German Shepherd Border Collie Mix: A Comprehensive Guide to a Shollie

German Shepherd Border Collie Mix Feature

When you combine the intelligence of the impeccable Border Collie with the trainability and loyalty of the German Shepherd, you get the German Shepherd Border Collie Mix, or Shollie as some call it.

These attributes make the Shollie an exceptional companion for active families or individuals who appreciate a dog that is affectionate, protective, eager, and capable of learning a wide range of tasks. From my experience volunteering with animal-based charities, I’ve observed that their adaptability and trainability make them suitable for various roles, from family pets to working dogs in various service capacities. This blend of traits explains why so many dog lovers are drawn to this dynamic mix.

In this article, I’ll guide you through the fascinating world of the German Shepherd Border Collie Mix. We’ll explore their physical traits, temperament, and discuss the essentials of their care. I’ll also share insights on training strategies that leverage their natural intelligence.

German Shepherd Border Collie Mix Quick Summary

Common Breed NamesGerman Shepherd Border Collie Mix, Shollie, Border Collie Shepherd
SizeUp to 29″ in height
WeightUp to 80 pounds
Lifespan 13–15 years
Breed TypeMixes and more
Suitable forActive families
ColorBlack and White, Black and Tan, Black
TemperamentIntelligent, Trainable, Smart, Energetic and Affectionate
Other nameShollie, Border Collie German Shepherd Mix


German Shepherd Border Collie Mix Parent Breeds

Border Collie German Shepherd Mix Dog

Being a hybrid dog, Kennel Clubs don’t currently recognize these dogs. It seems they’re taking a while to be noticed by the Designer Dog registries too, probably because it is not clear when this incredible mix first appeared.

Let’s take a look at both parent dogs’ histories to get an understanding of where the Border Collie German Shepherd Mix came from.

Border Collie

Border Collie Dog


Growing up around dogs, I’ve always been fascinated by their diverse origins, and the Border Collie is no exception. This breed originated in the Anglo-Scottish border region primarily for herding livestock, particularly sheep. Renowned for their intelligence and keen work ethic, Border Collies were bred for stamina, agility, and intense focus—traits that were essential for managing herds over the varied, often rough terrain of the borders.

They were first recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1995 and are prized for their herding capacity and agility.

These dogs rank 38 out of 193 for popularity in the AKC, but, we wonder if their lower score is a reflection on the fact that they just don’t suit all families.

Physical Characteristics

I’ve noted that Border Collies are medium-sized dogs with a well-proportioned build that epitomizes agility and endurance rather than bulk. They typically have a double coat that can be either smooth or rough, and while black and white are the most common colors, they can come in a variety of patterns and hues. Their expressive eyes are one of their most endearing features, often seeming to look right through you with an intense gaze.

Temperament and Behavior

Border Collies are a dream for anyone who loves an active, engaging pet. In my days at the vet lab and through volunteering, I’ve observed their behavior closely; they are energetic, attentive, and highly responsive to commands, thriving on interaction and tasks. However, their herding instinct can sometimes lead to them nudging or circling, behaviors that need to be managed with proper training and socialization.

German Shepherd

German Shepherd Dog


I’ve always admired their storied past. These dogs were originally bred in Germany in the late 1800s by Max von Stephanitz, who aimed to develop a breed that exemplified the ideal herding dog. It’s fascinating to think about how these dogs were meticulously bred to enhance traits like intelligence, speed, and strength, which helped them excel in their herding duties.

Physical Characteristics

Described by the American Kennel Club as courageous, smart, and confident, German Shepherds hold a strong presence. They are large, muscular dogs with a distinctive look—pointed ears, a long snout, and a bushy tail that curves gracefully downward. Their double coat, which can be either short or long, comes primarily in shades of black and tan, though other colors like all-black and sable also exist. Their confident stance and alert gaze make them instantly recognizable.

