Not many people are aware of the intelligent, athletic, and devoted Shollie. A mix between the Border Collie and the German Shepherd, the Shollie combines a number of unique traits that are both incredible and somewhat overwhelming.
As such, the German Shepherd Border Collie Mix will not be the right dog for everyone. But for those looking to invest in a dog with masterful skill, this mix may be your perfect match.
Are you interested in learning more about the German Shepherd Border Collie Mix? Then you’ve come to the right place. Let’s get started!
What Is A Border Collie German Shepherd Mix?
The German Shepherd Border Collie mix is a cross between two very intelligent purebred dogs.
The German Shepherd Border Collie Mix is considered a crossbreed dog. Also known as a hybrid, mixed breed, or designer dog, the Border Collie German Shepherd Mix is the offspring of the purebred German Shepherd and the purebred Border Collie.
While crossbreeding dogs has been ongoing for centuries, the practice has exploded in popularity over the last two decades. The buying and selling of newer generation hybrids like the Border Collie German Shepherd Mix has caused somewhat of a stir amongst breeders and canine enthusiasts, which has led to the recent crossbreed craze becoming somewhat controversial.
There are a few reasons crossbreed dogs are surrounded by debate. One of the main reasons is because hybrid dogs like the Border Collie German Shepherd Mix are considered less predictable than their purebred counterparts.
This is because it takes generations of careful breeding for a crossbreed dog to be considered a purebred dog, and the buying and selling of newer generation hybrids mean that people could wind up with dogs that are unpredictable when it comes to temperament, health, and appearance.
Another reason the buying and selling of newer generation crossbreed dogs are controversial is that they are often being sold for just as much as purebred dogs.
However, there are benefits to obtaining a crossbreed like the German Shepherd Border Collie Mix, and this often comes down to health and lifespan.
Purebred dogs, while more predictable than crossbreeds, do tend to struggle disproportionately from certain genetic health issues due to the fact they have been overbred for centuries. Crossbreeding dogs actually widens their gene pool, thus giving them a less likely chance of inheriting specific genetic health issues from one parent over the other.
This is what is known as hybrid vigor, or the idea that mixed breed dogs have the potential to be healthier than purebred dogs.
While the idea is promising, it is not widely accepted by everyone. Some insist that genetics are genetics and crossbreed dogs may be just as susceptible as their purebred counterparts to genetic health issues.
Whichever side of the fence you rest on, the reality is that a crossbreed dog, just like a purebred, has a unique set of traits, temperamental qualities, and health issues.
With that noted, let’s take a moment to look over a brief breed overview of the German Shepherd Border Collie Mix.
THE BORDER COLLIE GERMAN SHEPHERD MIX BREED OVERVIEW:
Parent Breeds: The Border Collie and the German Shepherd Mix
Height: 21 to 29 Inches
Weight: 45 to 80 Pounds
Temperament: Energetic, Protective, Intelligent, Devoted
Health Issues: Bloat, Diabetes, Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Epilepsy, Cataracts, Hemophilia, Degenerative Disc Disease, Osteochondritis Dissecans, Lens Luxation, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Collie Eye Anomaly, Hypothyroidism, and Patent Ductus Arteriosus
Lifespan: 11 to 15 Years
Best Suited For: More experienced dog owners
While both the German Shepherd and the Border Collie have similar traits, they are also very different. The best way to gauge what your Border Collie German Shepherd Mix will look and behave like will be to take a closer look at his parent breeds.
Let’s begin with the German Shepherd.
Meet The German Shepherd
German Shepherds are famous working dogs.
The German Shepherd, as his name suggests, is a German-bred dog designed for herding and protecting ranches and farms on the hillsides of Germany during the 1800s. Due to his incredible intelligence, trainability and devotion, the German Shepherd has gone on to make a name for himself as one of the most famous breeds for military dogs, police dogs, therapy dogs, search and rescue dogs, and companion dogs.
