Differences between Border Collies & Aussies?
Posted 02 November 2008 - 03:06 PM
I am officialy moving hopefully next Sunday (relocation company = slow, slow, slow) and will be looking for a puppy around upcoming spring/summer after attending a few trials. I want a working dog. Before I started looking at Border collies I looked at Australian Shepherds. I talked to a working breeder of Australian Shepherds and he said Aussies are like Border collies with an 'off switch'. I'm sort of stuck inbetween these two breeds seeing as there doesn't seem to be a *huge* deal breaking difference except how they work stock (I'm no farmer I'd compete for fun so it's six in one half a dozen in the other). Can anyone help me out here?
Posted 02 November 2008 - 03:21 PM
I talked to a working breeder of Australian Shepherds and he said Aussies are like Border collies with an 'off switch'. I'm sort of stuck inbetween these two breeds seeing as there doesn't seem to be a *huge* deal breaking difference except how they work stock (I'm no farmer I'd compete for fun so it's six in one half a dozen in the other).
I don't know Aussies very well (never much cared for most I see) but from what I can gather, it is more difficult to find a good working Aussie than it is to find a good working Border Collie. Obviously you must go to the right breeders for either dog if you want it to work stock. The belief that BC's do not have an off switch sounds like breed prejudice, ignorance and/or seeing only badly bred and/or poorly trained Border Collies. I used to think Border Collies were non stop drive and motion too. But a good Border Collie has a good off switch. At least any Border Collie I would want to live with does.
Posted 02 November 2008 - 04:13 PM
I agree with Shetlander- a good BC should have an off-switch with no problem. I worried about that when I got Jade because she never stopped, but now that she's almost a year old, she's much better about laying down and taking a nap when mom's busy.
Try to expose yourself to both breeds, not sure what kind of outlets you have near you to do something like this, but doing your homework and talking to owners will be a big help. I'll always have BCs, but I hope to have an Aussie someday as well.
Posted 02 November 2008 - 05:06 PM
In the 90s, I owned a PB Border Collie from a farm in England. She was a great pet. She also herded everything that moved. The one time she had a chance to work sheep, she rounded up a couple dozen in a pasture and moved them at a walk into a nearby pasture based on my pointing with my hand. She had zero training.
She also had an 'off switch'. She played hard, was very intense - but also loved being around her people. And when it was time to sleep...she did!
I recently started looking for a Border Collie. It wasn't all that easy to find someone who bred pups for herding, but some good folks helped with recommendations. I've agreed to buy for a male born about a week ago from parents used in trials. I also looked at Aussies. I found ONE breeder who bred for herding, but he wouldn't sell to anyone except farms. The rest bred for agility, companionship, etc. All of which is nice, but that isn't what an Australian SHEPHERD is about!
I went to my first agility show Friday and had a blast. I'm hoping to adopt a BC from rescue, and won't care if that one herds everything or not. Lots of great dogs don't herd...they just aren't, IMHO, Border Collies. Border Collie look-alikes, and very possibly great dogs...neuter them and enjoy them. I hope to!
I obviously don't have a lot of data points in my personal sample. FWIW - I'd say the main differences between Border Collies and Aussies are 1) a tail, 2) fewer merles, and 3) Aussies are farther down the road of being ruined as herding dogs due to AKC nonsense.
Posted 02 November 2008 - 05:19 PM
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Posted 02 November 2008 - 06:01 PM
IMW, Aussie have a lot more to say (BARKBARKBARKBARKBARKBARKBARK) and are as thick as bricks - they aren't stupid, just a lot less eager to please. They are much more body dogs (slam into this, slam into that) than Border Collies and what's that old saying? It takes an Aussie 3 years to grow a brain, and another 3 to learn how to use it? They are not very sensitive dogs, more likely to be reserved/spooky with strangers, and they don't have the drive a BC does.
