Top 10 Best Dog Foods for Border Collies

Top 10 Best Dog Foods for Border Collies

Looking for the best dog food for your Border Collie? Finding the right formula for your pup can be a challenge, especially for active breeds like the Border Collie. In this guide, we review our favorite foods by comparing several formulas at each life stage to help ensure your pup gets the nutrition they need.

The Border Collie is one of the most intelligent, if not the most intelligent, dog breed on the planet. They are also one of the most active. This is exactly why he makes such a great herding dog. But it’s also for this reason that it’s important to find the best dog food for your Border Collie and their nutritional needs. You need a formula that’s packed full of calories and nutrients that will keep his active body and mind sustained and healthy.

In this comprehensive guide to Border Collie nutrition, we take you through each of his life stages and explain the nutrients needed during each. You’ll learn how many calories a typical Collie will need, and what ingredients to look out for in a high-quality kibble. You’ll also learn about our favorite dry dog food formulas for your pup at each life stage.

At maturity, the Border Collie weighs anywhere between 30 and 55 pounds. This makes him a medium-sized dog. Border Collies are also known to have sensitive stomachs. Picking the right dog food may not cure that, but it can help. As such, we’ve hand-picked a few kibbles with higher fiber content to help meet their digestive needs. Below you’ll find a full list of dry dog foods that we recommend for the Border Collie.

Border Collie Puppy Nutrient Needs

The Border Collie puppy, being a medium-sized breed, is suited to most high-quality kibbles. Choosing kibbles for him is somewhat easier compared to a small or giant breed. It’s most critical to find the right formula at the puppy stage of their life. This is arguably the most important life stage, as this sets the precedence for a healthy body for the rest of his life. You need to make sure your pup has enough growing power for him to get him to adulthood. So avoid “all life-stage foods” and stick to kibbles specifically designed for puppies.

Some of the most important nutrients that a puppy needs are docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and arachidonic acid (ARA). They are amino acids naturally found in mothers’ milk. These nutrients support healthy brain development and eye function. This is particularly important for Border Collies and their poor eye health. Added vitamins and minerals will also support his developing immune system and improve his oxidative health.

If your Border Collie comes from a family that exceeds 50 pounds in weight then it is likely that he might as well. If this is the case, consider a puppy formula that is designed specifically for large breeds. Such formulas have optimum calcium and phosphorus levels. It will help to control bone growth and decrease the chances of developing Hip Dysplasia.

The MSD Veterinary Manual recommends that all puppies need a kibble that provides a minimum protein content of 22%. Larger or more active dogs such as the Collie should seek a protein level of at least 26%. It also recommends that a minimum fat content of 8% is needed. It also suggests a boost in omega fatty acids to help to support healthy skin and coat, as well as eye health and bone health.

Adult Border Collie Nutrient Needs

Between the ages of 12 to 15 months, the Border Collie should be fully mature. At this time, your pup should be switched to adult kibble. Adult kibble will be slightly lower in protein, fats and calories. It will provide a more balanced diet that caters to his adult needs. The average Border Collie will need around 1,000 calories every day. But, a seriously active or working dog will likely need in excess of 1,400 calories.

Omega fatty acids and DHA, EPA and ARA will ensure that his eye and brain health are still well cared for. They will also nourish his skin and coat from the inside out. Healthy carbohydrates are key to providing much-needed energy. A blend of vitamins and minerals is still crucial for maintaining immunity against diseases.

The MSD Veterinary Manual recommends that adults need a protein content of at least 18%. But, again, for a larger and energetic breed such as the Collie we would recommend a higher content of at least 23%. Even more, if your pup is a super energetic or a working Collie.

Senior Border Collie Nutrient Needs

Border Collies reach thier senior years at around the age of 8 or 9. While it’s likely that he will still be energetic compared to most other breeds, his body will need specific nutrients. All senior kibbles will cater to these needs, and a typical senior Collie will need around 700 calories every day. It is crucial to ensure that he does not consume more calories than he burns off. Senior kibbles often have fewer calories to ensure that he does not become overweight in his senior years.

Because he is constantly running around, or likely to still be herding, his bones and joints will need higher levels of glucosamine and chondroitin. These nutrients help to both support and keep joints and bones supple. While protein is still the key focus, it is important that he consumes many vitamins and minerals that will help to boost his aging immunity.

