6 Best Dog Food For Border Collies

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Border Collies are herders, meaning they were bred in the past for the specific purpose of herding livestock such as sheep and cattle [1]. While they only started appearing around the 1700s as they were originally a crossbreed between two other breeds [2], they are one of the most popular and well-known breeds today.

Border Collies are extremely energetic and are also one of the most intelligent breeds of dogs, excelling in different types of sports including but not limited to obedience and agility. They are best suited for families who frequently exercise and can provide them with mental stimulation time either through engagement or the provision of toys and materials.

Based on my research, the optimal nutritional intake for Border Collies differs depending on whether they take part in sports careers or are simply a family companion. For most family Border Collies,, the best option will be ORIJEN Dog Original Recipe.

ORIJEN is a well-reputed brand that offers the topmost-quality kibbles. Their original formula contains a variety of meat ingredients such as chicken, turkey, and fish to ensure that they are densely packed with proteins to support the energy levels of highly active dogs. They even offer both grain-free and healthy grains options depending on the breeds’ needs (e.g., Border Collies are more suitable for grain-free options).

However, each Border Collie is unique, and their needs will differ depending on their circumstances. That’s why I have selected a list of the best dog food for Border Collies to keep you informed of the possible varieties your Border Collie may benefit from.

List Comparison

  1. Best dog food for Border Collies overall: ORIJEN Dog Original Recipe
  2. Best dog food for Border Collie puppies: ORIJEN Puppy Dog Food (Grain-Free)
  3. Best dog food for Border Collie seniors: ORIJEN Senior Dry Dog Food (Grain-Free)
  4. Best wet dog food for Border Collies: Portland Pet Food Company Human-Grade Dog Food
  5. Best dog food for Border Collies on a budget: Nature’s Recipe Dry Dog Food (Grain-Free)

1. ORIJEN Dog Original Recipe

  • Key feature: High-quality food with both grains and grain-free options to suit dogs with different needs, best suited for highly active breeds
  • First 5 ingredients: Varries depending on flavour (Amazing Grains | Grain-Free)
  • Caloric content: 3920 – 3940 kcal/kg
  • Guaranteed analysis: Min 38% protein, Min 18% fats, Max 4% fiber
  • Best for: AdultBorder Collies 

ORIJEN brand is the best fit for Border Collies as they are among the highest quality dog food brands out in the market. They never had any recalls, and their dog food formulas are produced with quality ingredients.

The original formula provides both grain and grain-free options, although we suggest the grain-free option for Border Collies as they are more sensitive to grains. It provides 38% proteins and 18% fats minimum, which is about the amount of nutrients an average Border Collie will need.

Owners agree that this brand provides top-quality kibbles and commented that their dogs loved this formula. A few owners added that their dogs have been using these kibbles for years and they are still healthy pups.

However, to provide quality dog food, ORIJEN charges a hefty amount, which most owners will hesitate and keep in mind when they make purchases. Also, as the ingredients include fish, the kibbles smell fishy, which some owners (and their dogs) may not like.

2. ORIJEN Puppy Dog Food (Grain-Free)

  • Key feature: Protein-rich, grain-free dog food with its contents tailored for puppies
  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned chicken, Deboned turkey, Flounder, Whole eggs, and Whole atlantic mackerel
  • Caloric content: 3940 kcal/kg
  • Guaranteed analysis: Min 38% protein, Min 20% fats, Max 6% fiber
  • Best for: Border Collie puppies

ORIJEN makes it to this list because its quality is superb. The kibbles are made from real, fresh meat with complementary vegetables and fruits. As such, they are loaded with good nutrients without including any grains or questionable additions.

It is one of the few brands that offer more than 35% protein in the kibbles formulated for puppies. The high amount of calories also helps in ensuring that your Border Collie puppy gets enough energy to burn off without compromising its growth.

Apart from some ingredient differences, the most visual difference between the ORIJEN puppy food and the ORIJEN dog food for small breeds is the higher fat content (20% vs. 18%). This slight change is to the advantage of puppies as they are still growing and need additional fats for nutrients.

Owners are happy that their puppies are being fed the best ingredients with minimal fillers. Their puppies are also pleased with the taste and showed better overall health after consuming this brand of puppy food.

Pricing is still an issue for some owners. Also, the kibble might be a bit hard to chew. A way to solve this issue is to soak the kibble in water before feeding it to your puppy so that the kibbles will break more easily.

