Border Collies are commonly known as the number one most intelligent dog breed.
The German Shepherd places as the 3rd most intelligent dog breed, with the Standard Poodle intervening between the two.
To date, I have never seen a ranking of dogs by intelligence that did not include the Border Collie in the first place or the German Shepherd dog in the top five.
This should be our first clue as to what the Shollie, the Border Collie and German Shepherd mix, will be like.
At a Glance
Health and Grooming
Where Does the Shollie Come From?
Let’s talk a bit about the individual breeds that produce the Shollie: the German Shepherd Border Collie mix. The Border Collie has been around since the period when Romans controlled Britannia.
It is thought that their name comes from their origins, herding sheep in the border area of England and Scotland. Also, ‘Collie’ is a Scottish Gaelic term simply meaning sheepdog.
The exceptional intelligence of the German Shepherd Collie mix comes through in their easy trainability and their ability to perform somewhat complex tasks on their own.
They can be told what to do when it comes to herding sheep, and they have an uncanny ability to make their own decisions to accomplish that task.
Even though they are a very old dog breed, for some reason, they were not registered as an official breed with the American Kennel Club (AKC) until 1995.
The German Shepherd Breed is actually much younger. This breed was created in Germany before the turn of the 20th century by Max Von Stephanitz.
The AKC recognized it as an official breed in 1908.
The German Shepherd was meant to be a herding breed that could do its job in adverse conditions. This breed soon became known for its loyalty and trainability.
Combine these characteristics with its size, and you can clearly see why the German Shepherd is prized for its role in police work and military operations.
It is no surprise then that you would get a dog of exceptional intelligence, fierce loyalty, and unwavering energy by combining these two dog breeds. This is what the Shollie is all about.
Is the Shollie a Recognized Breed?
The Shollie has yet to be registered as a separate breed with the AKC. However, some dog clubs do recognize the Shollie.
One that specializes in mixed breeds is the American Canine Hybrid Club. Also, the Dog Registry of America, Inc. recognizes the Shollie.
According to Perfect Dog Breeds, It ought to be noted that the main reason for the AKC not recognizing the Shollie could be that it is difficult to write a standard for it.
A standard is the set of criteria by which a breed is judged. To do that for a Shollie is pretty much impossible.
Is the Shollie Considered a Designer Breed?
Shollies are a hybrid dog breed, but they can also be considered a designer breed. A designer breed is the mixed breed of two purebred dogs.
The crossbreed puppy looks like the parent breeds and typically has the same temperament and characteristics.
Physical Characteristics of the Shollie
While in many cases the coat of the Shollie dog may be tan, similar to a German Shepherd, this is often not the case. Sometimes the Shollie’s coat is black with splotches of white.
There are pure white Shollies. Other colors like red or merle blue can be part of the Shollie’s coat as well.
There are Shollies with the build and musculature of a German Shepherd but with floppy ears and a less bushy tail like the Border Collie.
Some have the build of a Border Collie but with straight ears and a bushy tail like a German Shepherd.
They tend to be anywhere from 45 to 80 pounds in weight. Their height is from 21 to 27 inches tall when they are fully grown.
The more their body type represents the Collie parent, the shorter and lighter they will be.
Those things that all Shollies should have in common are double coats and the fact that they shed seasonally and year-round.
Behavior and Temperament
According to Animalso, what mainly sets the Shollie dog apart is the character of this crossbreed mix: intelligence, loyalty, and energy. Let’s see how these traits make the Shollie such a great family dog.
Loyal to Family
While the Shollie should never be left with very small children unsupervised, the Shollie must get to know all family members as soon as possible.
Once the Shollie gets to know who is in their family group, the less likely this dog will act out aggressively toward these family members.
Great with Kids
The Shollie also has a good temperament that makes them good with kids. They are friendly and loyal dogs and make great play companions for the kids.
Some dog owners have even said their Shollie treats the kids as they would their own puppies.
They are also extremely intelligent dogs and are well-known for their skills when it comes to obedience training and agility games. They get their intelligence from both of their parents.
What to Keep In Mind
There are also a few things you should keep in mind before purchasing a Shollie puppy for your family.
Doesn’t Like Strangers
The Shollie tends to be wary of and sometimes aggressive toward strangers. This trait can be utilized to protect your family, but it can be a problem when a friend or relative comes to visit.
Be sure to introduce the Shollie to any stranger in controlled circumstances. Have your friend or relative give your Shollie a dog biscuit or other treat to show that this stranger does not represent a danger.
To help control any aggressive tendencies your Shollie may have, it is important to teach your dog when it is not okay to bark.
Even though Shollies do not tend to be frequent barkers anyway, it is still important to suppress their instinct to bark as much as possible so that you can train them when it is appropriate to bark.
For instance, you can withhold a treat from them as long as they keep barking and only give them the treat when they stop barking.
You can also ignore your Shollie if they bark inappropriately and only give your dog attention when they stop.
Then have a neighbor come over, pretending to break into your home and give them a treat when the dog barks as appropriate. A well-trained Shollie can be a great security asset for you and your family.
How Much Exercise Does a Shollie Need?
Because the Shollie is such a high-energy dog, you and your family will love playing with them. You and your Shollie can spend hours playing frisbee or fetch.
