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Border Collie Pitbull Mix: 6 Keys to Keeping an Active Dog Happy

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Elaine Navajo

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Border Collie Pitbull Mix

Have you ever wondered what having a Border Collie Pitbull mix as a pet is like? It is never boring! This highly energetic dog craves fun and challenging activities. Built strong like the Pitbull, and agile like the Border Collie, there is no limit to what this mixed-breed dog can do.

What Is a Border Collie Pitbull Mix?

A Border Collie Pitbull mix is a hybrid dog that is created when an American Pit Bull Terrier is crossed with a Border Collie. It is a medium-sized dog that is intelligent and full of energy.

Just like any mixed breed pup, Border Collie Pitbull mixes can be full of surprises, from their physical appearance down to their personalities, these dogs can inherit either of their parent dogs’ traits or a combination of both.

To give us an idea of what to expect in a Border Collie Pit mix, let’s take a closer look at its parent breeds’ appearance, personality, history, and many more.

Other Names for the Border Collie Pitbull Mix

  • Pit Bull Border Collie
  • Border Pit
  • Pit Collie
  • Border Collie Pit
  • Pitbull Collie mix
  • Borderbull

Border Collie Pitbull Mix Breed Overview

  • Pedigree: Mixed breed
  • Parent breeds: Border Collie; American Pit Bull Terrier
  • Breed group: Herding/ Terrier group
  • Breed size: Medium
  • Height: 18 to 22 inches (male) ; 17 to 21 inches (female)
  • Weight: 30 to 60 lbs
  • Energy level: High
  • Lifespan: 12 to 15 years
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The Border Collie Pitbulls’ Appearance


Both the Border Collie and the American Pitbull are medium-sized dogs. The Border Pit is likely to be around the same height when fully grown. Male Border Collies stand between 19 to 22 inches tall, while their female counterparts average between 18 to 21 inches. 

Male American Pit Bull Terriers are about 18 to 21 inches tall on average. Female Pit Bulls stand around 17 to 20 inches tall. 

Both muscular and athletic breeds, the Border Collie and Pitbull are built to work with livestock and cattle. The Border Collie has a slightly longer body than it is tall. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC) official breed standard for the Border Collie, the length-to-height ratio is

approximately 10:9. The average weight is between 30 to 55 lbs.

While the American Pit Bull Terrier is not recognized as a breed by the AKC, it is recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC). The UKC describes the Pitbull’s body as having a deep, broad chest that has ample room for the heart and lungs. 

According to the breed standard, “the topline inclines very slightly downward from the withers to a broad, muscular, level back. The loin is short, muscular, and slightly arched to the top of the croup, but narrower than the rib cage and with a moderate tuck-up.” 

The average weight for a male Pitbull is around 35 to 60 lbs. Healthy females should weigh between 30 to 50 lbs.


The Border Collie has a flat skull with a moderate width, with the sides of the head tapering smoothly into the muzzle. Their muzzles are around the same length as the skull.

The PItbull has a large, broad head that is shaped like a blunt wedge. Their skulls have a deep furrow in the middle that diminishes in depth from the stop to the occiput. The muzzle is broad and short. It is shorter than the length of the skull.

Border Collie Pitbull Mix: 6 Keys to Keeping an Active Dog Happy 1


The Border Collie and the Pitbull both have moderately long tails. The Border Collie’s tail is carried low especially when laser-focused on a job at hand. When excited, they raise their tails higher. 

Pitbulls have a tail that extends down to their hocks. It is carried low but raised upright whenever the dog is excited. It is never curled over the back.


Border Collies have oval-shaped eyes that come in many colors. The color can be brown, dark brown, light brown, amber/ yellow, light green, or blue eyes. Blue eyes are only commonly seen in merle Border Collies.

Heterochromia or different-colored eyes are also common among Border Collies. This condition does not affect their eyesight or overall health.

