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Exploring the Best of Both Worlds: Ultimate Guide to the Border Collie Shepherd Mix Breed

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Exploring the Best of Both Worlds: Ultimate Guide to the Border Collie Shepherd Mix Breed 1

The Border Collie Shepherd mix, also known as a Shollie, is a unique hybrid dog that has become increasingly popular in recent years. Combining the intelligence and work ethic of the German Shepherd with the agility and herding instincts of the Border Collie, the Shollie is an athletic, versatile breed that excels at a variety of tasks.

The Shollie is currently frequently used as a service dog, in dog agility competitions, and as a cherished family pet. It was originally created as a large dog with a protective yet playful attitude.

In this article, we will explore the history, characteristics, and temperament of the Border Collie German Shepherd mix, as well as its ideal living conditions, diet, trainability, potential health issues, and what makes this breed so special.

Breed at a Glance:

  • Size: 21 to 29 inches
  • Weight: 50 to 90 pounds
  • Energy Level: High Energy Levels
  • Lifespan: 13 to 15 years

Breed Overview: German Shepherd Collie Mix

The Border Collie Shepherd hybrid, sometimes known as a Shollie, is one of the best herding dog breeds in the world – thanks to their parents.

To produce this hybrid, breeders must use one purebred GSD and one purebred Border Collie, both of which are recognized by the American Kennel Club.

While the Shollie is not recognized by the AKC, it is certified by both the Dog Registry of America and the American Canine Hybrid Club.

This enthusiastic, perceptive, and affectionate breed is becoming more and more well-liked as a working dog or devoted friend.

Shollies are large, weighing 50 to 90 pounds and measuring 21 to 29 inches. They have a lifespan of 13 to 15 years and require lots of exercise and devotion from their owners.

These athletic and agile dogs are highly trainable, but they need proper socialization and training to be loyal and protective watchdogs.

Shollies are affectionate to their families, including the young and older children, but may be wary of strangers. Hence, proper training and early socialization are important.

Border Collie Shepherd Mix

History and Origin

The Border Collie German Shepherd mix is a hybrid breed created by mating a purebred Border Collie with a purebred German Shepherd. Because of this, their history combines traits from the two parent breeds.

It is believed that the Shollies have only been recognized for about 20 years or so. And it is thought that this combination was made with the goal of developing the ideal giant dog breed, one who possessed athletic prowess, agility, and a protective yet playful attitude.

Despite their unknown beginnings, both the Border Collie and the German Shepherd have become beloved breeds in their own right, and their combination in the Shollie has proven to be a popular and successful hybrid.

History of Border Collie

The Border Collie, a herding dog known for its intelligence and agility, originated in Great Britain where it was used to herd cattle and sheep along the borders of Scotland and England. The breed's name is derived from this job.

The huge Roman herding dogs who accompanied Viking raiders interbred with the Spitzes to create the Border Collie, whose genealogy may be traced to the Roman conquest of Great Britain. Border Collies evolved into a separate breed over time.

Due to their effective herding abilities, Border Collies became more common in the 1800s. Queen Victoria even took an interest in them. The American Kennel Club did not, however, recognize the breed in full until 1995.

Border Collies are highly trainable, active, tenacious, and vigilant, making them one of the smartest dog breeds in existence today. They are devoted and affectionate companions as well.

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History of German Shepherd

A German military soldier named Max Von Stephanitz set out to develop a breed of canine that was not only adept in herding but also agile and intelligent, toward the end of the 19th century.

Out of this attempt, the German Shepherd was created. German Shepherds served as messengers, sentinels, and search and rescue dogs during both World Wars.

Because they frequently had to withstand cold and damp weather while working outside, these canines needed to be strong.

German Shepherds were first recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club in 1908. German Shepherds are now renowned for their power, agility, intelligence, and adaptability in both the military and as domestic pets.

The American Kennel Club has recognized the parent breeds of the German Shepherd Collie hybrid, but the hybrid itself does not hold the same status. However, it has been accepted by both the Dog Registry of America, Inc. (DRA) and the American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC).

