Australian Shepherd VS Australian Cattle Dog

Last updated on September 23, 2022

Today’s article will compare two beautiful breeds, Australian Shepherd VS Australian Cattle Dog. While both dogs make lovely pets, there are some crucial differences between them. Hopefully, I will help you choose your perfect furry buddy.

Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Shepherd VS Australian Cattle Dog

These two dogs are among the most popular herding breeds in the world. So, people’s dilemma when choosing their next dog is well justified. While they’re different in many ways, the Australian Shepherd and the Australian Cattle Dog share some traits. I’ve divided the comparison into categories for easier navigation. So, here are the differences between the Aussie and the Australian Cattle Dog:

Australian Shepherd VS Australian Cattle Dog: History

The Australian Shepherd is a herding dog. Created in Australia by crossbreeding Pyrenean Shepherds and Border Collies, the Aussie found its way to the shores of California in the 1800s. The local ranchers immediately spotted the intelligent, hard-working dog. The pup was named Australian Shepherd due to its point of arrival. However, the breed was developed entirely in the United States. Hence, the Aussie is a purely American breed, despite its name.

The Australian Cattle Dog is faithful to its name. This herding breed is Australian, and it was created in the early 1800s. The Australian Cattle Dog is a result of crossbreeding Collies with dingoes. Its creator, Thomas Hall, named these canines Hall Heelers. The word about the intelligent, hard worker spread fast. Soon, the Australian Cattle dog conquered the smallest continent. However, it took until the 1940s for this dog to find its way to the American ranches. These dogs also go by Blue Heeler, Queensland Heeler, Red Heeler, or simply Cattle Dog.

Appearance and size

The Australian Shepherd has medium-long, wavy fur. These pups come in blue merle, red merle, black, white, and red, with numerous color combinations. The eyes of the Aussie are brown, amber, hazel, green, or blue. Some Australian Shepherds have two different colored eyes. The tails of the Aussies have been regularly docked in the past. So, today, some Aussies are born as natural bobtails. The height of the Australian Shepherd differs from 18 to 23 inches, while its weight ranges from 35 to 65 pounds.

The Australian Cattle dog is smaller than the Australian Shepherd. This dog stands 17 to 20 inches tall, while the weight varies from 40 to 60 pounds. Its body is athletic and muscular, covered with short, harsh fur. The coat of the Australian Cattle Dog is also double layered. Hence, this dog can do well in all climates. The intelligent eyes of the Australian Cattle Dog are dark in color, while the tail is long. There are two accepted colors for this breed: red and blue. However, all Australian Cattle Dogs are born white. As they grow up, the colors of their coats change. This god is an excellent choice for those that avoid heavy shedding pets. The Australian Cattle Dog will shed once a year, and it does it all at once.


The Australian Cattle Dog sits on the 54th position on the list of most popular breeds in the United States. The Australian Shepherd, on the other hand, is much more popular. As of 2021, the Aussie is the 12th most popular dog breed in the United States. However, the popularity of the Australian Shepherd is constantly rising. So, it is safe to say the Aussie will climb even higher on this scale in the years to follow.

Temperament, intelligence and trainability

There’s not much difference between these breeds regarding intelligence, temperament, and trainability. The Aussie Shepherd and the Australian Cattle Dog are brilliant, active, and easily trainable. These dogs are herders. However, thanks to their big brains and love for work, they can perform various jobs. They’re also protective, obedient, loyal, and affectionate dogs that do well with families.

Both pups excel at agility training and canine sports. Obedience training and socialization are a must for both dogs. Also, as the Australian Shepherd and the Australian Cattle Dog are herders, they will herd everything that moves. Hence, this is another issue that should be resolved with training.

The main differences between these breeds are: that the Australian Shepherd is clingier than the Australian Cattle Dog. Still, it’s a better pet for those living in an apartment. However, neither breed is a good choice for a first-time dog owner.

Lifespan and health issues

The average lifespan of the Australian Shepherd is between 13 to 15 years. The Australian Cattle Dog, on the other hand, has a life expectancy of 11 to 13 years. Both dogs are healthy in general. However, they can suffer from specific ailments.

Australian Cattle Dogs are known to suffer from deafness, glaucoma, retinal atrophy, hip and elbow dysplasia, allergies, and Von Willebrand disease.

The Australian Shepherd can be troubled with hip and elbow dysplasia, cancers, cataracts, colobomas, obesity, or epilepsy.


The price of the Australian Shepherd varies from $650 to $900. However, particular Aussies can reach the value of $2,000.

Australian Cattle Dogs can be purchased for a median price of $800. While certain specimens are found for as little as $250, others can go as high as $5,000.

The prices of both breeds depend on many factors, such as breeder reputation, color, pedigree and parentage, health issues, etc. As for the monthly cost, owning an Australian Cattle Dog or an Aussie will lighten your wallet from $100 to $200.

Final words

These are all the differences and similarities between the Australian Shepherd and the Australian Cattle Dog. While both breeds share several traits, they differ in many vital aspects. So, I hope I’ve helped you choose your new pet.

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