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Shollies: Border Collie And German Shepherd Mixed Breed Dog

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If you are looking for a larger dog with a lovely temperament, someone may have recommended a Shollie to you at some point.

The Shollie is a crossbreed dog that is the result of mixing a German shepherd and a border collie.

The resulting dog is highly intelligent and energetic, so they will certainly need a lot of time, love, and affection to thrive.

Border Collie German Shepherd Mix

However, Shollies are also highly trainable and agreeable, so they can make excellent pets for first-time owners who are prepared and willing to take on a bit of a challenge.

Are you interested in adopting a Shollie? Read on for everything you need to know about these special pups. We’ll also help you decide whether you are ready to adopt one into your life.

Thinking about getting a dog? Always consider adopting.

There are thousands of adorable and affectionate puppies in shelters across the country just waiting for a home, including Shollies.

Shollie Main Characteristics

  • Height: 20-24 inches
  • Weight: 70-90 pounds
  • Lifespan: 13-15 years
  • Energy Levels: High
  • Shedding: High

Shollie: History Of The Breed

Both German shepherds and border collies have a herding background.

German shepherds were initially bred in Germany in the 19th century and were officially recognized as a breed in 1899.

Border collies are primarily sheepdogs that were officially recognized in the British Isles in the 19th century.

Both dog breeds are considered highly intelligent, trainable, and agile.

This is why German shepherds have been widely adopted as working dogs and are often seen in military and police roles.

Border collies frequently compete with great success in sheepdog trials and are considered among the top sporting dogs.

Exactly when the Shollie emerged and precisely what breeders were trying to achieve with the new breed is unclear.

But the result tends to be a relatively large and athletic dog that is highly intelligent and protective. Thanks to these traits, the Shollie makes an excellent family dog.

It is important to remember that, unlike with purebred dogs, when you mix dog breeds, the results are always a bit unpredictable.

While experience gives us an idea of what to expect, crossbreed dogs don’t always emerge “true to breed,” so you can end up with something very unexpected.

Shollie Appearance

You can expect Shollies to be fairly large dogs with a lean and athletic physique.

According to the breed standard, German shepherds tend to measure 22 to 26 inches tall, with males generally an inch or two larger than females. 

Border collies are a bit smaller, measuring from 18 to 22 inches. Nevertheless, you will rarely see a Shollie that measures less than 20 inches. They typically weigh around 70 to 90 pounds.

While these big dogs are gentle, their substantial size means they can misjudge their strength and could accidentally hurt children or older, more fragile individuals.

Shollies can be almost any color combination of their parents, including black, brown, golden, and white, and they are almost always a mix of at least two different colors. They often have attractive mottled patterning.

Border collies have a warm undercoat with a protective outer coat that tends to be longer and can be either smooth or shaggy. German shepherds also have a warm undercoat with a longer overcoat. 

You can expect a Shollie to have a similar double coat, probably with quite long hair. This puts them at a fairly high risk of overheating in hot temperatures.

They also tend to shed a lot, and their hair can easily become matted if not brushed regularly to remove shedded hairs that have clung to their coat. Shollies look their best when they receive daily brushing.

Most Shollies will have brown eyes and a face with a fairly long muzzle. They can either have the pointed ears of a German shepherd or the floppy ears of a border collie.

It can take a few months for their ears to start to firm up, so you won’t know right away whether a Shollie puppy will have pointed or floppy ears as an adult.

Shollie Temperament: Athleticism

Both German shepherds and border collies are working dogs bred for herding, so they are bred to be active. You can expect their Shollie offspring to have a lot of energy and need quite a bit of exercise.

Shollies need a minimum of one hour of exercise per day, preferably split into two or three shorter sessions throughout the day. They will appreciate being taken to off-leash dog parks where they can run around without being restricted by the leash.

In addition to this, these dogs will love to accompany their family on outdoor adventures, such as hiking trips and walks.

They are agile and intelligent and will be able to look after themselves on hiking trails. Just don’t forget to bring water so they don’t overheat thanks to their long, dense coats. 

Shollie Temperament: Trainability

Both border collies and German shepherds are highly intelligent, and their offspring tend to inherit this characteristic. They learn quickly and are highly adaptable. Shollies can generally figure out what is needed from them quickly in new situations.