Border Collie Shepherd Mix
Image from Dogtime

Appearance

With muscular, big bodies that can occasionally be mistaken for genuine German Shepherds, this breed frequently shares traits with its German Shepherd parent. But they can be recognized as hybrids by their droopy ears and Collie-like tail.

While all Shepherd puppies will seem similar, each one will have a distinctive look. These canines, however, will all have powerful muscles and a lot of energy, which make them perfect for herding cattle. They are frequently employed as working dogs because of their huge, active, and muscular bodies.

The majority of Shepherd-Collie hybrids have almond-shaped eyes with deep, intelligent looks that are emphasized by their colored brows. Their ears are slightly floppy and have a pleasant appearance. Their eye color can range from blue and hazel to brown and amber.

They may inherit the dual coat of the GSD and Border Collie, and their hair is often smooth and silky. Most of these hybrids lack the German Shepherd's bushy tail.

The Shepherd Collie mix's coat colors range widely and include, among others, cream, black, tan, sable, red, white, blue merle, and brindle. Like their GSD parents, many of them will have brown coats. White Border Collies and German Shepherds are uncommon, although they do exist because these breeds are often bi-colored.

They are more likely to be large-sized canines because the breed has a tendency to be more like its German Shepherd parent. When fully grown, they should weigh between 50 and 90 lbs. and reach between 21 and 29 inches tall. Collies normally weigh around 40 pounds, so if they inherit more of their Collie parent, they might be smaller and lighter.

Temperament

German Shepherd Border Collie hybrids will display a temperament and demeanor that is a combination of both of their purebred parents due to their hybrid status. Therefore, taking into account the breeds of this designer dog's parents is the simplest way to predict its disposition.

German Shepherd Temperament

As mentioned previously, German Shepherds are frequently employed in law enforcement and the military. Unfortunately, this occupation has given the breed an unfair reputation for being aggressive. However, not all German Shepherds are aggressive. They are very affectionate and loyal to their owners.

First off, police and military canines are intelligent and well-trained. They only exhibit violence when their master commands them to.

Additionally, Shepherds have been selectively bred to be incredibly devoted to their owners and their territory. With proper early training and socialization, it's possible to prevent a GSD puppy from developing an overly protective personality.

Exploring the Best of Both Worlds: Ultimate Guide to the Border Collie Shepherd Mix Breed 2

Border Collie Temperament

Border Collies are known for their incredible intelligence and trainability, much like German Shepherds.

However, they share some similarities with GSDs in their working mindset, which means they may not always be the most playful dogs around. They are fiercely loyal and protective of their homes and owners, but early training and socialization can help prevent any unwanted behavior.

Border Collies are naturally curious dogs who need to have a task or activity to keep them engaged. Without proper stimulation and enrichment, they may resort to destructive behaviors, especially if they are kept confined for long periods without access to toys or other forms of entertainment.

German Shepherd Collie Mix Temperament

It is crucial to remember that German Shepherd Collie mixes have above-average levels of activity and intellect. Due to their working mindset, they make excellent working dogs and need plenty of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy.

These canines are devoted and enjoy being around people. Being left alone for long stretches of time can result in destructive behavior, so be ready to spend a lot of time with them and make sure they get loads of playtime, exercise, and training sessions.

Socialization is crucial for this breed, as they can become protective of their home and family. Introducing them to different people and animals from an early age can help prevent any unwanted aggression.

To avoid unintentionally teaching negative conduct toward people, it is crucial to look for specific training programs if you are thinking about using this breed as a guard dog.

Both parent breeds get along well with other animals, like cats and livestock. These sharp and energetic puppies can have additional entertainment if there is another dog living with them.

Grooming

Regular grooming and maintenance are important for this breed, as they inherit medium-length, double-coated fur from both parents that shed a lot.

It's recommended to invest in a good brush and vacuum cleaner, as daily brushing is ideal to manage the shedding. They will shed hair throughout the year, with an extra shedding of their coat twice a year.