German Shepherds are known for being incredibly loyal, but they are happiest when they have a job to do. They can get along well with children when well trained and socialized, but they can develop guarding instincts and become territorial if temperaments aren’t managed.
Like many herding dogs, the German Shepherd is athletic and energetic. He is a shedding dog that requires routine brushing and grooming, and he has a lifespan of between nine and 13 years.
Meet The Border Collie
The Border Collie is considered one of the most intelligent herding dogs in the world.
Also known as the Scotch Shepherd, the Border Collie is a Scottish herding dog bred for his intelligence, athleticism, and work ethic. Border Collies are actually considered some of the most intelligent dogs in the canine kingdom, often excelling in the show ring when it comes to agility and obedience.
In fact, Border Collies are so talented at what they were originally bred to do that they are still some of the most sought-after herding dogs in the world today.
They also make wonderful working dogs, therapy dogs, and family dogs.
When properly raised, trained, and socialized, Border Collie dogs can do well with children and other pets. However, they have incredible herding instincts and can be prone to trying to herd small children and animals around the home or yard by nipping at their heels.
This can be overwhelming for smaller children and this behavior will need to be worked with early on to keep it from becoming a problem in your dog’s future.
With an average lifespan of between 10 and 15 years, the Border Collie can suffer from some unique health issues any owner of one of these breeds or their mixes should be aware of.
We will discuss these health issues further down, but for now, let’s move on and talk about what your potential Border Collie German Shepherd mix might behave like.
What Is The Border Collie German Shepherd Mix Dog’s Temperament Like?
This type of dog is known as a hybrid, and as such he comes with some controversies.
Are you interested in obtaining a family-friendly, energetic and intelligent dog? Then look no further than the Border Collie German Shepherd Mix. This is a crossbreed dog that is adventurous, courageous, intelligent, and athletic. When properly raised, trained, and socialized, the Border Collie German Shepherd Mix does well with children and other pets.
However, keep in mind that the Border Collie German Shepherd Mix could inherit different personality traits from each of his parent breeds.
The German Shepherd, for example, maybe a bred herding dog, but he can also have some guarding instincts as he was simultaneously used to protect the flock and his territory from predators or trespassers.
The Border Collie is also a protective dog, though this is a breed that is very honed in on its job and is incredibly work-oriented.
This means that you can expect your Border Collie German Shepherd Mix to be focused, work-oriented, intelligent, protective, and athletic.
A dog with these traits is going to do best in homes with more experienced owners and certainly with families or owners that are active and can keep up with this hybrid dog’s amount of energy.
If you do plan on raising your Border Collie German Shepherd Mix with children, it’s important to not only train and socialize your dog accordingly but to teach youngsters the appropriate ways to interact with the family dog.
Remind children that dogs don’t like hugs and kisses, and teach them safe and respectful ways to interact and play.
It’s also a good idea to work with children on how to understand basic canine body language. This can help teach children when a dog is feeling stressed, anxious, or fearful. Understanding your dog’s body language and the way he communicates may not only help prevent a bite in the future, but it can help strengthen the bond built between you and your four-legged friend.
What Are The Exercise And Mental Stimulation Needs Of A German Shepherd?
When properly raised, trained, and socialized, this mix can make a wonderful family dog.
Seeing as the Border Collie German Shepherd Mix is a bred working and herding dog, it should come as no surprise that this is a crossbreed that is going to need plenty of exercise each and every day in order to stay happy and healthy.
Remember, this is also a mixed breed that is going to be happiest when he has a job to do, so routine exercise and dog toys may not do the trick when it comes to keeping the Border Collie German Shepherd Mix properly stimulated both mentally and physically.
When it comes to physical exercise, a good hour or two of dedicated exercise each day should do the trick. This can be broken up into morning and evening walks, good jogs, hikes, or swims.
Along with this dedicated exercise, the Border Collie German Shepherd Mix will also need plenty of free playtime in a securely fenced backyard or dog run.
