Are you looking for an energetic and highly trainable family dog? Meet the Border Collie German Shepherd mix, also known as the Shollie!
So, are German Shepherd Border Collie mixes good dogs? Active people and outdoorsy families with children will find that the Shollie is a perfect companion. This designer dog is very protective of its family members, especially kids, and won’t hesitate to defend them. In the right home, the Shollie makes an affectionate, devoted, and energetic pet.
If the Shepherd Border Collie mix seems like the perfect fit for your family, read on! In this article, we’ll tell you more about this hybrid’s temperament, health, and much more to help you decide if the Shollie is the ideal dog for you!
What Is a Border Collie German Shepherd Mix?
As you may have already guessed, the Border Collie German Shepherd mix is a designer breed, developed by crossing a purebred German Shepherd Dog with a purebred Border Collie.
While both parent breeds are recognized by the American Kennel Club, the Shollie is a mixed breed without official recognition.
The history of the Collie German Shepherd mix is a bit murky, but these dogs may have existed naturally over the years.
It’s still unclear when and why designer breeders started to cross Border Collies and German Shepherds. However, the result is a large, athletic, and highly trainable working dog that makes a loyal family companion.
The Border Collie is a working and herding dog breed that hails from the Anglo-Scottish border region. They are highly intelligent, incredibly energetic, and athletic dogs that need a lot of exercises and mental stimulation daily.
German Shepherd Dog
Originally bred to work as herding dogs, German Shepherds quickly evolved into all-purpose working dogs. Often used by police and military forces due to its obedient, highly trainable, and protective nature, the German Shepherd makes a great family pet and a guard dog.
Border Collie German Shepherd Mix
When you mix a GSD with a Border Collie you get a large, athletically built, and highly energetic dog. Highly intelligent and eager to please, Shollies are easy to train but can get bored, frustrated, and destructive without vigorous exercise and mental stimulation.
Characteristics of a Border Collie German Shepherd Mix
While it’s hard to predict the exact appearance of any mixed-breed dog, most Shollies look more like their German Shepherd parents. They tend to have large and muscular bodies, but inherit the floppy ears from their Collie parent.
|Size||Large size dog|
|Coat Type||Medium-long double coat|
|Energy Level||Highly energetic|
|Overall Health||Very good|
Shollies tend to lean towards the German Shepherd parent in terms of appearance so they will likely be large-sized dogs. Most fully grown Shollies are between 21 and 27 inches tall.
Expect your mix to weigh from 70 to 80 pounds. Shollies that take more after their Collie parent usually weigh less.
The American Kennel Club recognizes 11 German Shepherd coat colors and 17 Border Collie colors (source). This means that their mix can sport a wide array of different coat colors and patterns.
The most common Shollie coat colors are:
Shollies inherit a dense, medium-long double coat from their parent breeds. This mixed-breed is considered a heavy shedder which means you’ll have to invest in a powerful pet hair vacuum cleaner and commit to a daily grooming routine.
While Shollies can adapt to all sorts of climates, their thick double coats put them at risk of overheating in very hot weather. To prevent heatstroke, avoid taking your mix outside during the hottest part of the day and make sure they have access to shade and fresh, clean water at all times (source).
True to its parent breeds, Shollie makes a loyal, affectionate, protective, and active companion. These dogs form strong bonds with their human families and are highly protective of them.
The Border Collie German Shepherd mix will form exceptionally strong bonds with children in your family and will exhibit watchful behavior if strangers approach.
Shollies like to spend time with their families and will easily develop separation anxiety if left home alone often. If you have long hours or travel a lot, the Shollie isn’t the right dog for you, as this mix craves companionship and interaction with its owners.
Let’s not forget that Shollies are smart and highly active dogs that need mental stimulation and lots of exercises to stay happy and healthy. When not provided with the things they need, they quickly become frustrated and bored.
A bored Shollie is a recipe for disaster as it will chew, dig, and destroy everything in sight just to have something to do. Shollies are first and foremost working dogs, so make sure you can keep your dog occupied and give them work to do.
When properly socialized and trained from a young age, Shollies usually get along with other pets in the household. Introduce your mix to other cats or dogs in a calm and relaxed setting slowly and supervise all initial interactions.
This mix gets along wonderfully with children and will be highly protective of the youngest members of their pack. Your Shollie will also enjoy playing with kids who can match its endless supplies of energy.
Teach your children how to play and interact with a dog to avoid any ear and tail pulling. It’s also a good idea to supervise your children while playing with your Shollie to prevent injuries to both parties.
Border Collie German Shepherd Mix Care
Like any other dog, this mix needs a dedicated owner who’ll understand its needs and care for its dog properly. When it comes to caring, here’s what you’ll need to do:
The Shollie is considered a generally healthy dog. However, they can inherit health issues that affect both the Border Collie and the German Shepherd.
