As far as designer breeds go, Border Collie and Australian Shepherds are a favorite among certain dog owners. One look at this adorable hybrid breed and you will be able to see why. However, while the commonly nicknamed “Border Aussie” is a wonderful pet, they may not be for everyone.
Keep in mind that with mixed breeds, there tends to be quite a bit of variation. Thus, to decide whether or not such a pooch is the right fit for you, you must be aware of all the possible outcomes. So, on this note, here is what you need to know about the Border Collie Australian Shepherd mix.
These are some of the fundamental characteristics that you can expect from the Border Aussie:
- Weight: 30 to 65lbs
- Height: 18 to 23 inches
- Coat: Rough or smooth short or medium-length coat
- Kid-Friendly: Yes, if trained and socialized properly
Border Collie Australian Shepherd Parents
The thing about hybrid breeds is that they can take after either one of their parents. This is true for both their appearance as well as their temperament. Due to this, it is important to have a proper understanding of what the parent breeds are like.
It is only by taking a closer look at the Border Collie and Australian Shepherd breeds individually, that you can appreciate what a Border Aussie puppy may turn out like.
Let’s begin with the Border Collie parent. This breed belongs to the herding group – ancestors on both sides have been used to care for livestock. If you were to go back to the very beginning, you would discover that the evolution of the Border Collie began when ancient Roman and Viking herding dogs were bred together.
This pooch is stealthy, agile, and quite fast. Don’t be fooled by their physical prowess, though. Border Collies are consistently voted as some of the smartest breeds around. These characteristics, combined, mean that this breed is constantly on the lookout for a job to complete.
They make excellent pets and are quite people-oriented. As such, they will have no trouble showing affection to their immediate family members. At the same time, they can be rather reserved around strangers so proper socialization at an early age is important.
Border Collies have a reputation for trainability. At the same time, they can be rather strong-willed. This means that you may have to approach training in some rather creative ways.
Then, there is the Australian Shepherd – which falls into the herding group as well. They were bred to herd livestock and still retain many of these instincts, even as household pets. Interestingly enough, this breed doesn’t hail from Australia at all. Instead, it harks back to the Western United States.
This breed is known for its energetic and playful nature. Due to this, Australian Shepherds require a great deal of exercise regularly. If these needs aren’t met, it isn’t unusual to find the breed acting out or even being destructive.
The good news is that these dogs are very intelligent. This means that they will take to their training quickly and learn numerous tasks. Nevertheless, the Australian Shepherd can be strong-willed and even pushy at times. Due to this, it takes an experienced and kind owner to keep them in line.
Australian Shepherds are great family dogs and can be rather protective of their humans. Due to this, they tend to be pretty good guard dogs as well. Bear in mind that these dogs do have a strong prey drive. So, if you have smaller pets like cats, it will take a great deal of socialization to prevent the dogs from chasing them.
What Do They Look Like?
Border Collies and Australian Shepherds are incredibly cute. So, it is only natural to wonder just how adorable the mix can be. Well, as mentioned, there can be quite a bit of variation when it comes to the final physical appearance.
A puppy can take after either parent. In many cases, the puppy has a mix of both physical traits, ensuring that it looks nothing like either breed. To understand some of the ways a puppy could look, here are some details:
Border Collies are famous for their intense gaze, coupled with beautiful eyes. Their eyes are most commonly dark brown in color. However, they can also be light brown, amber, and yellowish. Some dogs have blue eyes. Heterochromia – where each eye is a different color – can be found in this breed.
So, what about the Australian Shepherd? Well, they have quite a bit of variation as well. Pale blue eyes are common enough. A dog may also have brown, hazel, amber, or green eyes. Once again, heterochromia isn’t unheard of with this breed.
Border collies can either have rough or smooth coats. This means that they can have a rough coat with medium-length or long hair. Or, they may have a short, smooth coat. These dogs tend to have a double-layered coat.
Now, when it comes to coat colors, there are plenty of possibilities:
- Red and white
- Red and blue merle
Australian Shepherds have a double coat as well. It often has a medium texture and medium length. The coat can be straight or wavy as well. As for the appearance, the coats have a type of marble appearance. They may be some mix of caramel, black, grey, and white.
As for the Border Aussie mix, the coat can be any combination of colors and markings. One thing to note is that both Australian Shepherds and Border Collies have a traditional white line going down their face and snout. Thus, it is quite likely that the mixed breed will have this patch as well.
Border Collie Australian Shepherd Temperament
One of the trickier elements of mixed breeds is trying to determine what temperament a puppy is going to be. This is because, to a large degree, genetics do matter in this department. Fortunately, this is not too difficult to figure out with Border Aussies.
This has to do with the fact that they have rather similar temperaments. As a result, they are highly intelligent, trainable, and are loyal pets. At the same time, these dogs have a strong herding instinct which can cause them to be rather dominant.
You should also be aware that the pleasant temperament of this dog depends on how physically and mentally active they are. They may misbehave if these needs aren’t met.
Who Are They Best Suited To?
This breed is a good fit for families with older kids. This way, you don’t have to worry about the herding instinct being too overwhelming. However, due to their domineering streak, they don’t work well with novice owners. Rather, they need someone who can be a good leader.
Health, Lifespan, and Genetic Concerns
Most purebred dogs have specific genetic concerns that you need to know about. Fortunately, there is less of a chance of such issues being passed down in hybrid breeds. Since there is greater genetic variation, having two poor sets of genes becomes less likely.
At the same time, these two breeds do have a higher chance of developing certain eye issues. Not to mention, there is a possibility that a Border Aussie may inherit one or more diseases from either of their parents. Due to this, it is important to be aware of the potential health concerns. So, here are the most common problems you can expect with these breeds.
