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    American Shepherd vs. Australian Shepherd: 8 Differences Between These Similar Pups

    By Jennifer Gaeng,


    What is there to discover about American shepherd vs. Australian shepherd ? Interestingly, despite their names, both breeds originated in the United States. The American shepherd is more accurately known as the “Miniature American shepherd.”

    Comparing American Shepherd vs. Australian Shepherd
    The miniature American shepherd comes in colors of blue, black, merle, and white.
    Key Differences “Mini” American Shepherd Australian Shepherd
    Height 13 – 18 inches 18 – 23 inches
    Weight 15 to 25 lbs. 45 to 65 lbs.
    Coat type Med Length, Thick Long, Wavy, Feathered
    Colors Blue, Black, Merle, White Blue, Black, Merle, Red
    Temperament Smart, Lively, Energetic, Loyal Active, Friendly, Smart, Loving
    Sensitivity Levels Higher than Average Average
    Life Expectancy 11 to 13 Years 13 to 15 Years

    Five Cool Facts About American Shepherd vs. Australian Shepherd

    Fiercely loyal, the Australian shepherd develops a strong bond with its owner.


    The American shepherd and the Australian shepherd are two different breeds. However, they are often confused with one another. While they share some similarities, such as their intelligence and high energy levels, there are several key differences between these two breeds.

    Here are some of the main differences between the American Shepherd and the Australian Shepherd:

    1. The Australian shepherd was developed in the United States in the late 19th century, while the American shepherd is a newer breed that was only recognized by the United Kennel Club in 2019. The American shepherd comes from several other breeds, including the Australian shepherd. However, it was bred specifically to meet certain standards and characteristics.
    2. The American shepherd is generally larger and more muscular than the Australian shepherd. American shepherds can weigh up to 75 pounds and stand up to 23 inches tall, while Australian shepherds typically weigh between 40-65 pounds and stand up to 23 inches tall. The American shepherd also has a broader head and shorter coat than the Australian shepherd.
    3. Both breeds are intelligent, loyal, and display lots of energy. However, American shepherds tend to be more reserved and less outgoing than Australian shepherds. They may also be more protective of their families and less tolerant of strangers or other animals.
    4. Both breeds are generally healthy but may be prone to certain health issues. Australian shepherds are more likely to develop hip dysplasia, while American shepherds may be prone to allergies and autoimmune disorders.
    5. Both breeds require a lot of exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy. They are highly trainable and excel in a variety of activities, including agility, obedience, and herding. However, American shepherds may require more structure and consistency in their training, while Australian shepherds may be more independent and require more creative training methods.

    Key Differences Between American Shepherd and Australian Shepherd

    The Aussie shepherd is an exceptionally intelligent type of heeler. You can expect lots of energy.


    The Australian shepherd and the American shepherd are both American dogs. They are small, versatile, intelligent, and enthusiastic workers! With his varied colors and markings, they can also have two different colored eyes. Both of these amazing animals are very energetic and need loads of exercise to stay happy and healthy.

    There are many key differences between the American shepherd vs. Australian shepherd. Both the American shepherd and the Australian shepherd are herding breeds that have large followings of admirers. For example, the American shepherd is far smaller than the Australian shepherd.

    An Australian shepherd also has a longer lifespan on average when compared to an American shepherd.

    Whether it’s the obvious size difference or subtle variances like color variety, there are many differences between these two breeds. Let’s dive in!


    The American shepherd is far smaller than the Australian shepherd.



    The Mini American shepherd is a tiny to medium-sized dog breed. Males average 14 to 18 inches in height, while females average 13 to 17 inches. Australian shepherds are taller and heavier than other breeds. Male Aussies can reach a height of 20 to 23 inches, while females reach a height of 18 to 21 inches.


    (Miniature) American shepherds are very small in comparison to the Australian shepherd, weighing an incredibly light average weight of 25 pounds. Some are even as small as 15 lbs. The Australian shepherds on the other hand can be quite large, weighing up to 65 pounds for the male and 45 to 55lbs for a fully grown female.

    Coat Type

    American shepherds are very small in comparison to Australian shepherds.

    ©Ellis Berankova/

    With its thick and short undercoat, the Australian shepherd is ideal for both cold weather and hot weather. Hairs are long, straight, and silky on the outside, lying close to the dog’s body.

    Shedding season in the spring and fall is much more intense for Miniature American shepherd dogs. This is because of their medium-length double coats that shed moderately to heavy all year long.


    Both American and Australian shepherds come in a variety of colors, such as blue, black, and merle. The fact that they each have a color that is distinct from the others is really intriguing. Australian shepherds have a lovely red coat, but American shepherds are sometimes white.


    An Australian shepherd has a longer lifespan on average when compared to an American shepherd.

    ©Maria Ulzutueva/


    Active, friendly, intelligent, loving, affectionate, good-natured, and protective are some of the characteristics associated with Australian shepherds. Although the American shepherd is intellectual as well, they are a bit livelier. The American shepherd is also noted for its devotion, energy, and loyalty.

    Sensitivity Level

    Miniature American shepherds are usually more sensitive than most other dog breeds. The Australian shepherd is much easier to train to be less sensitive in certain environments. However, they do not like an unpredictable daily schedule, a noisy environment, or frequent outside visitors.

    Health Factors

    Miniature American shepherds are usually more sensitive than Australian shepherds.


    Health Problems

    Mini American shepherds are prone to hip dysplasia and elbow malformation at a rate of one in 15. These excruciating illnesses are caused by hereditary and environmental causes. They are also prone to dental issues.

    The Australian shepherd breed is recognized for being prone to degenerative myelopathy, a chronic, degenerative neurological disorder. They are also prone to hip and elbow dysplasia.

    Life Expectancy

    An Australian shepherd’s average longevity is 13 years, with the longest-living dog living for 15 years. This is much longer than the average lifespan of an American shepherd, which is between 11 and 13 years.

    Wrapping up American Shepherd vs. Australian Shepherd

    Miniature American shepherds are smaller and easier to handle than the Australian shepherd.


    The American shepherd and the Australian shepherd share a lineage. Therefore, they have certain similarities. Australian shepherds and American shepherds are both clever dogs with similar temperaments.

    Because the small American shepherd is more vibrant and energetic, they have a similar level of sensitivity to their larger counterpart. However, the obvious size difference between the two brings with it a slew of variations.

    Miniature American shepherds are smaller and easier to handle, but the Australian shepherd is more intelligent and hence easier to train. Miniature American shepherds and Australian shepherds are both great dogs. However, the perfect breed for you depends on your desired lifestyle.

    Why are Australian Shepherds Called “Australian?”

    The Australian shepherd has a long and complicated history.


    The Australian Shepherd, though named after Australia, actually originated in the United States, with roots that trace back to the Spanish Conquistadors who brought herding dogs to the New World in the 1500s. These dogs were used to tend to Churras sheep in the adobe missions. Over time, a unique sheepdog with similarities to the Australian Shepherd developed in the American West.

    In the West, the demand for sheep increased after the conclusion of the Civil War and the advent of the California Gold Rush in the mid-1800s. As more sheep were brought to the region, including Spanish Merino sheep, British sheepdogs were also brought to tend them. Some were called “little blue dogs,” and later earned the name “Australian shepherds” by those who knew where they came from. These Australian Shepherds were a loosely defined breed descended from British stock.

    According to a 2017 study, Australian shepherds are related to British herding dogs and belong to the UK Rural clade.

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    The post American Shepherd vs. Australian Shepherd: 8 Differences Between These Similar Pups appeared first on A-Z Animals .

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