Pitbulls have round, medium-sized eyes that are set well apart on the skull. All eye colors are accepted by the UKC except for blue. Heterochromia is considered a fault in competition. 


The Border Collie’s ears are medium-sized and stand erect or semi-erect on its head. Semi-erect ears are described as “varying from one-quarter to three-quarters of the ear”. The tips of a Border Collie’s ears may fall forward or outward to the side when semi-erect.

The Pitbull has ears that are set high on their heads. These dogs are born with floppy ears. As they grow older, the pinna of their ears starts to become more rigid. This results in natural ears that stand either full-prick or half-prick. 

Ear-cropping was the norm for this breed, especially during their fighting days. Cropping is done by the vet surgically. It gives the dog ears that stand erect and pointy, but are much smaller than naturally full-pricked ears.


The coat of your Border Collie Pit mix will depend on the type of coat that his or her Border Collie parent has. If the puppy takes after its Pit Bull parent, it could have a smooth and short coat.

Border Collies come in two types of coats: smooth and rough coat varieties. The smooth Border Collie has slightly feathered legs, haunches, chest, and neck. The rough coat variety has feathered legs, haunches, chest, and underside. 

Both types have weather-resistant double coats. They have a soft undercoat that keeps them insulated. The outer coat can be either straight or wavy. It is longer than their thick undercoat.

Unlike the Border Collie, the Pitbull has a single layer of coat. The hairs are short, smooth, glossy, and feel moderately stiff to the touch.

Border Collie Pitbull Mix: 6 Keys to Keeping an Active Dog Happy 2

Coat Color

The American Pit Bull Terrier comes in any coat color combination and markings, except for merle. 

The Border Collie comes in a wide variety of coat colors and patterns. Below are the coat color and markings accepted by the American Kennel Club for the Border Collie:

Coat Color
  • Black
  • Blue
  • Blue Merle
  • Brindle
  • Gold
  • Red
  • Sable
  • Sable Merle
  • White & Black
  • White & Gold
  • White & Red
  • Seal
  • Red Merle
  • Slate
  • White & Blue
  • White & Seal
  • White & Blue Merle
  • Lilac
  • Saddleback Sable
  • White & Red Merle
  • White Ticked
  • White Markings
  • Merle Markings
  • Tan Points
  • White Markings, Tan Points
  • White Markings, Ticked
  • White Mkngs, Tan Pts, Ticked
  • White Markings, Brindle Points
  • White Mkng, Brindle Pt, Ticked

History of the Border Collie Pitbull Mix

Mixed breeds such as the Border Collie Pit mix often have histories that are not well documented and unclear. No one knows for sure when the two parent breeds have been crossed to create this very smart and energetic Border Pit. 

That said, taking a look at the parent breeds’ respective histories can help owners set their expectations on the dog’s possible temperament, personality, physical qualities, and what they need to be the best dog they can be.

History of the American Pit Bull Terrier

The American Pitbull Terrier is often compared to or confused with the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier. These breeds all share a history of being used in bloodsport. 

The Pitbull’s lineage can be traced back to the now-extinct Old English Terrier and Old English Bulldog. The two breeds were crossed to produce a dog that was called a “bull and terrier”. 

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Used in the British Isles for bloodsport, the bull and terrier dog is athletic, agile, and has the tenacity to keep fighting despite the threat of injury. As such, they were often used for bull baiting and bear baiting.

When bull baiting and bear baiting were banned in Britain in 1835, bloodsport enthusiasts turned to a cheaper, easier-to-operate sport that could be organized in a discreet, law-evading manner: dog fighting. 

After about ten years, the new breed of fighting dogs which included the Staffordshire Bull Terrier landed in the United States and soon became the breed of choice for dog fighting. From these dogs, the American Staffordshire Terrier and the American Pit Bull Terrier emerged.

By the 20th century, some Pitbulls found work in the US as catch dogs for semi-wild cattle and hogs. Some were used to hunt hogs, drive livestock, and be family companions.