Bathing should only be done when necessary, as their coats contain natural oils that can be stripped with over-bathing. Some shampoos can also provide protection against fleas and insect bites while cleaning the dog's coat.

It's important to also regularly clean their teeth, nails, and ears. Like their parents, they are susceptible to dental issues and plaque build-up, so chewing on toys and bones and using soft toothbrushes and toothpaste is recommended.

Their nails grow quickly due to their active nature and should be trimmed at least once a month, while their ears should be checked regularly for dirt build-up or infection, with a vet's advice if necessary.

Border Collie Shepherd Mix
Image from Petfinder

Common Health Issues

As with any crossbreed, the Border Collie German Shepherd Mix has a reduced risk of genetic disorders compared to its purebred parents. However, there are still some health concerns to be aware of.

Because the Shollie comes from two large purebred dogs, there may be certain congenital health problems that can arise due to their breeding history.

It's difficult to predict with certainty which health issues will be more common since each Shollie will not be an exact 50% GSD and 50% Border Collie. Nonetheless, some of the more prevalent issues to watch out for include:

Hip Dysplasia (and Elbow Dysplasia)

This illness affects both parent breeds equally. In hip dysplasia, the ligaments supporting the ball at the top of the leg into the socket are weak, resulting in a malformation of the hip joint. The dog moves too much as a result, which over time may create stiffness and pain.

Being an active dog, the Shollie is susceptible to wear and tear that results in hip degeneration in one or both hips, which can be painful and restrict movement. It can result in problems including arthritis, excruciating pain, and osteoarthritis, even with early diagnosis and treatment.

The symptoms include a change in stride, stiffness when standing or walking, and reluctance to move. It could start early in life or happen much later. Hence, it is necessary to look at the birth parents' complete medical histories.

Bloat (Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus)

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This is a concern for many larger, deep-chested dog breeds and their hybrid offspring if they eat large amounts quickly, drink too much water after eating, or eat too close to exercising.

This can lead to excess gas building up in the stomach, which can cause the stomach to twist, reducing blood flow to the heart and potentially resulting in death.

Early signs include restlessness after eating, a bloated stomach, and an inability to expel air and excess food through retching. If these signs occur, urgent medical attention is necessary.

EPI (Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency)

This is another genetic disease seen in crossbreeds, where there are insufficient enzymes produced in the pancreas, leading to compromised food absorption and digestion.

Early signs include weight loss, lack of appetite, change in stool consistency, and excess gas. Diagnosis is made through a blood test and can be treated with a replacement enzyme food supplement.

Other disorders to be cautious of include epilepsy, allergies causing skin conditions and itching, and numerous eye issues such as cataracts and Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA). These all need medical attention.

When searching for a breeder to buy a puppy, be sure to locate one who conducts genetic testing on their breeding stock. By doing so, it may be possible to identify any potential health issues that their offspring may have. You should also confirm that the breeding stock has high hip scores.

The life span of a Border Collie German Shepherd dog is ten to fifteen years. However, these hybrid dogs can live up to 17 years if given the proper care, nutrition, and activity.

Border Collie Shepherd Mix
Image from Reddit

How to Care for a Border Collie German Shepherd Mix Pup

Exercise & Living Conditions

You must be physically healthy and active to keep up with a Border Collie German Shepherd Mix. Due to their high level of energy, these hybrid dogs need a secure backyard where they can run around and play. They are inappropriate for residences without gardens or apartments.

The Shollie will naturally expend a lot of energy if they are employed as herding dogs. However, if they're companion animals or guard dogs, they should exercise outside for at least two hours every day.

Walking your Shollie for at least an hour, twice a day, is crucial. They also benefit from other forms of exercise and play, such as agility classes, to keep them mentally stimulated.

While they're puppies, it's important not to over-exercise them on hard ground as their paws are delicate. As they get older, they'll still require plenty of exercises to keep them healthy and happy.

Even if they don't always need one, these clever canines must be trained to walk on a leash. They are excellent off-leash and rapidly pick up recall. They are ideal for agility exercises because of their excellent physical characteristics and because it challenges their minds as well as their bodies.

