Comparison between Border Collie and German Shorthaired Pointer

The Border Collie is a remarkable canine that stands out by its intellect, playfulness, and overall pleasant disposition. At the same time, adaptable German Shorthaired Pointer is a sporting breed that excels in retrieving both on land and in water, making it proficient in hunting a variety of game species. In addition to their sporting abilities, they also make affectionate companions.

This page delves into the comparing general traits, temperament, and behavioral habits of both breed in great detail, providing readers with a deeper understanding and respect for the nature of this fascinating animal.

Breed Characteristics

Purebred border collie on grass

The Border Collie is primarily a herding breed, deriving its name from its place of origin along the Anglo-Scottish border. Bred specifically for the purpose of herding sheep, these canines are renowned for their exceptional intelligence and quick learning abilities. However, their high intelligence and need for meaningful activity make them quite demanding for the average family.

The German Shorthaired Pointer, possesses a graceful head with dark almond-shaped eyes, a cheerful expression, and a prominent, dark nose. Their ears are set high and droop, lying flat against their heads. The most notable feature of the GSP is its short, thick, and smooth coat, which can come in solid liver or liver and white color variations.

This coat may exhibit ticking, roan, or patch patterns. While their tail is often docked, leaving approximately 40% of its original length, it is their intelligence and liveliness that truly shines. Although they may be a bit exuberant for smaller children, they enjoy being around people and make excellent companions for kids.

Characteristic Border Collie German Shorthaired Pointer
Breed Group Herding Sporting
Height (Shoulder) 45 to 55 Centimeters 58 to 63 Centimeters
Weight 12 to 21 Kilograms 24 to 31 Kilograms
Coat Medium-length dual-layered Short and sleek
Life Span Up to 17 years Up to 14 years
Temperament Clever, Active, Responsive, Devoted, Vigilant Clever, Sociable, Active, Confident, Alert
Origin Scottish Breed German Breed

History of Border Collie and German Shorthaired Pointer

The Border Collie is a breed of British origin, initially bred as a sheepdog, specifically trained to work closely with its handler and herd various types of animals. The breed is believed to have Viking-introduced Scottish reindeer herding dogs as its ancestors. Through the combination of these canines with Valee Sheepdogs, breeders successfully developed the Border Collie. Although informally known as “Sheepdogs” for a significant period, the breed was unofficially named “Border Collie” around 1915. The term “Border” was chosen due to the breed’s origins in Northumberland, located on the Anglo-Scottish border.

The German Shorthaired Pointer has ancestral roots dating back to the 17th century. However, the modern version of the breed was primarily developed as a versatile hunting dog during the latter part of the 19th century.

The German Shorthaired Pointer’s predecessor was the German Pointer, also known as the German Bird Dog. This large, hound-like dog with a keen sense of smell originated from crosses between Spanish Pointers and Bloodhounds. Hunters aimed to breed dogs with sociable personalities while also desiring grace, flair, loyal temperament, and a powerful sense of smell. By introducing Pointers imported from England to enhance style, they successfully produced a dog that excelled both on land and in water.

Appearance Comparison between Border Collie and German Shorthaired Pointer

black GSP

According to the Border Collie breed standard, the ideal appearance of the breed is characterized by a well-balanced build that exudes both agility and elegance. This highly intelligent dog has oval-shaped eyes, typically black in color, although merle-coated individuals may have blue eyes. When the Border Collie stands upright or semi-erect, its trapezoidal-shaped ears contribute to its image of attentiveness.

On the other hand, the German Shorthaired Pointer possesses a medium-sized, well-muscled body. Compared to a Pointer, the muzzle of a GSP has a more squared-off shape and a less pronounced stop. When compared to other Pointers, the head of the GSP is often more subtle in appearance. This breed is characterized by almond-shaped eyes, velvety ears set high on the head, and a tail that is typically docked to approximately 40% of its natural length.


Border Collies are generally considered to be of medium size. Female Border Collies can reach heights of up to 21 inches and weigh up to 42 pounds (19 kilograms), while male Border Collies can grow to around 22 inches in height and weigh up to 45 pounds (20 kilograms).

On the other hand, the German Shorthaired Pointer is typically classified as an average-sized dog. They usually weigh between 45 and 70 pounds (20 and 32 kilograms) and stand between 22 and 24 inches tall. The size of the GSP makes them an excellent running companion, as they strike a balance between being large enough for running activities while still being manageable in most home environments.