The 10 Best Dog Foods for Border Collies

The Farmer’s Dog Fresh Dog Food – Best Overall

Farmer's Dog Food

Main Ingredients: USDA Beef, Sweet Potato, Lentils
Protein: 41% min.
Fat: 31% min.
Calories: 721 kcal/cup

Border Collies are a breed of dog known for their intelligence and working abilities. They require a diet that is high in protein and good quality fats in order to maintain their energy and health. The Farmer’s Dog pet food is a great option for Border Collies because it is made with real, human-grade ingredients, and it is free from grain, gluten, and artificial additives. Subscribe to The Farmer’s Dog and get fresh, custom-made dog food delivered to your door packed in dry ice.

The first step is to build a customized feeding profile by inputting your dog’s age, weight, breed, activity level, and allergies. You can then select a flavor (beef, turkey, pork, or chicken) and arrange a delivery schedule. Designed and formulated by veterinarian specialists certified by the American College of Veterinary Nutrition, The Farmer’s Dog is manufactured in USDA-inspected facilities in the United States.

By gently cooking at lower temperatures, each recipe avoids damaging vitamins and nutrients that are sensitive to high temperatures, and this recipe contains more protein, fat, and quality carbs than typical wet-recipe dog food. The Farmer’s Dog is made with the highest-quality ingredients, and features added taurine, fish oils, and chelated minerals to further support the overall health and vitality of Border Collies and help meet the nutritional needs of these dogs.

  • Expensive
  • Human-grade, USDA-approved ingredients
  • High in protein, fat, and quality carbs
  • Made from whole foods
  • Tailored to your dog’s individual needs
  • With taurine, fish oils, and chelated minerals

American Journey Active Life Formula Dry Dog Food – Best Value

Main Ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, brown rice
Protein: 25% min.
Fat: 15% min.
Calories: 342 kcal/cup

Besides high-protein dog food, you can also feed your Border Collie dog food that is formulated for active dogs. American Journey Active Life dog food is one of the best foods for active dogs because it contains meat-based proteins and vegetable ingredients that can keep your dog’s entire body healthy. Although the main ingredients are meat-based proteins, this dog food also contains sweet potatoes and carrots, which are rich in nutrients, as well as antioxidants to help keep your Collie’s beautiful coat healthy and shiny as well.

Because it isn’t specifically a high-protein formula, this food does contain less protein than other foods, but enough that your dog can get the protein he needs. It also has appropriate fat content for active dogs and is low in calories as well. The only downside is that your dog may not like this particular food if he doesn’t like chicken, but it doesn’t come in other flavors as well. But it’s extremely affordable, so overall, we think this is the best dog food for Border Collies for the money.

  • Some dogs may not like the taste
  • Affordable
  • Low in calories
  • Full of nutrients

Orijen Original Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Main Ingredients: Chicken, turkey, flounder
Protein: 38% min.
Fat: 18% min.
Calories: 473 kcal/cup

Even though Orijen Original Grain-Free Dry Dog Food isn’t labeled as being high-protein, it contains the highest protein content of any food on this list. It’s made with 85% animal ingredients, including chicken, turkey, and fish, so it’s a great source of meat-based proteins for your Border Collie. But it also contains vegetable ingredients as well, which provide other key nutrients that your Collie won’t get through proteins.

Because it contains so many different kinds of meat, even picky dogs are sure to love the flavor. This is definitely a superb choice for dog food, so it comes with a hefty price tag. But, if you want your Border Collie to have the best quality dog food possible, then we highly recommend this food.

  • Pricey
  • High-quality
  • Made with 85% animal ingredients
  • Full of vegetable ingredients that provide other essential nutrients

ACANA Wholesome Grains Puppy Recipe Gluten-Free Dog Food – Best for Puppies

ACANA Wholesome Grains Puppy Recipe Gluten-Free Dog Food
Main Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, chicken meal, oats
Protein: 28% min.
Fat: 19% min
Calories: 425 kcal/cup

Especially for active breeds such as Border Collies, feeding them a high-protein diet from the time they are puppies can help them develop strong muscles before they reach adulthood. Although the ACANA Wholesome Grains Puppy Recipe dog food doesn’t specifically say that it is high-protein dog food, it does contain a minimum of 28% protein which is much higher than other puppy foods. The main ingredient is chicken as well, so it’s a great flavor for puppies to enjoy.

