Border Collie vs Australian Shepherd – The Differences Between These Dogs

Border Collie vs Australian Shepherd

Herding pups are lively, energetic, and intelligent. No wonder their breed makes for excellent family pets. Both Border Collies and Australian Shepherds are dogs that were originally used for herding animals on farms.

They have a lot in common considering they are both playful, active, and highly trainable puppies

But when it comes to the Border Collie vs Australian Shepherd, there are some notable differences and questions to answer.

Are they similar in appearance but different in origins? What are some of the most striking features of the Australian Shepherd and how do they differ from the Border Collie? Hang in there because we’re about to find out!

Breed History

What Is A Border Collie?

The Border Collie is a medium-sized descendant of the sheepdogs that once occupied the British Isles. These pups were mainly present around the Anglo-Scottish border region.

They’ve been kept as excellent herding dogs for centuries. Border Collies were brought to New Zealand and Australia in the past century for their reputable herding instincts. 

It’s no surprise the Border Collie is recognized as one of the smartest dog breeds in the world. They have a great IQ and are known for learning tricks easily. Border Collies herd a variety of animals. These intelligent pups make for exceptional pets. 

Border Collie running

What Is An Australian Shepherd?

Contrary to the name, the Australian Shepherd (or Aussie) is a medium size popular dog breed from North America. These smart pups were originally found in California.

They’ve been used as pastoral dogs for herding and working dogs for search and rescue tasks. Although famous for livestock herding capabilities, the Australian Shepherd is recognized by the United Kennel Club for performing a variety of tricks.

Australian Shepherds are athletic dogs and are a great option for high-energy owners. They also make it onto our list of the prettiest dog breeds out there!

australian shepherd

Are These Two Dog Breeds Similar In Appearance?

What Do Border Collies Look Like?

The average life span of a Border Collie is typically 12 years, and they can be found in several colors. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes the following colors and combinations for Border Collies.



-blue merle 





-red merle 


-sable merle

-saddleback sable 

-white and black 

-white and blue 

-white and blue merle 

-white and red 

-white and red merle 

-white ticked

Border collies have two types of medium-length fur coats. The outer coat is coarse while the inner coat is relatively soft. Both of these coats are weather resistant and dense and have several color combinations and patterns.

Average Weight And Height For Border Collies

Border Collies weigh in the category of medium-sized dogs. A male Border Collie weighs 14kg to 25kg while a female Border Collie weighs between 12kg to19kg. The average height of a Border Collie is between 22 and 27 inches.

Male border collies develop relatively larger bodies than female border collies. But they are both athletic and reputable for their herding abilities. Based on their appearance, Border Collies are classified into two categories. 

Do All Border Collies Share The Same Coat Type?

Smooth Collies Or Short-haired Border Collies 

Known for their short hair and smooth coat, Smooth Collies are easier to maintain and groom.

Rough Collies Or Long-haired Border Collies 

Rough Border Collies are identified by their thick coat and distinguishing feathers on their legs and belly. Naturally, grooming can be a bit of a challenge for these furry pooches.

Border Collie
Border Collie

What Do Australian Shepherds Look Like?

The Australian Shepherd has an appearance similar to the Border Collie dog breed. Like Border Collies, Australian Shepherds are also medium-sized dogs that get along easily with other pets.

Australian Shepherds have an average life span of 12 to 15 years. 

How Does The Coat Of An Australian Shepherd Differ From Other Dogs?

Australian Shepherds possess a long and wavy double coat. The inner coat is dense and the outer coat is coarse. They are muscular and agile. One in every five Australian Shepherds is born without a tail. Generally, Australian Shepherds are slightly longer and taller than Border Collies. 

Are Australian Shepherds Large Dogs?

No. Both the Border Collie and Australian Shepherd are categorized into medium-sized dogs. A male Australian Shepherd has an average height of 22 inches whereas a female Australian shepherd has an average height of 20 inches.

Male Australian Shepherds can be between 23kg and 29kg and are generally heavier than female Australian Shepherds, who have an average weight between 14kg and 20kg.

Australian Shepherds come in four standard colors, specified by the American Kennel Club as: 

-blue merle 

-red merle 



Do All Australian Shepherds Have The Same Color For Both Eyes?

