Border Collie vs Australian Shepherd

Border Collie vs Australian Shepherd: Breed Differences & Similarities

Border collie and Australian Shepherd are the two breeds that are so identical that one might easily get confused when seeing both breeds at the same time. They both are energetic, playful, trainable, and social in terms of characteristics that make them very adaptive choices as pets. That is the reason why aspiring dog parents generally misinterpret their look-alike similarities with a perception of the same characteristics and end up approaching both breeds as they require the same needs. To clear this confusion, this article of Border collie vs Australian Shepherd comparison acts as a detailed guide covering all aspects of characteristics of both breeds individually.

Both Border Collie and Australian Shepherd are shepherding dogs that were originally used for herding farm animals. But even though they are both bred for the same task, they have traits that are far uncommon because they came from very different parts of the world. To discuss these uncommon traits that most parents are unaware of, let’s first have a glance at their history separately.

Border Collie History

Regarding the history of Border Collie, there are many theories, some state that border collies were bred from Roman’s large herding dogs and Icelandic sheepdogs, while other theory states that they bred from Landrace collies bred from British isles.

One of the major reasons for the popularity of Border collies is that they are the most intelligent dogs when compared to other breeds in the states. This is the reason that as per American Kennel Club, Border Collie is 35th most famous dog breed in the United States.

Read Also:- Best Dog Bed for Border Collies Dog

Australian Shepherd History

We are doing Border collies vs Australian Shepherd breeds comparison here but it is obvious at the first glance that they both share similar origin stories. As stated above, both border collies and Australian Shepherd look similar and are also bred for the same task that is herding farm animals and that may be because the Australian Shepherd might be a crossbreed between border Collie and other shepherd-type dog breeds like a German shepherd.

There is one more breed that might be involved in the origin of the Australian Shepherd and that is Sheepdogs from Spain or Germany. Well, it is hard to state the exact parent of Australian Shepherd because the origin of these dogs was discovered in the early 19th century in the United States although it is now known as an Aussie.

Similarities Between Border collie vs Australian Shepherd Health

As we see in the above sections, Border Collie and Australian Shepherd might have an ancestral relation, it is obvious that they sure have various similarities in characteristics other than looks that one can already conclude at first sight.

Below presented characteristics are common in both Border Collies and Australian Shepherd:

1. Reason to breed

Both Border collie and German Shepherd were bred primarily for the use of herding livestock and their parents involve Shepherd breed dogs although they might be from different regions.

2. Tails and eyes

Both breeds have the same tail type that is Bobtail. They also share common eye color combinations like hazel brown, blue, black but some Border collie dogs can also inherit bi-colored and marble eye color combinations that are not found in Australian Shepherds.

3. Coat type, length, and texture

Both Border collie and Australian shepherd can have several common coat types that are blue, black, or red merle. Also, the lengths of the furs are the same that are medium-sized although the textures of the furs differ Australian Shepherd generally has thick/long or short/thin combinations while Border Collie has rough or short/smooth fur combinations.

4. Separation Anxiety

Both breeds show separation anxiety and it makes them very distressed and shows symptoms like excessive barking, sudden acquisition of destructive behaviors, trying to escape space, etc. Although in the case of Border collies they adapt the separation training far more quickly than Australian Shepherds because of their high intellectual abilities.

5. Size and barking type

Both Border collie and Australian Shepherd are medium-sized dog breeds. Also, their barking type is vocal.

6. Energy Levels

Both breeds also share higher energy levels. These dogs like to be highly involved in routine activities. In case they are getting bored then they show extreme lazy behavior and even sleep over their regular sleep cycle which is 12 hours a day.

7. Health Problems

Various health problems are common in both Australian Shepherd and a Border collie that are cataracts, Hip dysplasia, and epilepsy. Although both breeds also have different health problems like in the case of Australian Shepherd there is MDS, hearing problems, CEA, and kidney disease. Likewise, Border Collies face problems like musculoskeletal disorders, POA, OCD, dental problems, hypothyroidism, and eye problems.

8. Lifespan

The lifespan of both Australian Shepherd and Border Collie ranges from 10 to 17 years. Although on average both breeds easily cross 15 years of life span in the United States.

Well, with the above-mentioned similarities it might become harder to believe that these both breeds are not the same but hold on, there are various dissimilarities too as mentioned in the below sections that make your current conclusion turn false.

