Australian Shepherd vs. Sheltie

The Australian Shepherd and Shetland Sheepdog are two distinct breeds with different origins, but they share some similarities due to their herding backgrounds. The Australian Shepherd, despite its name, was developed in the U.S. for herding livestock. They are known for their high energy, intelligence and strong work ethic. They stand between 18 to 23 inches at the shoulder and have a lifespan of around 13-15 years.

On the other hand, the Shetland Sheepdog, also known as the Sheltie, is from the Shetland Islands of Scotland. They are smaller, standing at 13 to 16 inches at the shoulder. Shelties are also intelligent and hardworking with a lifespan of around 12–14 years. They have a thick double coat and are especially known for their strong herding instinct.

Both breeds are excellent working dogs, loyal and dedicated to their families. They require regular exercise and mental stimulation due to their high energy and intelligence. They also need regular grooming because of their thick double coats. Making a choice between the two would depend on factors like your lifestyle, living arrangements, and personal preferences.

Last Updated on September 20, 2023

Do you want to compare the characteristics of an Australian Shepherd vs. Shetland Sheepdog to be your next dog partner? At first glance, both two dogs appear identical. They’re both intelligent, active and herding dogs. They make great companions.

If you’re thinking about getting a new pet, you’ll require specifics. Although both breeds are great pet for families, they’re however not the best fit to all families. Both dogs have similar behavior traits, however there are certain differences in these two dogs.

This article we’ll examine the requirements for training grooming requirements, nutritional important factors, and temperament of every breed. We will also discuss their lineage of breed as well as their average health and their appearances. So, you’ll know exactly what are getting when you welcome either pet into your home. Let’s get ready!

Australian Shepherd vs. Sheltie

Breed History

The lessons in history often result in tears, but it’s important to understand the background in cases of particular dog breed. Different breeds are developed to be proficient in various regions and for various reasons. If you know the traits Australia Shepherds as well as Shetland Sheepdogs were created to accomplish, you will be able to better determine which is the best fit for your needs.

Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherds Also known as Aussies, aren’t actually Australian. The name is an little misleading. The breed actually originates from a mountainous region located between France and Spain called the Pyrenees. In this region, the native Basque people raised and bred sheep. They depended upon Pyrenean shepherd dogs for aid them.

In the 1800s, an influx of Basque colonists relocated to Australia attracted by the promise of lusher grasslands for their livestock. Naturally, they took their dogs along with them. In Australia there, they Pyrenean Shepherd Dogs interacted with Collie breeds (also imported) and then began to breed. Then, the Basque colonists felt the need to relocate again, however.

The next time, they went to California along with mixed dogs. In California, cowboys and ranchers were enthralled by the Basque dogs that herded. They believed that they were the Basque immigrants had discovered these dogs while in Australia which is which is where the Basque people first settled.

They were not 100% right. It didn’t really matter since it was a name that Australian Shepherd stuck. Ranchers employed the dogs to herd sheep along with cattle as well as other livestock that was that were raised on the western coasts in North America. Today, ranchers appreciate Aussies due to their ability to herd. They also function in the role of search and rescue dogs as well as therapy dogs and service animals.

Shetland Sheepdog

In the case of sheep-herding livestock, the Shetland sheepdogs, also known as Shelties, tend to be on the smaller side. There’s a reason behind this. There’s a reason. Shetland islands in UK which is where Shelties originate are extremely rocky and food resources are in short supply.

Sometime in the past, although nobody knows exactly the exact date, Shetland Island settlers brought large Collie Dogs in from Scotland to assist in managing their sheep flocks. They Shetland islands were an extremely isolated region. Therefore, over time due to a lack of food, Collie breeds bred to reduce their size. The smaller dogs were preferred due to the fact that they needed less resources.

It was not till the beginning of 20th Century when Shetland Sheepdogs were first recognized throughout Britain and eventually around the world. At first, they were called Shetland Collies however, Collie owners were not happy with this. They tried to convince The Kennel Club in England to change the name of the breed.

Shelties were recognized as breeds in 1911. Their gentle, happy disposition and compact size are a popular choice among pet owners to this day. They are also excellent therapy dogs.