Reminiscent to the color of human eyes, Australian Shepherds can have eyes with brown, green, blue, amber, or hazel colors. However, some Australian Shepherds have a condition called heterochromia.

It’s a trait in dogs that they acquire from their parents’ genes. Heterochromia is when both eyes are of different colors. This condition is also found in humans.

Australian Shepherd Vs Border Collie: How Do They Differ In Temperament? 

Hailing from a Scottish origin, a Border Collie bonds well and gets along with both humans and other animals. They form a close bond with their owners and families and love to please them.

Because of their affectionate personality traits, they also love to learn new things as they spend quality time with their owners. 

Border Collies can often display persistent behavior and sometimes won’t stop until they learn to obey commands. Border Collies can also be timid, a trait not so common in Australian Shepherds who are considered pushy or jumpy.

However, Border Collies are hard-working animals who also have a protective streak similar to Aussie Shepherds. Border Collies can often be reserved around strangers. If you want a slightly more excitable dog, why not consider a Border Collie Springer Spaniel mix?

Australian Shepherds are well-known to be overprotective at times regarding their owners and property. They are considered brainy and territorial, which means they can display aggressive behavior if left alone for too long. They also have an irresistible urge to herd animals. This variety of dog breeds is lively, devoted, docile, and loyal.

Active dogs like the Aussie or Border Collie are vulnerable to separation anxiety because of their natural inclination to feel loved, appreciated, and close to their owners.

Border Collies And Australian Shepherds: How Much Exercise Do They Need? 

Border Collies are high-drive herding dogs. They won’t like staying indoors for longer periods. At a minimum, a Border Collie requires 30 to 60 minutes of daily exercise or more.

Being an intelligent dog breed, they love to play different games with their owners and other dogs. 

You can take them for long runs as well but when Border Collies turn 7 years old, they might slow down a bit. Even so, you should make sure they exercise daily. It will help maintain the overall health of the herding dog. 

The Australian Shepherd is a hyperactive dog that needs at least one to two hours of daily exercise. You can even take them for a hike, agility training, and many other high-endurance physical activities.

Naturally, an Australian Shepherd is a herding dog bred to run after livestock. This is why they need vigorous exercises to work out their stamina. To keep your dog in shape, it’s good to plan out regular exercises and activities.

For cognitive enrichment, you can also try activities for mental stimulation such as brain games and stimulating puzzle toys. Both of these pups would really benefit from herding balls too!

Many Border Collies and Australian Shepherds love water if they’re introduced to it from a young age. If this is the case with your pup, you should definitely take them for a good swim to burn off some energy!

Australian Shepherd puppy
Australian Shepherd Puppy

Aussie Or Border Collie: Trainability 

Border Collies are herding dogs that are easier to train given their superb learning abilities and keen listening skills. Let’s not forget that today’s Border Collie is known to top the list of the most intelligent pups!

They eagerly learn all sorts of games and tricks. To top it off, they are able to pick up words and commands very quickly.

The Border Collie often enjoys the training process. They form a close bond with their owners and their families and have an innate desire to please them.

Because of this, they also enjoy learning new things and spending time with their owners. Owing to their impulsive herding instincts, Border Collies do well with mature and well-behaved owners. 

Whether you have an Aussie or Border Collie, you’ll notice that these herding breeds are trainable with positive reinforcements. It can either be a healthy treat (such as cucumber) or appreciation, but they love to please their owners and will go the extra mile to do so.

The Aussie is an intelligent dog with almost endless energy. They’ll be enthusiastic about dog sports. But it’s important to realize their tendency to become aggressive if left isolated for long periods of time. They are fond of companionship and have a protective nature when it comes to their territory.

There are specific training requirements with respect to the age of your Australian Shepherd. But in general, these dogs need mental stimulation more than some others. 

Border Collie Vs. Australian Shepherd Shedding

Shedding is one of the major aspects of keeping a family pet be it rough-coated dogs or other popular dog breeds. Shedding is a lifelong process for the two breeds, but Border Collies shed the most twice a year.

Since they are double-coated dogs with rough coats that require a lot of care, they shed more than Australian Shepherds. Don’t be alarmed if your pet makes you feel like you have more than one Border Collie in your house!

