Border Collie or Australian Shepherd: Can These Capricious Canines Make Good Family Pets?

Posted by Erin McDade
australian shepherd vs border collie

What's the difference between an Australian Shepherd and a Border Collie?

The Border Collie vs Australian Shepherd: what's the difference? While they may appear to be the same breed to some dog lovers, they are not. They are similar dog breeds but from separate dog lineages. Both are intelligent breeds of herding dogs that need high amounts of socialization and activity, so expect to devote a lot of time to keep your doggy entertained, whether you end up with a purebred straight from Scotland, or a border collie mix.

Australian Shepherd History

When Spaniards first arrived on the new continent in the 1500s, they brought the Australian Shepherd with them. The dogs were raised in New Mexico, California, and Colorado to herd enormous flocks of sheep. Some believe their name comes from their job herding Merino sheep, which were grown in significant numbers in Australia and transported to the United States. Others say it stems from their appearance: the distinctive blue merle and tricolor coat color was discovered in many dogs imported from Australia and the term was later acquired for all canines with that appearance.

Border Collie History

The Border Collie was developed from big herding dogs used by the Romans and the Icelandic Sheepdog used by the Vikings. Veterinarians have classified the breed as the most intelligent dog breed in the world. They are frequently crossed with other dog breeds to produce "designer dogs," such as the Borador. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), they are the 35th most popular dog in the United States, and for good reason. These classically black and white beauties come in multiple color variations, and are hardworking family members who love a good frisbee toss.

Appearances

The Border Collie and the Australian Shepherd have a striking resemblance. This is because they were bred from the Collie centuries ago. However, this is not officially documented. They are both medium-sized canines and are almost the same height, give or take an inch. The Australian Shepherd can have a smooth coat or rough coat, and his tail is long and plumed. Border Collies are available in a broader range of colors, including blue and red merle, black, brindle, gold, lilac, white, sable, saddleback sable, and other different colors. On the other hand, the Australian Shepherd is only legally recognized in four colors: black, blue merle, red merle, and red. Both dogs can display heterochromia, which is simply two different eye colors.

Personality

When it comes to personality, Border Collies and Australian Shepherds can be very different. The Border Collie is more likely to be suspicious of strangers or people he has not yet met. The Australian Shepherd is the life of the party and gets along with everyone right away. Both dogs need a great deal of mental stimulation and have strong work ethics. They are not always easy dogs for first-time dog owners. It is recommended that inexperienced dog owners work with a professional dog trainer when teaching shepherd dogs obedience training.

Health Issues

Elbow and hip dysplasia, Progressive Renal Atrophy, Cataracts, and Collie Eye Anomaly are all common health problems in Collies and Aussies. Multi-Drug Sensitivity occurs when the gene responsible for transporting certain prescription medications out of or away from the brain is defective, and the medicines' toxicity poisons them. Some Collies acquire Trapped Neutrophil Syndrome symptoms at seven months of age and can die soon after.

Border Collie vs. Australian Shepherd and Kids

Many parents question if an Australian Shepherd or a Border Collie would be a better fit for their household. It is critical to understand that these working dogs do not often make good family dogs. They are not inherently gregarious, sociable butterflies who like meeting and greeting people and have boundless patience, such as golden retrievers. They have high energy levels and strong herding instincts. If you let your herding breed puppy do anything he wants all day, he will quickly learn which activities you despise, such as biting at your small children's heels and chasing your cat.

Which is your favorite between the Australian Shepherd vs Border Collie? Share with us on the Wide Open Pets Facebook page!

READ MORE: Types of German Shepherd: Most Common Variants of This Working Breed

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Border Collie or Australian Shepherd: Can These Capricious Canines Make Good Family Pets?