When you are walking your dog, it’s important to use proper walking equipment to ensure the walk is safe and comfortable for you both. Avoid using walking equipment like prong collars or choke chains to reduce pulling, as these types of equipment are not only painful for your dog but also ineffective and even dangerous.
Instead, we recommend using front-clip no pull dog harnesses like the one listed below.
Pet Safe Easy Walk Front Clip Harness
When it comes to walking a Border Collie German Shepherd Mix, we recommend the above front clip Pet Safe Easy Walk Dog Harness. This harness fits over your dog’s body snuggly and is designed to clip in the front to provide an easy, comfortable, and natural feeling outing for your dog.
The front clip reduces the amount of pressure put on your dog’s chest or throat, in turn reducing his natural urge to pull forward.
If your dog does pull ahead during walks, the front clip will gently redirect him back to you without harming him. When using treats and praise during walks along with this type of walking equipment, you will be able to teach your dog proper walking manners quickly and effectively.
Of course, along with physical exercise, the intelligent Border Collie German Shepherd Mix is also going to need plenty of mental exercises.
A working dog through and through, the Border Collie German Shepherd Mix will want to have a purpose in the home to be fulfilled. You can help tap into this by teaching your Border Collie German Shepherd Mix to help out with a few household chores.
Some common chores a dog can help with around the home include sorting the laundry, loading the dishwasher, bringing in the paper or mail, and other such activities.
We also recommend taking time each day to dedicate to training or teaching your dog new queues. The Border Collie German Shepherd Mix is a quick study and will enjoy being challenged.
Homemade obstacle courses around your home using furniture or in your backyard using toys or patio equipment will not only help keep your Border Collie German Shepherd Mix in shape but also keep him mentally stimulated. He will appreciate any challenges you give him, especially when they are rewarded with treats and tons of praise.
When you’re away, you might consider purchasing toys like KONGS for large breed dogs that you can fill with your dog’s favorite goodies to help keep him busy. Puzzle toys are also a great option for intelligent, work-oriented dogs like the Border Collie German Shepherd Mix.
Outward Hound Ninna Ottosson Puzzle Toy
One of our favorite puzzle toys for brainy breeds is the above puzzle toy by Outward Hound. This toy utilizes treats and trap doors to help challenge your dog and make him work for the prizes hidden within. These types of toys can be ordered separately and come at different levels depending on your dog’s skill set.
They are made with dog-safe materials and can help keep your dog busy, thus reducing the chances of him becoming bored or destructive when you are busy or away.
How Do You Groom A Border Collie German Shepherd Mix?
Grooming needs for this mixed breed could vary depending on the coat length of each parent breed that is inherited.
When it comes to grooming a Border Collie German Shepherd Mix, you’re going to want to stock up on some good deshedding combs, undercoat rakes, and dematting combs.
Both the German Shepherd and the Border Collie can come in two coat types, and longer-haired parent breeds will result in longer-haired offspring.
If your Border Collie German Shepherd Mix has a longer coat, he could be more prone to developing matting and knots. This is also a dog that sheds heavily and year-round, but especially during shedding season in spring and fall.
As such, the Border Collie German Shepherd Mix will need to be brushed at least a few times a week, but sometimes more during shedding season. Routine brushing will help collect loose hair and debris, and will also help reduce doggy odor.
Speaking of doggy odor, the Border Collie German Shepherd Mix has a double coat that is weather-resistant and relatively self-cleaning. This means he will not need to be bathed as often as you might think, with routine bathing being needed just once every six weeks or so.
Avoid overbathing your Border Collie German Shepherd Mix, as this could lead to a breakdown in the natural oils his skin produces that help to keep his coat healthy and shiny.
When you are bathing your Border Collie German Shepherd Mix, be sure to use a shampoo free of parabens, dyes, or alcohol, and make sure you are using a shampoo specified for canine use.
Burts Bees Dog Shampoo
We like the above natural dog shampoo by Burts Bees because it uses natural ingredients that are safe and effective on a number of different coat types.