However, shedding is very important for your dog. You can control the shedding by brushing regularly and providing them with the right dog food (some of the best fresh dog food brands claim to help with excessive shedding).

During high shedding times, you can brush twice a day to avoid hair all around the house. It’s good to keep Border Collies well-bathed and hydrated during their shedding season. 

Australian Shepherds, like Border Collies, shed throughout the year as well. They shed the most during spring and fall. This is because they have a double coat to keep them warm during the winter. 

There is no way to completely stop your dog from shedding. You can reduce shedding through various care techniques and simple routines. But it’s worth mentioning that shedding is a natural process.

If you have a female Australian Shepherd, she can shed hair during pregnancy as well. Although shedding is normal in the two breeds, you can consult with your local veterinarian or a reputable breeder if you notice that your dog is shedding excessively. 

Rough Coat Border Collie

Grooming Your Border Collie Or Australian Shepherd 

If you’ve kept an Aussie or Border Collie, you know they can become messy playing in the outdoors. The occasional bath is necessary for both breeds. But some specific care can also help maintain their beautiful coats.

Weekly brushing sessions are a good way to maintain your Australian Shepherd’s double-layer coat. This also helps keep their coat waterproof!

You can use an undercoat rake during their shedding season to remove dead hair and follow with a cleanup using a wire brush. Of course, trimming nails regularly will keep your Aussie feeling fresh and clean and ensure they don’t get infected.

Adopting a mixed breed, such as the Aussiedoodle, can help with grooming needs.

Whether you have a rough coat or a smooth coat Collie, both will need to be groomed (although a rough coat may need a little extra TLC). Both types of coats are dense and water-resistant.

Using a pin brush twice a week is a good way to remove tangles, dirt, and debris. Shedding season for your Collie will require daily brushing. As with any other breed, it’s important to ensure regular trimming of nails. 

Nutritional Requirements For Your Border Collie Or Australian Shepherd

In terms of nutrition, both dog breeds have similar requirements. Border Collies and Australian Shepherds require a high-calorie diet given their active lifestyle. Both breeds will eat about 2.5 cups of food a day.

Good quality dog food with enough calories and nutrients will work wonders for these pups. 

Because of their playful and energetic behavior, these dogs are less prone to obesity compared to other breeds. Feeding healthy snacks such as watermelon is a great way to keep them hydrated and intrigued with fewer calories!

The nutritional needs of your dog can change throughout the year. If your dog is not feeling well, you may need to change the feeding patterns and the type of food for your pooch. Contact your vet for specific advise when feeding your dog.

Australian Shepherd Vs Border Collie: Common Diseases Of The Two Breeds

As a dog owner, you’d know that various health conditions may affect herding dogs. Knowing more about their health concerns helps in maintaining a better lifestyle for both Australian Shepherds and Collies or other dog breeds. 

For a Border Collie owner, the following are some conditions to be aware of:



-Hip dysplasia

-Collie eye anomaly

Health problems in the Australian Shepherds range from allergies to tumors and cancers. Heart disease is said to be increasing in the breed.

Inherited diseases include inherited deafness characterized by lots of white hair on the head of the dog. Liver shunt and megaesophagus are also reported in the breed. The following are some conditions that an Australian Shepherd could experience:


-Demodectic mange


-Elbow dysplasia

Border Collie

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

Border Collies and Australian Shepherds are both herding dogs that have commonly been used to protect livestock and perform dog sports or other services.

Both breeds are extremely intelligent. Border Collies and Australian Shepherds have some other common traits, including a similar appearance and requirements for nutrition and grooming.

They are very trainable, social, playful, and zesty pups. Both are dynamic and lively dog breeds that you can get from a reputable breeder and keep as family pets. 

However, both dog breeds have certain differences when it comes to their origin, unique features, and behavior.

Border Collies herd cattle or livestock with an irresistible urge. Some noticeable features help to easily distinguish Border Collies from Australian Shepherds such as their rough or smooth coats and coat color.

A Border Collie has a rougher coat than the Australian Shepherd. The Border Collie also sheds more hair. You may find a Border Collie showing timid behavior whereas an Aussie could be considered pushy and persistent.

Interested in other similar looking dogs? Find out the differences between a Belgian Malinois and a German Shepherd here!