Border Schnollie

Pippa Elliott
Dr Pippa Elliott (BVMS MRCVS, University of Glasgow)
Photo of adult Border Schnollie
Have an image we can use? Message us here!

The Border Schnollie is a hybrid dog, which is the love-pup of a Schnauzer and a Border Collie. Both parent breeds are highly intelligent, working dogs. This shines through in the Border Schnollie, which is a high energy dog that loves to have a task to get their teeth into. They therefore need an owner committed to providing plenty of physical and mental exercise.

This breed is sweet but can be stubborn and needs guidance to channel energy into appropriate pursuits. The Border Schnollie can sometimes inherit the Border Collie’s tendency to be anxious, which can make them a little unpredictable with children. This doesn’t mean they aren’t suitable as a family dog – more that an owner ought to have a moderate amount of experience under their belt.

About & History

The Border Schnollie is the ‘new kid on the block’ and their history is yet to be written. However, both parent breeds have illustrious histories.

The Border Collie

The Border Collie originates in Northumberland on the border between England and Scotland. Their story traces back to a founding dog, a particularly talented sheep-herding dog by the name of Old Hemp. He was as the perfect herding dog that was quiet, responsive, and eager to work. Local farmers were eager to work Hemp’s off-spring, and so a line of supremely gifting herding dogs was established, which was the foundation of the modern Border Collie.

But what of Old Hemp’s ancestors? Well, these were a variety of other older herding breeds, such as the Northern Sheepdogs, Welsh Sheepdogs, Scotch Collies, and Highland Collies.

The Schnauzer

The other half of the Border Schnollie’s heritage is the Schnauzer. The latter were ratters and hunters, rather than herding dogs. They originated from Germany, where the original Schnauzer is thought to be a blend of various breeds ,including the Affenpinscher, the Poodle, and possibly even the Pomeranian (for the Miniature version of the Schnauzer).

Schnauzers come in a variety of sizes, with the miniature being a later development in the mid-19th century. It is this smaller variety that is most popular today, perhaps for his big personality in a little frame.


It is a mistake to assume any hybrid dog will be a perfect blend of the parent dog’s appearance. This may well be the case, but some of the pups may have a strong resemblance to either the father or mother. Assuming the pup is a half-way hound, what can you expect?

These are a medium-sized dog, well-proportioned in limb and body. Their coat is somewhat wiry, akin to a shaggy dog, being of short to medium length, with something of the Schnauzer’s coarse hair about it. Their coat colour is likely to be black and white, salt & pepper and white, or steel grey.

They may well have a beard or moustache (even the girls!), bushy eyebrows, and drop ears. They have a good length snout and a classic shape to the skull. Their tail is straight and usually waggy.

Character & Temperament

A typical Border Schnollie is an energetic dog, eager to please and loves to be their master’s shadow. They can be a bit nervy or anxious, which shows as barking at strangers or not wanting to be left alone. The remedy is plenty of exercise and also training, since this boosts their confidence in you, as their protector being in control at all times.

Anyone thinking of getting a Border Schnollie as a family dog should find a pup that’s properly socialised from a young age. In the hands of a novice, a Border Schnollie may show their stubborn side (from the Schnauzer!) or be overly-anxious. Either of these traits could be a problem with children in the dog’s environment, since the dog may well try to ‘herd’ them. All that said, the Border Schnollie is a lovely fellow, with an open and honest character that is a delight to own.


The Border Collie is one of the most intelligent, trainable dog breeds known to man. Neither is the Schnauzer a slouch when it comes to ‘smarts’, all of which makes for a highly trainable dog.

The Border Schnollie responds well to reward-based training methods. For once, this is a dog breed that may be more interested in praise or chasing a ball, than food. So, be canny about the type of rewards used to motivate this fellow.


Hybrid dogs are a relatively new and there is little data about the health problems to which they are prone. But since they inherit genes from both sides of the family tree, it is appropriate to consider the problems to which their parents are prone.


Sadly, the Schnauzer breed is prone to canine pancreatitis. This is an unpleasant condition that can vary in severity. At the milder end the dog is off-colour, refuses food, and vomits occasionally. Those severely affected need hospitalisation for intravenous fluids and pain relief, with the most serious cases at risk of organ failure and collapse.

Pancreatitis results from the pancreas becoming inflamed and leaking digestive enzymes into the tissue around it. One trigger factor can be eating fatty foods, such as burgers or sausages. Therefore avoiding a high fat diet is a good strategy for dogs prone to pancreatitis.

Diabetes Mellitus

This is another condition that the Schnauzer leans towards. Diabetes is a condition where the blood sugar level is not adequately controlled and runs high. This is because the hormone, insulin, which regulates and balances blood sugar levels doesn’t work correctly.

Diabetes can be controlled with a combination of healthy eating and insulin injections. However, this treatment will be lifelong and the dog requires careful monitoring. Again, diet plays an important role, especially the amount fed, since overweight dogs are at greater risk of diabetes than slim ones.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a condition caused by a poor hip anatomy. This means the hip joints rub and grate with each step, causing pain and discomfort. Mild cases can be controlled with pain relief medications and keeping the dog slim. But, sadly, the severe cases can have impaired mobility and hip replacement surgery is required. The latter is an effective treatment but expensive.

Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA)

The Collie breeds are at risk of a hereditary condition called Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA). This is a genetic condition where the coding for eye development is faulty. It results in a number of defects within the eye with the potential to affect vision.

The resulting problems can include a poorly developed retina, issues with the optic nerve, bleeding within the eye, detached retina, and issues, such as the eye being physically small. Each affected dog can have a different combination of problems. So, whilst some may be only mildly affected and merely have poor vision, the worst affected are blind from an early age.

Exercise and Activity Levels

Both parent breeds are action heroes and love to be on the go, so it’s no surprise their offspring needs plenty of exercise. A Border Schnollie owner must commit to two good walks a day, preferably with off-lead time. Indeed, these dogs are clever and appreciate activities that give them an opportunity to use their brains. Enrolling them in an agility class will tick a lot of boxes.

Exercise is not optional for these dogs. If this need isn’t met then boredom will breed bad habits. They may divert their energy into unwelcome pursuits such as barking, chewing, or digging.


The Border Schnollie has the doggy equivalent of a Barbour jacket for a coat. It’s a sensible, functional type of coat that protects the dog and doesn’t require much by way of maintenance. As with all dogs, brushing (even coats that don’t knot) a couple of times a week helps keep them in good condition and captures shed hair.

As well a coat care, don’t overlook brushing their teeth as important part of their personal grooming. Daily tooth brushing helps remove plaque before it hardens to tartar, and thus protect the teeth from gum recession and infection.

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.