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Border Collie German Shepherd Mix – Yay Or Nay?

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The so-called Shollie is an energetic little beast that needs a lot of space and playtime to express his never-resting spirit.

Wondering whether or not the mix between German Shepherd and Border Collie is the right fit for you?

Let’s check out what’s good in this crossbreed and what may speak against you bringing one home.

A short overview of the history from the two respective breeds.

Border Collies originate from Scotland and the word ‘collie’ is used in the Scottish language to describe sheepdogs.

These dogs were mostly found in the border region of the country (guess where the name of the breed came from).

The German Shepherds originated in the early 1900s in Germany. Despite their wolf-like resemblance, they too were developed as working dogs, specifically for herding sheep.

As the number of farms declined, the police took them over making them the ultimate police dogs.

We will explore different aspects and traits of each breed and what happens when they are combined.

  1. Trainability
  2. Exercise/Strength
  3. Temperament
  4. Leadership
  5. Health
  6. Grooming/Coat
  7. Size
  8. Cost

These crossbreeds or mix-breed dogs can be found in breed-specific rescues and shelters all around the world.

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German Shepherd Border Collie mix perks his ears up in the forest. The tri-color face has black and light tan parts as well as white. The coat is a shade of grey and black.

Personally, I’d avoid buying a Shollie from a breeder. Breeding two different dog breeds is a genetic gamble that can turn out to be a disaster.

Although most breeders will try and convince you that the resulting crossbreed gets the best from both of the parents, that’s not true. You can never know what you get.

The puppy can have the worst traits of both of the parents, the best traits, or somewhere in between. But one thing is for sure – you can never be sure.

Let’s see what we can expect of the Border Collie and the German Shepherd Dog crossbreed.

Trainability

Border Collies are the canine superstars of training. They are superior at obedience, agility, and herding.

This especially bright workaholic enjoys being trained and kept occupied with activities.

Working brings them happiness, but lack of work sparks unhappiness as well.

With their police dog background, it’s no surprise that German Shepherds too consistently bring forth high-performing dogs when it comes to training.

They are eager to please and work hard. It’s best to keep them included in all family activities because the more they bond, the easier the training becomes.

It’s needless to say that your Shollie will be one hell of a training candidate. If you have enough time to devote to long obedience and agility training sessions, you are in for a firmly trained companion.

Exercise/Strengths

A German Shepherd Border Collie mix needs to be exercised physically as well as mentally on a regular basis.

Even though you don’t have to overdo outdoor activities with them, walking a fair distance twice a day is a bare minimum.

Border Collies need a lot of exercise. The ones that don’t work and aren’t participating in agility, tracking, rally, or obedience competitions need even more physical stimulation.

Both breeds are strong and fast, so a Border Collie and German Shepherd mix will definitely be a strong and athletic pooch.

No matter which breed traits dominate, any Shollie is a dog that loves and needs exercise.

In cases when the Border Collie side of the crossbreed is more expressed, the owners will need to start putting their running sneakers on more often.

Mental exercise is extremely important too so make sure you have enough mentally demanding tasks and games.

Temperament

A Shollie may turn out to be either suspicious of strangers or on the shy side, so don’t rely upon any one of these two breed’s traits and work heavily on socialization.

Border Collies are affectionate dogs, perfect for families with children on the older side.

Although relaxed among people they know, strangers can make them shy a bit.

GSD’s tend to show themselves off as noble beings. They are steady, confident, and courageous.

The loyalty to their families makes them delightful protectors.

Being overprotective of his family can make a German Shepherd dog a bit untrustworthy towards strangers.

German Shepherd lies down next to a black and white Border Collie.

Does that mean that a crossbreed afraid of strangers has more Collie Traits and the one barking at them is more of a GSD? – Well, probably.

But a dog’s temperament is a really complex thing influenced by many factors.

Early socialization, responsible ownership, traumatic events in life, feeding habits, puppy class, type of household can all affect the dog’s character.

Keep in mind that any dog can be a good dog. It’s the same with this crossbreed. They can be a good fit for families with children and even with other pets.

Leadership

Border Collies require that you show interest in their training and give a lot of affirmation and encouragement.

Keeping their attention is pretty easy if you have prepared a variety of training activities.

German Shepherds start their training early in their lives. Work ethic? These guys are on point.

That’s as long as you keep your steady tone and show firm character.