This product is made with dogs in mind and is free of any ingredients that could potentially harm your dog’s coat. It can also help soothe itching and reduce skin irritation or allergies, and this shampoo provides long-lasting odor protection, which is always a plus!
Your Border Collie German Shepherd Mix will also need to have his nails trimmed or ground down every two weeks or so to prevent them from cracking or splitting during play, and you should take special care to ensure his ears are free of waxy buildup, moisture, or debris. This can help prevent ear infections from developing down the road that can be painful, stinky, and even costly to treat.
Last, be sure you pay special attention to your Border Collie German Shepherd Mix dog’s teeth.
Canine dental disease is one of the most common forms of illnesses dogs suffer from across the board. To help prevent your Border Collie German Shepherd Mix from suffering from this ailment, it’s best to schedule routine vet visits to get his teeth cleaned. Between these visits, you can also brush your dog’s teeth once a day using a dog-safe toothbrush and toothpaste.
Let’s Talk About Training And Socialization
The Border Collie German Shepherd Mix is an active, intelligent dog.
All dogs require proper socialization and training at an early age and throughout their lifetime in order to ensure they are happy, healthy, and well-rounded.
The Border Collie German Shepherd Mix is no exception, and in fact, may require more routine training and socialization daily to help reduce problematic behaviors due to his intelligence and high energy level.
When it comes to socialization, this practice should include introducing your dog to as many new experiences as possible as early as possible, preferably during puppyhood. These experiences should include new environments, sights, sounds, strangers, children, other dogs and cats, and more.
Ensuring these experiences are positive for your Border Collie German Shepherd Mix is important to help reduce fearful reactions and behaviors down the road. However, it’s just as important not to force your dog into a situation that he is already clearly frightened of, as this could exasperate fears further and lead to future problems.
Along with socialization, it’s also important to begin training your dog early on. When training a Border Collie German Shepherd Mix, it’s best to use positive reinforcement techniques like treats and praise as opposed to punishment, scolding, or fear-based tactics.
In fact, studies have shown that aversive training methods can actually be harmful to your dog and lead to a higher chance of aggressive behaviors down the road. Furthermore, your dog is less likely to learn and more likely to shut down.
When training a very intelligent dog like the Border Collie German Shepherd Mix, you may notice that he will become stubborn or aloof. This is especially true if training sessions are not kept short, game-like, and fun.
Be patient and consistent with your dog, and work to build a strong and lasting bond with him to help ensure training is successful and fun for both of you.
When you are training your dog, it’s also important to use quality dog treats that are considered high-value. High-value dog treats are treats that are going to be small, chewy, and very smelly.
Zuke’s Mini Training Treats
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The above dog treats by Zuke’s have all the traits that make treats high-value for a successful training experience. We also like that these treats are low in calories, so you can feed many to your dog at once during training sessions without feeling guilty.
Remember, it’s imperative that you invest in quality food products for this hybrid, as he can suffer from some serious health issues that may be exasperated by a poor diet.
And on this note, it’s now time to talk about the Border Collie German Shepherd Mix dog’s potential health issues.
Is The Border Collie German Shepherd Mix A Healthy Hybrid?
Though relatively healthy, the Border Collie German Shepherd Mix can struggle with genetic health issues.
The Border Collie German Shepherd Mix is a crossbreed dog, and as we now know crossbreed dogs can have the benefit of hybrid vigor.
However, this is not always guaranteed and we should point out that any dog can be susceptible to any and all of the same health issues as its purebred parents. For the Border Collie German Shepherd mix, who has a lifespan of between 11 and 15 years, these health issues include but may not be limited to:
- Hip Dysplasia
- Elbow Dysplasia
- Degenerative Disc Disease
- Osteochondritis Dissecans
- Lens Luxation
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy
- Collie Eye Anomaly
- And Patent Ductus Arteriosus
As with any dog, it can be difficult to predict which genetic health issues your Border Collie German Shepherd Mix could inherit. However, there are ways to stay on top of your dog’s health early to ensure he has the happiest, healthiest life possible.
