Border Collie Vs. Australian Shepherd Differences – Which is Better?

Either you’re stuck between these two wonderful breeds, or you simply want to know more about them. To know which dog fits best for you, we are going to discuss them in this video. What are the features that identify one from the other? Which one is the best for your home? Tune in to find out!

You can switch to the video version of our article and skip the long read:


Both the Border Collie and Australian Shepherd are considered medium-sized dogs. The Collie has a short and rough coat, while the Aussie has straight or wavy medium-length hair.

The Collie comes in a wider range of colors. Some of it includes black, blue, blue merle, brindle, gold, lilac, red, red merle, sable, sable merle, and combinations of white with other colors.

Meanwhile, the Aussie is known for having only four varied colors, such as black, blue merle, red, and red merle.


When we talk about their weight, the Australian Shepherd is definitely heavier. Collies weigh around 23 kg., while Aussie weighs between 25 to 30 kg. Collies stand between 18 to 22 inches, while Aussies stand between 20 to 23 inches.

Life Span

Since they are medium-sized dogs, both have a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years. Of course, their life span will still depend on their health conditions, and how they are taken care of by their families.


Both breeds shed throughout the year, but are heavier during their shedding season. Their hairs may stick on your furniture, clothing, sofa, and floors so make sure to have a vacuum with you.


Border Collies tend to be more protective than the Aussies. They can be wary of unknown people and animals, therefore early socialization is a must for this breed.

They also tend to have herding instincts, and may “herd” smaller children and animals. This is not a serious issue though, since this can be easily prevented with proper training.

On the other hand, Aussies are more dependable to their owners than the Collie, which means they may develop anxiety and restlessness easily than the other. Make sure to spend a lot of time with them, or provide lots of toys to play with while you’re gone for a short time.


Both are clever and intelligent dogs. However, Border Collie is known as the Einstein of dogs. Simply put, this breed ranked first among the most intelligent dog breeds in the world! On the other hand, Australian Shepherds ranked 42nd smartest dogs for obedience and working intelligence. This does not mean they are not smart, just that Collies are smarter than everybody else.

Activity Level

Being shepherd dogs, both are highly energetic and are happiest when given a job to do. They enjoy a game of fetch, frisbee, football, and other vigorous and fun activities. So if you are not an active person and preferred a laid-back companion, then neither of these dogs is for you.


Since Collies and Aussies are intelligent dogs, both can easily be trained. They easily get bored though, so they need an experienced owner who can keep the training fun and engage. However, Collies can pick up commands faster than the Aussies – remember that they are the most intelligent dog in the world.

It is important not to use harsh training “techniques,” such as yelling and hitting when training these dogs. Both will respond well when positive reinforcement techniques are used, such as verbal praises and food rewards.

Exercise Needs

There is not much difference in the amount of physical exercise that both these dogs require. Both dogs need at least 60 minutes of robust exercise per day. The required physical exercise does not end there, however, since they also need to be kept busy indoors. Give them puzzle toys to play with to prevent them from developing destructive behaviors.


The Border Collie has a rougher coat compared to Aussie, which means that it needs more brushing at about two to three times per week to keep its coat mat- and tangle-free.

Australian Shepherds, however, only need weekly brushing to keep their coat shiny and healthy.

For both breeds, make sure to bathe them only when necessary, such as after playing in the yard or once they start to have a “doggy” smell. Regular bathing will prevent their hair’s natural oils from forming, which will then result in dry and itchy hair.

Since both dogs are active and love the outdoors, they are prone to getting ticks. Ticks feed off from your canine’s blood, and they may also carry what we call “Lyme Disease” which is dangerous for your dogs. If you don’t know what a tick is, they look like warts on your dog’s body.

Good With Family

Both the Border Collie and Australian Shepherd are loyal, hardworking creatures who want nothing but love and affection from their human families.

When it comes to protecting family members, Aussies do the job better. They are more vigilant compared to Collies and would bark to alert their owners of unwelcome strangers. Although Collies would have done the same, they are less watchful when compared to Aussies and are better at being working dogs.

Australian Shepherd easily gets along well to anyone that is welcomed by his owner, may it be people or animals. Meanwhile, Border Collie may become wary and be aloof towards visitors at first, but he will be comfortable later on.

Apartment Living

Both dogs are similar when it comes to home preferences. They thrive in a home with a large and securely fenced yard where they can play and roam around whenever they want. That being said, Border Collies and Australian Shepherds are not for condos and apartment dwellers. If they are enclosed in a small area all day, they may resort to chewing, barking, or digging – which is something we don’t want, of course.

Health Problems

Collies and Aussies are considered healthy dogs, although they may still suffer from genetic problems and health conditions, such as hip and elbow dysplasia which causes painful arthritis.

For the Aussies, you may want to look out for eye diseases, such as Progressive Retinal Atrophy. Both may also suffer from Cataracts and Collie Eye Anomaly.

Also, be aware that 10% of Border Collies can suffer from autosomal recessive mutation called “Trapped Neutrophil Syndrome” wherein there is a problem when releasing white blood cells from the dog’s bone marrow. This will prevent his immune system from fighting diseases.

Final Thoughts

To quickly summarize today’s content, let me tell you again the distinct differences between these two wonderful breeds. Although the same height at the withers, the Aussies are heavier than the Collies. They’re also friendlier than the Collies who tend to be timid and aloof towards unfamiliar faces. The Collies have a wider range of colors than the Aussies.

Lastly, Border Collies are considered the most intelligent dogs among all dog breeds.
Whatever your choice is, both are loyal, loving, affectionate dogs who will make great additions to an active family who’s willing to spend lots of time with their canine companions.

And that’s it for today’s video. I hope you now have decided which dog you prefer to live with. Just keep in mind to give them adequate amounts of physical exercise, mental stimulation, lots of love and you will surely be rewarded with an adoring companion.


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