Temperament and Behavior

German Shepherds are incredibly versatile, ranking 2 of 193 for popularity in the US, which speaks volumes about their adaptability and appeal. As their name suggests, being herding dogs, they possess an unwavering work ethic. They are eager to please and wholeheartedly loyal, traits that make them widely used in service roles, from the military to the police. Despite their robust work orientation, many find themselves equally happy as pet dogs, provided they are given enough exercise and mental stimulation. Their protective nature combined with their intelligence makes them excellent family pets, as long as they’re properly trained and socialized from a young age.

Physical Characteristics of a Border Collie German Shepherd Mix

Border Collie German Shepherd Mix

As a hybrid of the German Shepherd and the Border Collie, the appearance of these dogs can be quite diverse, blending traits from both breeds beautifully.


Shollies typically stand proud and tall, reaching up to 29 inches at the shoulder. Their size makes them a notable presence, inheriting the robust stature of the German Shepherd and the agile frame of the Border Collie. It’s fascinating to see how the traits from both parent breeds merge, resulting in a dog that’s both sturdy and swift, ideal for those who enjoy an active lifestyle.


The coat of a Shollie can be a delightful surprise box of variations. These dogs tend to have a medium-length coat that leans towards high maintenance on the grooming front. Regular brushing is a must to keep their fur in tip-top condition. This not only helps manage shedding but also ensures their coat remains glossy and healthy. Their grooming routine should also include regular ear cleaning, especially since Border Collies are predisposed to ear infections.


As for colors, the spectrum is as varied as it gets. While Border Collies are often seen in black and white, they can also boast hues like blue, red, brindle, chocolate, liver, blue Merle, sable merle, and gold. German Shepherds typically showcase colors like black, black and tan, blue, and even solid white. This wide range of potential coat colors means that each Shollie can look uniquely different. Some may resemble German Shepherds more, with their darker, richer tones, while others might take after the Border Collie with lighter or mixed patterns. Most commonly, they appear in black-and-white or black-and-tan combinations.

Shollie Personality and Temperament

From my observations, the German Shepherd Border Collie Mix can indeed be an exceptional companion when they inherit the best traits from their parent breeds. Their capacity for trainability and loyalty is quite remarkable. However, it’s crucial to remember that, as a hybrid, the Shollie may also display a mix of less desirable traits.

German Shepherds are known for their protective nature and can sometimes appear aloof. On the other hand, Border Collies, with their high intelligence, can sometimes seem neurotic or overly strung if they’re not given enough mental and physical stimulation. This mix might inherit any combination of these traits, so assess whether you have the experience and environment suitable for managing such a dynamic personality.

When Shollies receive consistent, strong training and socialization, they often develop into friendly, smart, and active dogs with a touch of cheekiness. They make fantastic hiking buddies and agility partners, thanks to their high energy and eagerness to engage. I’ve noticed that they form deep bonds with their owners, thriving on companionship and activity. If they’re well-exercised and mentally engaged, they tend to be quiet and content at home, not prone to excessive barking, which is a relief for anyone concerned about disturbing the neighbors.

These dogs usually do well with children and other pets if they are raised with them. Despite their herding instincts, which might pose a challenge with smaller household pets, proper desensitization, and counter-conditioning can help them adapt and live harmoniously with various animals. However, without consistent training and socialization, a Shollie might become protective, aloof, and tense. They could become wary of strangers, destructive at home, or even hyper-aroused during walks, which can be challenging for any dog owner.

Shollie Dog

German Shepherd Border Collie Mix Puppy

When you first lay eyes on a German Shepherd Border Collie Mix puppy, it’s quite common to mistake them for a purebred. They share similar sizes, appearances, and even colorings, which can make these hybrid puppies look like typical Shepherds or Collies rather than an obvious mix. I’ve often heard people express surprise upon learning they are looking at a Shollie—such is the subtlety of their mixed heritage.

In terms of cost, if you’re considering bringing one of these puppies into your home, you should expect to invest anywhere between $450 and $900. It’s a range that reflects both the qualities of the parent breeds and the care taken by reputable breeders in raising these pups.