Both parent breeds get along well with other animals, especially cats or livestock. They can coexist peacefully with other dogs, and having a canine companion could keep them occupied.

However, until they are properly trained and socialized, they might nip or bite at kids or other smaller animals as puppies. When properly cared for and educated while they are young, the Shollie could grow into the most loving family companion.

Diet & Nutrition

It is advised to feed this mixed-breed dog high-quality dog food twice daily, with at least 1 1/2 cups per meal, to keep them healthy and well-fed. It's crucial to make sure that each meal has a minimum of 25% animal protein, and their diet can include both dry and wet food.

It's crucial to stay away from certain food ingredients, especially those found in dry dog food like wheat gluten, rendered fats, food colors, and corn.

Your Shollie can also be fed a raw food diet packed with unprocessed meats, fruit, vegetables, bones, dairy products, and eggs. To fulfill your dog's dietary requirements, you can use any of these foods in addition to kibble.

Depending on the food type chosen, feeding a Shollie might cost anywhere from $40 to $50 each month. Your dog will remain healthy and active and be prepared to keep up with your active lifestyle if you feed them a nutritious diet.

Border Collie Shepherd Mix
Image from PetKeen

Training

The Border Collie German Shepherd Mix is known for its trainability and makes an excellent guard dog. They inherit their parent's protective instincts, making them alert and ready to defend their home and family.

Starting your Shollie's training at a young age is essential to prevent any aggressive tendencies towards other pets or family members. Proper socialization is crucial to prevent excessive barking at strangers and unfamiliar animals.

Training your Shollie to bark on command and differentiate between friendly guests and intruders should be included in your training plan. Obedience training is also highly recommended as it helps your dog learn appropriate behavior and their role in your family.

You can start with basic commands like “sit” and “stay” and teach your dog simple tasks like fetching or retrieving their toys. It's crucial to use positive reinforcement techniques such as treats and rewards to make the training process enjoyable for your Shollie. Harsh punishment or scolding can make them stubborn and resistant to training.

Buyer’s Guide

What to Look For

When considering purchasing a puppy, it's crucial to find a reputable breeder to increase your likelihood of getting a healthy dog and to prevent supporting puppy mills and unethical breeding practices.

It's ideal to meet the puppy's dam and sire, or at least the mother, and ask for AKC certification and health checks, including eye and hip scores, for both parents.

Make sure the puppies have updated vaccinations, flea, and worming treatments. A trustworthy breeder won't be anxious to sell puppies and should be interested in your background, including requesting pictures of your home environment to ensure their puppies are going to the right homes.

If you're looking for a working canine, seek a breeder who utilized parents that are working dogs to breed for the appropriate temperament required for working pups, rather than companion animals.

Price

Due to the popularity of purebred dogs, finding Shepherd Collie hybrid puppies for adoption at an animal shelter or humane society may be more likely than finding them from a breeder. Adopting a dog from a shelter is usually an affordable process.

However, if you’d love to buy from a breeder specializing in designer dogs, the cost will vary based on the value of the parent stock. A Shollie purchased from a breeder can cost anywhere from $450 to $500 and may even exceed $1,000.

Conclusion

Border Collie Shepherd Mix
Image from Dogtime

The German Shepherd Border Collie Mix is a highly active and intelligent breed, making them ideal canine companions for individuals who are fit, active, and have a lot of time to dedicate to their furry friend.

The ideal situation would be a home where the owner works from home or can bring the dog with them to work because these dogs thrive on human interaction and can become uneasy when left alone for extended periods of time.

For this breed, a safe, enclosed yard is essential because they enjoy running around and playing. They would excel in tasks like agility training, herding, or search and rescue and make good working dogs.

Owners of a German Shepherd Border Collie Mix should be prepared to provide lots of exercises, including long walks, playtime, and mental stimulation such as obedience training and interactive games.

These dogs are loving and loyal and enjoy spending time with their owners. Bonding activities such as agility training and teaching tricks can be a fun way to strengthen the bond between you and your pup.

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