Border Collie vs. German Shepherd

Both Border Collie and German Shepherd are highly intelligent and active dogs. They excel in activities involving agility and obedience. However, there are distinct differences between these two breeds.

Border Collies are smaller and typically have a stronger herding instinct. They require a lot of mental and physical stimulation, and are known for their intense stare, called “the eye,” which they use when herding.

German Shepherds, on the other hand, are larger dogs, and were bred for a combination of guarding and herding. They are known for their courage, loyalty, and versatility in roles such as service dogs, police dogs, and therapy dogs.

In terms of temperament, Border Collies are often described as energetic, tenacious, and possibly even a bit obsessive. German Shepherds are typically confident, courageous, and smart, and they can be aloof with strangers.

The choice between these two breeds ultimately comes down to your lifestyle and what you’re looking for in a dog. Both breeds require a good amount of exercise and mental stimulation, but their personalities and instincts may be more suited to some homes than others.

Last Updated on September 20, 2023

*. Are you comparing the Border Collie with the German Shepherd to find your next dog companion? The German Shepherd and Border Collie are both purebred dogs that are known for their protective nature. However, there are some differences between these two breeds. It is important to understand the differences between these two breeds if you are looking for a dog to add to your family.

Both dog breeds are well-known for good reason. Both are energetic and friendly, and they’re beautiful. Although neither one is the best for new dog owners, they can be a joy to care for.

This article will teach you everything about Border Collies and German Shepherds. With clear compare-and-contrast, you’ll see the key similarities and differences between both breeds. Let’s get started to find the best working dog for you.

Border Collie vs. German Shepherd

Breed History

Both breeds have fascinating backstories , that start with the time they were first sired. Understanding their breed history will help you understand their temperaments. Both dogs were bred to be able to adapt to different situations. Let’s look into the history of each breed.

Border Collie

You can trace Borer Collie’s lineage back to the Roman Empire, and Vikings . The Vikings conquered Britain after the Roman Empire collapsed. Their success was largely due to the assistance of their herding dogs. Dogs from the Roman Empire stayed put. One of the most intelligent breeds was created by mating dogs from different cultures.

Despite being no longer used as work dogs , Border Collies still have a reputation for their herding skills. They are considered the smartest dog breed by animal experts. They are also extremely popular. The American Kennel Club listed them as the 33rd most-popular breed on their yearly list.

German Shepherd

German Shepherds are far more popular then Border Collies. They are actually the second most popular breed of dog in the world. While they’re largely associated with police and military use, they were initially used for herding purposes, as their name suggests.

They came from Germany in the 19th century, descended from top herding dogs. There are actually two different breeding lines: American and European variants of the breed. You might find them called “Alsatians” when you visit Europe. This was due to anti-German sentiments during World War II. It has remained in some areas. Arguably, the most famous dog is Rin Tin Tin, the popular dog movie star who appeared in 27 films.


There is no mistake these breeds when you look at their looks. German Shepherds weigh more, with full-size dogs weighing between 60 and 80 pounds, respectively. By comparison, full-size Border Collies weigh between 27 and 55 pounds, respectively.

The dogs are pretty close in height but German Shepherds are higher. Males measure 25 inches tall, while females measure 23 inches tall. Comparatively, male Border Collies are 20 to 22 inches tall, and females measure roughly 18 to 20 inches tall.

Border Collie fur can be either coarse or smooth. Their fur is usually black and white. It is not uncommon to see dogs with blue, red or gold tones. Solid coats are also possible, but these dogs are often sable-colored.

All German Shepherds are medium-length. They have a black and tan coat. However, some dogs will have solid-colored coats, coming in black, blue, and the more controversial white variety.


Surprisingly, both dog breeds have more in common then they may seem. They are both working breeds, and extremely smart. Both are loyal to their owners. Border Collies can be shy around strangers, which can lead to shyness. German Shepherds are more open to social interactions with strangers than Border Collies, but they can also be more protective of their yard and home.

Both breeds are territorial and make excellent guard dogs, but neither barks often. They can be quite loud and prone to biting. Border Collies are very unlikely bite other dogs or people. German Shepherds may be more likely to bite than other dogs, but this is usually due to the dog’s training. Unfortunately, they are sometimes labeled as aggressive as a result.

Both dogs are very affectionate .. Border Collies can be very attached to their owners. Border Collies are more susceptible to separation anxiety. If left alone for too long, neither dog will be happy. You might consider getting another dog if you’re not home often.

Both dogs need a home environment. Both dogs need to be exercised. Apartment living is not a good option for either breed. If you already have a dog, be careful. Border Collies are friendly with other dogs but German Shepherds need to be socialized and introduced early to ensure they behave well in multi-pet households.

If you have children, both breeds can be a great choice . They are all very friendly with children. They are also very friendly with other pets like cats. It’s not always the most loving relationship.


Both breeds need at least one-hour of vigorous exercise every day. To help your dog release energy, extend their walk when you take him to the bathroom. It is also a great idea to have a fenced backyard for your dog. This allows them to run around and play while you are busy with other things.

Take them to the park on days off so they have as much space as possible. You will need to keep them on a leash. It might be worth taking them to the dog park. It is best to keep their territoriality in your mind. Both can be territorial and it is important to socialize them early.