Coats & Colors

The Border Collie exhibits various coat types and colors that can be used to differentiate between them. Regardless of whether they are purebred or mixed-breed, all Border Collies have a thick double coat. The two main coat types are rough and smooth, and there are several distinct color varieties, including lilac, sable, blue merle, tricolor, brown, and white collies.

The amount of shedding and grooming required will depend on the specific coat type and the season. The grooming needs of a Border Collie can vary based on factors such as having a heavy, thick, winter, curly, or short coat.

German Shorthaired Pointers possess physical characteristics such as a large brown snout, floppy ears, and dark almond-shaped eyes. However, what truly sets them apart and makes them highly recognizable are their unique patterns and color combinations.

While they can have solid colors, they typically have liver and white or black and white coats with distinct spotted patterns referred to as “patches” or “ticking.” One interesting feature of GSPs is that their noses always match their coat color. Therefore, a dog with a liver-colored coat will have a liver-colored nose, while a dog with a black coat will have a black nose.

Personality & Temperament of Border Collie versus German Shorthaired Pointer

Border Collies are well-known for their dedication, focus, liveliness, and alertness. They form strong bonds with their owners and loved ones quite quickly. However, they may not be the best choice for families with very small children unless they are given sufficient time and exercise, as their innate herding instincts can lead them to try to herd children.

If not provided with enough mental and physical stimulation, Border Collies may develop behavioral issues or engage in mischievous behavior, as their highly active minds are always seeking something to do. Owners of this breed should be active individuals who can provide them with plenty of exercise, training, and desire a fun and engaging companion.

German Shorthaired Pointers, on the other hand, are known for their intelligence, sociability, and eagerness to please. They approach tasks with enthusiasm and without fear or anxiety. However, they do not tolerate being left alone for long periods and may experience separation anxiety.

Rather than being kept in yards or kennels, they are better suited to being house dogs. They form close relationships with each member of the family, although they may have a particular soft spot for someone. German Shorthaired Pointers are highly trainable, and various factors, including genetics, training, and socialization, can influence their temperament. Puppies with good dispositions are typically curious, lively, and comfortable approaching and being handled by humans.


German Shorthaired Pointer is perfect for family

Both male and female Border Collies have the potential to become cherished members of a family. While female Border Collies are often described as calmer than males, it’s important to note that both genders can exhibit wonderful companionship qualities. When it comes to interacting with children, Border Collies generally get along well as long as they are taught proper dog care and handling. Their typically non-aggressive nature makes them a suitable choice for families with young ones.

Similarly, German Shorthaired Pointers are recognized for their sweet and affectionate disposition towards people, including children. Their inherent love for human interaction makes them excellent companions for individuals of all ages who have a fondness for dogs. Furthermore, their intelligence plays a significant role in their trainability, making them relatively easy to work with when it comes to obedience and commands. This combination of intelligence and affectionate nature adds to their appeal as family pets, providing endless joy and companionship.

Whether you choose a Border Collie or a German Shorthaired Pointer, both breeds have the potential to bring immense happiness and love to a family environment. The key lies in providing them with proper care, training, and socialization to ensure a harmonious relationship and a lifelong bond filled with shared moments of joy and companionship.


In order for a Border Collie to become an excellent family dog, proper upbringing and early training are crucial. Generally, they have a good temperament and get along well with children and other animals. However, if their natural herding instincts are not properly managed, they may nip, chase, and bark at children, particularly young ones, as well as other animals.

It is important to educate children on how to approach and interact with dogs to prevent any potential accidents, such as biting or pulling on ears or tails. Supervision of children’s interactions with the Border Collie is also essential.

On the other hand, German Shorthaired Pointers were bred with the intention of being sociable family companions in addition to being hunting dogs, and they excel in this role. GSPs are known for their affectionate and loving nature. They often get along well with children and other dogs. However, some experts recommend caution in households with children under the age of seven due to the GSP’s exuberant personality.

Other People

Border Collies, like many herding breeds, have an innate protective drive that can make them wary of strangers. It’s crucial to provide early and consistent socialization to prevent shyness or aggression towards unfamiliar people.

In contrast, German Shorthaired Pointers typically exhibit caution towards strangers. They generally do not act aggressively without cause, but they may not always go out of their way to befriend strangers. Due to their territorial nature, GSPs will notify you if a stranger enters your home. However, if you approach the visitor in a friendly and non-threatening manner, your GSP will understand that there is no threat and no further action is needed.

Dogs & Other Animals

When it comes to social interactions with other dogs, Border Collies generally display a friendly demeanor towards larger or similarly-sized dogs. However, their herding instincts can pose challenges when it comes to interacting with smaller dogs. The innate desire to herd can manifest in their behavior, leading them to attempt herding smaller dogs.

