The Border Collie Australian Shepherd mix is a perfect choice as either a family pet or a working ranch dog. They are active and intelligent dogs who can solve just about any problem. Especially if the reward involves a cuddle or a game of tug-o-war!
Many people assume crossing two herding breeds would make an even more work-focused dog. However, as energetic and driven as they can be, these mixes are also loving and affectionate.
Even though no two Border Aussies look the same, you can be sure that they will be an energetic, clever, and loving dog! Most pups have floppy ears, bright eyes and unique colors and coat patterns.
Keep on reading to find out more about the history of this dog, their temperament, colors, how big they grow and more.
|Breed Quick Facts|
|Height||18 to 23 inches|
|Weight||30 to 65 lbs|
|Coat||Long, thick double coat|
|Color||Many colors, patterns, and markings including solid black or red, merle, brindle, or sable|
|Shedding||High shedding all year round|
|Temperament||Energetic, intelligent and loving|
|Purpose||Eager to please family pet|
|Training||Quick to learn|
|Lifespan||12 to 15 years|
|Price||$600 to $1,000|
Table of Contents
- What Is A Border Collie Australian Shepherd Mix?
- Meet The Parents
- Are Border Aussies Difficult To Care For?
- What Does A Border Collie Australian Shepherd Mix Look Like?
- Temperament and Personality
- Things To Know Before Bringing One Home
- Lifespan and Health
- Border Collie Australian Shepherd Mix Puppy
- Key Takeaways
What Is A Border Collie Australian Shepherd Mix?
Border Aussies are hybrid dog breeds made by crossing a Border Collie with an Australian Shepherd. As a hybrid mix they are not an American Kennel Club recognized breed, but both parent breeds are.
They are just as active and intelligent as their parent breeds, but tend to be more affectionate and fit into family life more easily.
This dog is a loyal, intelligent and energetic breed who will make a great addition to any family. Their confident and sprightly nature means they fit well into active households who have the time and space these clever dogs need.
Many families are now choosing the Border Collie and Australian Shepherd mix as both a working dog and a family pet.
Although you won’t find one curled up on your lap like other dogs, they still love to have a cuddle on their own terms. It is common for them to pick a seat in the house just close enough that you can still give them a stroke as they sleep.
Border Aussies enjoy the company of both humans and other furry friends, but these dogs aren’t for couch potatoes! They love to run, jump, play, swim and do just about anything that involves being outdoors and active.
The Australian Shepherd Border Collie demands lots of exercise – both physical and mental. These dogs need long walks with space to run, plenty of playtime in the house and puzzles and games to keep their clever minds ticking.
With both parents being working shepherd breeds, it is easy to predict this mix will be intelligent, energetic and needy. Shepherd breeds like Border Collies are highly strung with plenty of energy to spare, so it is certain this dog will be just the same.
Their appearance is not as easy to predict.
Since this is a hybrid their appearance isn’t guaranteed. Often puppies from the same litter can end up looking very different from one another. The uniqueness of each mix is part of their charm – no two look the same. Their markings, eye color, size or just how floppy their ears are can all be different!
Meet The Parents
When or where the first Border Collie Australian Shepherd mix was officially bred is not known, but there is plenty of history on the two parents. Both the Border Collie and Australian Shepherd have rich histories as herding and shepherd dogs.
In fact, they are still regularly used today by farmers and ranchers as working dogs!
Border Collies make up one half of this mix.
Originally Collies came from Scotland where they were used as a herding dog. They are the result of crossbreeding between the big, strong European herding dogs brought to England by the Romans and the small, spitz-type herding dogs brought to England during Viking raids.
Nowadays, almost all Border Collies are descended from a single male puppy born in 1894, called Old Hemp. He was the ultimate sheep dog who went on to have over 200 puppies. There is a good chance your Aussie collie mix is related to Old Hemp!
They are still a popular choice today as both pets and working dogs and are considered to be the most intelligent breed.
The other half of this mix is made up of the Australian Shepherd.
Despite their name Aussies are of European descent, not Australian. They were first known as the Pyrenean Shepherd because they came from the Pyrenees Mountains in Europe. From there, they were taken to Australia where they were bred with more herding dogs until they were considered the perfect ‘cowboy’ dog. Finally they were taken to California where they gained the misnomer Australian Shepherds!
Breeding the Collie and the Aussie has produced the perfect herding dog with the ideal combination of agility, endurance and strength. While they are a great choice on farms and ranches, they are also affectionate and loyal. These traits make them great for an active family looking for a fun, loving companion to join them.
Are Border Aussies Difficult To Care For?
The Border Collie Australian Shepherd mix is not the best choice for any first-time dog owner. They need an experienced owner who has an understanding of the mind of a working breed. They also need plenty of exercise to allow them to burn off all their energy, making them not well suited to city living.
In general the Border-Aussie mix is not so much difficult to care for as time-consuming. They require the right training from puppyhood to nip all their herding instincts in the bud.
That is not to say that they can’t be extraordinary dogs, they just demand lots of time!