With Border Collies these are:
- Progressive retinal atrophy
- Osteochondritis dissecans
- Lens luxation
- Patent ductus arteriosus
- Collie eye anomaly
- Hip dysplasia
As for Australian Shepherds, the problems may include:
- Hip dysplasia
- Collie Eye Anomaly
- Persistent pupillary membrane
- Multiple Drug Sensitivity
You should get into the habit of taking your Border Collie Australian Shepherd to the vet for regular checkups. This gives your vet a better chance of catching warning signs or early symptoms of certain health conditions. They can then prescribe certain treatments or lifestyle changes to minimize the progress of the disease.
There aren’t any special dietary requirements for Border Collie Australian mix. The main thing is to provide your dog with high-quality commercial dog food. If you prefer to feed them homemade food, make sure that it is approved by your vet and that it is a balanced diet.
It is important to feed your pet with just the right amount of food. Pay attention to the size of your dog and how much exercise your Border Aussie gets. Make sure that their serving size is based on this. You shouldn’t overfeed your dog or give them too many treats. This can lead to excessive weight gain which can trigger other health issues.
This is a breed that needs a significant amount of exercise every day. Unlike with other dogs, a walk once or twice a day will not do. In addition to this, you need to be prepared to play with your pooch. It is important to engage them with Frisbee or throwing a ball. Frequent trips to the dog park is a good idea as well.
These dogs need to be mentally stimulated as well. This means they should be engaged in agility courses or any other course where they can work their mind. Such tactics will prevent them from getting bored and destructive.
Best Living Environment
These dogs will thrive best in a house with plenty of outdoor space. This way, they can roam around and use up some of the energy reserves. Be careful as they have a knack for escaping, however. Make sure that your boundary wall is too high to get over and that the gate is constantly closed.
Now, in some instances, these dogs may be able to live in the city, as long as you have a yard. Even then, you will need to ensure that you take them outside for playtime and fresh air at least a few times a day.
Due to the double coat, the Border Collie Australian Shepherd does need to be groomed regularly. If the pooch takes after its Border Collie parents, be prepared to groom them several times a week with a pin brush. On the other hand, if the coat is similar to that of the Australian Shepherd you will need to thoroughly brush them once a week with a slicker brush.
These dogs have a shedding season once a year. During this period, timely brushings can help you to keep the problem under control. As long as you groom them carefully, they will not need to be bathed all that often – just when they get dirty. Make sure to use a gentle, dog shampoo to prevent their skin from drying out.
Training a Border Collie Australian Shepherd Mix
These dogs take to training incredibly well, just like their parents. However, both the training and the socialization should begin as early as possible. These dogs can have rather dominant personalities, so it is best to start training them while they are still small enough to be obedient.
Socialization can be particularly important for a Border Aussie. This is because they are suspicious of strangers. So, make sure they meet various kinds of people while they are still young. You should also get them used to various animals, particularly if you have smaller dogs or cats living in your home.
Always use positive reinforcement with these dogs. They will respond to this best. If you find that traditional training methods aren’t working, don’t be afraid to try new tactics. You should be calm, patient, and ensure that every training experience is a positive one.
Finding a Border Collie Australian Shepherd Mix
This hybrid breed has been around for a while. As such, it shouldn’t be difficult to find puppies. In some instances, getting a Border Collie Australian Shepherd can be a good move. It means that you can begin training them at an earlier age and ensure better behavior from them.
However, it is important to find a suitable breeder if you are getting a puppy. Look for one that takes care to do plenty of background research on each of the parents. It is only with proper record tracking that breeders can reduce the risk of common genetic issues.
This is particularly significant with this hybrid breed. As mentioned, they do share certain genetic disorders. As such, the breeder will need to go back several generations to ensure that neither parent is carrying a dominant gene. Making this effort can result in a healthier and happier dog.
Not to mention, good breeders will also make an effort to handle and socialize the puppies at an early age. This means that your Border Aussie pup will get used to being touched, being around other humans, and groomed. This can make the transition process to your home go smoothly.
Adopting a Border Collie Australian Shepherd Mix
Of course, there are few deeds greater than adopting dogs. Thus, if you want to adopt a Border Collie, this is a wonderful call on your part. As an added bonus, adult dogs tend to be more settled than puppies. You also know exactly what you are getting in terms of physical attributes, temperament, and health.
Your local shelter may have this hybrid breed. Or, you can go online and check out shelters that specifically deal with Border Collie or Australian Shepherd mixed breeds. It may be easier to find this mix on these sites.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions regarding the Border Collie Australian Shepherd mix:
Are Border Collies and Australian Shepherds the Same?
There is no denying that these breeds have plenty in common. For one thing, they belong to the herding group and can even have similar physical and personality traits. Despite this, the two dogs do belong to separate breeds.
How Big Do Border Collie Australian Shepherds Grow?
These are medium-sized dogs. As such, you can expect them to be between 18 to 23 inches tall and 30 to 65lbs.
Do Border Collie Australian Shepherds Shed?
They shed a fair amount which is why they need to be groomed one or more times a week. They also have a shedding season once a year. Proper grooming can help to reduce the amount of fur around the house.
Are Border Aussies Good Dogs?
Yes, they are great family pets as they are loving, loyal, and can enjoy human companionship. At the same time, these dogs love having a job or task to complete.
This is what you need to know about the Border Collie Australian Shepherd mix. Now that you have the lowdown, though, you will find it easier to determine if this is the right mix for you. Thus, you will be able to create a better environment for you and your pooch.