Speaking of litters, the size can vary quite a bit, but generally, you’re looking at anywhere from 5 to 9 puppies. From what I’ve learned, it’s crucial to do your homework on both the German Shepherd and Border Collie breeds. Finding a reputable breeder is essential—they should be transparent about the health screenings and tests conducted on the parent dogs to ensure they’re not passing down any preventable genetic conditions. We’ll dive deeper into these health considerations later, but this initial research is a pivotal step in ensuring you bring home a healthy, happy puppy.

Border Collie German Shepherd Mix Care Guide

From what we’ve explored together in the temperament section above, you’ve likely gathered that the German Shepherd Border Collie Mix, or Shollie, thrives in active environments. In my observations, this mix particularly suits families or individuals who are accustomed to the demands of smart, energetic breeds. If you’re wondering whether this dynamic mix is right for you, continue reading.


Understanding the growth pattern of your German Shepherd Border Collie Mix is crucial. They don’t reach full maturity until they are at least 18 months to two years old, which influences their dietary needs during this period. It’s important to check the feeding guidelines on your dog’s food to ensure you’re meeting these nutritional requirements as they grow.

Protein Needs

Protein is the building block of your dog’s diet, especially for a breed as active as the Shollie. The rule of thumb I’ve come across in my research is that this hybrid should be consuming about 12.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. High-quality animal meat should be a predominant ingredient in their food to ensure they are getting enough protein for muscle development and maintenance.

Fat Requirements

Fat is another essential component of your dog’s diet, serving as their primary energy source. For Shollie puppies, about 8% of their diet should consist of fats, which helps support their high energy levels. Once they mature, the fat content should be reduced to at least 5% of their diet. This adjustment is necessary to prevent weight gain while still providing enough energy for their daily activities.

Feeding your German Shepherd Border Collie Mix adequately involves balancing these nutrients to support their active lifestyle and development needs. Regular consultations with your vet can also help tailor the diet as your dog grows and their needs change, ensuring they stay healthy and vibrant throughout their life.


These dogs often inherit the thick, double coats of their parent breeds, which means they can be quite the handful when it comes to grooming. Regular and thorough grooming routines are essential to prevent matting and manage shedding, which can be substantial, especially during the change of seasons.


Regular brushing is vital for the Shollie. I recommend brushing your dog’s coat at least a few times a week to help control shedding and prevent mats from forming. During shedding seasons, daily brushing may become necessary to keep up with the loose fur. A slicker brush works well for detangling, while a de-shedding tool can be invaluable during peak shedding periods.


While Shollies don’t need frequent baths, maintaining a routine of bathing every few months or when they get particularly dirty is important. Over-bathing can strip their coat of natural oils, so it’s best to use a mild dog shampoo that protects their skin. Always ensure they are thoroughly dried afterward, especially during colder months, to prevent them from getting cold.

Nail Care

Nail care is another crucial aspect of grooming. Long nails can cause discomfort or lead to problems with walking. I’ve noticed that active dogs like the Shollie can wear their nails down naturally if they spend a lot of time outdoors on hard surfaces. However, regular checks are important to ensure their nails are kept at a comfortable length. If you hear their nails clicking on the floor, it’s time for a trim.

Ear and Teeth Maintenance

Regularly checking and cleaning their ears is essential, especially since breeds like the Border Collie can be prone to ear infections. As for dental health, I’ve learned that brushing their teeth several times a week can prevent plaque and tartar buildup, which is crucial for preventing dental diseases.

Training and Exercise

In my observations and conversations with fellow dog enthusiasts, I’ve gathered that training and exercising a German Shepherd Border Collie Mix can be both a delightful and challenging experience. This hybrid inherits the high intelligence and energy levels of both parent breeds, making them exceptionally trainable but also demanding in terms of exercise and mental stimulation. Here are insights and tips to help you create a practical routine.