With the right effort put in these hybrids are loving and joyful pets who are well worth the time spent on them.
These pups usually inherit the Australian Shepherd’s thick, double-layered coat which they shed all year round. Therefore they need regular grooming to keep them comfortable.
They are also eager to please and willing to train, but they are sensitive and can easily have their feelings hurt if they are spoken to harshly. They need a gentle hand from an early age to nip all their herding instincts in the bud if they are to be a family pet.
Exercise, training and grooming are all time-consuming if you own a Border Collie Australian Shepherd mix. For those in an already active lifestyle who want company on their adventure, they are the perfect choice.
What Does A Border Collie Australian Shepherd Mix Look Like?
Border Collie Australian Shepherd mixes most often look like their larger Aussie parent with a muscular and agile build.
It is common for them to have blue or green wide-set eyes, a thick double-layer coat and to reach 65 pounds. They are usually slightly longer than they are tall and have a solid bone structure making them look sturdy and well-built.
The eyes of the Border-Aussie mix are one of their most distinctive features. They might be blue, green, brown, or a combination of both as some dogs have two different colored eyes. Whatever color their eyes may be, they are always bright and alert, showing just how intelligent they are.
Aside from their striking eyes their most noticeable feature is usually their fur.
They often take after their Aussie parent with this trait too and have a double-layered coat which is dense and waterproof. This thick coat will shed at all times of the year and needs regularly grooming to keep it in tip-top condition.
One trait this dog often inherits from their Border Collie parent is coat color.
Border Collies have more than 20 recognized colors, while Aussies only have four. Some of the more commonly seen coat colors are black and white, red tri-color, red or blue merle and sable.
No two Border Collie Australian Shepherd mix puppies are ever the same. They are all as unique in appearance as they are in intelligence and temperament! They can inherit a wide range of colors, patterns, and markings from both parents.
When you get your puppy at just 8 weeks old they will weigh 5 to 9 pounds. By the time they are 3 months old males will begin to grow bigger than females. At 6 months they will weigh between 18 and 25 pounds and at this age they will measure 50% of their fully grown size.
They will stop growing at around 18 months old, although some males ‘fill-out’ by putting on weight without growing taller until up to 2 years of age.
Fully grown males weigh 35 to 65 pounds and measure 19 to 23 inches from the floor to the shoulder. Females are slightly smaller, weighing 30 to 50 pounds and 18 to 21 inches tall.
For comparison they are slightly smaller than an Australian Shepherd and heavier than a Border Collie.
The Border Collie Australian Shepherd mix is considered a medium-sized breed and grows to a similar size to their Aussie parent. Whether on the smaller or larger end of the scale above, this dog is well-balanced, muscular and athletic.
Temperament and Personality
It is usually difficult to predict the temperament of a hybrid because they can inherit any personality traits from either parent. However, with this hybrid it is a little bit different because both parents have similar characteristics as herding breeds.
Border-Aussies have a surefire energetic and obedient temperament, but just like their appearance, each and every dog will have a unique personality making them a joy to own.
These dogs are often described as sweet, loyal and obedient. These traits all add together to make them the perfect family pet. They are also gentle and kindhearted which makes them good for a family with young children. However, they can try to herd children if their herding instincts kick in. They need a family with kids who are a good match in confidence and are able to distract their pet with a game of tug-o-war!
While their herding traits can be a negative, they also make them a quiet dog to own as any barking or howling would have spooked livestock. In fact one of the things that made their parents so good was their ability to herd a flock of sheep without making a noise!
Their herding instinct also means they have a low prey drive. They would be no good working with sheep if they just wanted to chase every rabbit they saw! They might, however, want to run circles around you when out on walks, especially if you are out as a group and someone lags behind. Some Border Aussies will do this their whole lives.
The most important thing to know about the Border Collie Australian Shepherd mix is just how intelligent they are.
These dogs love challenges, puzzles and tricks that exercise both their body and mind. Their clever mind and nimble body means they excel at agility classes. It is important their energy is used for positive activities and their busy brains are occupied.
RELATED – 24 Tricks To Teach Your Dog
All Shepherd dogs are highly strung and can turn to destructive behaviors if bored or left alone for too long.
Border Collie Australian Shepherd mixes are friendly and playful, so having another furry friend in the house can be a great option to keep them company. As long as they are slowly introduced to each other, they will get along terrifically. This makes them a good fit for family households who might already have other dogs. Their low prey-drive also means they are good with cats and might even play with them, if the cat permits!
Things To Know Before Bringing One Home
The Border Collie and Australian Shepherd is a demanding dog that needs lots of physical exercise and mental stimulation. They require lots of time-consuming walking, playing, and games every day. Their thick fur means they also need regular grooming.
Border-Aussies are not suited to someone who wants a low-maintenance dog they can leave alone while they work and walk only when the weather is nice.
These hybrids are active and will suit a busy family household with children who can play with them and adults who can run with them every day.
Many owners are fooled by their high energy and activity levels, but these dogs do still love a cuddle. They aren’t lap dogs, but they love attention and will often sit as close to you as possible without actually being on your lap.