In February 1898, the American Pit Bull Terrier was officially recognized by the UKC. Despite efforts to shed the breed’s pit-fighting reputation, ownership and breeding of Pitbulls are still restricted or banned in certain states and countries.

Today, the sweet and affectionate Pitbull has proven that despite appearances, it can be a great family pet. They have also demonstrated great athleticism and trainability in competition events such as obedience, rally obedience, tracking, agility, lure coursing, dock jumping and weight pulls, as well as conformation.

Border Collie Pitbull Mix: 6 Keys to Keeping an Active Dog Happy 3
Image from Pet Finder

History of the Border Collie

Arguably the greatest herding dog in the world, the Border Collie is extremely intelligent. It is believed that the breed’s ancestors are the herding dogs of the Roman Empire and the Vikings themselves.

When the Romans set out to conquer Britain, they brought with them herds of livestock that would serve as a food source for their armies. Along with the herd came dogs that were much larger and taller than the Border Collie. These big dogs herded the livestock and guarded them against predators at the same time.

When the Vikings reached the British Isles, they brought with them spitz-type herding dogs that were lighter, quicker, and much more agile than the massive Roman herding dogs. According to the AKC, the Viking herding dogs were the progenitors of some modern breeds such as the Icelandic Sheepdog.

The Romans had been breeding dogs for generations, and the same practice was adopted by the British. To produce the perfect herding dog that is capable of efficiently herding and protecting flocks, they bred the large Roman dogs with the spitz-type dogs of the Vikings. 

From that foundation stock, the dog breeders in the border counties of England and Scotland were eventually able to produce the Border Collie breed.

Often at the top of the most intelligent dog breed rankings, the modern Border Collie has proven its skills in various industries outside of herding. The highly trainable and hard-working dogs have been successful as service dogs, guide dogs, narcotics, bomb detection dogs, and family pets among others.

The Personality of the Border Collie Pitbull Mix

The Pitbull Border Collie mix is smart, playful, affectionate, and loves fun activities. That much we can say with almost certainty. Every other aspect of the breed’s temperament and personality can be much harder to predict.

The Border Collie is a breed that craves purpose. The smartest dog breed in the world, these pups thrive when given a job and are always laser-focused on the task at hand. They are famous for their “herding eye” or “the eye”: an intense gaze that they give to sheep to intimidate them during herding. 

If your Border Collie Pit inherits the drive of its Border Collie parent to have a purpose that is beyond that of an average house pet, you may find yourself faced with the task of providing enrichment that is challenging enough to satisfy your pup’s mental stimulation needs. Either that, or you’ll have a very bored, possibly destructive dog.

The Pitbull is a sweet and loving breed that is also highly athletic. Because of these qualities, they make great family dogs. They are great with children as well, especially when properly socialized.

Pitbulls are up for anything. Be it outdoor sports, walkies, or just being couch potatoes, a Pitbull will have a great time as long as it is with its owner or family members.

Obedience training and early socialization are highly recommended for any dog breed. If not properly socialized, a Border Collie may try to herd children or other dogs or pets. As such, Border Collies are often recommended for families with older, well-behaved children.

Training your Pitbull Border Collie mix is also a great way to give them much-needed mental stimulation. It is also an opportunity to bond with your Pitbull Border Collies. Training helps dogs overcome separation anxiety and prevent unnecessary stress. 

Early socialization is very important for Pitbull Border Collie mixes. A dog that looks like a Pitbull mix who tries to herd other dogs in the park can spell trouble for any owner. Getting your Pitbull Border Collie mix used to playing with other dogs can help prevent such issues. 

Border Collie Pitbull Mix: 6 Keys to Keeping an Active Dog Happy 4
Image from Bubbly Pet

The Exercise Requirements of a Border Collie Pitbull Mix

The Border Collie Pit has high energy levels and requires daily exercise that involves more than walking around the block. Because Border Collies love to work, a Border Collie mix that does not have a job will need vigorous daily exercise to keep them out of trouble.

