English Shepherd vs Australian Shepherd

australian shephard vs english shephard

English Shepherds and Australian Shepherds are very alike, with vibrant personalities, similarities, and significant differences. The Australian Shepherd originated in the United States, while the English Shepherd is from Britain. They both offer excellent characteristics for new pet owners, which are essential when looking for a furry companion.

If you’re considering adopting one of these two dogs, a breed comparison can provide which puppy is ideal for bringing home.

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How Are the Australian Shepherd and English Shepherd Similar?

These two dog breeds are highly intelligent, family-friendly, and were initially bred as working dogs. They are often mistaken since they share similar physical features and characteristics.

Both medium-sized dogs are famous, like the Border Collie, Cocker Spaniel, German Shepherd, Scotch Collie, and Golden Retriever. When you adopt an English Shepherd or Australian Shepherd puppy, you’ll need a lot of attention and physical exercise.

Physical Differences Between the Australian Shepherd and the English Shepherd

While herding and working dog breeds are very alike, you’ll notice several significant differences that distinguish their unique characteristics. At first glance, each dog looks similar, though you’ll notice distinct attributes in their weight, size, coat color, and texture.

English Shepherd by the lake
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Size and Weight Breed Comparison

How do both dog breeds compare in size, weight, and appearance? They are relatively the same size and typically range between twenty to twenty-three inches in height.

On average, Australian Shepherds are slightly taller than English Shepherds, though the difference is minimal. Male dogs tend to grow slightly larger than female dogs, which is common in most breeds, including the Aussie and English Shepherd breeds.

The weight variance for both English Shepherds and Australian Shepherds is similar, with Aussie Shepherds weighing between forty-five and sixty pounds and English Shepherds weighing between forty and fifty pounds. Generally, there isn’t much noticeable difference, and the weight is typically heavier for males and female dogs.

Coat Type and Color

While both dog breeds have similar coats, there are slight variations between them. The English Shepherd has a coat that’s thin but fluffy in texture, whereas the Australian Shepherd’s coat is a bit fuller, thicker and may require more grooming.

Since both dog breeds have long fur, they require regular brushing and maintenance to prevent matting and knots. The texture varies slightly, though both pups generally have a similar feel. Still, the Australian Shepherd’s coat has a more feathered texture.

Both herding dogs are available in a variety of coat colors. The English Shepherd dog is most commonly seen in various colors and patterns, including brindle, brown, tan, sable, yellow, white, and black.

You’ll often see this breed in tricolor, a popular choice when adopting a puppy. Australian Shepherds have a different set of colors, which includes red, merle, blue, and black.

Personality, Training, and Temperament

Both the English Shepherd and Australian Shepherd are affectionate, loyal, good-natured, and friendly, and they are also protective and ideal as working dogs.

Historically, these dogs are a herding breed and continue to work on ranches and as farm shepherds to herd sheep and other animals.

They make great family pets and enjoy socializing with human companions and, in some cases, other pets in the household. There are some distinct differences between the two dog breeds, which is essential to consider when choosing a puppy that best fits your life.

Australian Shepherds are easy-going and typically easy to train, whereas the English Shepherd can exhibit stubbornness and dominance, making it difficult during training. At a young age, the English Shepherd is keen on keeping order, which makes them the perfect farm dog.

They can get demanding and have a reputation for persuading other pets to follow. Australian Shepherds are easier to train, generally agreeable, compliant, and good listeners.

Health and Longevity

With a balanced diet of high-protein dog food and exercise, your pup can live a long, healthy, and enjoyable life. There are health conditions familiar with certain dog breeds, including the English Shepherd and Australian Shepherd.

When you adopt or buy an English Shepherd puppy, it’s important to establish routine vet visits, as this breed can inherit several health conditions.

English Shepherds are commonly disposed to retinal atrophy, luxating patella, elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasia, and hypothyroidism. For this reason, a highly nutritious diet and regular monitoring of your dog’s health are vital to preventing illness and medical conditions. Early diagnosis and treatment are also crucial in improving your pet’s health and quality of life.

The Australian Shepherd is prone to several health conditions, including hip dysplasia, epilepsy, and nasal dermatitis. While these conditions may never develop in your dog, it’s essential to ensure you visit your vet often, especially if any symptoms appear.

Australian Shepherds are generally healthy, though they may also develop congenital cataracts and Degenerative Myelopathy, a neurological condition. Vision and hip exams are essential, as conditions involving these two areas are common in both breeds.

Australian Shepherd dog portrait outdoors
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

How long is the lifespan of these dog breeds? The English Shepherd can live up to fifteen years, whereas the Australian Shepherd has a life expectancy of thirteen years. These life expectancies are familiar with many dog breeds, and there is the potential that your pet will live longer, depending on their health.


The English Shepherd and Australian Shepherd are excellent breeds for families and people with an active lifestyle.

Whether you adopt one specific breed or are open to both as an option, you’ll find many great resources for your pet, including organizations such as the Australian Shepherd Club, the American Kennel Club, and the English Shepherd Club.

A proper diet, regular exercise, and lots of socializing are ideal for both dog breeds, which provides them with an excellent quality of life.

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