The Border Collie Husky Mix Breed Profile

So, you have been trolling the local animal shelter’s website and you have stumbled on a great looking dog with a big smile on his face. The description reads “Border Collie Siberian Husky mix” and you want to learn more about this particular crossbreed to make sure it is going to be right for you.

You have come to the right place! While a great option for some people, this lovable mix does have some significant needs in terms of training, exercise, and companionship. In the wrong home, this could be a disaster in the making.

This article will take a close look at this cross, including an in-depth look at each of the parent breeds. You will learn about their history, temperament, and care needs. Read on to see if you and this hybrid breed are going to be a good fit.


Border Collie Husky Mix | Meet This Unique Cross Breed

Temperament:

With two hard working and intelligent parents, the husky border collie mix has a lot of drive for fun, learning, and activity. Although the playful nature of the Husky often balances out some of the notoriously intense personality of the Border Collie, this is a hybrid dog that needs to stay active and engaged or it can become depressed, neurotic, and destructive.

This is a hybrid that is ready to go for any adventure you have in mind. Both parent breeds are adaptable and have a general disposition that tends to favor an open mind about new experiences, particularly if socialized well as puppies.

Suitable for active families, even those with smaller children, the border collie and husky mix can be a great family dog. However, don’t expect to leave this dog outside unless you have a very secure fence since these smart dogs are good at finding the weak point in any enclosure.

This crossbreed needs a good amount of attention. It is a poor choice for busy folks who expect a dog to be content alone during long working hours each day. However, for those that have lots of love to give, and enjoy staying active, this mix can make an excellent family pet.


Size:

Both of these breeds are similar in terms of size. You can expect your border collie husky mix puppy to grow to about 20-23” at the shoulders, and between 40-55 pounds. This is on the larger end of what most people think of as a medium sized dog. Just big enough to enjoy outdoor adventure, while being compact enough to travel well!


Coat & Appearance:

Dogs of this particular breed mix can run the gamut when it comes to looks since both breeds come in a wide variety of striking color patterns. It is not uncommon for the face mask and curled tail of the Husky to carry over – although this is not always the case.

In any event, the coat will be double, just like both parent breeds. Expect that you will need to do a heavy grooming to pull out the shedding undercoat each Spring. Other than that, a weekly brush outside will do the trick, although these dogs do shed. If you mind the occasional fur pile that collects under the furniture, this might not be the right breed for you.


Health & Life Expectancy:

Although both breeds are considered relatively hardy for pure bred dogs, they do share two common health concerns that you should be aware of since it is also common in their offspring.

The first is congenital eye disease, a potential health concern in any breed that carries the gene that causes different colored eyes (and both parents do). You should ask your vet to check early, and annually, to make sure your husky and border collie mix maintains healthy vision.

Hip dysplasia is also a problem for both breeds, although this is true for most dogs of medium and large build.

Otherwise, expect this breed to live somewhere in the average of 12-14 years, typical of dogs of this size.

To really understand if a Siberian husky border collie mix is the right choice for you, let’s take a closer look at each of the parent breeds. Be sure to read through to the end! At the end of this article we will provide you with a helpful guide to decide if this hybrid is the right choice for your lifestyle and family.


Border Collie | Parent Breed Profile

History

The history of the Border Collie (a.k.a. BC) has its roots in the working sheep herding dogs that were bred by shepherds in Scotland and Whales region dating back to the 17th century. These hardworking men relied on their tireless canine coworkers to keep sheep under control over the rugged and expansive mountain terrain.

The dogs needed to work in close cooperation with the commands of shepherds, as well as have a strong sense of their job without supervision in more isolated areas of the range. Hence, the shepherds selectively bred for a dog that is famously intelligent, considered by many experts to be the smartest dog breed in existence.

Unlike some herding dogs that nip at the heals or bark excessively to control livestock, BCs use their famous “crouch and stare stance” to intimidate sheep into submission.