If I wanted a dog to work, I'd get a border collie. Watching Aussies work makes me cringe (bark bark bark, bite, body slam, bark bark bark) but again, I'm not watching working BRED Aussies work, just plain old Aussies. Still, it's quite different.
Some lines of Aussies are fantastic, bright, driven, capable dogs and working bred Aussies can be slender, fine boned dogs who look and act a lot like BCs, but most of the Aussies I know don't fall into that category. Having said that, I have two Aussies mixes, so apply the appropriate discount to my two cents above.
TDBCR - "Where every dog is a Star"
TDBCR / 3 Woofs & A WooTWoo / Big Air Photography
Posted 02 November 2008 - 06:18 PM
I've worked with a fair number of Aussies over the years (on stock). For the most part, they bounce around a lot behind the stock, do lots of "shark attacks"--go in for cheap shots (dive in to bite but then do a hasty retreat, only to repeat this process), and are very easily distracted from their work--sort of "space cadets." Many I would refer to as "jokesters"--if they can make a game out of what you are trying to do, they will. The serious work ethic of a well-bred working BC is missing. Of course, not all are like this, but the vast majority are.
Now as for working-bred BCs, it's totally
So, again, ask yourself what you want a dog for, then go from there,
Posted 02 November 2008 - 07:41 PM
Another big pro to me, the smooth coat option, I'm a smooth coat fan and I've yet to see smooth coated (short hair) Aussies. The Aussies we had here (6 for almost a year) actually had more coat then our rough coated border collie, and it was real stinky.
If you have no real preference you might want to see what trainers and style of trials are available in your area, if there is a good Border Collie support system go with Border Collies, if there is a strong ASCA and Aussie support system you might want to go with Aussies. It's kinda tough to have an Aussie and end up in an area where the trainers only work with Border Collies.
"Every poor one you continue to work with equates to a good one that you never get the opportunity to own"- M. Christopher
Posted 02 November 2008 - 09:16 PM
NessBC-gorgeous pics on your post!
Posted 02 November 2008 - 09:25 PM
This brings back memories as I would have gone with an Aussie or GSD if I'd had my complete choice on the matter, and had heard that same line about Aussies vs. BCs. But we had a size limit of 50 lbs, and didn't think it likely an Aussie or even gsd mix would really settle that low. All I can say is I'm SO glad for the limit and the persistence of DH in telling me over and over this was my breed! Now I can't think of a better dog in personality, size, looks, energy, quirks, liveability. YES I am biased. They are certainly not for everyone, but I wouldn't make the decision thinking you'll have to live without an off switch for the rest of the dog's life in order to have a good worker around.
+Odin (7 yr BC), Bast (Abyssinian kitten), 4 pet rats, a whole lotta fish, and my 5-yo human
Posted 02 November 2008 - 09:35 PM
Best of luck with your decision!
Border Collies: Devon, Teak, Jess, & Gus
Kitties: Merry Cat & Mr. Magoo
Chickens and Sheep
Forever in my heart: Daisy 3/6/2008 - 12/20/2015
"Live the life you love. Love the life you live."
Posted 02 November 2008 - 10:02 PM
Working border collies have every switch you could ever want.
Posted 04 November 2008 - 03:41 PM
Pat and the Pack
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Whim AAD -5.5 Yr Border Collie (MABCR Alumni) (Now Showing!)