Bred as training dogs, Shollies also tend to be easy to please. This means they won’t just learn new commands but will actually carry them out to make you happy.

More independent and stubborn breeds might know what you want but still not give it to you; this is not the case with the Shollie.

The Shollie’s intelligence does mean that they need a lot of mental stimulation. They can easily become bored if they do not have tasks to keep them occupied. This is why it is always a good idea to teach them tasks, even if they will be living as a family pet.

They will also benefit from complex toys like puzzle games to keep them occupied when left alone.

If they are left alone for too long without something to stimulate their brain, they may just find their own entertainment. This tends to be the destructive sort of chewing and digging.

The Nina Ottosson Tornado Puzzle Toy is one of our favorite interactive dog toys.

The Shollie’s combination of intelligence and desire to please does make them incredibly easy to train, which makes them a great choice for first-time owners who want to take on the challenge themselves.

Shollie Temperament: Independence

Shollies tend to want to be part of the family. They will quickly bond with the people they spend a lot of time with and become protective of them.
They will often be on alert when other people or animals approach and can display territorial behavior if they feel threatened.

They tend to have an affinity for children and enjoy playing with them, though they should always be supervised around small children. Threats to their little people, in particular, can bring out their protective instinct.

Are you worried your dog is overly possessive? Watch out for these important signs.

These dogs have a tendency to become anxious or depressed if they are left alone for long periods of time. They are not the type of dog you can leave alone at home for several hours while you are at work.

Considering a day care service for your dog? Read our tips for choosing the best day care for your dog.

When you are at home, be prepared for plenty of love and affection from your Shollie. These dogs will love to be close to you, whether that means sitting at your feet or snuggling up with you on the couch if you let them.

Shollie Lifespan And Health Risks

Border collie/German shepherd mixes tend to be very healthy dogs. They can live anywhere from 13 to 15 years, which is an impressive lifespan for such a large dog.

But, as is the case with many large dogs, they can also suffer from joint issues, in particular hip and elbow dysplasia, which is when the joint socket becomes malformed. The best way to avoid this problem is with a healthy diet and plenty of exercise.

Shollies are also prone to excessive weight gain if they don’t eat a well-balanced diet.

Ensuring that their calorie intake matches their energy output is key. It’s best to prioritize a diet that is relatively high in protein and healthy fats and low in carbohydrates. 

Overall, Shollies are among some of the healthiest dogs that you will come across. As long as you care for them correctly, you shouldn’t find yourself in the vet’s office too often.

Should I Get A Shollie?

Whether or not a Shollie is the right dog for you depends on a variety of different factors. Consider the following questions when determining whether or not to adopt this crossbreed.

Where Do You Live?

Shollies are big and energetic dogs, so they won’t thrive in an apartment. They will do better in a place with a large backyard where they can keep themselves occupied.

If you don’t have much space in your backyard, you’ll need to make frequent trips to the dog park to keep your Shollie entertained.

Do You Have An Active Lifestyle?

Shollies need a lot of exercise. They need a minimum of one hour of exercise each day, preferably spread out over a number of short sessions throughout the day.

They would love to spend the whole day out hiking with you or running errands at the farmer’s market, for example.

Do you have the energy to walk your dog every day? And do you have an active style when you aren’t walking, or do you prefer to stay at home? You’ll need to be pretty active to keep up with the Shollie’s energetic temperament.

Do You Spend A Lot Of Time Outside The House?

Shollies are very social animals, and they can become depressed and anxious if they are forced to spend a lot of time on their own. They won’t necessarily be underfoot all the time if you are at home, but they feel better just knowing that you are about.

Is there generally someone at home at your place, or is the house empty for several hours at a time when everyone goes to work?

Will your dog get the companionship that they need in your house? If not, be prepared for lots of destructive behavior when your Shollie is left alone.

Are You Committed To Training?

Luckily, Shollies are intelligent and eager to learn, which means even new dog owners should be able to train them fairly easily. But Shollies are also working dogs, and they often need the mental stimulation of having a task to do to keep them occupied.