The best way to tackle the 30 in 30 dog training routine is by using positive reinforcement and reward-based training. Here are some puppy training tips to help.

One concept that has always stood out in my discussions with professional trainers is that dogs learn through the consequences of their behavior. When a dog performs an action that is followed by a positive outcome, such as praise or a treat, they’re more likely to repeat that behavior. It’s essential to consistently encourage and reward the behaviors we want to see, using treats, praise, and affection. It’s important to avoid punishment or harsh techniques, as these can lead to fear and other problematic behaviors.

A fun activity that I’ve seen bring joy to both dogs and their families is teaching tricks, such as the shy dog trick. It’s a simple yet engaging trick where you place a sticky note on the dog’s muzzle. When they paw at it to remove it, immediately reward them and label the behavior as shy. Don’t be discouraged if it takes a few tries; consistency is key. This type of trick training not only entertains but also strengthens the bond between you and your dog.


When it comes to exercise, the German Shepherd Border Collie Mix is nothing short of a powerhouse of energy. They thrive on activities like walking, running, hiking, and engaging in dog sports such as agility and flyball. This breed typically needs at least 60 minutes of exercise per day, though ideally, 120 minutes would better satisfy their high energy levels.

An exercise routine I find particularly effective is the 30 in 30 approach. It involves integrating training into exercise by asking your dog to perform 30 commands over 30 minutes during a walk. This not only physically engages them but also keeps them mentally stimulated. For example, you might ask for a ‘sit’, followed by a ‘stay’, or a ‘lie down’ as you progress through the walk. If managing 30 different commands seems daunting, you can simplify it to 15 in 30, alternating commands every two minutes. This method ensures the exercise is structured and varied, keeping it interesting for both of you.

Mental Needs

The German Shepherd Border Collie Mix is not only physically active but also mentally sharp. I’ve noticed that they require continuous mental engagement to stay content and healthy. Providing puzzles, interactive games, and regular training sessions can significantly help keep their minds active and sharp. Such activities prevent boredom, which can lead to destructive behaviors.


Proper socialization from a young age is key for this breed. They need to be exposed to a variety of environments, people, and other animals to become well-adjusted adults. I’ve learned that well-socialized dogs are less likely to exhibit fear or aggression and are more adaptable to new situations. Regular visits to dog parks, urban areas, and pet-friendly stores can greatly aid in this process, helping them become confident and comfortable in various social settings.

Border Collie German Shepherd Mix Health Issues

Border Collie German Shepherd Mix

I’ve noticed that while mixed breeds like the German Shepherd Border Collie Mix can benefit from hybrid vigor, they are not immune to genetic health problems. The following are some of the conditions that may affect this breed:

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a common concern in larger breeds, and the German Shepherd Border Collie Mix is no exception. It’s a condition where the hip joint doesn’t fit the socket properly, which can lead to arthritis or lameness. From what I’ve observed, symptoms often include difficulty rising, reluctance to jump or run, and a noticeable ‘bunny-hopping’ gait. Genetics plays a significant role in this condition, but factors like improper weight management and inadequate exercise during the growth phase can exacerbate the problem.

Collie Eye Anomaly

Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA) is another inherited condition that this mix might face, primarily coming from the Border Collie side. It’s an eye disorder that can vary in severity, often leading to vision impairment or blindness. I’ve learned that symptoms are typically hard to spot without professional examination, as dogs can adapt well to partial vision loss. The condition stems from a mutation affecting the development of the eye, which is why genetic testing and screening in parent breeds are recommended.

Degenerative Myelopathy

Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) is a progressive disease of the spinal cord that can appear in later years. This condition can be heartbreaking, as it gradually leads to paralysis starting from the hind limbs. I’ve noticed that early symptoms include loss of coordination in the hind legs and difficulty standing up. The cause of DM is genetic, and while there’s no cure, early diagnosis and management can help maintain a dog’s quality of life for as long as possible.

