German Shepherd and Border Collie mix dogs are commonly called Shollies. Shollies are extremely playful dogs while at the same time protective of their owners and their owner’s children. Well suited to those who love to get out of the house, they prefer to be run around outside rather than enjoy a lazy day at home since they tend to get stir crazy.
21 – 29 inches
60 – 80 pounds
10 – 15 years
White, Black, Golden, Brown
Families, those leading an active life
Loyal, protective, loving, playful, energetic, smart
Shollies are a hybrid of a purebred German Shepherd and a purebred Border Collie. Shollies exhibit certain personality characteristics of both of their parents, especially in terms of loyalty and intelligence. The German Shepherd has its origins in the 19th century in Germany. Though originally it was bred for herding livestock and sheep, their primary vocational track today seems to be in military and police forces. Border Collies come from a region in Scotland near the border of England, hence the name ‘Border’ Collie. These dogs are used in many parts of the world even to this day to herd sheep. They are well-reputed as one of the most intelligent dog breeds. Stanley Coren states they are the most intelligent. He places German Shepherds in the number 3 spot. The devoted nature and intelligence of both the German Shepherd and the Border Collie, are inherited by their Shollies.
German Shepherd Collie Mix Characteristics
German Shepherd Collie Mix Puppies
If you’re looking for a German Shepherd Collie mix through a breeder, make sure to ask all of the necessary questions to be sure that they are ethically breeding the pups. If you check with your local humane society or animal shelter, you may find that they are caring for Shollies who are looking for a home.
When you bring a Shollie home with you, it’s best to have all of the doggy essentials beforehand, such as high-quality puppy food, treats, toys, a dog bed, blankets, and a puppy collar. Be prepared for a lot of playtime and training sessions since these dogs are quite energetic.
Temperament & Intelligence of the German Shepherd Collie Mix
In addition to being among the most energetic of dogs, the Shollie is also incredibly intelligent. German Shepherds are well known to be used for security and police service. They can sniff out drugs and explosive devices. It’s in their nature. Border Collies as well, being the sheepdogs that they are, are also bright. They need some kind of regular mental stimulation. When you combine both of these breeds, you get the Shollie which takes after both of its parents.
You cannot coop up your Shollie for too long. They need regular exercise for physical wellbeing as well as regular mental exercises for their mind. Of course, this doesn’t mean you are going to put the NY Times crossword in front of them. But you do have to take them to different places and expose them to sights and sounds. Try playing hide and seek or a doggy scavenger hunt. These kinds of games will be sure to encourage their alacrity of mind as well as their youthful playfulness.
Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪
Shollies are great family companions. But they do prefer their inner circle. They are generally cautious and protective when strangers are around and can be slow to warm up to unknown company. They do well around children in general, but you should still keep an eye on their play since they like to roughhouse.
Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?
Around other dogs they can be territorial and aggressive but not out of control. Since they are playful, some naturally energetic behavior can be mistaken for fighting.
Things to Know When Owning a German Shepherd Collie Mix:
Food & Diet Requirements 🦴
You need to know what kind of food is best for Shollies. Many dog owners by default feed their pets kibble. However, kibble is usually made with grain. This is not ideal since dogs, even after being domesticated, do not have digestive systems that are well-suited to digesting carbohydrates. Our modern domesticated dog is a descendant of a now extinct wolf (the grey wolf is now the closest living relative to the dog). Wolves in the wild are not eating carbohydrates but looking for other raw animal protein. Raw dog food is the way to go for your companion’s optimal gut health.
If you’re the type of person that has always had a difficult time finding someone who can keep pace with you, then look no further! The Shollie is sure to match your energy level. You should seriously consider how energetic they can be if you don’t think you can keep up. These pups need about an hour of exercise per day. Whether that’s walking, letting them run in a dog park, or playing fetch, you need to make sure that they get fresh air and exercise. This is their way of revitalizing.
Their combination of loyalty and intelligence helps them to form attachments and learn obedience with their owners. One of the best parts of their personality also doubles as a challenge in training them: their energy level. They can be quite mouthy as puppies and even later on.
Shollies tend to shed quite a bit throughout the year. If you want to make sure that their coat shines and is healthy, brush them twice a day. Once a day is fine for maintenance. As far as their nails go, make sure that you trim them every couple of weeks. Check their ears regularly (not daily) to ensure that they aren’t collecting gunk which can lead to infections. Taking your pup to the groomer about once a month is a great way to ensure that you are covering all your bases when it comes to hygiene.
Health and Conditions 🏥
Shollies find themselves middle of the road on the health scale in terms of the severity of potential health issues. But they are usually very healthy and require few visits to the vet’s office. Their potential health issues include digestive problems as well as joint issues like hip dysplasia, which are both inherited from the Border Collie and German Shepherd. A lot of the digestive issues that they have can be remedied by giving them a healthy diet, high in protein and low in carbohydrates.
Given that the average life expectancy of a medium-sized dog is around 11 years, the Shollie’s longevity ranks rather high, especially given that it can weigh up to 80 pounds (larger dogs tend to live shorter lives).
Male vs. Female
In general, the male Shollies are larger than the females. The males also tend to be more aggressive and energetic, even into older age. The females mature faster, just like other dog breeds. However, if you spay or neuter your pup the differences will be a lot more subtle since by doing so you are removing a major biological motivator for male or female behavior.
3 Little-Known Facts About the German Shepherd Collie Mix
1. They Are Star Athletes
Not only is the Shollie cute, but all of that energy coupled with intelligence packs a competitive punch. Whether the sport is weight pulling or Canicross, your Shollie is sure to be single minded about winning!
2. Shollies Can Take After Either Parent
Being a crossbreed, the Shollie comes from the German Shepherd and the Border Collie. This means that some Shollies are larger and take after the German Shepherd while the others take after the Collie and are smaller, even as little as small as 40 pounds! However, the majority of them take after the German Shepherd. In addition to the size differences, Shollies can have a wide array of appearances and colors.
3. Shollies Need Space
If you are living in an apartment but are dead set on getting a Shollie, you need to pack your things and move to a bigger house. They need space to run around. If they are cooped up for too long, they can start trouble and destroy your house. Let these pups run and they’ll thank you for it!
If you are the type of person who can’t sit still and need a lot of activity to keep from going crazy, then a German Shepherd Border Collie mix might be right for you. You need to be able to invest a decent amount of time while they are still pups to train them. But it will pay off in the end when you and your family enjoy fun years with your Shollie. They’ll be sure to keep you on your toes and amplify the excitement of any of your excursions, whether to the grocery store or the beach.
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Featured Image Credit: MR Foto, Shutterstock