This dog food is a little bit higher in fat than some adult dog foods, which is good for puppies because it helps them put on a little weight. However, you have to be careful with how much you feed your puppy so that he or she doesn’t gain too much weight. This dog food also contains grains, but it is gluten-free. Gluten is one of the main causes of allergic reactions to grains, so this food shouldn’t cause any problems. That being said. watch your puppy closely for the first few days if you decide to use this food, just in case.

  • Higher in fat than some adult dog foods
  • Contains grains, which may cause allergies
  • Gluten-free
  • Contains chicken as the main ingredient
  • Higher in protein than most puppy foods

Wellness CORE Wholesome Grains Original Recipe High Protein Dog Food

Wellness CORE Wholesome
Main Ingredients: Deboned turkey, chicken meal, turkey meal
Protein: 34% min.
Fat: 16% min.
Calories: 422 kcal/cup

Wellness CORE Wholesome Grains Original Recipe High Protein Dog Food is a little more expensive compared to other dog foods on this list, but it contains all of the essential nutrients your Border Collie needs to stay healthy. The protein content is 34%, which, again, is a lot higher than most normal dog foods. Another benefit of this dog food is that although it is higher in protein, it is lower in fat and calories compared to our top product.

The flavor of this food is described as savory, but when you look at the ingredients list it is made with turkey and chicken as the main sources of protein, which most dogs love. Also looking at the name of this dog food and the ingredients list, you’ll see that it is made with grains, which is not good for all dogs. But, the first three ingredients are meat-based proteins, so despite the price, we think this is a great food option for your Border Collie.

  • Pricey
  • Contains grains
  • High in protein
  • Low in fat and calories
  • The first three ingredients are meat-based

Crave High-Protein Chicken Adult Dog Food

Crave High-Protein
Main Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, split peas
Protein: 34% min.
Fat: 17% min.
Calories: 449 kcal/cup

We think another good dog food for Border Collies is Crave High-Protein Chicken Adult Dog Food. For starters, most dogs love the chicken flavor of dog food, but this high-protein formula is ideal for active and working dogs such as the Border Collie because it helps to keep their muscles in good shape. While most dog foods range between 25%-27% protein, this formula has a minimum of 34% protein, so it is sure to keep your dog healthy provided that he is given the appropriate amount.

This dog food is also comparable in fat and calories to other dog foods that aren’t high-protein formulas, so it won’t cause your dog to gain weight as long as he isn’t overfed and still gets plenty of exercise. It’s also grain-free, so you shouldn’t have to worry about your dog eating it if he has allergies to grains. The only downside is that some picky dogs may not like the chicken flavor, but it does come in other flavors as well, including lamb and beef, if the flavor is an issue.

  • Some dogs may not like the flavor
  • Grain-free
  • High-protein formula
  • Chicken is the first ingredient

ACANA Red Meat Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

ACANA Red Meat
Main Ingredients: Beef, deboned pork, beef meal
Protein: 29% min.
Fat: 17% min.
Calories: 388 kcal/cup

There are many reasons why we think that ACANA Red Meat Recipe Grain-Free Dog Food is a great choice for Border Collies. This food provides a good balance of protein to fat content, and even though it isn’t one of the higher protein content dog foods on this list, it is much higher in protein than other dog foods. It’s also low in calories, which will help your Collie maintain a healthy weight.

The first three ingredients in this dog food are meat-based proteins, which is exactly what you want in dog food. It contains primarily beef and pork, so all dogs may not like the flavor, especially if your dog is used to eating something like chicken. But, fruit and vegetable ingredients such as pumpkins, apples, and pears provide plenty of vitamins and minerals that an active dog needs to stay healthy and give it more flavor as well. It is a little pricey compared to other foods, but overall, this is a good food choice for your active dog.