Get Your Puppy or Rescue Dog From A Reputable Source
One of the best ways to ensure you have a healthy Border Collie German Shepherd Mix is to ensure you get your puppy or rescue from a reputable source. When going through a breeder, look for those who are qualified and have experience in breeding the particular dog you are interested in.
Reputable breeders should be able to provide you with paperwork proving their dogs have been health screened and cleared of any serious health issues.
Avoid backyard breeders, online sellers, or breeders who are not certified. It’s also important to avoid breeders selling puppies for much more or much less than you know them to be worth without the proper paperwork.
If you go through a rescue or shelter, choose the one you trust and do plenty of research. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and be sure you communicate about your lifestyle and the type of dog you are looking for.
Consider Having Your Dog Health Screened Early
If you do go through a shelter or rescue, you may not be presented with paperwork proving health. That’s okay. You can always get your dog’s health screened yourself using a doggy DNA kit. These kits can provide you with plenty of information on your dog from health to genetics.
Keep Your Dog On A Quality Dog Food
Quality dog food can help prevent a number of health issues down the road. All dogs should be on dog food that is specified for their particular age, weight, and activity level.
For the Border Collie German Shepherd Mix, this means their dog food should be specified for large breed dogs. Make sure it contains a good source of vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, carbs, and protein that your dog needs to thrive.
Avoid dog foods that contain fillers, additives, byproducts, corn, soy, wheat, or gluten. We should also note here that the Border Collie German Shepherd Mix can be prone to suffering from a condition known as Bloat.
The risk of Bloat can be reduced by investing in a slow feeder or puzzle feeder to help reduce the amount of air your dog swallows during mealtime.
Make Sure You Schedule Routine Vet Visits
Routine vet visits and wellness checks are key to ensuring your Border Collie German Shepherd mix is happy and healthy as he ages. Most veterinarians recommend that large breed dogs like the Shollie be seen once a year until they are seven, and then twice a year after that.
Grooming, Exercise, And Training Are Key!
Last, make sure you keep up with proper grooming, exercise, and training for your Border Collie German Shepherd Mix. These are all things your dog will need to have consistently throughout his life. Not only will they ensure he is healthy physically, but also mentally.
Best of all, ensuring you have a proper grooming, exercise, and training routine with your Shollie dog will help cement a lifelong bond between the two of you, and you can’t beat that!
Is The Border Collie German Shepherd Mix Right For You?
These dogs are definitely going to benefit from a home with a backyard. (the Border Collie German Shepherd Mix)
While the Border Collie German Shepherd Mix may not be the right dog for everyone, he can make the perfect canine companion for the right family or owner.
Of course, before you decide it’s important to weigh the pros and cons to ensure you and the Shollie dog are a good match.
Remember, the Border Collie German Shepherd Mix does best with more experienced dog owners who have a good understanding of working breeds. This is a dog that requires lots of exercise and mental stimulation each and every day and is happiest when he is in a home with a family that can be around him often.
This hybrid does well with children and other pets when well trained and socialized, though he could exhibit some guarding instincts and may be wary of strangers from time to time.
A high-energy dog, the Shollie will enjoy having a backyard to play in and an owner who is active and can keep up with his level of energy each day. Is that owner you?
Tell us if the Border Collie German Shepherd mix is your doggy match in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!
Jen Jones is a professional dog trainer and behavior specialist with more than 25 years of experience. As the founder of ‘Your Dog Advisor’ and the ‘Canine Connection’ rehabilitation center, she applies a holistic, empathetic approach, aiming to address root causes rather than merely treating symptoms.
Well known for her intuitive and compassionate approach, Jen adopts scientifically-proven, reward-based methods, encouraging positive reinforcement over punishment. Jen specializes in obedience training, behavior modification, and puppy socialization. Her innovative methods, particularly in addressing anxiety and aggression issues, have been widely recognized. Jen has worked with many of the world’s leading dog behaviorists and in her free time volunteers with local animal shelters and rescue groups.