Adopting a dog sounds like fun, but it’s a big responsibility, especially if you are thinking of getting one from the herding or sporting dog groups. Shepherd dogs, for example, are active, energetic, and intelligent, requiring lots of exercise, mental stimulation, and care.
Now, if you wonder what the difference is between the two breeds, you have come to the right place. We will give you the low down on the similarities and differences of these two breeds so you can make up your mind!
But first, let’s learn about Shepherd dogs.
The Shepherd dogs
Shepherd refers to someone who tends to sheep.
Now that you know the meaning of the word Shepherd, it’s pretty self-explanatory Shepherd dogs were bred to herd sheep.
There are more than 16 recognized sheepdog breeds worldwide, and many more are used for herding but not registered with kennel clubs. Although they are different from each other, they have distinct similarities.
For example, they all are athletic dogs who require exercise and stimulation. Moreover, Shepherd dogs are all reasonably intelligent breeds and thus relatively easy to train.
On the other hand, the dogs can be stubborn; therefore, you need to prepare them with a firm hand, and it’s better if you start training them when they are puppies.
So, if you consider getting one of the Shepherd dogs, get them while they are young. German Shepherd puppies are much easier to train than their adult versions.
Many families with children love to adopt Shepherd dogs because of their social and protective nature. The German Shepherd and the Australian Shepherd are the most popular among the Shepherd breeds.
Why? Because both are loyal, smart, and make excellent watchdogs. They also are friendly.
So what’s the difference? Let’s find out.
Australian Shepherd vs. German Shepherd
To understand the two breeds in-depth, we will explain the differences and similarities in their appearance, temperament, training, grooming needs, body weight, health, and more.
- Australian Shepherds are smaller. They measure about 18 to 23 inches from paw to shoulder; on the other hand, a German Shepherd can grow from 22 to 26 inches.
- Australian Shepherds weigh less than their German Shepherd counterparts too. Australian Shepherds weigh around 40 to 65 pounds, while German Shepherds weigh 50 to 90 pounds.
- German Shepherds have pointed ears that stand. On the other hand, Australian Shepherds have long, floppy ears.
- German Shepards have fluffier tails compared to Australian Shepherds, who sometimes don’t have tails at all.
- Australian Shepherds’ colors include black, red, blue merle, and red merle, both with or without markings. The German Shepard comes in almost 13 different colors.
- German Shepherds usually have brown eyes, while Australian Shepherds can have brown, blue, hazel, amber, or green eyes. Some Aussies even have two different colored eyes.
- German Shepherds possess the qualities of being alert, courageous, and loyal to their owners. They also are intelligent and brave. On the other hand, Australian Shepherds are considered more friendly, active, and affectionate towards their owners.
- Both breeds make excellent watchdogs.
- Both breeds are equally great family companions.
Interestingly, the German Shepherd is more popular in America and the world.
According to the American Kennel Club, German Shepherds are the second most popular breed in the U.S., while Australian Shepherds are the 14th most popular.
Training both Shepherd dogs requires effort and patience.
- Both breeds can be trained quickly and used primarily for search and rescue operations.
- German Shepherds work as service dogs, police dogs, therapy dogs and assist in rescue operations. Australian Shepherds help with avalanche rescues.
- Both breeds are easy to train.
In terms of grooming, there is not much difference in both breeds; here are the similarities:
- Both breeds have a double-layered coat and require daily brushing to avoid matting and baths every four to six weeks.
- German Shepherds tend to shed more.
- Both breeds require regular nail trimming.
- On Average Australian Shepherds tend to live for 12 to 16 years. German Shepherds typically have a life span of 9 to 13 years.
- Australian Shepherds are a healthy breed but occasionally experience joint and eye problems. German Shepherds can experience diseases like chronic superficial keratitis, pancreatic enzyme Insufficiency, Panosteitis, Degenerative Myelopathy, and more.
- The Australian Shepherd also requires a significant amount of exercise.
German Shepherd or Australian Shepherd: Which breed is right for you?
Learn more about both breeds to decide which best suits your lifestyle and personality. Determine if the dog’s personality matches yours.
Because in the end, it all comes down to compatibility between owner and dog.
Both Shepherd dogs make excellent companions, serve as watchdogs, and are active and friendly.
Myrah Abrar is a computer science graduate passionate about web development and digital marketing. She writes blog articles for Woofspedia.