The Shollie: All about the Border Collie German Shepherd Mix

Last Updated on April 25, 2023

The Border Collie German Shepherd mix is a hybrid of two beautiful dogs of the herding group, the German Shepherd (GSD) and the Border Collie.

In terms of looks and temperament, this mix can be best described as a half-German Shepherd, half-Border Collie combination.

The Border Collie-Shepherd mix is also often referred to as the Shollie. Let’s dive in and learn more about this unique hybrid!

German Shepherd Border Collie Mix with a leash lying in the grass

The Border Collie German Shepherd mix’s origin

The Shollie has become a favorite designer dog over the last two decades.

The quest for the ultimate large dog with a combination of athleticism, agility, and a protective and playful nature may have been the driving force in creating this crossbreed.

To know more about the Border Collie-German Shepherd mix, let us peek into the history and traits of its parent breeds.

The Border Collie

Originating from Great Britain, the Border Collie was used as herding dogs for sheep and cattle around the borders of England and Scotland, a job that earned the breed its name.

The word collie is Scottish-Gaelic for ‘sheepdog’.

Border Collie sitting outside
Border Collie

These dogs’ history started when the Romans occupied Great Britain. The Romans brought along their large herding dogs, which interbred with the Spitzes that traveled with Viking raiders. Thus, the Border Collie was created.

They became quite popular during the 1800s because of their efficiency as sheepdogs; even Queen Victoria became quite taken with them.

However, it wasn’t until 1995 that the American Kennel Club officially recognized their breed.

Ranked as the smartest dog breed today, Border Collies are fast learners and are energetic, hardworking, and alert. They are also lovable and faithful companions.

The German Shepherd

At the end of the 19th century, German cavalry officer Max Von Stephanitz decided to breed a dog that was not only good at herding but was smart and agile as well. Thus, the German Shepherd came to be.

He became useful as a messenger, sentry, and supply-carrying dog and rescuer during both World Wars. The American Kennel Club officially recognized this breed in 1908.

German Shepherd in the snow
German Shepherd

The German Shepherd is strong, athletic, and intelligent. He can be both a hardworking military canine and a loving, affectionate, and protective family pet.

Although its parent breeds are officially recognized by the American Kennel Club, the German Shepherd Collie mix doesn’t enjoy the same distinction.

However, he has been recognized by the American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC) and the Dog Registry of America, Inc. (DRA).

What does a Border Collie German Shepherd mix look like?

Border Collie-German Shepherd mix sitting in the grass
Source: @rosietotherescue_ / IG

This lovable mixed breed has gained much popularity because of its unique appearance and amiable behavior.

This Shepherd-Collie hybrid has a large, athletic, and muscular body, so it is often used as a working dog.

Most of them have almond-shaped eyes with an intense, intelligent expression highlighted by their colored eyebrows.

Their eye color ranges from blue and hazel to brown and amber and their ears are slightly floppy, giving them a friendly look.

His coat is smooth and silky, and he’s likely to inherit the double coat of the GSD and the Border Collie. Most of these hybrids have a less bushy tail compared to the German Shepherd.

The Shepherd Collie’s coat colors are varied, too, including cream, black, tan, sable, white, blue merle, red, and brindle, among others.

Many of them will have tan-colored coats like their GSD parents. There are white German Shepherd-Border Collie crosses as well, but these are rare as these dogs are commonly bi-colored.

Check out these two young Shollies enjoying the outdoors.

How big do Border Collie German Shepherd mixes get?

This is a medium to large-sized crossbreed. It weighs around 45 to 80 pounds (20 to 36 kg) and stands about 22 to 29 inches (56 to 74 cm) tall.

Typically, male Shepherd-Collies are bigger, with a height of 27 to 29 inches (69 to 74 cm). Female Collie-Shepherd crosses stand between 22 to 25 inches (56 to 64 cm) tall.

A smart, affectionate family dog

The German Shepherd Collie Mix is intelligent and driven but he’s also a loving dog. They are gentle dogs that love interacting with children and other animals. He loves to be the center of attention and is affectionate with family members.

This playful crossbreed likes to be part of family activities and are usually friendly. However, they may be aloof around strangers and people they’re unfamiliar with.

They are above-average when it comes to energy levels and intelligence. They are the perfect working dogs since a job helps keep their body and mind active.

Shollie playing in the snow
Source: @rosietotherescue_ / IG

These dogs need plenty of socialization because of their protective nature, and they should be introduced to pets and children at an early age. This makes them more adjusted and less defensive when there are new people or other dogs around.

The GSD-Border Collie cross is a great family dog, but it does need supervision when interacting with young kids because of its size and strength.

Does the Shollie bark often?

The Collie Shepherd rarely barks for no reason. Because of their protective nature, they may bark to alert you or when they sense a threat to you and your family.

Since it’s not a yappy dog, this crossbreed is suitable for apartment living, as it won’t disturb your neighbors with incessant noise.

How much activity does this crossbreed need?

A regular exercise routine ensures that these dogs remain well-behaved and keeps their temperament in check.

Border Collie German Shepherd mixes require 60-minute walks two times every day for physical and mental stimulation. They need an average of 12 miles of walking per week, but swimming is a good alternative workout for these dogs, too.

Shollie drinking from a stream
Source: @_rbsphotography / IG

It is also essential for these crossbreeds to have ample off-leash playtime. A two or three-hour playdate with other dogs in the park is an excellent way to familiarize your Border Collie German Shepherd mix with other animals while helping it expend its energy.

