Border Collie German Shepherd Mix (Shollie): Best of 2 Breeds | Herepup
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Border Collie German Shepherd Mix (Shollie): Best of 2 Breeds

He looks like a German Shepherd. He even acts like a German Shepherd. However, he’s not a German Shepherd. This may be the best way to describe the “Shollie,” a hybrid dog that crosses a GSD with a Border Collie. One question: is owning a Shollie like owning a GSD?

Are You Sure That’s Not a GSD?

A lot of so-called “designer dogs” tend to resemble both of their parental breeds fairly equally. This is not the case with the Shollie. It’s not that the traits of the GSD completely overwhelm the Border Collie’s genetic code. It’s simply because the traits that a Shollie shares with a Border Collie tend to be a bit subtler.

For instance, a Shollie will have coat color, ears, and body frame that closely resembles that of a GSD, and these traits make it easy to just assume the dog is a purebred. But you’ll start seeing a few difference up-close with a little keen observation.

For instance, a Shollie’s tail is usually less bushy than a GSD’s tail, and the coat of a Shollie is also much thicker and hairier than a purebred GSD. These two traits are plucked directly from the Border Collie’s DNA. Still, you may find yourself convincing people your beautiful buddy is a “designer dog.”

What is a Shollie’s Personality Like?

Like a lot of modern hybrid dogs that haven’t been officially recognized by major canine registry organizations, information on a Shollie’s temperament and behavior is not as concrete as purebred dogs. Still, you can take a look at the behavioral metrics of the dog’s parental breeds to estimate certain traits.

For instance, the desire to work is embedded into a Shollie’s DNA. We know this because the GSD and the Border Collie are almost legendary for their respective work ethic and drive. The GSD is famed for its abilities as a military, police, and guide dog, whereas the Border Collie is an elite herding dog known for controlling things with his intense stare.

The collective intelligence of both breeds also trickles down into the Shollie, creating a bright dog that has a knack for following directions very well. This makes him a dog that’s easy and even pleasurable to train.

The Shollie tends to lean on the GSD’s fiercely protective nature when it comes to his family. This streak causes him to be aloof when it comes to strangers, although he has little trouble letting his guard down and showing his playful side to trusted loved ones. This nature, paired with his bark, makes the Shollie an excellent watchdog.

Conversely, the Shollie borrows heavily from a Border Collie’s boundless enthusiasm and proclivity towards receiving attention. This results in a dog that will want to be part of whatever it is you’re doing – particularly if it involves getting off your sofa and doing something active.

A Shollie At Play

Another trait Shollies get from Border Collies is their immense athletic streak. The combo of agility, brains, and high energy makes the dog a natural for all kinds of dog sports, from agility training to Frisbee catching. Plus, they can be pretty breathtaking to watch when they’re in motion.

How to Raise a Shollie the Right Way

You should never simply buy a dog based on his looks. It’s imperative that you get a strong bead on the collective makeup of a dog’s personality before you welcome him into your home. Skipping this crucial step end up making your life – and your dog’s life – fairly miserable.

Even though the Shollie hasn’t been around long enough to allow you to dig into too much minutiae, there is enough data out there to help you decide whether this hybrid is right for you. As you make this decision, remember you’re not the only one’s well-being at stake.

For instance, based on the parental breeds alone, you should pretty much guarantee the Shollie is a high energy breed that has no idea what the term couch potato means. This energy-filled dog needs plenty of exercise in order to be happy. Ideally, you’ll be providing this dog a couple long walks or jogs every day.

Even so, this exercise will not be sufficient enough to burn off this pooch’s seemingly infinite vigor. The dog will need ample space in your home and backyard to burn off his energy, or else he may start channeling his need to relieve fuel through destructive means. If you live in an apartment, don’t think about picking up this pooch.

This energy may seem a bit much, but in the right context, it is certainly a feature and not a bug. A Shollie’s lively streak leaves him prone to chase anything that moves. If you have a backyard prone to attracting birds or squirrels, your enthusiastic buddy is likely to put on a highly entertaining show for you.

Because a Shollie is so smart, you should also ensure that you’re giving him ways for him to exercise his brainpower. This is a dog that will enjoy puzzle toys, command-based ventures, and any other activities that require him to revert to his working dog instincts and think. If you ignore his mental needs, he may create some destructive mischief.

How to Train a Shollie

German Shepherd Border Collie Mix 2

A Shollie is a highly intelligent hybrid that is eager to please his owners. As such, the dog scores some impressive high marks when it comes to training. However, it is important that you work on training and socializing him as soon as you welcome him into your home. Any lax in this department could have negative if not odd consequences.

Shollies have a Border Collie’s herding instincts in their blood. If you don’t properly socialize and train him at a young age, these instincts could come strongly to the forefront of his development. If this happens, you may see him trying to herd other smaller pets or even your kids!

When you do train and socialize, it is imperative that you do so in a manner that is gentle yet firm. This will help you establish a strong reputation as the family’s pack leader, and he will fall in line accordingly. If you don’t do this, he may end up trying to establish himself as the family’s alpha dog.

The Grooming Needs of a Shollie

A Shollie has a short to medium length double coat and is typically considered to be a moderate shedder. While you will have to sweep up after him during shedding season, you won’t necessarily find yourself needing to perpetually break out the vacuum like you might with other breeds.

Still, a Shollie’s coat does demand daily brushing when shedding season is in full effect in order to keep his coat shiny and his skin healthy. You should also expect to tend to your dog’s eyes, nails, teeth, and ears on a weekly basis.

Are Shollies a Healthy Hybrid?

You can typically expect your Shollie to live between 12 to 15 years. This puts his age range closer to that of a Border Collie, which is also 12 to 15 years. A GSD’s typical lifespan ranges 10 to 14 years.

As is the case with most hybrids, Shollies are considered to be healthy dogs that are subject to fewer health issues than purebreds. Still, their ties to GSD and Border Collie heritage may give them a higher level of risk when it comes to certain illnesses. Some of these issues may include displaysia, bloat, allergies, eye problems, and OCD.

How Much will a Shollie Cost Me?

A Shollie pup will usually cost you $475 to $950. If you choose to adopt an older Shollie dog, you may see that price tag decrease. It should also be known that this price range may fluctuate depending on whether or not the dog experiences a dramatic upswing in popularity.

As is the case with other dogs, you should be mindful of the other costs that your pooch may incur once you bring him home. You need to make sure you have enough room in your budget for registration costs, vet visits, toys, bedding, and food. If you don’t have a reputable breeder nearby, you may have to also deal with shipping costs.

The price of food can be a pretty big expenditure, especially if you choose to stick with a higher-end, high-quality dog food. You can expect your dog to eat 3 to 4 cups of dry kibble per day, spread out over the course of two meals. Ideally, you won’t want to go cheap on the dog food, since there are health benefits tied to the good stuff.

A High-Energy Dog You Can’t Help but Love!

If you’re up for the challenge of owning an enthusiastic dog that will match your energy level – and occasionally your wits – then the Shollie is a perfect dog to bring into your home. Your friends and family may be convinced that you have a purebred, but you’ll know the truth. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters.


Laura Harris

Dr. Laura Harris is our resident dog health expert. She started to fact-check dog health-related information for HerePup during her internship and contributes since then. Her expertise is in dog nutrition, senior dog care, especially critical care medicine and internal medicine.

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