9 Dog Breeds Most Similar to Australian Shepherds

Similar to Aussies
© Carmelka from Getty Images Pro and Elles Rijsdijk/ via Canva.com

Written by Sarah Psaradelis

Published: January 29, 2024

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Australian shepherds, or Aussies, are herding dogs and one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States. They are medium-sized dogs with thick double coats and striking blue, green, or brown eyes. Australian shepherds are versatile and hard-working dogs with all the finest characteristics of a herding dog.

This article focuses on nine dog breeds most similar to Australian shepherds in terms of their temperament and characteristics.

1. Border Collie

Border collies are intelligent dogs with high energy levels.

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The border collie has many desirable characteristics of the Australian shepherd, which is why they are first on the list. Border collies are one of the most intelligent dog breeds, a title shared with the Australian shepherd. These medium dogs hail from the border of Scotland and England. They likely originated from sheepdogs of the British Isles. Border collies excel at agility courses and have incredible stamina and athleticism, much like Aussies.

2. Australian Cattle Dog

Red or blue heeler is another name commonly used for Australian cattle dogs.

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Australian cattle dogs are resilient herding dogs with a similar temperament to the Australian shepherd. They also go by names such as blue heelers, red heelers, or Queensland heelers. Australian cattle dogs may be a cross between an Australian dingo and a collie-type breed.

Much like the Australian shepherd, the Australian cattle dog has a strong instinct to herd. Plenty of mental and physical stimulation is important for both breeds and helps keep them entertained.

3. Miniature American Shepherd

Miniature American shepherds resemble small Australian shepherds.


The small and intelligent miniature American shepherd shares many similar characteristics to Aussies. Miniature American shepherds were originally called miniature Australian shepherds because they were developed from small Australian shepherds. These small dogs are hard workers and instinctively herd people and animals despite their size.

4. Shetland Sheepdog

Shelties are incredible family-orientated dogs with an eagerness to herd.

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The Shetland sheepdog, or Sheltie, is a popular herding dog with a distinctive Lassie-like appearance. Shetland sheepdogs are obedient and intelligent herds from the Shetland Islands, Scotland. These dogs have loyal and hardworking temperaments that allow them to excel at various types of work while also being loving companions.

Shetland sheepdogs are great as therapy dogs and thoroughly enjoy working and pleasing their owners. They are great at obedience and agility training, and always seem to keep their owners on their toes with their athleticism.

5. Bearded Collie

Bearded collies are lively dogs with an incredibly fluffy coat.


The bearded collie is a shaggy herding dog with a charming temperament. These dogs have incredibly long coats and comical bearded faces that make them beloved canine companions around the world. The bearded collie’s origins are rooted in Scotland, where they likely descended from herding dogs from the European continent. Bearded collies enjoy working, whether herding sheep and cattle or participating as therapy dogs.

6. Pyrenean Shepherd

These dogs are very active with a sharp-mind and charming temperament.


The long-lived and enthusiastic Pyrenean shepherd is a herding breed from southern France. Pyrenean shepherds are descendants of ancient sheepdogs of the Pyrenees Mountains. They are said to be the ancestors of the Australian shepherd, which is why they have many similar temperaments and characteristics.

Pyrenean shepherds are the smallest of the French herding dog breeds. They commonly herd sheep. These dogs are loyal, hard-working, and highly intelligent, which is why they have multiple uses as a working breed.

7. Polish Lowland Sheepdog

Polish lowland sheepdogs are native to Poland and make popular canine companions.


The Polish lowland sheepdog is a muscular and shaggy-coated herding dog from Poland. This breed is likely an ancestor of the border collie, another dog breed similar to Australian shepherds. Polish lowland sheepdogs are a highly adaptable and trainable breed with impressive memory skills.

These intelligent dogs are always looking to please their owners and excel at agility and obedience training. Polish lowland sheepdogs are instinctive herders like the Aussie, so they can compete in herding trials.

8. Briard

Briards make great watchdogs and are always willing to protect those they love.


The Briard is a faithful companion and large herding dog from northern France. These dogs have a lengthy history as far back as the 14th century. The breed’s main purpose was to herd and guard sheep. This was possible thanks to the breed’s high intelligence and adaptability.

Briards have strong guarding and herding instincts and thrive in environments where they can prove themselves. It’s difficult to keep a Briard entertained and content unless you provide activities that engage these instincts.

9. Basque Shepherd

portrait of a young basque shepherd dog, sheepdog, smiling at the camera. frontal image, staring at the camera. copy space. in the garden.

There are five different Basque dog breed’s.


The Basque shepherd is an ancient traditional Spanish sheepdog. They likely originated from European herding dogs and are one of the five Basque dog breeds. Basque shepherds commonly defended and herded sheep flocks. However, their uses extended to goats, horses, and cattle too. Basque shepherds have been working alongside humans for centuries and you can find all sorts of similarities between them and Australian shepherds.

Summary of the 9 Dog Breeds Most Similar to Australian Shepherds

NumberSimilar Dog Breed
#1Border Collie
#2Australian Cattle Dog
#3Miniature American Shepherd
#4Shetland Sheepdog
#5Bearded Collie
#6Pyrenean Shepherd
#7Polish lowland sheepdog
#9Basque Shepherd

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About the Author

Sarah is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering aquatic pets, rodents, arachnids, and reptiles. Sarah has over 3 years of experience in writing and researching various animal topics. She is currently working towards furthering her studies in the animal field. A resident of South Africa, Sarah enjoys writing alongside her pets and almost always has her rats perched on her shoulders.

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