In more modern times, the BC has been breed for both work and the show ring. Dogs bred for work tend to be selected based more on intelligence, working ability, and performance in field trials and on their success in doing the work they were bred to do hundreds of years ago.

On the other hand, the standards for showring BCs tend to be more focuses on appearance and structure. Although still quite smart, many of the BCs bred for the show ring tend to be a bit less intense and adaptable to family home life than their working counterparts.


Temperament:

With only a few exceptions, BCs tend to be very intense dogs. They can become hyperactive, neurotic, and destructive if they do not get enough mental stimulation in the form of training and a sense of purpose such as a job to do. In addition, they need quite a bit of daily physical activity which includes off leash running, playing, swimming and the like.

If their needs are met, Border Collies are extremely easy to train using positive reinforcement methods. Unlike many working dogs, BCs are generally affectionate and bond well with their people. If properly socialized when young, BCs usually get along well with other dogs, pets of all kinds, and children.


Size:

The AKC breed standard for Border Collies specifies a size between 19 to 22 inches (males) and 18 to 21 inches (females). It is a medium build dog that is surprisingly lightweight for its outward size, averaging just 30-55 pounds. This is because this breed has a build optimized for endurance and athleticism with a sinuous build rather than dense muscles.


Coat & Appearance:

BCs come in both long silky and rough (short and a bit wiry) coated varieties. Bred to thrive in the sometimes harsh outdoor conditions of the mountains, they have a double coat. If you live in a place where you get a cold winter, expect to have a major molt each spring as the undercoat releases.

Other than this seasonal shedding, a weekly brush outside and the occasional swim or bath will keep their coat in top condition.

Although the famous black and white coloration is by far the color most people think of when it comes to Border Collies, they also come in solid colors as well as tri-color and merle colorations. They can also have brown, blue, or mixed colored eyes.


Health & Life Expectancy:


Border Collies average a 12-15 year lifespan. It is considered a very hardy breed. Breeders routinely scan for hip dysplasia, eye, and ear abnormalities that are the more common problems seen in this breed.

Because they come in merle colorations, they carry genes for several congenital problems of the eye such as microphthalmia, a disease that causes small, misshapen eyes. Responsible breeders avoid breeding merle colored dogs together for this reason, but congenital problems can still occur.

PROS
  • Extremely intelligent and easy to train
  • Fantastic work ethic and sense of adventure
  • Affectionate and playful
  • Generally gets along with other pets and children
  • Adaptable to almost any environment that includes mental and physical stimulation
  • Low grooming needs
  • Not known to be a problem barker, unless allowed to be perpetually bored
CONS
  • Absolutely requires daily, vigorous, off leash play and exercise
  • Must be mentally challenged with games, dog sports, work, or structured play every day
  • Will become neurotic and destructive if needs are not met
  • Does not do well if left alone and bored most of the day

Siberian Husky | Parent Breed Profile

History:

The Husky is one of only two dog breeds (see also the Greenland Dog) which seems to share ancestry with the now extinct Taimyr wolf that once roamed the lands of Northern Asia. All other dog breeds have the Gray Wolf as their ancient ancestor.

Long before dog breeding clubs, the predecessors of the modern day Husky were bred by the native people of Siberia known as the Chukchi people. The dogs served as companions and helpers to these nomadic people who relied on hunting in extremely cold and inhospitable environments to survive.

Puppies of these early Huskies were raised near children, hence their playful and gentle nature with children was a central aspect of their personalities from the start.

The gold rush in Alaska during the early 1900’s brought many prospectors and adventurers to Alaska. By then the Inuit people native to the region had sled dogs that were likely descended from the Chukchi canines were found throughout the region, where they soon became popular for use in trade, transportation, and racing.

There are two basic types of sled dogs. Heavy breeds adapted to cold environments, such as the Alaskan Malamute, were selectively bread for pulling heavy loads. On the other hand, lighter weight sled dogs, and the Husky falls in this group, were bred to pull both quickly and over long distances.

Although Huskies are loved as family pets, they are also still bred and trained as sled dogs for both racing and ecotourism. 