Oh, and not to forget the breeding line, there are lazy GSDs for sure, so be upfront about what you’re seeking.

A Shollie is a dog that needs a consistent leader to show him what to train and how to do it and reward him if he does that right.

It’s pretty unlikely that you’ll encounter stubborn behavior with this breed (apart from the puppy shenanigans).

If that happens there is a great chance that checking your training regimen is the best place to start.

Health

The biggest health concern in German Shepherds is hip dysplasia.

This musculoskeletal degenerative process affects an astonishing 20% of the German Shepherd population.

While GSDs from 50 years ago had a lot fewer issues with their hips, due to irresponsible breeding now every fifth dog has hip dysplasia.

Obesity, over-exercise, and injuries can all contribute to hip problems, but the issue is an inherited one and sooner or later it will become clinically significant.

Hip dysplasia is a common disease in Border Collies as well, but the main difference is that it develops in older dogs that had pretty active lives and their joints simply wore out.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a degenerative disease common in both Border Collies and German Shepherds.

The photoreceptors in the eye start dying out and what starts as night blindness can result in complete blindness within 12 months of the onset of symptoms.

German Shepherds are more susceptible to cancer than most other dog breeds.

Most frequent neoplasia cases in GSDs include hemangiosarcomas, melanoma, lymphoma, and osteosarcomas.

POA (Patent Ductus Arteriosus) is a heart defect commonly observed in Border Collies.

The condition makes the left side of the heart become overly loaded with blood and can ultimately lead to heart failure.

Generally speaking, both breeds are pretty healthy. The diseases they are recognizable for are inherited.

If there is a health certificate from their parents they are free from such diseases you can be at ease.

If the dog is adopted from a shelter (hopefully) and suffers from an inherited problem, don’t plan on breeding him/her and cause more puppies to potentially carry these genetic issues.

The life expectancy for a Shellie is somewhere between 10 and 14 years.

Grooming/Coat

Border Collies can have two types of coats – smooth and rough.

In both cases, the coat consists of an outer layer and a soft undercoat. The rough type is medium length and the smooth one is a short coat.

Senior German Shepherd Border Collie mix with a leash attached lies on the grass.

Their grooming requirements are pretty basic. Weekly brushing is enough to prevent matting and distribute the coat oils equally all over the body.

Giving a tidier appearance can be achieved by trimming the back of the legs although this isn’t done for practical reasons – only aesthetics.

German Shepherds are dogs with a medium-length coat with a softer inner layer and hard outer layer.

Brushing them every 3-4 days is enough to remove loose hairs. During shedding season they need to be brushed more frequently.

So basically your Shollie is pretty low-maintenance when it comes to grooming. Just a medium-coat that might need an extra brush once in a while.

Size

Expect your Shollie to be between 20-24 inches (51-61cm) with a weight of around 40-65 pounds (18-29kg).

Border Collie is a middle-sized dog breed. Adult males have 19-22 inches (48-56 cm) height and females have 18-21 inches (46-53 cm).

A full-grown dog of this breed weighs between 30-55 pounds (13.5-25 kg).

German Shepherds fall under the medium to large-sized dogs category.

The breed standard for adult males is 24-26 inches (60-65 cm) and for females is 22-24 inches (55-60 cm).

They can weigh somewhere between 50 -90 pounds (27-41 kg).

Border Collie and German Shepherd mix dogs have higher chances of being middle-sized dogs, while some male individuals with more significant GSD anatomic trains can be considered a large breed.

Cost

Depending on your location, it may not be so easy to find a Shollie in your local shelter.

However, a lot of owners of this crossbreed decide to give them up quite soon (not that that’s ever a good idea).

That’s because of the fact that most of the owners weren’t prepared or didn’t have enough time and resources to take care of a larger dog.

If you are willing to adopt one, the price can vary from $200-$500.

Even though there are breeders of this precise crossbreed, it’s better to bring an abandoned one to your home and show him the bright side of life.

These dogs are perfect for a house in the suburbs or the farming fields. If you are residing in a flat it will be a bit more difficult to keep your Shollie happy, but with enough time spent outside that won’t be a problem.

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About Danielle
I am the founder of PawLeaks where I share weekly tips on dog training and behavior. Sharing a passion for dogs and helping owners to solve problems through understanding canine behavior and modification is my number one goal.