Australian Shepherd vs Border Collie
by Jessi Larson
Deciding on the right dog breed for your family can get a little confusing when the breeds are similar. This is especially true with the Australian Shepherd vs Border Collie.
There are some important differences, however, that you should consider before making your final selection.
The great news is no matter which of these breeds you go with, you’ll be adding an intelligent, loyal and outgoing furry member to your household.
Let’s take a side-by-side look at both of these breeds.
Australian Shepherd vs Border Collie
To fully understand how the two breeds compare, we’ll review their appearance, temperament, training and grooming needs, and overall health.
This will give you a full picture of the Australian Shepherd vs Border Collie.
The height and weight of the Australian Shepherd vs Border Collie are actually pretty comparable.
On average, male Australian Shepherds stand 20-23 inches tall and weigh 55-70 pounds while females are 18-21 inches in height and 35-55 pounds in weight.
The Border Collie is similar in height – 19-22 inches for males and 18-21 inches for females – but usually weighs less than the Aussie. Males are typically 30-45 pounds while female are 27-42 pounds.
Both dogs have a lean, athletic and agile build. It’s no wonder they can both run like the wind and do well in agility events.
The dogs do have differences, though, when it comes to ears. The Border Collie’s ears stand erect or semi-erect whereas the Australian Shepherd has ears that fold over.
Another difference is the color of the coat. The Australian Shepherd comes in a more limited range of colors, which include: black, blue merle, red and red merle.
On the other hand, the color variations in the Border Collie include black, blue, brindle, gold, red, red merle, sable, white and black, white and blue, white and red, and many more.
While the Collie’s coat can be either short or rough, the Australian Shepherd will likely have a longer, dense fur with an undercoat. The Aussie can be born with a long or a naturally bobbed tail.
Both of these intelligent breeds are highly active and love to work.
Without the proper stimulation, though,, they both can grow bored, which can result in some unwanted or destructive behavior. However, if approached the right way, this can also make both of these breeds a ton of fun to play with and to train.
Without a doubt, Aussies and Border Collies can keep a game of fetch going when other breeds would gladly opt to lie down!
While either of these sociable and loving breeds would make an incredible family companion, the Border Collie is slightly more likely to act wary around strangers. The Australian Shepherd, on the other hand, can usually be found at the center of attention and enjoying itself as the life of the party.
When it comes to being around small children, the Australian Shepherd may need to be trained to avoid unwanted herding and nipping behavior.
When it comes to training an Australian Shepherd vs Border Collie, you’ll find that both of these highly-intelligent breeds are relatively easy to train.
However, potential owners should keep in mind that these are not optimal breeds for a novice. That is to say that these highly active and smart breeds require a lot of stimulation and exercise as well as training.
If an owner isn’t up to this challenge, the dogs may simply grow bored and training can become an up-hill battle.
As with any dog breed, early socialization is necessary for Australian Shepherds and especially Border Collies, who can sometimes display protective behavior.
With the right exposure to both humans and other animals, you shouldn’t have much trouble with training either one of these breeds.
When considering the grooming necessities in an Australian Shepherd vs Border Collie, you’ll find that both canines require a monthly bath to keep their coat in top condition.
However, over bathing can actually cause damage to the coat and strip it of natural oils so bear this in mind. You can periodically employ some dog wipes or dry shampoo to keep your pup smelling fresh and clean.
When it comes to brushing, the Border Collie will need slightly more attention due to its rougher coat, which requires brushing 2-3 times per week.
The Australian Shepherd has a longer coat, but it’s smoother and therefore doesn’t require as much grooming.
On the whole, both Australian Shepherds and Border Collies are relatively healthy without any major issues or concerns.
Like many other dogs, however, these breeds are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia in older age, as well as eye problems such as Progressive Renal Atrophy or cataracts.
Another thing to be aware of is that both of these breeds are affected by something called “multi-drug sensitivity,” during which a gene causes certain prescription drugs to be toxic to the animal. This is something that should be kept in mind whenever new medication is being prescribed.
Since both of these active breeds are likely to spend a fair share of their time outdoors, owners should pay attention to ticks, especially it you live in an area where they are prevalent.