Border Collie pits may not be the best pet option for less experienced dog owners or those who have very busy lives.

Pitbulls are muscular, athletic dogs that greatly enjoy playtime. Outdoor exercise will help keep their muscles toned and strong. Getting your Border Pit mixes to use much of their energy during playtime and activities not only keeps them healthy and happy but also keeps them from developing destructive behaviors such as chewing furniture, excessive barking, etc.

Interactive toys and food puzzles are also recommended for smart pups like the Border Collie Pit. You can get food puzzles in various types and difficulty levels. Simply load them up with your Border Pits’ favorite treats and watch them unlock their brain power to get to the treats.

Incorporating toys into a Border Collie Pit mix’s daily exercise adds variety and fun to the routine. You can play fetch with a frisbee or a ball launcher, tug of war with a rope or rubber tug toy, or even go swimming with some floating toys.

Here is a list of activities that are recommended for the Border Collie Pit mixes.

10 Best Activities for Border Collie Pitbull Mixes

  1. Agility courses
  2. Herding trials
  3. Walking and running
  4. Hiking
  5. Fetch/ frisbee
  6. Flyball
  7. Swimming
  8. Tug of war
  9. Spring Pole
  10. Interactive toys/ food puzzles

The Border Collie Pitbull Mix’s Health

Both the Border Collie and American Pit Bull Terrier parent breeds are generally healthy dog breeds. Mixed breed dogs such as the Pitbull Border Collie mix are considered by many to have a lower chance of developing genetic conditions compared to purebred dogs. However, both breeds are prone to hip dysplasia just like many other dog breeds.

Border Collies have a higher risk of developing eye-related diseases compared to some breeds. Because Pitbulls have very short coats, they can be prone to skin problems like allergies and mange. 

Learning more about health issues that our dogs may be predisposed to have can help us prevent such problems and keep our dogs at their healthiest. Knowing their background, parent breeds, and history helps pet parents provide better care for their dogs.

Taking your Border Collie Pit to the vet for regular checkups is the best way to stay on top of our dogs’ health. Vets can guide dog owners on the best nutrition, grooming, and medical needs of their specific dogs. 

Border Collie Pitbull Mix: 6 Keys to Keeping an Active Dog Happy 5
Image from Petibble

Common Border Collie Health Issues

Common American Pit Bull Terrier Health Issues

  • Hip dysplasia 
  • Degenerative myelopathy
  • Kneecap dislocation
  • Mange
  • Skin allergies
  • Thyroid and congenital heart defects

6 Keys to a Healthy & Happy Border Collie Pitbull Mix


High-quality dog food that is nutritionally complete and balanced for your Border Pit mix’s age and activity levels can go a long way in keeping pets healthy for many, many years. You can really see the difference that good nutrition makes especially when they have reached their senior years.

Dogs that are fed lower-quality dog food that is full of cheap fillers tend to be slower and less active than dogs that have been given nutrient-dense food for years. 

A healthy mix of good-quality, life-stage appropriate dry and wet food in their diets can prevent many diseases and save your wallet from expensive vet bills.

Early Socialization

Early socialization helps prevent behavioral issues in dogs. It is one of the best ways to help a young Border Pit puppy grow up to be a friendly dog. It also prevents them from getting stressed when unfamiliar people or other dogs are around. 

Pit Bulls have a high prey drive. Unsocialized Border Collie Pits can become aggressive dogs towards strangers or other pets. 

Obedience Training

Canine education can be really handy when you own a physically strong dog that may or may not have herding instincts like a Pitbull Border Collie mix. This will teach them not to be territorial and keep the strong herding instinct in check, especially when around small children or other animals.

Border Collie mixes are incredibly smart. Training is a great way to keep them mentally stimulated. Early leash training will help your Border Pit get used to being on a leash, which will help keep them safe and secure when outdoors or in public places. 

The combination of training and socialization can make the difference between stubborn dogs and great family pets.