Your Shollie should be taken on long walks daily. If you live near a dog park, that would be an ideal place for your Shollie to play with other dogs.
It should be noted that the Shollie’s energy level can be a two-edged sword. For those who are homebodies or do not have the time to commit to your dog, the Shollie is not likely right for you.
This is because if the Shollie does not get enough exercise and training, their minds will inevitably think about destructive things.
This could include digging holes in one’s backyard, knocking things over and breaking them, tearing up one’s shoes or other articles of clothing.
Is the Shollie a Good Family Dog?
The Shollie is only right for those who have the time and commitment to keep up with the Sholly’s energy level. This dog is best suited for sizeable families; the more children, the better.
The Shollie can also be good for an individual who simply has a lot of time to dedicate to training the Shollie and helping them exercise this dog’s amazing mental capacity through such activities as agility training and flyball.
These obstacles include tunnels, seesaws, A-frames, and the type of obstacle shown in the above-linked video. This is the perfect mental training for a Shollie.
A flyball is a relay event where dogs perform in teams and must run down a course to get a ball and return before the next dog goes.
The team that collects all the balls first wins. This game is a really good release for the Shollie’s pent-up energy.
Mental Stimulation and Training
Aside from just plain physical activity for your Shollie, mental training is equally important. Besides doing the basic sit, stay, roll over commands; train your Shollie to get the paper in the morning.
Try to do tests for your Shollie that will challenge their mind. Put some sort of barrier between your Shollie and their favorite treat and see if your dog can devise a way to get to it.
Hide kibble throughout the house and watch your Shollie try to find it all.
The Shollie is notable for how affectionate this dog can be. They love to cuddle and lick their owners and constantly play and interact in all sorts of ways.
They are always ready for a game of tug with a towel or article of clothing. If you like a dog with whom you may constantly be interacting, the Shollie may be for you.
What Are the Health Issues a Shollie Can Inherit from its Parent Breeds?
Unlike some breeds, the Shollie is quite healthy and often goes 15 years or more without major health problems, but there are some things a Shollie inherits from the parent breeds.
Hip dysplasia can be a problem inherited from the German Shepherd parent. Epilepsy is a problem with Border Collies and is also inheritable.
Other problems that can show up sometimes are deafness, eye problems or anomalies, allergies, bloat, and exocrine pancreatic insufficiency.
Other less than common health conditions they may experience include cataracts, portosystemic shunts, and diabetes.
Occasional testing like eye examinations, radiographs, and a complete physical examination can help find and diagnose problems early on.
To save on possible vet bills, it might be good to buy pet health insurance that is widely available these days, usually at an affordable price.
How to Care for Your Shollie
As with any dog breed, it is important to discuss the Shollie’s maintenance and care.
It is important to brush the Shollie’s thick coat at least twice a week to prevent matting. Shollies are very heavy shedders.
If matting occurs, it is an extra expense to take your dog to a groomer and have it removed. As noted above, the Shollie sheds – so be prepared with brush rollers to clean up shedding hair.
Shollie’s aren’t known to drool and don’t have a strong dog odor. So, they won’t have to be bathed often.
But, if they do need to be bathed, be sure to use a hypoallergenic shampoo and do not use it too much or too often.
Shollies are also not prone to dental issues, but it is still recommended that you brush their teeth a few times each week to help reduce any possible future dental issues that may arise.
The Shollie should be fed twice a day – one and a half cups of dog food. You can choose wet food or dry food, but they should contain at least 25 percent animal protein.
How Much Does a Shollie Puppy Cost?
If you are considering purchasing a Shollie puppy, be aware that it can cost you between 450 to 950 dollars in the US. It is preferential to go directly to a reputable breeder for this purchase.
You simply do not know what you are getting from a pet store that may get a puppy from a mill with lax breeding and sanitary standards.
By going directly to a reputable breeder, you can check the parents’ paperwork to make certain they are both purebreds.
You can get a good look at the parents to see whether they have good temperaments. You can check to make certain that the puppy has had all of its recommended shots.
You can satisfy yourself that the breeding area is sanitary and in good condition.
Finally, if the breeder is truly reputable, they will not be too quick to let the puppies go. Instead, they will check into you, the buyer, to ensure the puppy will go to a good home.
They may ask seemingly intrusive questions about your income, your home life, and your plans for the dog. Don’t be offended.
This is all part of a responsible breeder’s responsibility to get good homes for their pups.
After purchasing a puppy, please be aware that expenses will continue for you as a new dog owner. At a minimum, you will spend 475 to 1,000 dollars a year on feeding your Collie Shepherd mix.
This does not include accessories like a leash, collar, harness, cage, or toys. Again, there will also be visits to the vet.
Even though Shollies are not recommended for apartments, if you happen to live in an apartment, you will often find that you pay extra rent per month for your pet.
If you are a busy professional who doesn’t have that much time for your Shollie, you will definitely want your dog in doggie daycare.
You may also want professional training for your Shollie, and expenses will become an issue.
Owning a Shollie is a big responsibility, but they give a lot of love and affection in return. Shollies crave their owner’s attention, and the responsible owner wants their Shollie to have a good life.
Please do not get a Shollie unless you or your family can provide this dog with the attention it needs or pay someone to provide that attention.
Related Reading: Dutch Shepherd Border Collie Mix