This herding behavior can be bothersome or distressing for the smaller dogs, potentially causing conflicts or fights. The smaller dogs may feel intimidated or threatened by the presence of a Border Collie, particularly if the larger dog exhibits aggressive actions like nipping or prolonged staring.

In contrast, German Shorthaired Pointers often exhibit a friendly disposition and tend to get along well with other family pets, especially if they have been raised together from a young age. Due to their hunting instincts, they may engage in playful chasing behaviors with smaller pets. It is crucial to prioritize safety and closely supervise these interactions to prevent any potential harm to the smaller animals.

Understanding the unique behavioral tendencies of both Border Collies and German Shorthaired Pointers can help pet owners navigate and manage their interactions with other dogs and pets. Proper training, socialization, and vigilant supervision can contribute to a harmonious coexistence and promote positive relationships between dogs of different sizes and breeds, ensuring a peaceful and enjoyable environment for everyone involved.

Behavior Issues

A lack of sufficient mental and physical stimulation can lead to destructive behavior in Border Collies. To ensure their happiness and contentment, it is crucial to follow the guidance provided by breed experts. Without the right balance and stimulation, Border Collies can become bored and engage in destructive behaviors that can harm their surroundings.

Young Border Collies may still have excess energy even after a longer walk, requiring ongoing supervision to manage their mischievous behavior and avoid disrupting peaceful evenings.

German Shorthaired Pointers, due to their strong bond with people, may become unhappy when left alone for extended periods. Lack of regular companionship and exercise can lead to anxiety and destructive tendencies in this breed. While they may occasionally bark at strangers, they are not inherently aggressive. Male German Shorthaired Pointers, in comparison, tend to be bolder and more outgoing when it comes to hunting activities.

Training & Exercise of Border Collie versus German Shorthaired Pointer

Border Collie playing catch

Border Collies are renowned for their herding abilities, but they can adapt to various living situations as long as they receive sufficient exercise. Engaging in athletic competitions like agility or flyball trials can provide the mental and physical stimulation they need. Higher energy exercises such as jogging, playing ball, and regular long walks are essential for this spirited breed.

It’s worth noting that Border Collies typically prefer land-based activities over aquatic sports and prefer to keep their paws on solid ground. Similarly, German Shorthaired Pointers require frequent and intense exercise with at least two significant exercise sessions per day is recommended.

German Shorthaired Pointers make great companions for outdoor activities like running, hiking, and other excursions. A quick walk around the block won’t suffice. These dogs thrive when they are mentally and physically challenged, so the more time you can dedicate to engaging and entertaining them, the happier they will be. They excel in canine sports such as agility, flyball, dock diving, rally, and field trials. Whatever activity you choose, these pointers are quick learners and enthusiastic participants due to their natural skills and athleticism.

Taking Care & Maintenance Comparison

Border Collies thrive in an environment where they are actively involved and engaged with their family. They require a family that can provide them with plenty of playtime, exercise, and mental stimulation. Their innate herding instincts drive them to work and stay busy, so it’s essential to keep them occupied throughout the day. With their weather-resistant coat, they are well-suited to adapt to various weather conditions, allowing them to enjoy running and burning off energy in a securely fenced yard.

On the other hand, German Shorthaired Pointers have lower grooming needs due to their short coat. However, they have high activity requirements, making them ideal for families who enjoy frequent outdoor activities. These dogs are quick learners and highly intelligent, making them great companions for new experiences and adventures. Providing them with ample physical exercise and mental stimulation is crucial for their overall well-being and happiness.

Both breeds require an active and involved family that can meet their specific needs. Regular exercise, playtime, and mental challenges are vital for their overall physical and mental health. By understanding and catering to their unique characteristics, families can create a fulfilling and enriching environment for their Border Collies or German Shorthaired Pointers, fostering a strong bond and ensuring the well-being of these remarkable canine companions.

Grooming of Border Collie versus German Shorthaired Pointer

Border Collies with a medium-length, smooth coat requires regular brushing to keep their coats in good condition. The dense top coat and soft undercoat should be brushed several times a week to prevent tangles and matting. This is particularly important for the longer-haired variety, which may have a distinct mane around the neck and shoulders that requires extra attention. Promptly addressing any tangles or mats is crucial to prevent discomfort and potential skin issues.