3. ORIJEN Senior Dry Dog Food (Grain-Free)

  • Key feature: Protein-rich, grain-free dog food specially tailored for seniors
  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned chicken, Deboned turkey, Atlantic flounder, Cage-free eggs, and Whole Atlantic mackerel
  • Caloric content: 3630 kcal/kg
  • Guaranteed analysis: Min 38% protein, Min 15% fats, Max 8% fiber
  • Best for: Senior Border Collies

ORIJEN makes it to the list again simply because of the nutrients there for Border Collies, who need such quality food to support their daily maintenance.

The caloric content is slightly lesser as senior dogs are usually less active. There is also a reduction in fats content (15% vs. 18%) because senior dogs are more prone to obesity due to their lack of activity. Also, the high fiber content (8% vs. 4%) helps dogs to poop better.

As a user of the ORIJEN dog food senior recipe, I am very happy with the product as my Chihuahua has been eating it for years without issues. Some owners also reported seeing a slower decline or even a slight increase in several health areas, such as fur growing back on bald patches.

Again, complaints about the pricing are common for this brand. Some owners also reported cases of their dogs having diarrhea or constipation after consuming this food, so if you intend to try this food with your Border Collie, transit slowly to this food and have some of the old food remaining just in case of any similar reactions.

4. Portland Pet Food Company Human-Grade Dog Food

  • Key feature: All natural limited-ingredient and human-grade dog food that comes in convenient, ready-to-eat packages for dogs of all ages
  • First 5 ingredients: Varies depending on flavor (Rosie’s Beef N’ Rice | Grandma Ada’s Turkey & Yams | Hopkin’s Prok N’ Potato | Tuxedo’s Chicken & Yams | Wally’s Salmon N’ Rice)
  • Caloric content: 1120 – 1550 kcal/kg
  • Guaranteed analysis: Min 8-13% protein, Min 4-10% fats, Max 1-5% fiber
  • Best for: Picky Border Collies that want tastier food than kibbles

Portland Pet Food Company believes that dogs should eat as well as humans, so they use human-grade ingredients in the dog food they manufacture. Therefore, you can be reassured that your Border Collie is gulping down quality food with each mouthful.

The protein, fats, and caloric content will vary depending on which flavor you purchase and what your Border Collie likes. In general, their nutrition range for fats is higher than recommended for Border Collie, so you may want to consider selecting flavors with lower nutritional values for your dog.

Owners are happy that their dogs eat the same quality food as them. Many owners also mentioned that their picky dogs received this brand well and are happy and healthy on this diet.

Some owners think that this food is overpriced, so it is up to you to decide whether your budget can support your Border Collie eating this high-quality food in the long run. Also, reviewers commented that the packaging makes it hard to scoop the food out, so prepare a spoon in advance when serving this food!

5. Nature’s Recipe Dry Dog Food (Grain-free)

  • Key feature: An easy-to-digest kibble made from nutrient-dense sweet potatoes and pumpkins for dogs of all ages
  • First 5 ingredients: Varies depending on flavor (Chicken | Lamb | Salmon)
  • Caloric content: 3550 kcal/kg
  • Guaranteed analysis: Min 27% protein, Min 12% fats, Max 4.5% fiber
  • Best for: Adult [breed] in general

Nature’s Recipe dog food provides carbohydrates using sweet potatoes and pumpkins. There are a total of three flavors available – chicken, lamb, and salmon – offering a choice of taste.

The kibbles contain 27% proteins and 12% fats, which provides just enough proteins and slightly less fats for Border Collies. With a caloric content of 3550 kcal/kg, it also suits Border Collies with a moderate amount of exercise.

Owners with dogs who are allergic to grain or have sensitive stomachs reviewed that this formula worked for their dogs. A specific owner even mentioned that this formula has helped improve his dog’s arthritis issues!

However, some owners have also reported finding wooden skewers in the bags. While they are rare, they are also large enough to be easily identifiable. Nevertheless, do be alert for such additions if you purchase this food.

Border Collies’ Dietary Requirements

Border Collies’ dietary requirements will differ depending on the activities that they engage in daily.

Active Border Collies will need significantly more nutrients than companion-focused, family Border Collies with lesser daily exercise.


Family Border Collies will need at least 20% crude proteins, while active Border Collies will need at least 25%.

Unlike other breeds, adult Border Collies can consume and digest up to as much as 40-50% proteins as long as they are from quality sources. Therefore, it is always good to choose a brand with more proteins to ensure that your Border Collie will not suffer from a lack of nutrition.


Family Border Collies will require at least 15% crude fats in their diets. Border Collie puppies and active Border Collies will need slightly more, at about 18-20%, to support their developmental growth and daily maintenance respectively.

Having the right type of fats is especially important for Border Collies because of their coat. Fish oils (especially salmon oil) and flaxseed oils are the two best types for Border Collies.


