Popularly referred to as the smartest dog breed of all time, the Border Collie German Shepherd Mix is a popular hybrid, known for its excellence in dog shows and competitions. Both the German Shepherd and the Border Collie come from backgrounds as working dogs, so it is no surprise that the Shollie is a highly energetic and intelligent pup, just like its parents. Though there are no specific details surrounding why these two specific dog breeds were crossed, Shollies have become very popular in the last three decades, and are almost a household name today. There are some characteristics however, that will only become more clear to you if you understand the background of both the purebred parents.
Background and Personality of the Border Collie
Border Collies come from a background of being working and herding dogs, mostly for sheep and other livestock. They were generally used in the past by hunters and farmers to gather livestock at the end of the day, and were cherished because of their ability to follow instructions and yield to their owners. This eager to please mentality is also why Border Collies have been excellent at dog sports and competitions, are they are generally easy to train, and follow well to human instructions and types of speech.
They are naturally highly intelligent dogs that are easy to train and follow instructions well, but apart from their brilliance, Border Collies are very friendly and love to indulge in family activities. They are affectionate and loving dogs, and enjoy making their owners happy and pleased. They naturally do well with kids and strangers, and easily adapt to having other pets and animals around. These traits are normally passed down to your Shollie, depending on the dominant parental gene.
Background and Personality of the German Shepherd
German Shepherds also come from a working class background, and were generally used for herding and tending sheep by their owners, from as far back as the mid 19th century. Not only were they used for farming projects, but also in the 1920s as guide dogs for the visually impaired in Switzerland. Fast forward to the current century, and German Shepherds are still being used as working dogs by both the police and the military. They have a keen sense of smell which makes it easier for them to track down criminals and drugs.
They aren’t America’s most loved family dog for no reason. German Shepherds are naturally affectionate and loving towards their owner, and generally fit in well with all types of families. They tend to get along well with other pets and animals, as long as there is adequate space for them to play and run around daily. They can become quite curious, but this just makes them better guard dogs and ideal protectors of their family. They tend to be wary of strangers, so be sure to stay alert when their are new people in your home. These traits as well may be passed to the Shollie, but you can never predict what the personality of the Border Collie German Shepherd Mix will be.
5 Major Characteristics of the Border Collie German Shepherd Mix
Now that you’ve gotten pretty familiar with the background and personality of both parental breeds, it will be much easier to understand why the Shollie behaves the way it does. Here are 5 important factors you need to consider before deciding if the Border Collie German Shepherd mix is the ideal dog for your family or home.
- They are perfect for first time dog owners – Many first time dog owners struggle with balancing grooming, maintenance, training and just understand the dog’s personality, but with a Shollie, you don’t need to worry about many of these things. This dog is perfect because they require very little maintenance, and they take well to commands and training. They can get a bit defensive with strangers, but that’s only because they want to protect you from any danger. This personality trait can be easily adjusted though, by simply socialising your dog from the get go, and not to worry, they will be obedient to every instruction. Apart from their notorious energy levels, everything about the Shollie screams low maintenance, and the love and loyalty that they shower you with is completely worth the minimum work that you’ll have to do.
- They’ll be the best protector you never asked for – German Shepherds have an intrinsic nature to protect, and fortunately this trait was passed down to the Border Collie German Shepherd Mix, so get ready to have a protector at your feet. This can become a little bothersome if your dog keeps barking at random strangers, but the simple solution is to train them. Shollies can be trained to detect intruders separately from someone who you let in your home, or to remain calm while going for a walk or stopping at the coffee shop. They are very protective, so they should be taught the ability to detect whether a situation is harmful or harmless.
- They live long and healthy lives – Shollies generally have an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years, but some can live up to 17 years. While they are pretty healthy, being a hybrid puts them at risk for developing congenital defects from both sides of parenthood. These conditions include hip dysplasia, skin irritations, allergic reactions and eye diseases.
- They have a bundle of energy – Shollies are very active dogs, and they enjoy being playful with their owners, as well as participating in mentally challenging activities. They normally need a lot of outdoor time, which is one of the main reasons they are ideal for big families. At minimum, they should be given 2 long walks per day to prevent obesity and keep them happy and healthy.
- They are the smartest dogs around – Yes, you guessed it. Shollies are referred to as one of, if not the smartest dog breeds around. This is evident in their ability to listen to commands and act accordingly, participate in dog shows and competitions, and be easily trained in any area.
Overall, Shollies are the perfect dog for everyone, but they do have needs that everyone cannot fulfill. Ideally, they need someone who will dedicate enough to them and make sure all their other needs are fulfilled. Sounds like you? Then you may just have found the perfect new addition to your family.