Are American Shepherds the same as Australian Shepherds? One quick look, and you can see how both dog breeds share a similar appearance. However, through closer inspection, you will find slight distinctions between the 2.
What are the differences between an Australian Shepherd and an American Shepherd? Here are the answers that you are looking for.
Australian Shepherd vs. American Shepherd: How Are They Related to Each Other?
The Australian Shepherd is an American herding dog that largely contributed to the development of the American Shepherd, also known as the Miniature American Shepherd, in the 1960s.
Breeders crossed the medium-sized Australian Shepherd with smaller dogs. This was done to develop a miniature breed with the same energy and intelligence as him. In other accounts, it is believed that Miniature Australian Shepherds were used to create the breed.
The Mini American Shepherd’s name was originally Miniature Australian Shepherd. However, this was met with objection by the Australian Shepherd Club of America and other Aussie breeders.
Thus, the breed’s name was changed to North American Shepherd instead. Later on, Miniature Australian Shepherd became his official name.
Many may be confused between the Miniature American Shepherds and the Mini Australian Shepherds. There is not much difference between the 2. Except the Miniature American Shepherds can be registered in the American Kennel Club (AKC) whilst the Mini Aussies cannot.
In 1980, there was an influx of Mini American Shepherd listings in the National Stock Dog Registry. 10 years later, the Miniature American Shepherd Club of the USA was established. In 2015, the breed was officially recognised as a part of the Herding Group by the AKC.
American Shepherd vs Australian Shepherd: Which Herding Dog Is Smaller?
American Shepherds are smaller versions of Australian Shepherds. Hence, they are diminutive in size.
Female American Shepherds measure approximately 33–43 centimetres (13–17 inches) in height, whilst Male American Shepherds are around 35–45 centimetres (14 to 18 inches) in height. They both weigh around 9–18 kilos (20–40 pounds).
On the other hand, Female Australian Shepherds grow approximately 45–53 centimetres (18–21 inches) in height and 18–25 kilos (40–55 pounds) in weight.
Meanwhile, Male Australian Shepherds are 50–58 centimetres (20–23 inches) tall and weigh 23–29 kilos (50–65 pounds).
Because both breeds are neither large dogs, they can adapt well to apartment living. However, these playful breeds need high amounts of exercise to keep them from becoming restless.
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American Shepherd vs. Australian Shepherd: Which Breed Need More Exercise?
Both the Australian Shepherd and the Miniature American Shepherd require plenty of exercises. The 2 breeds were primarily made to herd livestock. Thus, they are naturally active dogs with high levels of energy.
Aussie Shepherds as well as Mini American Shepherds should have a minimum of 2 hours of physical and mental stimulation daily. They make great jogging and running partners because of their stamina. However, mind that these activities will not be enough.
Both of these herding dogs need challenging dog sports that will test and sharpen their minds and brain. They will enjoy various dog sports that will cater to their herding skills. Some of these include Treibball, agility, obstacle course, and Frisbee.
As Aussie Shepherds and Mini American Shepherds are athletic breeds, they also need active owners who can keep up with their pace.
American Shepherd vs. Australian Shepherd: How Different Do They Look from Each Other?
The Australian Shepherd and the Miniature American Shepherd do not have many differences when it comes to appearance.
Both breeds have unique eye colours that are commonly blue or brown. Heterochromia is prevalent in both herding dogs as well. It is a condition wherein each eye has a different colour, or one eye is composed of 2 colours.
Both breeds sport medium-length coarse double coats, which can be straight or wavy. Australian Shepherds and Miniature American Shepherds often come in blacks, blue merles, red merles, and reds.
Their fur may also have white or tan markings. However, big splotches of white are deemed as unfavourable.
American Shepherd vs. Australian Shepherd: Which Breed Sheds More?
Aussie Shepherds and Mini American Shepherds shed moderately over the year. Prepare for heavy shedding during the spring and fall seasons though. They are not the best picks for dog owners who loathe to clean up dog hair constantly.
Brushing both of these herding dogs once or twice a week can help reduce the presence of loose and dead hairs around your home. When shedding season begins, increase the brushing frequency to a daily basis.
A high-quality slicker brush with fine wire bristles or a metal comb is the ideal grooming tool for dogs with medium-length coats. Also, use a de-shedding brush or undercoat rake once they blow their coats on shedding season.
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American Shepherd vs. Australian Shepherd: Are They Suitable as Guard Dogs?
The 2 breeds are devoted and loyal canine companions. As herding dogs, Aussie Shepherds and Mini American Shepherds are protective of their flock. The same goes for their families. Both dogs are naturally wary and aloof towards strangers too.
With these traits, they can be trained to become reliable guard dogs.
Proper socialisation at a young age is also necessary for Australian Shepherds and Miniature American Shepherds. They need to be well-adjusted to their surroundings and the people around them.
Otherwise, both breeds will become overly suspicious of any stranger, which can lead to aggressiveness or extreme timidity.
American Shepherd vs. Australian Shepherd: Do They Get Along with Children and Other Pets?
The herding instincts of Aussie Shepherds and Mini American Shepherds are quite high. They can live harmoniously with older children, but not so much with younger ones.
Both dogs might nip and chase smaller children since they might view them as their flock to herd.
Animals smaller than the 2 breeds are also at risk of getting herded. However, peaceful cohabitation with other pets is possible for these herding dogs if proper socialisation and slow introduction are observed. Training both breeds to inhibit their herding instincts also helps.
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American Shepherd vs. Australian Shepherd: Which Breed Is Easier to Train?
These shepherd breeds are generally easy to train under a knowledgeable handler. But if you are a novice dog owner, both dogs are not for you as they are both wilful dogs.
Highly intelligent but dominating, the Australian Shepherd and Miniature American Shepherd both love to challenge their owners. They can be tenaciously stubborn if they choose to. However, with the right owner, both breeds are quick to obey and learn commands.
Because they are herding dogs, training is one of the best ways to expend their high energy. They are hard-working canines that enjoy working out on different tasks given to them.
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Australian Shepherd vs. American Shepherd: Which Breed Is Better?
The Australian Shepherd and the Miniature American Shepherd have more similarities than differences. Their size is what sets the 2 of them apart. Both breeds are perfect for dog owners who are as sporty and athletic as they are.
Are you thinking of getting one of these dogs? If your home has enough space for a mid-sized pooch, then the American Shepherd is a good match for you.
On the other hand, the Miniature American Shepherd is a more suitable canine companion if you are living in a small apartment.