The most common health problems seen in this mix are:
- Hip dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia
- Collie eye anomaly
- Degenerative myelopathy
The German Shepherd Border Collie mix has an average lifespan of 13 to 15 years, which is quite a lot for such a large dog.
Grooming and Maintenance
Shollies have dense and straight medium-length coats. Besides being a heavy shedder, this mix also has high grooming needs.
This hybrid sheds all year round and blows its coat in the spring and fall, so you’ll have to commit to daily brushing. Brush your Shollie regularly to remove loose hair and prevent mats and tangles from forming.
During the shedding season, consider using a de-shedding tool to remove the loose undercoat before it gets embedded in your furniture and carpets.
The good news is that Shollies are clean dogs, so you won’t have to bathe your pooch often. Once every three months or earlier if necessary will be enough to keep your dog looking and smelling its best.
The rest is basic care and involves nail clipping, teeth brushing, and ear cleaning. Shollies have floppy ears that put them at an increased risk of ear infections (source). To prevent painful ear problems, check your dog’s ear weekly for waxy buildup and debris and clean when necessary.
Food or Diet
An ideal diet for a Shollie should be formulated for large size dogs with high energy. If you expect your dog to work and herd cattle or sheep, feed them food specially formulated for working dogs.
When choosing the best food for your dog make sure it contains high levels of protein and that it’s made of high-quality ingredients. To prevent overeating and obesity, stick to a regular feeding schedule of two to three smaller meals a day for an adult dog.
Training and Exercise
Shollies have high energy levels and need at least an hour of intense exercise, split into a few shorter exercise sessions. Simply taking your mix for a walk around the block won’t do, as Shollies need open fields to run as fast as they can.
Besides running, this mix excels at agility and other canine sports and also loves to play. Games such as fetch, flyball, Frisbee, tug-of-war, and hide and seek are great ways to keep your mix exercised and entertained at the same time.
The highly intelligent and obedient Shollies are highly trainable, even if you are a novice owner. These dogs don’t respond well to harsh corrections, yelling, and dominance-focused training methods, so don’t even go there.
Naturally eager to please and food motivated, this mix responds well to reward-based training and positive reinforcement. Use treats, toys, and praise to reward good behavior and simply ignore negative behavior to train your mix.
Due to their high intelligence, Shollies need to be mentally stimulated and training should be an ongoing process for this mix. Once your pooch learns basic commands, start teaching them more complex commands and tricks to keep their minds occupied.
Besides training, you should also start socializing your mix from puppyhood. Shollies are naturally aloof around strangers and can exhibit guarding behavior, so early socialization is a must.
Although large in size, Shollies should live inside where they can spend time and interact with their families. Due to their high energy levels and build, this mix is best suited for homes with fenced backyards or life on a farm or a ranch.
While a Shollie can adjust to living in a larger apartment, you must commit to a regular exercise and training plan that will keep your mix physically and mentally challenged. Otherwise, your Shollie will become frustrated and develop destructive behaviors.
Where to Get a Border Collie German Shepherd Mix?
When you are looking to add a new dog to your family, there are only two things you can do. Either adopt or shop!
Border Collie German Shepherd Mix Breeders
The Border Collie German Shepherd mix is becoming an increasingly popular family companion. But there aren’t many breeders that make puppies regularly available.
You’ll have to do some legwork and extensive research to find a reputable breeder and may even need to travel to another state to meet and pick up your puppy.
Talk with the breeder about meeting the puppies and their parents, and check if they have health certificates and proper documentation for their dogs.
Border Collie German Shepherd Mix Price
The Border Collie German Shepherd mix puppies on average cost from $450 to $1000 from a reputable breeder. Prices can vary greatly and depend on a lot of factors including the location, breeder, lineage, and coat color.
While technically designer dogs, many Shollies end up in shelters and rescue organizations because their previous owners misjudged the amount of exercise and training these dogs need. Consider adoption if you believe that this mix is a perfect fit for your family!
Contact your local shelter and rescue organizations to see if they have any Shollies for adoption. To increase your chances of finding the dog of your dreams, reach out to Border Collie and German Shepherd breed-specific rescue groups as they take in mixed-breed dogs too.
The Border Collie German Shepherd mix is an increasingly popular companion and a family dog. Nicknamed the Shollie, this designer hybrid forms strong bonds with its family and becomes very attached to children.
Shollies are very active and athletic dogs that need at least an hour of intense exercise every day, otherwise, they can quickly turn bored and destructive. If you prefer to relax in front of the TV and lead a sedentary lifestyle, the Shollie isn’t the right dog for you!
This mix is best suited to active families and outdoorsy people who enjoy being out and about with their dogs and can commit to daily play sessions and vigorous activities.