Pippa Elliott
Dr Pippa Elliott (BVMS MRCVS, University of Glasgow)
Photo of adult Bordoodle
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The Bordoodle is a hybrid dog, which is the result of mating a purebred Border Collie with a Poodle. In terms of both character and appearance, the Bordoodle is a pleasing blend of both parents. They have a solid reputation for being friendly and unlikely to be aggressive. They are also intelligent and look to their owner for guidance rather than being independent spirted like some terrier blends.

The Bordoodle makes an ideal canine companion for people of all ages that are moderately active. If a Bordoodle could put out an advertisement out for their idea pet parent, it would be to seek someone patient and loving who uses reward based training methods, and will give their pet plenty of attention. They would also need to spend a modicum of time taking care of those long silky curls, teeth and claws.

About & History

The history of the Bordoodle is a relatively short one, a reflection of the rise in popularity of hybrids that has occurred in the past couple of decades. Both parent breeds, however, have long and venerable histories.

The Border Collie

The Border Collie is the grand master of herding dogs. Developed to herd sheep in the rough terrain on the Scotland-England borders, they are strong, quick, hardy, and also eager to please. Their gentle nature meant they never threatened the sheep, but instead used herding skills to round the flock up.

The Poodle

We tend to associate the Poodle as originating from France, but in fact their history is more complex than this. It’s likely they were first bred in Germany, as a mix of various European water dogs and Asian herding dogs. Originally, they were hunting dogs with their woolly coat providing protection against thorns and briars. Their intelligence and affectionate nature eventually found them occupying a place by the hearth, as companion dogs.


Bordoodle Large Photo
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Imagine a Border Collie wearing an astrakhan coat, and you have an image approaching the Bordoodle’s appearance. They have a long, soft, wavy coat; a tactile blend of the Border Collie's silkiness and the Poodle's extravagant curls.

The Bordoodle comes in a variety of coat colours, as reflecting the Poodle part of their heritage. The most common colourations include black and white, blue or grey, tricolour, red and white, or tricolour merle.

Since both parents have a good length snout, these are dogs with a long nose and well-proportioned skull. They have appealing drop ears and a long, waggy tail. Their body is well-proportioned as befitting their parents’ heritage as working dogs.

Character & Temperament

The Bordoodle is a veritable paragon of a dog, with a reputation for being even-tempered, friendly, and sociable. They are equally gentle with children as with older people, and generally distinguish themselves by their good manners.

However, it is important (as with any dog) that they are socialised well as a puppy. This lays a sound foundation for them in adult life, as well-adjusted, not-easily-spooked dogs.


Photo of Bordoodle puppy
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You have only to consider the attributes of the parent breeds to realise the Bordoodle has the potential to excel at obedience training. Of course the Border Collie is renowned for their herding ability where they listen to the handler’s instruction and respond accordingly. Then consider the Poodle, with their high intelligence level and willingness to learn tricks.

When handled empathetically, using reward-based training methods, the Bordoodle is a doggy delight. Their eagerness to please and keenness to learn makes them ideal candidate to take obedience training to competition level or to enjoy agility activities.


As a hybrid dog there are no statistics on the health conditions the Bordoodle is prone to. However, there is some overlap within the parent breeds, as to the health conditions they are prone to. Therefore it is reasonable to assume that their offspring carries a slightly increased risk of developing these conditions.

Hip Dysplasia

Sadly, hip dysplasia is all too common in the Border Collie and can also affect Poodles. This condition results from poorly shaped hips. This means instead of the hip moving in a frictionless manner, it clunks and grates with each step. This poor fit results in joint inflammation, leading to pain.

Over time, long term inflammation causes remodelling of the hip joint, but not for the best. Some bone is eroded away, whilst new bone is laid down in the wrong places. This vicious circle can cause severe discomfort, which can become disabling.

In the early stages or in mild cases, pain relieving medications may be sufficient to keep the dog active and on their paws. But over time or in the more serious cases, the only way to achieve a pain-free life is to undergo at total hip replacement procedure.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

PRA affects the light sensitive layer – the retina – at the back of the eye. This inherited condition causes thinning of the retina, leading to gradual onset blindness. The great sadness is that this can occur is young dogs, sometimes at just one year of age.

Whilst dogs do adjust well to loss of vision (their other senses compensate), it is nevertheless sad to think of a young animal going blind with so many balls still to chase in their life. There is no treatment for PRA.


The doggy equivalent of hay fever manifests not with a runny nose and eyes, but with itchy skin. These allergies can be intensely irritating to the dog, so much that they damage their own skin by licking or chewing.

It is not possible to ‘cure’ an allergy, only to control the symptoms. Happily, there are several modern drugs that are extremely efficient at controlling the itch whilst being largely side effect free. The downside to their use is the price tag, as these medications are costly.

Exercise and Activity Levels

The Bordoodle thrives on a moderate amount of exercise. They do need to get out and about, at least twice a day, but don’t have to be run to the point of exhaustion. Indeed, part of their need for a walk is to provide valuable mental stimulation.

With the Bordoodle parents both being clever canines, the Bordoodle requires plenty of puzzles to solve and activities to occupy their mind. Not to do so risks the dog developing bad habits, which can include barking, digging or destructiveness.

Certain activities, such as agility, are ideal because they provide both physical and mental exercise. They love dashing over the hurdles and through tunnels, but equally value the achievement of working as a team with their handler.


The Poodle coat is famous for being low shed, and this trait is passed onto the Bordoodle. Considered a low shedding breed, their coat is a true hybrid between the ever-growing curly hair of the Poodle, and the long, soft coat of the Border Collie.

Regular grooming is important, such as a good brush and comb through at least three times a week. However, as an active dog, they should be checked for ticks and sticks stuck in the fur, at the end of each day.

Also, Poodles have a tendency to develop plaque and tartar on their teeth, which can lead to premature dental disease. To avoid this, there is no substitute for daily tooth brushing as part of their routine.

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