Shetland sheepdogs as well as Australian shepherds are fairly easily distinguishable. The size differences alone are quite distinct. Shelties can weigh as little as 15 pounds, whereas the tiniest Australian Shepherd weighs at least 40 pounds.

The two breeds share rough coats. They both have rough coats. Sheltie is a long-haired dog, and the Aussie has coats that are moderate in size.

Merle coats, also known as mottled coats are typical in both breeds , as well. Shades of blue, sable and red are frequently observed in combination with their usual white markings. However, either breed can be solidly colored that has white marks as well. Both breeds are also known to look alert and lively throughout the day and are loved by many pet owners.

This means that when you’re deciding between the two breeds based on their appearance the size of the dog is likely to be an important aspect. Smaller dogs require less space and food than bigger dogs and the difference in weight and height between Australians and Shelties is substantial.


If you’re in search of an energetic and playful dog then either one of the Australian Shepherd or the Sheltie are great choices. Both breeds are renowned for their smart and curious nature. They are working dogs and they are eager to find solutions to issues. They also like to herd and run, as their ancestors were taught to do.

Shelties are well-known for their playful nature.. However, they are also incredibly intelligent. If their family members are upset or their pet’s owner is unhappy they are likely to reflect their mood and want cuddles rather than playing.

Shelties are also renowned for their vocalization. They can be heard with an enormous bark and like to signal that they’re around. This, along with their unwavering dedication, makes them excellent guard dogs, even with their tiny size.

Australian Shepherds, for instance, are renowned for their intelligence. They can tackle problems and excel when they are assigned a task. Australians are great as rescue and search dogs however, they will also guard your family too.

Owners who are less active don’t get along well with Aussies that need space to run. If they’re bored, they’re known to be a bit nerdy and appear to delight in tricking their owners. A lot of people love this playful behavior however, it’s not for everyone.


Knowing the amount of exercise a specific breed needs is essential when choosing the perfect pet. It is important to ensure that you have enough time and effort to your furry friend.

Australians require lots of physical activity. They love running for up to two hours per day. In addition their brains require constant stimulation. If they are left alone and bored they can become violent and disruptive.

Shetland Sheepdogs tend to be slightly more accommodating in the event of the lack of space or active owners. They are still a bit active with their owners, and daily jogs or long walks are essential. You should expect to work out your Sheltie for about 60 minutes every day at the very least.

However, overall the Sheltie is extremely flexible. They are great in cities and smaller houses in which there is very little or no and plenty of space. If they can get away from the home regularly they are able to thrive in smaller areas.

For both breeds for both breeds, we suggest daily walks. The breeds are not generally thought of as an effective puller, which is why we suggest wearing a harness for leash training. Aussies must have equipped with an average-sized harness, and Shelties can be used in a size smaller in the majority of cases.


Certain breeds of dogs are more easy to train than other breeds. No matter if you choose one of Shetland Sheepdog or an Australian Shepherd to be your next pet, training time is essential.

The Australians, as we’ve mentioned are extremely smart. This means that learning the fundamentals is fairly easy. They’ll be able to sit and stay, as well as shake extremely fast. The trickier part is teaching these canines with super-smart limits. It’s not easy to convince them to not run off across the boundary or to not take the food off the counter when you have your back turned.

Shelties are famous for their obedience abilities. They are taught to obey quickly and are able to follow instructions. They’re also champions of agility. It’s no wonder these tiny, quick herding animals are able to run an agility course effortlessly. Participating in agility competitions is a great way to build a bond to your Sheltie while maintaining their fitness.

The problem is that Shetland Sheepdogs are known to have a passion for singing. The process of educating them to stop barking can be a challenge and could be a problem when you live in a dense zone. Your neighbors might not like the constant barking!

We suggest crate training for all breeds. Crate training is an effective method to provide your dog an area to unwind after a lengthy play session. It’s also a great way to ensure that the furniture in your living space stays in good condition when you leave the house for short period of time.

Aussies work best in the moderate-sized pet crate. A larger size could be too big and should not be more than 42 inches long. Shelties are best placed in the small or medium-sized crate. We suggest a minimum of 30 inches of length to the Sheltie.


As with all pure breeds Shetland Sheepdogs as well as Australian Shepherds can be considered relatively healthy. However, there are some typical ailments to keep in mind in the event of adopting either breed.