German Shorthaired Pointers, on the other hand, have a short, flat coat that sheds continuously throughout the year, even in winter. Regular grooming appointments, typically scheduled every 4 to 8 weeks, are necessary to maintain overall cleanliness and care for their coat. This includes various tasks such as cleaning the ears, trimming the nails, checking the anal glands, and ensuring the skin and coat are in optimal condition. Regular grooming not only keeps the dog looking tidy but also contributes to their overall health and well-being.

By establishing a consistent grooming routine, owners can help ensure that their Border Collies and German Shorthaired Pointers have healthy, comfortable coats while also promoting a strong bond through the grooming process.


Border Collies, with their long, double coat, are indeed known for shedding a significant amount. They have a dense undercoat that helps them stay insulated, and their top coat can be quite thick. Shedding can be especially intense during the fall and spring seasons when they undergo a coat transition.

Regular maintenance and grooming are necessary to manage the shedding and keep their coat in good condition. Brushing their coat frequently, especially during shedding seasons, can help remove loose hair and minimize the amount of hair around the house.

German Shorthaired Pointers, on the other hand, are generally not considered heavy shedders. The amount of shedding can vary among individuals and can also depend on factors such as climate. They may experience more noticeable shedding during the spring and fall seasons when their coat transitions. In warmer climates, they may shed continuously throughout the year. Regular brushing and grooming can help keep shedding under control and reduce the amount of loose hair in the environment.

Health of Border Collie and German Shorthaired Pointer

When bringing a Border Collie into your family, it is crucial to be aware of potential inherited health issues that may be present in the breed. By gathering information about their family medical history, particularly from reputable breeders who prioritize health testing, you can gain valuable insights into the health conditions that may be prevalent in their lineage. This knowledge allows you to take proactive measures to ensure the well-being of your Border Collie and potentially reduce the risk of certain inherited diseases.

On the other hand, German Shorthaired Pointers are generally considered a healthy breed, it is important to remember that any dog, regardless of breed, can be prone to certain inherited diseases or health conditions. Regular veterinary visits are crucial for monitoring their overall health and well-being. Through routine check-ups, your veterinarian can assess your German Shorthaired Pointer’s condition, address any concerns that may arise, and provide necessary preventive care.

By staying vigilant and proactive about your dog’s health, you can help ensure a long and happy life for your Border Collie or German Shorthaired Pointer. Regular veterinary care, a nutritious diet, appropriate exercise, and a loving environment are all important factors in maintaining their well-being and minimizing the impact of potential inherited health issues.

Life Span

Border Collies thrive when they have a sense of purpose and engage in activities that stimulate their minds and bodies. It’s important to provide them with appropriate outlets for their energy and instincts, such as training, agility, or other stimulating activities. With proper care, Border Collies can enjoy good health and have a lifespan of 12 to 15 years, providing many years of companionship and joy.

German Shorthaired Pointers, on the other hand, have a slightly longer lifespan compared to some other medium-sized breeds. With an average lifespan of 12 to 14 years and some dogs living up to 17 years, they can offer their owners several years of cherished memories and companionship.

Diet & Nutrition

The Border Collie, known for its high activity levels, requires ample exercise. Opt for a diet rich in meats and high-quality proteins to meet its energy needs. Preferably, select meals containing substantial amounts of whole meat and dried meat, known as meat meal.

While moderate portions of whole grains and vegetables can be nourishing, be cautious of fillers used by some companies to bulk up their products. This breed must have access to fresh water at all times, considering their active nature and the requirement for regular hydration. Insufficient water intake can lead to various health issues and stress-related behavioral problems.

Since the German Shorthaired Pointer is a lively breed, you may need to increase their food intake to maintain a healthy weight and promote satiety. Begin by providing your puppy with high-quality nutrition to ensure their long-term well-being. Look for quality protein sources like chicken, fish, or eggs as primary ingredients. Additionally, easily digestible carbohydrates such as rice or oats can provide bursts of energy. The role of carbohydrates in a dog’s diet remains debated, with some breed enthusiasts arguing that high-protein and high-fat diets enhance performance.

Health Issues

Common Border Collies health issues

  • Hip dysplasia is a disorder that manifests when the hip joints do not develop correctly. This ailment causes discomfort, suffering, and a reduction in movement for affected dogs. It can range in severity from minor to serious, and various treatments, including medication and surgery, may be necessary.
  • Collie eye anomaly is a hereditary eye condition that is only seen in Collies. It can result in a variety of visual abnormalities, including retinal detachment, vision loss, and even blindness in extreme cases. Routine eye examinations performed by a veterinarian are necessary to monitor and treat this problem.
  • Osteochondritis dissecans is a joint disorder that most frequently manifests in young dogs and is characterized by the separation of cartilage and bone within the joints. It often results in discomfort, lameness, and dysfunction in the joints. Depending on the severity of the condition, possible treatments include rest, medication, and even surgery.
  • Lens luxation is a disorder characterized by the displacement of the lens within the eye. This condition can cause issues with eyesight, as well as other possible consequences such as glaucoma. Seeking prompt medical assistance from a veterinarian is essential to protect the eye and avoid subsequent issues.

