Best Dog Food for Border Collies: The Best & Worst Options

It’s tough to find a Border collie who doesn’t have energy to spare. These guys love running around. They were bred to be herding dogs, and in that role, they’d chase sheep around the pasture pretty much all day. So they can go forever, and they’re built to be active. They also have their share of health problems, which makes finding the best food for Border collies a bit of a chore.

Luckily, it’s pretty easy if you’re aware of a few basic facts. Hopefully, we can help you with that. We consulted with registered dog handlers and breeders to figure out exactly what makes a good dog food for a Border collie. We’ve compiled that information here, so check it out, and let us know if you have questions!

Quick Picks: Best Options for Border Collies

**Below, you'll find our expert's science-backed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Chewy.

Border Collie Diet Needs: Calories & Macros

0 Cal
Older Dogs
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Typical Adults
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Active/Working Dogs

**Please note: these estimates are based on an average weight for this breed. Every dog is different. Please talk to your vet before making changes to your dog's diet. 

On average, Border collies need more calories than other dogs. This isn’t necessary because their bodies work differently (although they do tend to have slightly higher metabolisms as well). Mostly, it’s just because they’re so active.

Most male Border collies weigh between 30 and 45 pounds, while most female Border collies weigh between 27 and 42 pounds. So, the numbers above are based on a 35-pound Border collie, since it’s an average weight for both male and female dogs.

However, remember that those are only rough (or ruff!) numbers. All dogs and different. Plus caloric needs for any dog depend on a number of factors, such as age, activity level, metabolism and related health conditions.

The most accurate way to determine how many calories your dog needs is to use a mathematical formula, like this one from The Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center. Obviously, that’s a bit of a hassle, so you can also just give your dog 30 calories for each pound of bodyweight (for an adult dog); that’s not as accurate, but it’ll get you started most of the time.

As always, if you want to be absolutely sure you’re feeding your dog correctly, monitor your his weight and talk to your vet.

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Essential Nutrients

Since Border collies are typically so high-energy, they need more protein than other dogs might. Usually, we recommend dog foods in which at least a quarter of the calories come from protein. For an active breed like the Border collie, those foods are still fine, but higher protein contents are probably idea.

If you’re making your dog food at home, you can go as high as 50% protein (some owners go higher, be we think 50% protein is the most sensible).

Additionally, because this breed tends to work so hard, we recommend particularly balanced diets. Even if your pup’s going to be eating mostly protein, we recommend foods that include protein from a variety of sources as well as plenty of fruits and veggies.

Finally, Border collies are a long-hair breed, and long-hair dogs need plenty of good fats to keep their coats from drying out. So if you can find a food with whole fish in it, you’ve hit the jackpot. At the very least, you want your best bud’s food to include flaxseed or fish oil.

Potential Health Problems & Dietary Solutions

Hip dysplasia and joint problems. Like lots of other bigger, active dogs, Border collies tend to have joint problems, so you want to try to find foods with (1) glucosamine and (2) calcium. While calcium helps strengthen bones, glucosamine helps keep cartilage and connective tissue healthy.

Allergies. Border collies are prone to sneeze and itch fits. Always consult with your vet before you try to treat a dog’s allergies, but often, the first step will be to eliminate grains from your dog’s diet. You may end up eliminating corn and soy from his diet, too. So, if you want to nip those problems in the bud, you can look for a dog food consisting mostly of meat, fruits, vegetables and roots (like potatoes).

Failing eye sight. This breed is also prone to losing their eyesight. A lot of the time, this really can’t be helped. However, like with humans, orange vegetables (e.g. carrots, squash, sweet potatoes) are packed with nutrients that help keep your eyes healthy.

Our Reviews Some Good Dog Foods for Border Collies

CANIDAE All Life Stages Formula For Dogs

Canidae all life stages for border collies

Canidae’s All Life Stages Formula probably has one of the best combinations of ingredients out there, and it’s particularly good for active dogs, like Border collies.

The protein here comes from four different sources: chicken, turkey, lamb, and fish. We really, really like that this recipe includes lamb and fish, since both are high-fat meats, which will help keep your pup’s coat looking fresh.

Plus, the variety is just excellent. A diet with four different meats is really well balanced, especially if the majority of your dog’s calories are going to be coming from protein.