Carbohydrates come in many forms, and the two most common types are grains and vegetables. They are the main source of dietary fiber, in addition to being an available source of glucose to maintain their body cells.

Most Border Collies have issues digesting grains. As such, vegetables such as sweet potatoes and peas are the two good sources of carbohydrates suitable for them.

Common Health Issues In Border Collies

Border Collies have a fair share of health issues, and listed below are some of the most common health issues Border Collies can have and how you can help to prevent them.


Border Collies are very susceptible to allergies, especially food allergies. Grains and milk are examples that most Border Collies are either allergic to or have difficulty digesting, hence grain-free dog food such as ORIJEN Grain-Free Formula is recommended for them.

Other common allergies for Border Collies include flower pollen, grass, and cleaning chemical supplies.

Dental Problems

Border Collies love to chew. It is wired in their genes. But as they chew on various stuff such as their toys or furniture around the house, it is easy for bacteria to enter their mouth, or have tartar and plaque build-up along the gum lines.

In addition to having regular dental checkups to clean your Border Collie’s teeth, you can also opt for a dry food diet and provide dental chews. Most commercial kibbles provide the effect of cleaning dogs’ teeth to a certain extent, reducing the likelihood of dental issues occurring as opposed to dogs on a wet food diet.

Musculoskeletal Disorders and Injuries

As with all active dog breeds, Border Collies are very prone to various musculoskeletal disorders and injuries, such as hip dysplasia or osteochondritis dissecans (OCD).

Being mindful of your Border Collie’s diet can help in reducing the chances of musculoskeletal disorders developing.

Keeping your Border Collie on a healthy weight, providing high-protein foods, and occasionally feeding treats and supplements that support joint health are several preventive measures you can do.

Additionally, if you ever suspect your Border Collie may have a musculoskeletal injury in the legs because of abnormal walking, reduced activity, or yelping when the legs are touched, bring it to the veterinarian immediately for a check-up. In most cases, early detection can lead to full recovery.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Feeding Border Collies

We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions that Border Collie owners have known to ask.

If you have a question not listed here, you can always contact us, and we will give you a reply.

When should I switch from puppy to adult food?

Border Collies are considered medium breeds, and usually reach adulthood at about 10 to 12 months old.

While you can certainly transit to adult food from as early as 10 months old, it is better to do a switch later as growth does not halt abruptly. Instead, it starts to slow down as they reach about 80% of their adult size, whereby they will still grow at a very slow rate as compared to the first few months of their lives.

Therefore, a good time to switch to adult food will be after the 12-month mark. A gradual transition over about two weeks with increasing amounts of adult food and decreasing amounts of puppy food will help your Border Collie get used to the new food better.

Is wet dog food or dry dog food better for Border Collies?

As discussed above under the Common Health Issues section, Border Collies do have higher chances of developing dental problems.

Serving dry kibbles to your Border Collie will have the additional benefit of regular teeth cleansing, although it is definitely not a replacement for the dental cleansing done in vet clinics. It helps to save a sum that you have to spend on dental chews if you choose to feed wet dog food instead.

If you want to learn more about the differences between wet and dry dog food, here is a post that explains in more detail for you to make a decision.

Help! My Border Collie always seems to be hungry!

Border Collies love food, and especially the more active ones, they are likely to find ways to access their food (or even human food) with their intelligence. This may lead to owners like you puzzling over their behaviour and wondering if they did not get enough food.

Understand that even though you might have provided your Border Collie with a sufficient amount of calories and other essential nutrients, his/her stomach may not fill full; these are two different matters.

When you provide high-quality food, due to the nutrients being condensed and packed together, lesser amounts will be served as compared to low-quality food. Your Border Collie eats lesser (although given the same amount of nutrients), so he/she does not have the feeling of fullness and will start to seek more food.

What you can do is feed your Border Collie with fillers that can make them fill full without adding a lot more extra calories can be detrimental to their health.

Frozen fruits such as apples, pears, and mangoes with their seeds removed are one of the healthiest options, adding the least amount of calories as fillers with their water content.

Alternatively, vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, and yams are also safe for your Border Collie to consume with beneficial vitamins.

Our Verdict

Border Collies are medium-sized dogs that are highly intelligent and active. In addition to quality dog food, they will also need more mental stimulation than other breeds to keep them entertained.

We strongly believe ORIJEN Dog Original Recipe is the best dog food for Border Collies overall. The protein and fat content falls in the recommended range, owners can choose between both grain-free and healthy grains options.

Nevertheless, every Border Collie is unique. Do evaluate your Border Collie’s needs before selecting dog food for it, and always consult a veterinarian’s opinion when you are in doubt.