Last Updated on July 29, 2021
Looking for the difference between an Australian Shepherd vs German Shepherd? You may be surprised by the similarities of the two breeds!
German Shepherd and Australian Shepherds have many similar characteristics stemming from their herding roots, though originally from different countries. Both breeds were bred as herding dogs and needed to be very intelligent, easily trained, and have lots of stamina. They are very active breeds and love to be a part of active families – running, playing, and practising skills like agility or tracking. Both breeds are very versatile and can be used as therapy, search and rescue dogs, and guide dogs.
German Shepherd vs Australian Shepherd – Size
German Shepherds are a bit larger than Australian Shepherds. Full-size standard Aussies generally weigh around 30 kilos, while German Shepherds can weigh up to 43 kilos when they are full grown. German Shepherds are also about 3 inches taller than a standard Australian Shepherd.
German Shepherds can differ in size slightly depending on whether they are from European bloodlines or American bloodlines. Similarly, Australian Shepherds come in Standard, Miniature, and Toy sizes.
Coats & Maintenance
Australian Shepherds and German Shepherds both sport luxurious, long hair which needs regular grooming to maintain. Both breeds have a double coat which provides protection for the dog when they are herding. This double coat sheds a lot in both breeds.
German Shepherd v. Australian Shepherd – Temperament
Australian Shepherds and German Shepherds are working dogs and need lots of exercise. They like having a job to keep them mentally stimulated. Both breeds need something to keep them active or they will likely start showing destructive behaviours like chewing furniture or excessive barking.
German Shepherds can be more protective of their owners, but Aussies can be cautious of strangers as well. Good socialisation when Aussies are young can help them feel more comfortable with new people and situations.
In general, Australian Shepherds and German Shepherds are not well suited to apartment living. With limited space to use up their energy, both breeds are likely to exhibit destructive behaviours and become very unhappy. However, if you are very active with your dog during the day, this living situation might work for you.
Australian Shepherds have a slightly longer average lifespan at 12-14 years, compared to the German Shepherd average lifespan of 9-12 years. Many believe this is because the German Shepherds are a bit larger than Aussies in size, but there are many other factors that come into play for a dog’s lifespan, including genetics, health, diet, and lifestyle. Making sure your dog has a healthy lifestyle and diet will make a big impact on their lifespan.
Australian Shepherds and German Shepherds are very intelligent and are generally very easy to train. All training should start when the dog is young to lay the right foundation as they grow. One of the main challenges experienced with training Australian Shepherds is keeping their focus. Teaching a “look” command where your dog looks at you for instruction is one way to redirect lost attention. Conversely, German Shepherds tend to have a more natural focus on their owners during training. Positive reinforcement and consistency are key for training both breeds successfully.