You should be aware that this food includes brown rice, a gain. So, if you’ve got a Border collie with allergies, this may not be the best pick.

For most, though, this is a fantastic choice. And we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that our dog absolutely loved this stuff!

Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Formula

Taste of the wild for border collies

This is another good, high-protein dog food that includes enough fats to keep a Border collie’s long hair nice and shiney.

One of the main ingredients in this recipe is smoked salmon (yum!). Fish, of course, has lots of great omegas, and is perfect for long-haired dogs. Even more importantly, this food is made with actual salmon meat—not salmon meal or fish byproducts—which is great, since we prefer to feed our dogs whole foods whenever we can.

Another benefit is that this formula contains sweet potatoes, which are a great orange vegetable and can help your pup’s eyes stay healthy. It also does not include grains or corn, making it a good choice for dogs with allergies.

Purina Pro Plan Select

Purine Pro Plan for border collies

This is another fish-based dog food (seeing a trend here?).

The main ingredient in this formula is real salmon, which is great for healthy coats. However, this particular food also includes lots of other good, healthy fats, such as canola oil and other animal fats.

The fat content is pretty high, and there are tons of omegas here, so it’s a really great option for Border collies whose coats tend to try out.

Finally, it’s a pretty good bargain. Purina Pro Plan usually packs a lot of punch for what you’re paying, and we almost always think they’re a steal. This one’s no exception.

Natural Balance Dry Dog Food - Grain Free Limited Ingredient Diet Fish and Sweet Potato Recipe

This formula checks almost all of our boxes: plenty of protein, no grains, orange vegetables, lots of good sources of fat.

However, there really are limited ingredients (hence the title), which basically means there aren’t as many fruits and veggies as there could be. To us, that means the food lacks a bit of balance.

Still, everything else fits neatly into the nutritional profile we’re looking for, and our in-house taste tester, our dog, really liked how this stuff tasted, so we wanted to include it.

Purina Pro Plan Focus

We’re ending our list with another Purina Pro Plan formula.

This formula is pretty different than the one we reviewed above, and it’s geared more toward older dogs. Really, that’s why we included it: we wanted to give you at least one option that included some joint-health supplements.

And this one does. In addition to plenty of protein, this recipe includes lots of glucosamine, which is very helpful if your pup has hip problems.

We didn’t list this higher, however, because it contains grains, and that can be a bit of a problem for dogs with allergies. Still, it’s a great option for older Border collies with joint troubles.

Plus, our pup thought it tasted wonderful.

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**Disclaimer: Our dog food reviews are based mostly on (1) our expertise and that of the experts with whom we consult and (2) the information provided by the manufacturers. We do test many dog foods (with our dog's help), but we can't test them all. As such, please remember the above recommendations are our opinions, and you should consult your vet before making changes to your dog's diet.

Image credits: Chewy.com

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 5 comments
Cindy - June 17, 2017

What if my border collies are just pets and not in the field working? They eat PetSmart brand Authority now. I was told that is a pretty good dog food and I have 2 dogs so the price does play a part in what I buy. I feed them morning and evening…. a little less in the evening. My one border collie weight 60 lbs which concerns me but he is active and gets his shots on time so maybe his parents were bigger dogs. Any advice would be appreciated… thank you

    PC Carrell - June 17, 2017

    Hi Cindy
    Your Pups are precious creatures and what they eat is important to their good health. Always read the ingredients label and ensure that what the brand contains is what you want to feed your dogs!! Although Price matters there are some very affordable healthy food mixes available today.
    Here’s to your Pups’ Great Health

Meryl Parks - July 23, 2017

Hi! I have a Collie who gets bloat and has a sensitive stomach, what would be the best dry food for his problem.
JAX is 2 years old and I am trying to help this sensitive tummy.
Thank you Meryl
Woof Jax said

    PC Carrell - July 25, 2017

    Hi Meryl
    You need a sensitive stomach dog food like purina pro plan. You can revisit the post to learn more about the product.

    To your dog’s good health

RealizeReview - July 25, 2017

I am a big dog lover because they are the most amazing creature of God. They are so faithful and loyal to people. Everyone should treat dogs and puppies with love and care. I also have two dogs and I give them so much care and love. I make special food for them and provide them with good food.


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