If a high level of intelligence is what you are looking for when choosing a dog, you can’t go wrong with a Border collie German shepherd mix. Just consider the fact that the Border collie is in pole position when it comes to the smartest dogs breeds on earth, while the German shepherd ranks a nice third place. The list of smartest dog breeds was compiled by psychology professor Stanley Coren by assessing how each dog responded to several obedience tests and by looking at the overall levels of trainability. While the Border collie German shepherd dog is not a purebred dog, you can have a general idea about what traits to expect by looking at the parent breeds.
A Look into the Past
The German shepherd breed is as versatile as it is intelligent. This loyal breed was selectively bred to herd and protect flocks of sheep, but nowadays boasts quite a versatile repertoire of important roles. You’ll see this breed utilized as a police dog, guide dog, search and rescue dog, explosion and narcotics detecting dog and family companion. The Border collie, on the other hand, was mainly used as a premier sheep herder. Prized for his intelligence, nowadays you’ll see this pooch employed in many canine sports. Watch him in action as he excels in agility, flying disc, and canine musical freestyle.
The Looks of this Mixed Dog
When you mix two purebred dogs, you often end up with an intriguing jumble of genetic material. When it comes to looks, a great majority of Border collie German shepherd mixes resemble the German shepherd dog. You’ll likely notice the black and tan coat of the German breed with its black saddle. The coat though may appear slightly hairier than seen in the German shepherd dog. The tail though will look less bushy than as typically seen in the German shepherd breed. Occasionally, you may stumble on specimens boasting the colors of the Border collie coat.
While the face often resembles that of a German shepherd, the floppy ears are often a distinguishing feature reminiscent of the Border collie heritage. Over all, the body of the Border collie German shepherd mix is quite large and muscular. Expect this mix to stand at 21 to 29 inches at the withers and to weigh anywhere in between 75 and 80 pounds once fully grown.
What to Expect in this Cross
So what should you expect in a crossbred dog who has picked out the best brains and shares parents who were originally bred to herd sheep? Most likely, the end result is a highly intelligent dog with loads of drive and energy. You’ll likely also notice a combination of the playfulness of the Border collie and the protectiveness of the German shepherd. The latter may be particularly evident when this mixed breed notices strangers on his turf.
Channeling Energy and Drive
If you are interested in this cross, expect to invest time in keeping this dog well exercised and mentally stimulated. This dog thrives when allowed to romp off leash in open spaces that are securely fenced. The strong herding instincts may create problems if not channeled properly. It shouldn’t come as a surprise if this cross may attempt to herd children and other animals or even small dogs. Given the opportunity to invest the drive in positive outlets, the Border collie German shepherd mix has great potential. Training this dog to perform tricks is a pleasure, courtesy of this breed’s willingness to please and high intelligence.
Health and Grooming
While mixed breeds are generally considered healthier than purebreds, the Border collie German shepherd mix may inherit some congenital disorders. Hip dysplasia and congenital deafness is possible as both parent breeds are prone to these heritable conditions. Purchasing a border collie German shepherd cross from a breeder who cares about the health of his breeding stock may help considerably lower the chances for these genetically-based disorders. Grooming this mix is important to prevent the propagation of stray hairs during shedding season which happens twice a year. Frequent brushing will also help keep the coat shiny and in top shape.
The Best Home for this Mix
A dedicated owner who has the time to channel the high energy and playful demeanor will offer the best home for this mix. A large fenced yard to patrol and romp in is a big plus. This mix requires loads of early socialization to overcome the potential suspiciousness of strangers and territorial tendencies. Exercise, mental stimulation and training will often yield a more relaxed dog. This dog thrives on company and may not like to be left home alone for extended periods of time. Farmers or hunters will particularly enjoy putting this energetic dog to work.