Pay attention to how your Border Collie and German Shepherd behave indoors. If they become aggressive or display other signs of distress make sure they get enough exercise every day. No matter their age, a well-executed dog will be a happy and healthy dog.


Both breeds are intelligent and will learn commands quickly during training sessions. Border Collies excel at agility training and other activities, while German Shepherds lend themselves more to law enforcement, police work, and other jobs.

Their intelligent demeanors make it easy for them to pick up commands and follow rules. It is important to start training them both as soon as possible. At a young age, they can learn good behavior. Neglecting to train them can result in aggression and unhappiness.

Crate training recommended is for both breeds . Border Collies can be trained in a 36 inch dog crate, while German Shepherds need a 42-inch dog crate at a minimum, due to their larger stature. Crate training is a way to help your dog learn when to settle down and provide a safe place to sleep at night.

Both breeds require early socialization. They must be comfortable around other people, particularly your family members. Both can learn basic obedience. At a young age, teach your dog to sit, come and lie down. To give your dog a complete training program, you might look into an obedience school.

Their work backgrounds help to explain their ease of training . Both dogs were bred for tasks and to help their masters. These traits are still part of the dog’s DNA, even if they spend more time playing tennis than sheding sheep.

It is important to consider who you are adopting from. You should ensure that the breeder you are adopting has a good reputation for their dogs being friendly and happy. Most breeders are reluctant to use aggressive dogs for breeding.


Both dogs tend to be very healthy . Both can have some genetic health problems. German Shepherds typically live between 7 and 10 years. It is possible for one to live as long as 13 years. Border Collies tend to have longer lifespans, between 12 and 15 years.

Each breed can suffer from Hip Dysplasia and Progressive Atrophy .. German Shepherds are more at risk than others for Hemangiosarcoma, which is a common form of cancer in this breed. Bloat is also a possibility. Preventive surgery can be performed to correct this condition if necessary.

*Border collies must deal with Osteochondritis Dissecans. This is a condition in which a loss of blood circulation causes a bone beneath cartilage to stop growing. They may also be susceptible to epilepsy, deafness and neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis.


Both breeds require high-quality dog food rich in nutrients. Their age and current health requirements will determine the type of food they require. The two most important factors in choosing the right food for your dog are affordability and financial resources. When your pup is in their puppy phase, when they are developing, we recommend that you purchase the best nutrition possible.

Border Collies will consume less dog food between the two breeds. They are shorter and will eat approximately 2 to 2.5 cups of high quality dog food per day. Active dogs may consume slightly more. It is best to divide the food into three or four different meals so your dog doesn’t go overboard.

German Shepherds will eat slightly more dog food on average, because of their size. A fully-developed dog should consume approximately 3 cups of dog food per day. Active dogs will consume more food and should be fed at split times so that their weight does not become a problem. Due to the potential for hip issues later in life, you might consider feeding your dog a food that has a greater amount of glucosamine.


Both breeds have double-coats that are longer and both shed often . You might consider a different breed if you’re looking for a dog that is easy to groom. The length of their coat will determine how often they require grooming. No matter what breed, dogs with long hair will need more grooming.

German Shepherds will appear to shed less if they have a shorter coat. The shedding rate is the same regardless of how long their coats are. Long-haired dogs, however, will shed less because it’s easier to see.

Border Collies shed approximately the same amount. The visibility of their fur in your home will depend upon many factors including the color of your floors and furniture. The consistency in Border’s fur ,, which has been known to stick to almost everything it can clings to, may make it seem like Border is shedding more. Both dogs need to be pin-brushed once a week in order to keep their coats clean and healthy. German Shepherds need more brushing because they shed more than Border Collies. However, Border Collies also go through periods of heavy shedding.

Neither breed requires bathing every week or monthly .. A recommended bathing routine will have you bathing either dog about every eight to 12 weeks. This will keep their coats clean and eliminate any lingering odors. They don’t have to be smelly as long as they’re well taken care of.

Puppy Prices

Prices can vary if you adopt either breed of dog as a puppy. Adopting one of these dogs can be quite expensive. The price may be higher if the breeder is highly regarded. Puppies of

German Shepherds are more expensive than those of other breeds. The average cost of a purebred puppy is between $1,000 and $2,000. If your dog is from a more prestigious family, expect to pay more.

For Border Collies puppies, the average price is around $1,000 and up. A show dog will cost you more than a purebred German Shepherd, but it is usually less expensive.

Don’t be seduced by breeders who offer puppies at a cheap price. Be sure to verify that the breeder you are considering is licensed and recommended. You can find cheaper puppies from backyard breeders and puppy mills. Your puppy should be able to succeed in life. This means that it must come from a line that does not carry potential health risks ..

Final Thoughts

German Shepherds and Border Collies are both great choices , depending upon the family they will be returning home to. They are very similar in temperament, even though their looks may be quite different. Both are intelligent and one of the most popular breeds. You need to ensure that they are in an environment where their intelligence and sweet dispositions can be nurtured.

A German Shepherd might not live as long or suffer from more diseases. Both breeds can learn obedience training and good discipline. They are both independent. Both breeds can be excellent protectors and support systems. They can make your home a more loving place.

If you’ve never had a dog, consider another breed . Both breeds make great pets but can be demanding. They require lots of exercise and attention. German Shepherds and Border Collies also require space. Do not keep your dog in an apartment with limited access to fresh air.

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