Shelties are most likely to suffer from hip dysplasia, thyroid diseases as well as eye disorders. They can also suffer from Sheltie skin syndrome, also known as dermatomyositis which is a condition that causes an inflammation that affects the skin, and occasionally blood vessels and muscles.

In addition they’re also susceptible to epilepsy as well as von Willebrand’s disease. This is an autoimmune disorder that causes blood clots. It sounds like an awful lot, but reliable breeders test for every one of these. They will not breed an Sheltie with a known genetic disease.

Australians also suffer from epilepsy and hip dysplasia. They are often afflicted with cataracts, and some forms of cancer too. Australians also are prone to issues with their ears. A regular cleaning of their ears is essential to maintain healthy health.


A healthy diet is essential for ensuring that your dog has a long and healthy life. The majority of breeds of dog can be satisfied with any diet that is approved by a vet. The amount they require however, is dependent on.

Shetland Sheepdogs take in about 1-2 cup of dry food each daily, in the average. But, they might not be able to take normal dry food. Their muzzle is narrow, which makes it difficult for them to swallow and chew large chunks of kibble. This makes eating difficult task, particularly for puppies. In the early years, you’ll require an smaller breed of puppy food. It is possible to keep the small-breed dog’s diet until the age of adulthood.

It is estimated that the Australian Shepherd consumes approximately 3-4 cups of kibble each day or more when they’re working dogs. This amounts to around 1400 calories. That’s more than the majority of smaller adults!

Kibble can be costly The amount you’ll have to spend is a crucial factor to consider when selecting a new pet. In addition they both have gorgeous coats. A diet that is rich with Vitamin E as well as omega-fatty acids will guarantee that their coats remain clean and shiny.


Grooming requires time and money and the grooming requirements of different breeds may differ significantly. It is important to think about the amount of grooming and shedding you’re willing to undertake as a dog’s owner.

Shetland Sheepdogs shed quite a bit and this is normal due to their thick coats. They require a regular brushing every week at the minimum. During the time of shedding, Shetland sheepdogs should be brushing a couple of times per week, but not every day. The area between their ears can also be prone to matting and owners should pay particular attention to this area.

Many owners think of shaving their Shetland Sheepdogs in order to skip the lengthy grooming process. This isn’t a good idea, however. Shaving Shelties could cause sunburns or an inability to tolerate cold.

Aussies shed as well, however they they shed only every two years. In those instances an under-rake brush is able to help keep the shed under a degree of under control. In other cases, they just require a regular brushing and baths on occasion.

Both breeds require their nails cut regularly and for Aussies, it’s vital to keep an eye on their ear health also. Making sure their ears are free of wax buildup could help keep infections at bay.

Puppy Prices

Purebred puppies can be expensive However, reliable breeders check for health problems that are common to all breeds and take care of the early vaccinations, and make sure that the puppies are taken care of right from the beginning.

The general rule is that Shetland Sheepdogs are slightly more than Australian Shepherds, however it is contingent on a variety of aspects. Champion bloodlines, specific Merle coats, as well as other variations can add to the cost. Expect to pay $1,000 or more to purchase the Aussie puppy, while shelties can cost between $1,200 or more.

A reputable breeder can be the most important aspect of getting an animal that is purebred regardless of whether it costs an extra amount. Puppy mills and similar can result in dogs with an issue with health that is commonplace such as hip dysplasia which can cost you much more in the future and reduces your dog’s level of living.

Final Thoughts

Both breeds are lively and intelligent dogs who love having an obligation to fulfill and a family to guard. They are both excellent family members if they are in a relationship with a person who gives them the proper stimulation as well as daily exercise in the outdoors.

The smaller and more flexible Shetland Sheepdog, or Sheltie is a great dog to be found in the diverse range of settings. Country and city dwellers alike will love taking care of the Sheltie.

However, the quick brain that lies behind Australian Shepherd’s often-piercing blue eyes is difficult to beat. They require space and plenty of running and exercise, but they’re also extremely loyal to the owner alone or a whole family.

The process of deciding which is the best for you requires considering your lifestyle. As long as you’re able to give them the things they require and want, you’ll get a cherished pet.

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