This means training them is not just about controlling their behavior; it is also about keeping them occupied. This is why it can be useful to teach your Shollie tricks.

Is this something that you will be willing to do? If not, perhaps a smaller and more passive breed is better suited to your lifestyle.

Do You Live Somewhere Very Hot?

The Shollie’s thick double coat means they can be prone to overheating. Do you live somewhere that is likely to be too hot for them? If so, you’ll need to be careful to keep your dog cool during the warmer months.

Do You Have Allergies Or Asthma?

There is no escaping the fact that Shollies are shedders, and dealing with dog hair is a fact of life when you have one of these dogs.

If you suffer from allergies or asthma, you might want to consider a different dog. It’s a good idea to invest in a vacuum cleaner specifically designed to pick up dog hair.

Do You Have Support When You Are Traveling?

Sadly, we can’t always take our pups with us when we travel. Do you have someone who can take in your Shollie when you travel?

Alternatively, do you have access to a large kennel that gives them plenty of room? Your dog will suffer if they need to stay in a small cage for a few weeks while you are away.

Can You Afford A Shollie?

Dog ownership, regardless of the breed you choose, can be surprisingly expensive. While you may already realize that the cost of their food will add up, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Don’t forget vet visits, pet insurance, money for toys, beds, and other essential equipment, as well as grooming, care when you are away, and more.

Expect to spend at least $1,500 in the first year of dog ownership, assuming that nothing “goes wrong.” After that, you might need to budget around $1,000 a year to cover all of their care needs.

Shollie FAQs

Are German Shepherd Border Collie mixes good dogs?

Yes, Shollies are excellent dogs, as they are intelligent and trainable pups with a friendly temperament.

They are high-energy dogs that need lots of exercise, love, and affection, so they are a big commitment in terms of time, but otherwise they are relatively low maintenance.

Are Shollies aggressive?

While Shollies aren’t the type of dog that will want to make friends with every man and dog that it comes across (like a golden retriever, for example), they are friendly dogs and are rarely aggressive.

They can be a bit territorial and protective of their own, but they aren’t violent.

Any dog that has been through traumatic situations can become aggressive.

So, if you are adopting an older Shollie that may have come from a difficult home, speak to the adoption agency about any behavioral issues that they might have and how to properly handle them.

How much is a Shollie puppy?

How much a Shollie puppy costs will depend largely on where you get them from. You may be able to find a Shollie at a local shelter, in which case you may only need to cover the administrative costs of the service.

However, if you are looking to buy your Shollie from a breeder, expect to pay anywhere from $500 to as much as $1,000 depending on where you live.

Do Shollies bark a lot?

Shollies aren’t the type of dog to bark for no reason, though they will certainly raise their voice to get your attention.

They can be trained not to bark when it is not necessary, for example, when people pass your home. If your dog starts barking a lot for no apparent reason, it can be a sign that there is something wrong health-wise.

Which is better, male or female Shollies?

Whether you should get a male or female Shollie depends on your priorities. Females tend to be a bit smaller, and they are also more focused on tasks if you want a working dog.

Males tend to be more easygoing and less likely to engage in excessively protective behavior.

The Verdict On Shollies

When you are a first-time dog owner, you are often told to steer clear of the more athletic dog breeds, as they tend to be a handful and need an experienced hand.

But if you are looking for a pup to accompany you on all of your adventures, this can be disappointing.

If the above sounds like you, then a Shollie, a border collie and German shepherd mix, might be the right pup for you!

Shollies are very energetic and athletic dogs that will quickly become part of the family. You will probably want to take them with you on all of your weekend adventures.

They are incredibly friendly and highly trainable, so you don’t need to be a dog expert to take on their training and upbringing.

What you do need, however, is the time and space in your home to take on this boisterous new member of the family. If you can take on a bit of a challenge, it’ll be a very rewarding experience.

Do you have experience with German shepherd/border collie mixes?

Share your thoughts with the community in the comments section below.

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Border Collie German Shepherd Mix - Shollie sitting in wooded area

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One Comment

  1. I have owned a Shollie for several years. I have never had a better companion. They are loyal and protective. If danger arises, they guard their human at all costs.

    They need a lot of attention and a lot of room. Our 25 acre farm is perfect.

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