Ticks attach themselves to your dog and can carry Lyme Disease, which is dangerous to your pup. You can prevent this by using a tick prevention medicine like Frontline.
If you notice ticks on your dog’s body, you should remove them or visit your veterinary clinic if you aren’t sure how to go about it yourself. (Don’t have a vet yet? Here’s how to find the right one.)
Final Thoughts: Australian Shepherd vs Border Collie
Deciding between an Australian Shepherd vs Border Collie can be a very difficult choice. After all, both of these breeds make for wonderful companions and have intellect and agility to spare.
Not only that, but they are also quite similar in terms of size, weight and general appearance. Both are excellent choices, and we hope this overview helps you decide on the right dog breed for you.
Whether you prefer an animal that trusts and loves anyone it meets, or one that is slightly more discerning when it comes to accepting strangers, you’ll be getting a loyal and trusted companion with relatively few potential health problems and lots of energy to go around.
Australian Shepherd vs Border Collie Bonus Tip: How to Pick the Right Dog
When you’re looking for a dog but don’t know what breed to get, these nine easy questions can help quickly narrow down your search and find a four-legged friend who perfectly fits your lifestyle.
This guide will help you in the Australian Shepherd vs Border Collie debate and give you a clearer idea of which one is for you.
1. Why Do You Want a Dog?
First things first, let’s talk about why you want a dog. This will guide you more than you realize!
For example, do you love cuddling up on the couch and want a furball to curl up in your lap and keep you company? Or do you want an energetic and enthusiastic dog who fits your active lifestyle?
Stop for a minute, close your eyes and think about it.
2. What Type of Dog Did You Have Growing up?
Believe it or not, the dog (or dogs) you grew up with often have an impact on what type of dog you want when you’re older.
That’s certainly not to say you couldn’t pick a different type of dog by any means. It’s just that people often have a comfort level with the type of canine they were conditioned to growing up.
3. Do You Have Any Allergies?
Dogs can be awful for allergies. But fortunately, there are many hypoallergenic dog breeds that make it easier for allergies sufferers.
Always learn more about the breed before bringing it into your home.
4. Who’s in Your Household?
Another important thing to think about is who is in your household.
Is it just you? Or do you have a partner? Roommates? Children?
This is incredibly important to consider. Especially if you have little ones in the household.
When it comes to the Australian Shepherd vs Border Collie, both are good family dogs but you do have to make sure you’re able to provide adequate exercise. Also, the Aussie does have herding tendencies toward kids and other pets that should be addressed.
5. Where Do You Live?
As you think about which dog breed is right for you, where you live is incredibly important.
It goes without saying that certain breeds just aren’t cut out for small spaces. For example, a Great Dane in a tiny apartment would be a disaster!
Also, certain dogs, including both the Australian Shepherd and Border Collie, need lots of space to run and exercise, so it’s highly recommended you have a larger, fenced-in yard for these breeds.
6. How Much Time and Energy Do You Have?
Dogs are A LOT of work. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. But some dogs require much more effort than others.
Potential pup parents should always make sure they have the time, energy and resources to care for a dog, no matter what the breed. But that level of care can increase depending on the dog.
Before making a decision regarding the Australian Shepherd vs Border Collie, make sure you understand their instincts and just how much mental and physical stimulation they’ll require.
7. What is the Dog’s Temperament?
Just like appearance, a pup’s temperament can vary greatly by breed. And it’s absolutely critical to find out how a dog will act based on their breed instincts.
Both the Australian Shepherd and Border Collie have smart, exuberant personalities. The Australian Shepherd is a bit more outgoing whereas the Border Collie withholds its affection at first.
8. How Much Does the Breed Cost?
Owning a dog isn’t cheap, but some breeds are more expensive than others. Especially for some of the rarer canines.
Cost is a consideration, and it’s always a good idea to understand the full picture before making a commitment.
Things to consider include the initial expense, vet bills, food, grooming and other expenses like daycare or boarding.
9. Breed Finder
And finally, try out our online breed selector and get a list of the best breeds for you and your lifestyle.
It allows you to enter details like where you live, who’s in your house, your climate, what size of dog you’re looking for and more. You’ll receive a list of breeds that will work for you.
This could settle the Australian Shepherd vs Border Collie debate once and for all.