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Top 8 Dog Breeds Like The Australian Shepherd

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Often referred to as Aussies, Australian Shepherds are among the most beloved dog breeds in the United States and Canada. These incredibly intelligent and energetic herding dogs are beloved for their gorgeous coats, playful nature, and eagerness to please. Like other herding breeds, Aussies excel at a variety of activities, including livestock herding, dog agility, dock diving and dock jumping, and many other dog sports. As house pets, Aussies love to be with their owners and participate in family activities. Aussies are clean dogs and less likely to drool. 

Like other farm dogs, Aussies possess a very strong work drive and are the picture of rugged and agile movers of livestock. As such, they are not recommended for sedentary pet owners. If you are an Aussie enthusiast and admire the breed’s physical and behavioral traits but are exploring similar breeds with comparable characteristics, then this list is for you.

1. Miniature American Shepherd

  • Temperament: Intelligent, Energetic, Loyal, Trainable
  • Typical lifespan: 12 to 15 years
  • Size: Small dog
A Miniature American Shepherd

Often simply called MAS, the miniature American Shepherd is a herding and working dog in spite of its compact size. In fact, the MAS is classified as a high-energy breed and, like its larger counterpart, the Australian Shepherd, requires frequent exercise and mental stimulation. The MAS was created in the 1960s by American breeders who crossbred undersized Australian Shepherds with smaller-sized dogs.

These breeders' ultimate goal was to produce a dog breed that mimics the characteristics of an Aussie, just in a smaller size. Notwithstanding its size, the MAS is every inch a true herding dog and shares many physical traits with its ancestor, the Australian Shepherd. Simply put, the miniature American Shepherd is a smaller version of the Australian Shepherd.

2. Border Collie

  • Temperament: Intelligent, Keen, Responsive, Energetic, Loyal
  • Typical lifespan: 12 to 15 years
  • Size: Medium-sized dog
a brown and white Border Collie in snow

Border Collies are believed to be among the ancestors of Australian Shepherds. If that is true, then it is safe to say that Aussies mimic the intelligence of Border Collies, who are often cited as the most intelligent dog breed on earth. A breed of herding dog, the Border Collie is kept mostly as a working sheep-herding dog. It also makes a great household pet for active families. Just like Aussies, there are also red Merle, blue Merle, and tricolored Border Collies. If you don't have the time, energy, or means to keep the Border Collie busy, then it may be somewhat too amazing for you.

3. Australian Cattle Dog

  • Temperament: Cautious, Energetic, Obedient, Loyal, Protective, Brave
  • Typical lifespan: 13 to 15 years
  • Size: Medium-sized dog
two Australian Cattle Dogs playing in the field

Here on this blog, I have an article titled "Australian Shepherd vs. Australian Cattle Dog," where you will discover the similarities between both breeds. Simply called the Cattle Dog or Blue Heeler, the Australian Cattle Dog is described by the American Kennel Club as a "sturdy, hard-muscled herder of strength and agility. They possess a high energy level and require a job or activity. Like Aussies, cattle dogs are eager to please, less likely to drool, and do not bark a lot. However, in terms of grooming, cattle dogs are deemed low-maintenance, while Aussies are considered high-maintenance.

4. Finnish Lapphund

  • Temperament: Faithful, Friendly, Keen, Calm, Courageous
  • Typical lifespan: 12 to 14 years
  • Size: Medium-sized dog
A Finnish Lapphund in a forest

A medium-sized breed, the Finnish Lapphund is one of the most popular dog breeds in its native country, Finland. Like Aussies, Finnish Lapphunds are highly adaptable and good with children, making them great family pets. Additionally, they are friendly and eager to please their owners. However, unlike Aussies, Finnish Lapphunds bark a lot and are highly independent.

5. Rough Collie

  • Temperament: Intelligent, Friendly, Loyal, Active, Gentle, Protective
  • Typical lifespan: 14 to 16 years
  • Size: Medium to large size
a Rough Collie sitting on a short pillar

Rough Collies share the Australian Shepherd's friendly demeanor, versatility, and herding abilities. However, they are somewhat less active than Aussies and have a gentle temperament. Like Aussies, Rough Collies are very playful, highly adaptable, eager to please, and get along well with little children. Additionally, Rough Collies are known to form strong bonds with their owners, which is another trait they share with Aussies.

6. Shetland Sheepdog

  • Temperament: Intelligent, Lively, Playful, Affectionate, Reserved, Loyal, Active, Gentle
  • Typical lifespan: 12 to 13 years
  • Size: Small breed
A woman training her Shetland Sheepdog

Also known as the Sheltie, the Shetland Sheepdog shares the Aussie’s intelligent, affectionate, active, loyal, playful, and eager-to-please nature. However, unlike Aussies, shelties are one of the most vocal dog breeds on earth. Like Aussies, they are energetic and have a high level of mental stimulation needs. Additionally, shelties are highly adaptable and protective of their owner's property. What's more, shelties are highly affectionate and good with children, as well as other pets. As obedient herders, shelties excel in various activities, including obedience, agility, and herding trials.

7. Bernese Mountain Dog

  • Temperament: Intelligent, Affectionate, Loyal, Faithful
  • Typical lifespan: 6 to 8 years
  • Size: Large breed
Two Bernese Mountain Dogs sitting in front of a laptop

Like the Aussie, the Bernese Mountain Dog, frequently abbreviated BMD, is an excellent herder and protector of farmyards. It also makes a wonderful family companion, thanks to its affectionate, loyal, and faithful nature. However, notwithstanding its popularity, the BMD is prone to a number of health conditions, with fatal cancer being the leading cause of death. As a result, the breed's average lifespan, which was once between 10 and 12 years, is sadly reduced to 6–8 years. The oldest known Bernese Mountain dog lived to be 15.2 years old, according to a 2004 UK survey.

8. English Shepherd

  • Temperament: Intelligent, Kind, Bossy, Energetic, Independent, Adaptable
  • Typical lifespan: 12 to 15 years
  • Size: Medium-sized breed
two English Shepherds sitting in a field

Sharing many qualities with Aussies, English Shepherds are known for their herding abilities, intelligence, high energy level, and versatility. In terms of appearance, the English Shepherd resembles the Border Collie and Rough Collie, with whom it shares ancestry. Although the United Kennel Club (UKC) has been registering English Shepherds since 1927, the American Kennel Club has yet to recognize the breed. 

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