Temperament:

Huskies are known to be quite playful and very tolerable of even small children. They have a strong pack drive and need regular companionship and a sense of purpose to thrive, however. They are smart but are less interested in “obeying” than BCs, with a little more drive to assert their own personality and seek fun at every opportunity.

Huskies generally do well with other dogs. However, they are also known to have a high prey drive, and can be obsessive about chasing cats, squirrels and other small critters. Since they have a penchant for escape, they need a very secure fence in order to be left outside unsupervised.


Size:

The standard for this breed looks for males (21-23”, 45-60 lbs) that are slightly larger than females (20-22”, 35-50 lbs).


Coat & Appearance:

Although Siberian Huskies are most famous for their black, grey and white wolf-like coat, they do come in color ranging from red to brown as well, in both solid and they typical grizzled appearance.

Their coat is double and includes a soft downy undercoat for insulation, and coarser outer coat for protection against the elements. They, like the Border Collie, will have a heavy shed in the spring in regions where the winters get cold.

Some people make the mistake of shaving their Husky in the warmer months thinking that it will help this arctic dog stay cooler. Unfortunately, this also removes the cooling function that fur can provide, along with protection from UV rays. It is better to keep Huskies in colder climates, or keep them mostly indoors when the weather is hot and balmy.


Health & Life Expectancy:

All Huskies carry the gene that allows them to have two different colored eyes in some cases. This gene is also associated with certain congenital eye conditions, such as progressive renal atrophy, one of the more prevalent health concerns in the breed.

In addition, cataracts are a problem for this breed and an eye exam should be included in your annual vet check-ups. Hip dysplasia is another issue to be aware of, particularly as you review the health records of the parents and grandparents of your dog.

Huskies live an average of 12-14 years.

PROS
  • Huskies don’t bark much, although they can be quite talkative with their own unique husky howl sounds
  • Playful and adventurous spirits that have a great deal of personality
  • Excellent with children and other dogs
  • Adaptable as long as they get plenty of attention and play
  • Trainable and intelligent, but independently minded as well – Start training early!
  • Affectionate companions that develop close relationships with family and friends
CONS
  • Can be obsessive about chasing small animals
  • Prone to escaping and running off – fencing must be very secure
  • High exercise and companionship needs
  • Grooming during the first few weeks of spring can be an ordeal
  • Not well suited for hot and humid climates
  • Can be stubborn

Is a Border Collie Husky Mix Right for You?

Now that we have looked at the details of both of the parent breeds, let’s zoom back out and help you decide if this is a good cross breed for your situation.

This is a great hybrid for…
  • You have a family that likes to stay active, enjoy the outdoors, and have a large fenced yard for regular play and romping.
  • You enjoy the outdoors and want a canine companion to share them with.
  • You like to jog, bike, or hike and want a dog that will enjoy these activities as well.
  • You appreciate an affectionate furry friend who wants to be included in all of life’s adventures.
  • You have some basic understanding of positive reinforcement based dog training and are looking for a dog that will quickly learn and perform fun dog tricks.
  • You are interested in playing dog sports such as flyball, dog parkour, or agility.
  • You live in a rural area on a large property and are looking for an all-around ranch-hand companion
This is probably not the right choice for you if…
  • You live in an apartment and don’t have access to large outdoor spaces for games such as fetch or activities such as swimming.
  • You have to leave your dog at home for more than a few hours on a daily basis.
  • You are an inexperienced dog owner, unsure if you can commit the time and energy to a dog with significant attention and exercise needs.
  • You are hoping for a dog that will have some guarding instincts to intimidate strangers that approach your property.

Maybe the Border Collie Husky Mix is the right choice for your next family pet or adventure companion. If not, rest assured, the right mix breed dog is out there for you! Keep looking!

Sharon Elber (M.S. in Science & Technology) - Professional Dog Trainer

Sharon is a writer and received her M.S. in Science & Technology Studies from Virginia Tech and has worked as a professional dog trainer for over 10 years.

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