These dogs are very open-minded and extremely eager to please so training them should be simple. However, due to their intelligence they can sometimes ‘overthink’ a command and struggle to get the basics.
An essential skill to teach your Border Collie Australian Shepherd mix as a puppy is proper recall. These dogs need off-lead walks to spend all their oodles of energy, so teaching them to come back when you call is a must! Start in an enclosed environment, such as a garden, and simply call their name. Make sure to reward them for even just heading in your direction to begin with. Work up to gradually more open spaces, with more distance between you and your dog, to train a reliable recall.
Training out your dog’s herding instinct is also a necessity. They can be over-protective of their family if not socialized properly and might nip and attempt to herd people, especially children. Don’t be afraid to use an experienced dog trainer to help teach you how to train your puppy in the beginning.
The good news is that Border Collie Australian Shepherd mixes are quick learners, so it won’t take long to break these bad habits!
Do remember that these dogs are sensitive souls who are easily upset by harsh words. After a telling-off, you might just find them sulking in a corner for the rest of the day. The best way is to use positive reinforcement dog training and gentle but firm words.
As a Border Collie mix with a rich history of working on ranches it is safe to bet this dog will need lots of exercise. Aim to give your pet at least 90 minutes of exercise each day. The ideal is a one hour walk in the morning and another hour in the evening. On these walks they need to be able to run so work on their recall and then allow them off-lead.
Border Collie Australian Shepherd mixes need more than just walking to keep them happy. Things such as agility, dock jumping, flyball, fetch, swimming or herding trails are all great ways to get more physical activity worked into their daily routine.
These dogs have thick, waterproof coats that are prone to matting and shed continually throughout the year. They need to be brushed with a slicker brush a minimum of three times a week, focusing on the underbelly and backs of legs where matting is especially common.
After each walk they should also be checked for any twigs or debris that might have become entangled in their coat.
Despite their thick coat Border-Aussies should only be bathed once a month, or ideally only when they really need it. This is because their coats have natural oils which keep it waterproof and stops their skin from getting too dry. Bathing strips them of these natural oils.
Border Collie Australian Shepherd mixes need a dog food designed to fit the needs of a working breed. They need as much as 200 calories more than the average breed, even if they are being kept as a family pet.
They are not fussy dogs and will happily eat any good brand of dry working-dog food.
How much you will feed depends on their size. A smaller dog weighing around 30 pounds will only need 1.5 cups of kibble a day, whereas bigger mixes weighing up to 60 pounds will need 3 cups a day.
Lifespan and Health
A Border Collie Australian Shepherd mix can live for up to 15 years, although the average is 13. They are generally healthy dogs who can live long and active lives.
The most significant health issue that these hybrids are at risk for is blindness and deafness.
Blindness and deafness are linked to the merle gene in their parents. Both Aussies and Collies are known to carry the merle gene and even with different breeds it is still best to avoid breeding two merles together.
If both parents of a puppy are merle, there is a 25% chance of the puppy being double-merle. Double-merle puppies have a higher chance of suffering from health problems such as deafness, blindness, sun sensitivity and a higher rate of skin cancer.
Dogs with only one copy of the merle gene are less likely to inherit these genetic problems.
A Border Aussie puppy will not show any health issues relating to the merle gene until they are at least four years old.
Border Collie Australian Shepherd Mix Puppy
Do you think you have what it takes to be a Border Collie and Australian Shepherd mix owner? Many owners underestimate just how much work and attention must go into raising this puppy. Many are often found in shelters as families adopt this puppy without fully researching the breed.
A Border Aussie puppy costs between $600 and $1,000. They tend to cost more in rural regions where both the parent breeds are in high demand for farms and ranches. A rare color such as merle will cost more than a more common color such as black and white.
They are similar in price to a Border Collie whose nationwide average price is $700.
Although you may want to find a breeder to buy your puppy from, this will not be easy. Not many breeders specifically breed for these hybrids. It may also be a good idea to check local rescues and shelters.
- The Border Aussies is a hybrid breed. They are a cross between the Border Collie with an Australian Shepherd, both of whom are breeds recognised by the American Kennel Club. As a mixed breed this dog is not recognised.
- Thanks to their loyal nature, intelligence and energy they will make a great addition to any family! They are confident and sprightly, fitting well into active households who have the time and space for them.
- These hybrids demand plenty of exercise. They need plenty of long walks with space to run, playtime at home like tug-o-war and puzzles to keep their clever minds ticking over.
- As puppies they need persistent and gentle training to nip their innate herding instincts in the bud early on in life.
- Border Aussies generally look the most like their Australian Shepherd parent with strong muscles and an agile build. They have wide-set eyes which can be blue, green, or brown, and their coat is thick and double layered. They can reach up to 65 pounds in weight.
- They have a lifespan of up to 15 years, although the average is 13. They are generally healthy dogs who can live long and active lives. The most significant health issue to be aware of however is the risk of blindness and deafness in these hybrids.