Positive Reinforcement

Make training a fun and positive experience for your Border Pit by using positive reinforcement. It keeps them motivated as they get to enjoy treats or extra bonding time with their owners while learning.


Strong, athletic, and naturally agile, the Border Collie Pit or Pitbull Collie mix needs a lot of daily exercise due to its high energy levels. It keeps them fit, mentally stimulated, and just happy, content dogs overall. They are not suitable for households that live a more sedentary lifestyle.


Before getting a pet, look for a vet that is the closest, most accessible from your home. Take your puppy for a regular checkup to make sure that vaccinations are updated, and that your pup is given a clean bill of health. 

Having a reliable vet that you can easily go to in case of an emergency can not only save your pet but also give you peace of mind.

As vet visits can be costly, consider getting pet insurance. There are lots of pet insurance companies that offer a variety of plans that you can choose from.

Border Collie Pitbull Mix: 6 Keys to Keeping an Active Dog Happy 6

The Border Collie Pitbull Mix’s Grooming Requirements

The grooming needs of your Border Collie Pit will largely depend on the dog’s coat type. Because the parents’ coats are very different from each other’s, it can be hard to predict the type of coat your dog will have.

 While Border Pits are high-maintenance dogs in the exercise department, they are fairly low-maintenance when it comes to grooming.

Border Collies need to be brushed with a pin brush once or twice a week. During shedding season, they will need more frequent brushing. A bath once every two months should be enough for them. Bathing can also help loosen pet hair that has been shed. Spot cleaning can be done in between baths.

The Pitbull’s very short coat that lies tight against the body is quite easy to maintain. If your Border Pit’s coat resembles the coat of its Pitbull parent, it will still need at least a weekly brushing to help distribute the natural oils in the skin and get rid of dead skin. A curry brush is great for this purpose. 

Like the Border Collie, Pit Bulls don’t need frequent bathing. Baths can be done when they start to have a “doggy smell”. A mild conditioner for dogs should be used to keep their skin healthy and moisturized. Dry skin can make it easy for irritants to get into the skin and cause allergic reactions like itchy rashes.

Any dog’s teeth should be brushed regularly. Ideally, twice a day or at the very least, 3 times a week. The nails of your Border Collie Pit should also be clipped regularly. Less active dogs like senior pups will need more frequent nail clipping.

Grooming Tools for the Border Collie Pitbull Mix

  • Curry brush
  • Pin brush
  • Deshedding tool
  • Gentle dog shampoo and conditioner
  • Nail clippers
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste for dogs


A Border Collie Pit is truly a delight to have. Incredibly smart and eager to please, these energetic dogs will be the happiest living with active owners who love going on hikes, adventures, and sports. 

Dog owners who love training their pets to do challenging tasks will have a great time with this eager-to-learn, highly intelligent dog.

It is important to learn about the history and genetic background of your canine companion to better provide them with what they need. Because Border Collie Pit mixes have a lot of energy and love to work, they may not make the best pets for people who are busy and are not at home for most of the day.

Border Collie Pit mixes need vigorous daily exercise to keep them fit and to prevent destructive behaviors that are almost always caused by boredom. 

While they may have high exercise requirements, Border Pit mixes are healthy dogs that have a lot of love to give. They are very affectionate and love to spend time with their owners. 

Sadly, many dogs are abandoned by owners all the time because of various reasons, from medical or behavioral issues to personal circumstances. We encourage those who wish to add a pet to their families to check out shelters as they are often full of dogs who want nothing more than to find a forever home.

If you are unable to find a good fit for your family at the shelter, going to a reputable breeder would be the next best thing. A good breeder has their breeding stock tested for genetic diseases. This ensures that genetic ailments are not passed down to the Border Collie Pitbull puppies.

Avoid backyard breeders that use unethical breeding practices. Puppies that come from such breeders are often unhealthy as their parents are likely sick, overbred, or even abused. Buying from them is supporting their business of exploiting animals purely for profit.

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