  • Pricey
  • Some dogs may not like the flavor
  • High in protein
  • Low in calories
  • Meat-based proteins make up the three main ingredients

Victor Purpose Active Dog and Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food

Main Ingredients: Beef meal, peas, sweet potatoes
Protein: 33% min.
Fat: 16% min.
Calories: 384 kcal/cup

Although this Victor Purpose Active Dog Food isn’t labeled as being high in protein, it has a minimum of 33% protein which is comparable to most of the high-protein dog foods on this list. The difference between this food and high-protein dog foods is that it is formulated for active dogs, so it contains a few more vegetable ingredients, such as peas, sweet potatoes, and carrots. These ingredients help provide additional nutrients besides protein that are beneficial for active dogs.

This food is also lower in fat and calories, which is great for helping your dog maintain his or her weight and metabolism over time. It’s a good choice for both puppies and adult dogs, so you can feed it to your Collie throughout its life. The downsides are that this food is a little more pricey than other foods we’ve reviewed, plus it contains fewer meat-based proteins than other foods. Although beef meal is the main ingredient, peas are the second ingredient, which means that peas provide a large portion of the proteins for this food. Even though plant-based proteins are okay for dogs, meat-based proteins are better.

  • Pricey
  • Contains fewer meat-based proteins than other dog foods
  • Low in calories
  • Great for puppies and adult dogs
  • Contains a lot of nutrient-rich ingredients

IAMS Large Breed Real Chicken High Protein Dog Food

IAMS Large Breed Real
Main Ingredients: Chicken, whole grain barley, whole grain corn
Protein: 5% min.
Fat: 12% min.
Calories: 351 kcal/cup

We should start off by saying that compared to other products on our list, IAMS Large Breed Real Chicken High Protein Dog Food doesn’t contain anywhere near the same high percentage of protein, but it does have chicken as the main ingredient, and it is lower in fat and calories. It’s a great choice if your Collie is a bit overweight or doesn’t get the same level of exercise, but it may not be the best choice for the most active of dogs.

However, this dog food is very affordable and contains no filler ingredients, plus it’s formulated with ingredients such as glucosamine and chondroitin, which promote bone and joint health. This dog food does contain grains, which some dogs can be allergic to, so avoid this food if that applies to your dog.

  • Contains grains, which some dogs may be allergic to
  • Contains less protein than any dog food on the list
  • Affordable
  • Low in fat and calories
  • Contains real chicken as the main ingredient

Adirondack 30% Protein High-Fat Recipe Dog Food for Performance Dogs

Main Ingredients: Chicken meal, brown rice, chicken fat
Protein: 30% min.
Fat: 20% min.
Calories: 522 kcal/cup

Adirondack 30% Protein High-Fat Recipe Dog Food is great for active and working dogs, such as Border Collies because it has a higher protein content than other dog foods. This food is designed for both puppies and adult dogs, but it has a really high fat and caloric content compared to other dog foods. It may be a better choice for puppies who need to gain a little weight rather than older adult dogs whose metabolisms have started to slow down some.

Be careful not to overfeed your dog with this food, because it may cause weight gain. However, this food does have plenty of meat-based proteins in it, so your dog’s muscles can still remain healthy as long as he is fed the appropriate amount. Even though it does contain some grains, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing because some grains are nutritious. Just avoid this food if your dog has a grain allergy.

  • High in fat
  • High in calories
  • Contains grains that may cause allergies
  • High in protein
  • Formulated for active dogs
  • Great for puppies and adult dogs

Purina One SmartBlend Healthy Weight High-Protein Formula Dry Dog Food

Purina One SmartBlend
Main Ingredients: Turkey, rice flour, soybean meal
Protein: 27% min.
Fat: 8% min.
Calories: 320 kcal/cup

Purina One SmartBlend Healthy Weight High-Protein Dog Food is great for active dogs that need to maintain a healthy weight. Maybe your dog was a bit overweight and needed to lose some or you want to make sure that he doesn’t become overweight due to a health issue. Whichever the case, this dog food is a good choice because it has a high enough protein content to keep your Collie’s muscles healthy while being very low in fat and calories.

The downside to this food is that it contains only one meat-based protein-turkey- and is lower in protein than other dog foods, although it isn’t the lowest on this list. It also contains a lot of grain ingredients and gluten. Unless your dog needs to maintain a healthy weight for health reasons, it may not be the best choice for your Collie.