Common German Shorthaired Pointers health issues

  • Hip and elbow dysplasia are disorders related to the improper development of the hip and elbow joints. They can cause pain, lameness, and even arthritis later in life. Treatment options range from non-invasive medical care to invasive surgical procedures.
  • Epilepsy is a neurological illness characterized by recurrent seizures, the severity of which can vary considerably. While medication may assist in controlling and reducing the frequency of seizures, lifetime monitoring and modifications to medication may be required.
  • German Shorthaired Pointers have a propensity for some forms of cancer, including hemangiosarcoma, a malignant tumor of the blood vessels. German Shorthaired Pointers also have a predisposition to certain forms of cancer in humans. Early detection can help improve treatment outcomes, and this can be achieved through routine screenings and checkups.

It is essential for owners of both breeds to be aware of the potential health problems associated with their pets and to provide appropriate veterinary treatment, regular checkups, and a healthy lifestyle to effectively prevent or manage these disorders.

Cost of Breeding Border Collie versus German Shorthaired Pointer

Border Collies often end up in shelters or rescue groups due to owners underestimating their high exercise and attention requirements. Breeders and rescue organizations can be contacted through a breeder referral directory. Adoption costs for Border Collies typically range from a few hundred dollars, while purchasing a Border Collie puppy from a breeder can cost between $700 and $2,000.

This breed naturally forms affectionate bonds with family members. Adoption fees for German Shorthaired Pointers typically range from $50 to $300 when adopting a puppy. Alternatively, puppies from reputable breeders can cost anywhere between $600 and $1,500.


Border Collie puppies from reputable breeders usually fall within the price range of $800 to $1,500. However, exceptionally high-quality puppies with distinguished pedigrees can be priced above $3,500. Several factors, including:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Quality
  • Pedigree

Not to mention, the location of the breeder is also going to be a big influence in the puppy’s cost you are planning to buy.

Similarly, a German Shorthaired Pointer puppy from a reputable breeder usually falls within the range of $800 to $1,500. Prices can exceed $3,000 for a premium German Shorthaired Pointer puppy that meets breed standards and comes from a distinguished lineage. Likewise with Border Collie puppies, the final cost depends on factors such as the puppy’s pedigree, conformation, age, and training.

Breeders & Centers

Prices for Border Collies can vary between states due to changes in demand. In rural areas where families and farmers have larger properties suitable for the breed’s exercise needs, Border Collies tend to be more expensive. However, adopting a Border Collie through a rescue organization is the most cost-effective option. Adoption fees can vary among shelters but are typically $300 or less.

In contrast, when adopting a German Shorthaired Pointer from a rescue organization, adoption costs can range between $50 and $300, depending on the organization. It’s important to note that obtaining a purebred German Shorthaired Pointer may be challenging as there might be limited information available about the dog’s pedigree.

Conclusion: Which Is Better, Border Collie or German Shorthaired Pointer?

In conclusion, determining which breed is better, the Border Collie or the German Shorthaired Pointer, depends on various factors and personal preferences. Both breeds possess unique qualities and characteristics that make them well-suited for specific lifestyles and purposes.

The Border Collie stands out for its exceptional intelligence, intense work drive, and herding abilities. With their high energy levels and mental agility, they excel in activities such as obedience, agility, and competitive sports. Their strong herding instincts make them ideal for farms and rural settings. However, their demanding exercise and mental stimulation requirements may pose a challenge for some owners.

On the other hand, the German Shorthaired Pointer is a versatile hunting breed known for its athleticism, endurance, and loyalty. They thrive in active households and are adept at various tasks, including hunting, tracking, and field trials. Their affectionate nature and strong bonds with family members make them wonderful companions. However, they also require regular exercise and mental stimulation to prevent boredom and potential behavior issues.

Ultimately, the choice between these two breeds depends on the individual’s lifestyle, activity level, and specific needs. It is crucial to research and understand the characteristics, care requirements, and potential health issues associated with each breed before making a decision. Consider factors such as available space, time commitment, and training capabilities to ensure a compatible and fulfilling relationship with your chosen four-legged companion.

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