FAQs about the German Shepherd Border Collie Mix

What is the average lifespan of a German Shepherd Border Collie mix?

The German Shepherd Border Collie mix typically lives between 12 and 15 years. This lifespan can be influenced by various factors including genetics, overall health management, and quality of care.

How much exercise does this breed need?

This breed requires a significant amount of exercise due to its high energy levels. At least 60 to 90 minutes of vigorous activity per day is recommended to keep them physically and mentally satisfied.

Are German Shepherd Border Collie mixes good with children?

Yes, German Shepherd Border Collie mixes can be excellent with children, especially when socialized early. They are known for their loyalty and protective nature, making them wonderful family pets.

Do German Shepherd Border Collie mixes shed a lot?

Yes, both parent breeds are known for shedding; therefore, you can expect the German Shepherd Border Collie mix to shed moderately throughout the year with increased shedding during seasonal changes.

What are common training challenges with this breed?

One of the main challenges in training a German Shepherd Border Collie mix is managing their intelligence and high energy without proper channeling. They require consistent, engaging training to prevent boredom and the development of undesirable behaviors.

How trainable are German Shepherd Border Collie mixes?

German Shepherd Border Collie mixes are highly trainable thanks to their intelligence and eagerness to please. They excel in obedience and agility training but require a patient and consistent handler to harness their potential fully.

Are these dogs prone to separation anxiety?

Yes, due to their strong bond with their families and high intelligence, German Shepherd Border Collie mixes can be prone to separation anxiety. They need adequate mental stimulation and physical activity to mitigate stress when left alone.

What health screenings should be done for this breed?

Health screenings for hip dysplasia, collie eye anomaly, and degenerative myelopathy are crucial. Regular check-ups and genetic testing of breeding animals can help prevent the transmission of these conditions to offspring.

A Combination of Brains and Energy

The German Shepherd Border Collie Mix is nothing short of remarkable. Known for their super intelligence and trainability, these dogs make a truly impressive addition to any family.

They bring a wealth of affection, athleticism, and energy into your life. They’re particularly well-suited for active families who enjoy being on the go. These dogs love to stay busy and thrive when they have a job to do—even if it’s just picking up new party tricks to show off to the kids.

However, it’s important to note that their high needs for exercise and mental stimulation require a significant commitment of time, energy, and patience. When socialization and training are handled correctly, you’ll find no companion more eager to please. But, if mistakes are made, you might find yourself with a dog that’s a bit aloof and possibly even neurotic.

They’re not typically recommended for first-time dog owners or those with limited time to dedicate. But if you’re ready for the challenge, and you can meet their needs, you’ll be rewarded with an incredibly affectionate and loyal friend. So, do you think you have what it takes to keep up with this smart and spirited dog?

Other German Shepherd and Border Collie Mixes

If you’re interested in learning about other German Shepherd mixes or Border Collie mixes, check out the hybrid dog breeds below.

German Shepherd Mixes

Border Collie Mixes

About John Woods 299 Articles
John Woods is the founder of All Things Dogs, member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, graduate in Animal Behavior & Welfare and recognized author by the Dog Writers Association of America.


  1. I read this and wonder if my boyfriend’s Dog Alfy is a Alsatian border collie. He rescue dog and not sure of his identity.

    • I had a Border Collie German Shepherd mix from the age of 12. Best dog in the world for an active child or teenager. I had her for 14 years. I have had many breeds since but that was the best dog ever. I would hike with her in the mountains for hours and my parents knew she would protect me but she still would let me put cats and rabbits on her. Her protection mode was fierce rapid bark, lunge and retreat like they do with livestock so she was scary but never had to bite anyone. She traveled everywhere in the car, loved all my friends, pulled sleds and bicycles. She played hide and seek, fetch, floated with me on the lake in a lifejacket, did anything I asked and was smart as a whip. I am too busy now with family to devote the mental stimulation and time needed for another, but maybe when I retire (sigh).

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