but continues to write for The Malamute Mom in her spare time.

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