  • Contains grains and gluten
  • Contains only one meat-based protein
  • Lower in protein compared to other dog foods
  • Affordable
  • Low in calories
  • Very low fat content

Buyer’s Guide: Finding the Best Dog Foods for Border Collies

When searching for the right food for your border collie, there are a few things to keep in mind. If you take into consideration the activity level of your dog, the ingredients, common ailments of the breed, and price, then you will be moving in the right direction to find the best dog food for your Border Collie. Let’s look at considerations first and tips for ensuring optimal health and vigor so your dog can live a healthy and vibrant life.


Activity Level

Border collies are known as working dogs. Though not every border collie will be used in this manner, they are still highly active, and to keep them lean and fit, they need regular exercise. Each stage of life will require different amounts of calories and nutrients, though the types of nutrients remain relatively the same. It’s best to feed your puppy a food that is specifically made for puppies and then transition to adult food at the appropriate time.

You know that your border collie isn’t happy sitting on the couch all day, so providing plenty of stimulating and vigorous exercise every day is a must. You will want a complementary food that delivers high-quality ingredients formulated for providing energy.



Protein provides essential amino acids that help build strong muscles while supplying needed energy to get through the day. Opt for high-quality protein sources such as meat and meat meal — keep in mind that meat meal contains a higher amount of protein than fresh meat.


The ingredients list is the most important factor to look at when choosing food. A balanced diet includes protein, carbohydrates, fat, fiber, and vitamins and minerals. Fillers and artificial ingredients should be avoided. Fortunately, border collies typically don’t suffer from many food allergies or sensitivities, so you have a wider variety of formulations to choose from.


Border collies will use a high number of calories because they are active and have high metabolisms. The average adult dog will consume 1000 calories per day while an active, working dog can require up to 1,400 calories.


Fat is an essential nutrient to keep your border collie’s skin and coat healthy, as well as provide needed energy. Fats are easy to digest and make the food more enjoyable to eat. Don’t forget about fatty acids too, such as those from fish oils and flaxseed. Fatty acids also support immune function and are essential for normal growth and reproduction.


Vitamins and Minerals

Calcium is an important ingredient for active dogs to keep their bones strong, while other nutrients play an important part in keeping your furry friend healthy. Vitamin E and C support the immune system, and other minerals such as phosphorus and magnesium prevent deficiencies.


Complex carbohydrates such as whole grains provide another source of energy and fiber to your dog’s diet. Fiber keeps your dog full and aids in digestion. Carbohydrates add palatability to the food and provide structure and texture to the kibble to reduce tartar buildup on your dog’s teeth.

Common Ailments of Border Collies

Your dog may or may not suffer from common ailments, but it is good to know what are the most common. Healthy diets provide a strong base to help prevent problems from occurring in the future.

  • Epilepsy: If your border collie suffers from epilepsy, the proportion of protein, fat, and carbohydrates in their food can affect prescribed medications. This would be something to talk to your veterinarian about to make sure you are supplying the correct food.
  • Eye concerns: Providing nutrients that support the eyes in the puppy stage is essential to maintaining eye health throughout a collie’s life. Some issues are genetic, but it doesn’t hurt to provide DHA to your puppy to support healthy eye development.
  • Hip Dysplasia: Due to their active nature, collies with joint problems are not uncommon. Calcium and glucosamine are both examples of ingredients to help maintain healthy joints and bones.

Tips for Feeding Your Border Collie

  • Many border collies will overeat if food is available at all times. Thus, automatic feeders aren’t recommended.
  • Most adult dogs require two meals per day.
  • Though allergies aren’t common in collies, they can still occur, so know the signs of food allergies and sensitivities.
  • Don’t forget that a fresh supply of water is important for keeping your dog healthy.


It can be expensive to feed your dog a gourmet dog food, especially when you have more than one. If you know what nutrients your border collie requires, you can then search for a food within your budget. Providing a high-quality diet may prevent illnesses and other ailments that would cost more in the long run.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, these reviews helped make choosing dog food for your Border Collie a little bit easier. We think that the best overall dog food for Border Collies is The Farmer’s Dog since it is made of high-quality, human-grade ingredients and can be tailored to your dog’s specific needs. The best dog food for the money is American Journey Active Life Formula Dry Dog Food. But even if you don’t end up choosing food from this list, we hope you at least know what to look for when it comes to choosing dog food for your Border Collie.

Edward Hollon is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Edward has been writing for petdii for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners. Edward has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Edward knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.