Why? 4yr Border Collie couch warmer (MABCR Alumni)
Gunn 1.5yr Aust.Sheherd (MABCR Alumni) in training
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Posted 04 November 2008 - 03:48 PM
Posted 04 November 2008 - 05:33 PM
#1 thing people have to understand is that the Aussie and the BC are the same breed - split apart by purpose and region. They do *not* come from Australia, and some of the more famous original "breeders" simply docked and sold their merle pups as Aussie, and their undocked black and white pups as Border Collies. There is some similarity of the Aussie to the German Koolie of Australia, as well as the Smithfield Bob. Both of these "breeds"....oops, also came from Scotland. Bob's had bobtail genes in many, and Koolies (German communities un Australia who kept them spelled/said Koolie for "Collie") often come in the merle and work with a bark and upright stance. Basque shepherds (the human version) were universal - the poor culture that migrated with the flocks and the dogs to many countries
You will have trouble finding a modern bred Aussie for real work. They are being bred for show (excessive bone, size, pretty colors, and lots of hair), speed (flyball and agility), and drive by sheep and cattle shootings (aka arena trial "titles") and pets (pretty and dumb). They are capable of an off switch - but unfortunately most don't need one as by adulthood most too disinterested and lacking in drive to do much of anything that doesn't require a dinner bowl. Worse...you get one with drive, but they have the focus of a spastic flea.
Add to that lines full of poor temperaments (as in will leave their work to eat humans in the vicinity) and seizures and you've got a real mess
I started out with the breed, and I like the orginal Aussie a *lot*, but what has been done to it by poor breeding has made it nearly impossible for me to find what I want any more (or at least so much effort I find it not worth the time sadly). If you do find a good one, finding an equally good one to breed it too for your next generation is searching for a straw needle in 2 haystacks.
The modern Aussie, for we Border Collie lovers, is a horrible horrible warning. Want to see what happens when the show ring, versatility and color breeding, "titles" and health testing mean more than work and functional soundness?.....look at the Aussie. And try not to cry.
Posted 04 November 2008 - 06:34 PM
Smudge is my nephew and I am biased, but beauty *AND* brains can be seen in jut one photograph I think;) His ears will probably prick up at some stage, he has recently turned one.
Life on a Small Farm blog
Posted 04 November 2008 - 11:11 PM
They are very intense when they are working. Granted they can't do long outruns but when the sheep escaped to the back 40 they went after them. We don't have BCs but do admire them and their great work ethic.
Posted 05 November 2008 - 01:08 AM
I am officially moving hopefully next Sunday (relocation company = slow, slow, slow) and will be looking for a puppy around upcoming spring/summer after attending a few trials. I want a working dog. Before I started looking at Border collies I looked at Australian Shepherds. I talked to a working breeder of Australian Shepherds and he said Aussies are like Border collies with an 'off switch'. I'm sort of stuck in between these two breeds seeing as there doesn't seem to be a *huge* deal breaking difference except how they work stock (I'm no farmer I'd compete for fun so it's six in one half a dozen in the other). Can anyone help me out here?
I see that you found a "working breeder of Aussies" that is good- there are very few left. My old neighbor had 3- and one show dog. The show dog, oh we tried so hard on her with sheep, but she just didn't get it. Aussies seem to "trot" even the well bred ones. They lack the real eye that the border collies have. If you really want to compete, even for fun, get yourself a well bred border collie.
All of my well bred BC's had (I hate the word) off switches. They were comfortable lazing around the house, playing some ball and really, their moods reflected mine. I'd take a border collie any day over an Aussie, but that's just my opinion - if you go to an Aussie board, I'm sure you will hear other views- LOL. Best of luck to you finding the dog of your choice!!
Posted 05 November 2008 - 09:21 AM
I do beliveve that the Aussies (I had) were as intellegent or maybe more so than my border collies, But they were less biddable. They were very clever. Could work out any method possible to get what they wanted. You could ask them to do something for you, and as long as you left them alone to work out the how to get it done part, all was fine. Mine (all from very different bloodlines, but working) were fairly resentful about being told how to do something. I could say 'bring in the horses' and they would do it. If I said do it a certain way... uhh uhh... ( I would never use a dog to gather horses these days, but I was younger and more stupid then)
I have since gone to border collies, and won't go back. BTW.. an 'Off Switch' needs to be trained into any breed. People can make any dog an obsessive compulsive. I taught puppy class for 12 years, and saw all kinds of breeds that had need of an off switch trained into them.
Posted 05 November 2008 - 02:00 PM
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