Border collie vs Australian Shepherd Intelligence and Temperament

As we earlier discussed during the comparison of Border Collie vs Australian Shepherd that both breeds share Collies in their ancestors and that is the reason for their confusing similarities. But when it comes to other traits like temperament both show characteristics that are a lot different from each other. For starters, border collie dogs are more of a workaholic while the Australian shepherd is a great family pet.

The Australian Shepherd is a dog breed that majorly shows personality traits like highly social nature, cleverness, and more energy in comparison to Border collies that are more lean towards characters like intelligence, athletic, demanding, and playful.

Let’s discuss the temperament characteristics of both breeds in detail:

1. Energetic vs Athletic

It is because of the energetic behavior of Australian shepherds that they usually take sleep of 8 to 10 hours on an average and stay active and activity indulge all day long in comparison to border collie that is athletic for sure but easily gets bored and then might take small naps during the day if gets bored from repetitive activities because of their high intellect and border collie also sleep 12 to 14 hours a day.

2. Social aspects

When it comes to being social around strangers Australian shepherds generally show more comfort as compared to border collies. But at the same time, this protective nature of border collies is a plus around children and parents because they show great sympathy and attachment in comparison to Australian shepherds that take family more casually hence lacking a deep bond between pet and pet parent.

3. Cleverness vs intelligence

Australian shepherds generally show the characteristics of cleverness whereas border shepherds are more of an intellectual kind. The difference is that border collies are easy to train because they grasp principles fast and are also more on a creative side whereas Australian Shepherds show cute cunningness to make things their way.

Australian Shepherd vs. Border Collie Herding Style and Training

In terms of herding style, Border Collie falls in the category of natural gathering dogs. Breeds like border collies work silently that you may notice in their herding style is that they tend to use an eye and often show stalking and slinking posture.

In the case of Australian shepherds, they fall in the category of natural driving dogs. They work in a more upright posture. However, there are some downfalls with Australian shepherds that they are not able to work for long hours and are also less versatile when it comes to partnership in comparison to a border collie.

Training is also an essential part of the daily routine of both breeds because they are highly active and intellectual dogs. Below are the steps of positive training that help you raise an obedient pet child:

  1. Word commands training: Select short words like sit, come, etc and train your dog with consistency daily.
  2. Praise their efforts: Both Breeds tend to seek praise from their parents so make sure to treat them immediately on their desired behaviors.
  3. Manage to praise: Slowly reduce the praising treat to not make it their habit but make sure to always praise them verbally every time on their efforts.
  4. Make them indulge in activities: Both dogs seek activities whether they are athletic or casually playful because in lack of activities they might show irregular behaviors like destructive nature, laziness, etc.

Border Collie vs. Australian Shepherd: Which Dog Is Right for You?

Well as per the American Kennel Club popularity rating, Australian Shepherds are more popular in the states in comparison to border collies but it highly depends on the parents. What type of relationship parents are looking for with their pet?

Australian Shepherd is more of a casual, energetic and social pet to acquire as a family pet while border collie is an intellectual one that shares more deep affections with family members and can be considered a workaholic. So it highly depends on the family needs and the nature of family members about What traits they are looking for in their pet.

The decision is not a complicated one because no matter what dog breed a parent aspires to acquire, at last, they end up loving each other because they grow together in all aspects of life. It is not the focus of this article to conclude one breed is more capable over another but instead to make parents understand that despite Border collie and Australian shepherds sharing similarities they have different sets of needs and they seek from their parents to fulfill.


1. Who can own a Border collie and an Australian shepherd as a pet?

Ans. It does not matter whether you select border collie or Australian shepherd, both breeds require an average of 2 hours of intense activity, otherwise, these breeds are not great for a parent who can’t afford that.

2. What are the nutrition requirements of border collies and Australian shepherds?

Ans. Both breeds require 2.5 cups of high-quality calorie food per day. Also, it too depends on their activities. If they indulge in more activities then they need more meals from the routine ones.


Border collie vs Australian Shepherd is a necessary topic to gather information if one might think to be an aspiring parent of these two breeds. The reason is quite obvious that there are a lot of similarities in both breeds and looks the same at first sight. Both dog breeds even share the same ancestors but despite these all facts there are a lot of dissimilarities too and hence have different needs that might get overlooked by the parents resulting in a lack of affection towards each other.

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