In the guide below, we compare the German Shepherd vs the Border Collie dog breeds.
We outline what the main differences between them might be, along with providing other important information on each breed (and generally comparing them in different ways)
(NOTE: the information in this guide is general information only. It is not professional advice, or a substitute for professional advice. See a qualified vet or animal expert for an expert opinion in regards to your pet/s)
German Shepherd vs Border Collie: Differences, & Breed Comparison
German Shepherd vs Border Collie – Origin/History
German Shepherds were first bred in Germany around 1899.
They were bred from different Shepherd breed dogs in Germany at the time (reportedly a sheep type dog, and also a service type dog), with the intention of having ideal working dog traits and working ability.
GSDs as a breed belong to the ‘herding dog’ category.
Today, GSD’s are used in a range of working fields, compete as show dogs, and are also pets & family dogs.
There’s differing reports on the origin of the Border Collie
Some reports indicate they were originally bred on the border of Scotland and England in the 1700’s or 1800’s
However, other reports indicate they may date back further than that
They were originally bred as herding dogs, to herd sheep on hilly land
They are currently used as farm dogs and working dogs, in dog sports and other dog competitions, and as pets and family dogs
German Shepherd vs Border Collie – Size
German Shepherds might be classified as a large breed of dog
Males might average 24-26 inches in height (60-65 cms), and 66-88 lbs in weight (30-40 kg)
Females might average 22-24 inches in height (55-60 cms), and 49-71 lbs in weight (22-32 kg)
Border Collies might be classified as medium sized breed of dog
Males might average 19-24 inches in height (48-60 cms), and 31-55 lbs in weight (14-25 kg)
Females might average 18-22 inches in height (46-56 cms), and 26-42 lbs in weight (12-19 kg)
German Shepherd vs Border Collie – Lifespan
German Shepherds might have a lifespan of around 9-13 years on average
Although, some reports indicate some GSDs may even live up to 15 years of age
A Border Collie might have a lifespan of anywhere between 10 to 17 years, with an average being around 12 years of age
German Shepherd vs Border Collie – Popularity
Every year, the American Kennel Club publishes a list of the most popular dog breeds based on dog registration data.
The 2021 list shows:
– German Shepherds as the 4th most popular dog breed
– Border Collies as the 31st most popular dog breed
Of course though, this is only one rankings list, from one organisation, in one country.
Other lists in other locations may look different.
German Shepherd vs Border Collie – Appearance, Features, & Colors
German Shepherds might commonly be known for the following appearance and physical features:
– Black and tan, or sometimes black and red coat color and saddle pattern (although other colors exist too)
– Erect ears/ears that stand up
– An angulated back and dropped hips (although body shape differs between the individual lines of GSDs)
– Generally medium length hair/plush coat, with a double coat (although, short and long haired GSDs exist too)
Having said that though, different German Shepherds have different physical features and appearances.
You can read about the different variations in German Shepherds, such the different lines, colors, and coat lengths/types here.
Border Collies might commonly be known for the following appearance and physical features:
– A black and white bi-color coat, but, there can be other colors too, such as brown, merle, red, blue and more
– Ears that can vary – some are floppy, some are half-standing, and some stand up
– An leaner but athletic body, with a bushy tail
– Both rough and smooth coats exist, as well as longer and shorter coats.
– Generally a double coat
German Shepherd vs Border Collie – Temperament
Ultimately, a dog’s personality or temperament might be influenced by a range of factors, with genetics and breeding being key factors
So, this is why the temperament and personality of individual dogs don’t always match the general temperament descriptions found online
However, a generalized description of the temperament of each dog breed, according to either parts of the standard for each breed, or, what they were originally bred to be, might be:
Intelligent, obedient and easier to train, loyal, confident, protective, and may be slightly aloof (without being aggressive)
May have the general temperament of a working breed dog or herding dog
Read more about what temperament GSDs were originally bred for, and what some breed standards outline for temperament and personality in this guide
Intelligent, trainable, focussed/alert, energetic, and loyal
May have the general temperament of a herding dog
German Shepherd vs Border Collie – Intelligence
Intelligence testing for dogs can test for different things, and can also have limitations.
So, intelligence rankings for different breeds might be viewed as a guide only, and not definitive
One online ranking indicated that German Shepherds rank as the 3rd most intelligent dog breed
The same ranking report ranks Border Collies as the number 1 most intelligent dog breed on the list
German Shepherd vs Border Collie – Bite Force
The bite force of different dog breeds might be a generalized measurement only, and not definitive or comprehensive.
We list some of the reasons for this in a separate guide.
However, when referencing one ‘strongest dog bite force’ list, where bite force is expressed in psi (pounds of force per square inch), the bite force of each of these two breeds might be:
– German Shepherds might have a bite force of 238 psi
– Border Collies are not mentioned on the list
German Shepherd vs Border Collie – Cost/Price
The cost to buy a specific breed of dog depends on the country it’s bought from, along with a wide range of other factors.
Some general information on buying each breed though might include:
Buying From Breeders
According to different online information at the time of publishing this guide, the general cost to buy each of these breeds from breeders in the US might be:
– German Shepherd
Anywhere from $800 up to $10,000+ (for the highest quality dogs), with the average for a regular puppy potentially being around the $800 mark
– Border Collie
Anywhere from $600 up to $4500+ (for the highest quality dogs), with the average for a regular puppy potentially being around the $800-1000 mark
Buying from a breeder may not be the only option to own each of these dog breeds.
Adopting or rescuing may be other options too.
The cost to adopt or rescue a dog can be significantly cheaper than buying from a breeder in some instances, although there’s usually still a basic cost to adopt/rescue a dog.
Buying a dog that is being re-homed might another option to buy a dog.
The cost for rehomed dogs can vary.
More Information On German Shepherds
It’s worth noting that some of the information in the guide above about German Shepherds comes from our ‘German Shepherd Breed Information Guide‘, which also has additional information about the German Shepherd breed.
TheDailyShep.com are not veterinarians, or animal professionals/experts. Information provided is for informational purposes only – it is not a substitute for professional or qualified advice.
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