Interactive toys and games like playing fetch and catching frisbees also help with their mental development. All this activity will keep this dog from getting bored and ensuring that its mind stays sharp and alert.

Like their German Shepherd parents, they will also excel in canine sports like agility, obedience, herding trials, as well as flyball.

Training an intelligent crossbreed

A German Shepherd Border Collie Mix is highly trainable and one of the best guard dogs you can have in your home. They have the protective and defensive instincts of their parents.

Like with most dogs, it is best to start training your Shollie at an early age. This will reduce the likelihood of your dog developing aggressive tendencies towards other pets and family members.

These dogs will bark at strangers and animals they’re not familiar with, especially if they’re not socialized properly.

Training your German Shepherd Border Collie mix to stop barking on command and teaching him the difference between a friendly guest and an intruder should be included in your training plan.

Shollie puppy looking up at its owner
Source: @adventures_of_nova_and_atlas / IG

Obedience training helps your dog learn about his role in your family and teaches him all about appropriate behavior.

With this training method, you can teach your pup simple commands like “sit” and “stay” and simple tasks like fetching the newspaper or rounding up his toys.

Use positive reinforcement when teaching your dog good behavior. He can become stubborn when he is scolded or punished. Treats and rewards make the training process more enjoyable and will yield better results.

Potential health problems of the GSD-Border Collie mix health problems

The Shollie seems to have fewer health issues than purebred dogs, most likely because of genetic diversity and hybrid vigor. However, it is still possible that they will inherit specific genetic ailments from their parents.

Here are some of the conditions that these crossbreeds are vulnerable to:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Deafness
  • Epilepsy
  • Eye problems
  • Bloat
  • Degenerative myelopathy
  • Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency
  • Osteochondritis dissecans or OCD (the transformation of cartilage to bone is interrupted by abnormal blood supply to the bone)
  • Allergies
  • Collie eye anomaly (CEA)

The Border Collie German Shepherd mix has a life expectancy of 10 to 15 years. If taken care of properly and given the right nutrition and adequate exercise, these designer dogs can live up to the ripe old age of 17.

German Shepherd Border Collie Mix licking its nose

The proper diet for the German Shepherd and Border Collie mix

This crossbreed needs to be fed at least 1 ½ cups of high-quality dog food twice daily. Its diet can be a mix of both dry and wet dog food, but each meal must contain at least 25% animal protein.

These are some of the food ingredients to avoid especially in dry dog food: food dyes, rendered fats, corn, and wheat gluten.

You can also give your Shollie a raw food diet made up of unprocessed meats, fruit, vegetables, bones, dairy, and eggs. All these foods can supplement kibble in providing for your dog’s nutritional needs.

Depending on the food you choose for your dog, you can expect monthly expenses of around $40 to $50 for feeding this hybrid.

Shollie begging for a treat

How to groom a Border Collie German Shepherd mix

He has a medium to long coat that needs daily brushing. The frequent grooming will help you get the Border Collie German Shepherd mix’s shedding under control. (He is not a hypoallergenic dog because he sheds fur quite heavily.)

Bathing should be done twice a month, since too much use of dog shampoo may dry out your dog’s skin. His teeth should be brushed at least once daily to maintain proper oral hygiene.

Make sure to clean your dog’s ears at least once weekly. Just use a damp piece of cloth to wipe off dirt on the outer ear.

His nails need regular clipping since they tend to grow quickly and having long nails makes running uncomfortable for your dog. You can either do the cutting yourself or let a professional groomer do it for you.

The costs of owning this designer dog

A Border Collie German Shepherd mix puppy may cost around  $475 to $1000 each, on average. Of course, the costs don’t stop there.

You’ll have to spend more on accessories like a collar, leash and crate and on medical procedures like microchipping, spaying or neutering, flea prevention, and check-ups.

Border Collie German Shepherd mix puppy playing with leaves
Source: @archiemuttpup / IG

Buy your Border Collie German Shepherd mix puppy only from authorized breeders so you can gather all the information you need about the pup and its parents, including their health clearances.

Legitimate breeders will also let you visit their kennels so you can observe the puppy before taking it home.

You can look for Border Collie German Shepherd mix puppies for sale at websites like Greenfield Puppies and Lancaster Puppies.

Sometimes, breeders of Border Collies and German Shepherds will also have some mixed puppies, so you can contact them for more information.

  • Rising Sun Farm Border Collies (Minnesota)
  • Nightshades Border Collies (Kansas)
  • Mittelwest German Shepherds (Illinois)
  • Nadelhaus German Shepherds (California)

If you opt to rescue a Border Collie and German Shepherd mix, expect adoption fees to be between $175 to $200.

For older Shollie dogs you can rescue, you can check out Puppy Finder, Keystone Puppies, and Stirling Collies.

Is the Shollie the right dog for you?

A Border Collie German Shepherd mix is an extremely playful and fun-loving dog. He is the perfect pet to bring home if:

  • You love the outdoors and lead an active lifestyle that can match this canine’s energy and enthusiasm.
  • You are home most of the time and have a big fenced-in yard for your dog to play in.
  • You are looking for a hardworking pet and companion.

He may not be a good fit for your family if you have no experience handling a high-energy dog. You may also want to reconsider getting this crossbred if you have allergies to dander.

Thinking of getting a German Shepherd-Border Collie mix? Or maybe you have stories about your own Shepherd-Collie mix? Comment down below!


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