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Australian Shepherd vs Border Collie: What Are the Differences?
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Australian Shepherd vs Border Collie: What Are the Differences?

Australian Shepherds and Border Collies are both herding breeds that are renowned for their intelligence, energy, and loyalty, making them excellent companions for active families and individuals. However, while they share many similarities, there are also distinct differences between the two. Want to know the difference between Australian Shepherd and Border Collie breeds? Let's find out!

Australian Shepherd with ball in mouth 

Australian Shepherd vs Border Collie: Origins

Contrary to its name, the Australian Shepherd, or Aussie, did not originate in Australia. It was actually developed in the United States in the 19th century. Aussies were bred for their herding skills, intelligence, and versatility, making them invaluable companions to the American cowboy.

The Border Collie hails from the borderlands between Scotland and England. Known as one of the most intelligent working breeds, Border Collies were primarily used for herding livestock, particularly sheep. They are renowned for their intense gaze, with which they control their flock.

Australian Shepherd vs Border Collie: Appearance

Aussies are medium-sized dogs, measuring between 18 and 21 inches in height. They possess a beautiful, thick double coat that can come in a variety of colors, including blue merle, red merle, black, and red, often with white and tan markings. Their expressive eyes can be different colors including blue, brown, and hazel, and they may even have two different colored eyes.

Border Collies are also medium-sized, measuring between 18 and 22 inches in height, but they tend to be slightly leaner than Aussies. They have a double coat that can be smooth or rough, with a wide range of colors, though black and white is the most iconic. Border Collies usually have brown eyes, but blue eyes can occur, especially in merles.

Mila the Australian Shepherd

Dizzy the Border Collie

Australian Shepherd vs Border Collie: Temperament

Aussies and Border Collies have very similar temperaments. Highly intelligent, trainable, and energetic, these breeds both thrive when given a job to do. Because of their need to be kept busy and their high energy levels, these pups are best suited for dog owners who are willing to keep them well stimulated and provide them with plenty of opportunities to get enough exercise.

Both breeds make good family pets for active households, although their herding drive might prove overwhelming for young children, particularly when it comes to Border Collies.

Australian Shepherd vs Border Collie: Exercise Needs

As previously mentioned, both Aussies and Border Collies have high energy levels and require plenty of daily exercise to keep them happy and healthy. Both breeds excel in activities like agility, obedience, and unsurprisingly, herding, and they love to play and have tasks to complete.

Without enough exercise and mental engagement, Australian Shepherds and Border Collies can become bored and develop behavioral issues.

Border Collie in nature


Australian Shepherd vs Border Collie: Health

Both Australian Shepherds and Border Collies are generally healthy dogs, but, like all breeds, they're prone to certain health conditions. Some common health issues with both breeds include hip dysplasia, eye disorders, and epilepsy. 

Other health concerns for Border Collies include collie eye anomaly (CEA) and deafness. 

For both breeds, it's crucial to obtain health clearances from the breeder, which certify that a puppy's parents have been tested for common defects and deemed healthy for breeding. To maintain their health, regular veterinary care, proper nutrition, and sufficient exercise are key.

Australian Shepherd vs Border Collie: Grooming

Both Aussies and Border Collies have double coats, but their grooming needs differ slightly.

A weekly brush is usually sufficient for Aussies, although they'll need the frequency to be increased during their bi-annual shedding season, to remove loose fur and distribute skin oils.

On the other hand, Border Collies can have a smooth or rough coat that needs to be brushed 2-3 times per week. Similarly to Aussies, they shed seasonally and during these periods, they're likely to need daily brushing.

Both breeds only need occasional baths, unless they get particularly dirty. Nail trimming, ear cleaning, and dental care are important.


Both the Australian Shepherd and the Border Collie make fantastic companions for the right person or family. They require an owner who can provide them with the mental and physical exercise they need to thrive, so if you lead an active lifestyle and are looking for a smart, energetic, and loyal dog, either breed could be a great match. Shop our Aussie and Border Collie collections to find your new favorite apparel!

Heart String Australian Shepherd shirt

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