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Border Collies vs. Aussies

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I have always wanted to ask this of Border Collie people: Border Collies vs Aussies?

 

I am wondering about the differences you see in working (not herding!) and general beahvior.

 

I am a pet dog trainer and see so many aussies in my classes but very few BCs. I also see a lot of Aussies in the Obedience ring and few BCs (this could be due to the fact that BCs are not a CKC breed)

 

Many of the aussies in my classes seem to have anxiety issues - especially the merels - and impulse control issues. You can almost guaruntee a blue merel is going to have anixety issues!

 

What is the appeal? Is it all about coat colour? They seem to be very popular. Yet when i started searching for a working dog BCs were #1 and aussies didnt even make the list.

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What I have been told by Aussie people is that the working bred Aussie has all but been lost. I have a friend who used to rescue Aussies but has pretty much gotten out of it. One reason is because she was coming across too many dogs that were nuts and seeing a lot more aggression. That's just one person's opinion, though. I know several people with Aussies and they are mostly very nice dogs. I do agree that the impulse control problem seems to be an issue with a lot of these dogs, just as I think it is an issue with a lot of poorly-bred border collies.

 

ETA: I'm not sure what the appeal is, since I'm not an Aussie person. But, I will say that I once had a red merle Aussie in rescue and he was a fantastic dog. I would have kept him, if I had been in the market for another dog.

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:rolleyes:-->

QUOTE(Tara B @ Mar 24 2010, 03:12 PM) 347058[/snapback]
Many of the aussies in my classes seem to have anxiety issues - especially the merels - and impulse control issues. You can almost guaruntee a blue merel is going to have anixety issues!

 

I have a blue merle aussie at home, exactly as you describe. She's my Gfs dog, and my BCs and I just sit and watch her bouce around the house non stop

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They do seem very different to me. I have met several very nice Aussies, but I have seen more than a few Aussies in flyball, some previously in my club, that were extremely hard-headed. They often have significant issues in passing where they do not move to one side and allow the other dog to go by and also tend to want to go after particular dogs for no reason. But maybe that's just because all the nutter Aussies end up in flyball? To me, in general, they don't seem extremely eager to want to please their owner all that much. At practice, the Border Collies are usually focused on their owners with adoring glances while the Aussies look to be planning their escape.

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I have a blue merle aussie and she is not the typical of what you see (or what I've seen) in the breed now. She is a working bred girl, minimal coat and fine boned. She has no anixiety issues, rock solid, unflappable temperment and she earned her advanced obedience titles easily. She is scarey smart and intuitive. She tends to be very serious and I would say my BC is more "clownish". Although my aussie does know how to have fun. She is a fun dog in general and a really really good pet.

 

I too don't see as many BC's competing in obedience. I definitely see more aussies competing. They seem to be gaining in popularity in the sport but that's just what I have personally observed.

I don't know if my BC will ever compete in obedience. He is definitely harder to train. Not from an intelligence standpoint. It's just that he's so focused on his environment and everyone else and thing in it and it's harder to get him to focus on one particular task. ha It's almost like he needs to be doing 2 or 3 things at once and he makes up things to add to the exercises. I actually love that about him and he makes me laugh. I couldn't care less if he ever competes.

 

I would like another aussie some day but I'd be very careful where it came from. I have seen some decent dogs but I think I've seen more 'nutty' ones.

Working breds are out there, you just have to know where to look to find them.

 

That's my own experience.

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In my experience with Collie rescue I had occasion to take in two Australian Shepherds. The first was a blue merle male named Domino. He came from a situation where he was a yard-dog at a home in San Francisco. He seemed personable, very high-energy and beautiful. He did not show any inclination to be aggressive with kids, adults, dogs or cats. I worked with him for nearly a year and placed him with a couple. Several months later he was at a dog park with them when he alerted on a man over 500 yards away. He charged off and attacked the man, who required many stitches in his lower legs and hands. (From attempting to fend off the dog.) Amazingly he did not sue the owners, who drove him to the ER and paid his bill. The couple contacted me and asked what to do. I said "PUT HIM DOWN." I received his collar in the mail a week later.

 

The second was a large red merle bitch whose worst transgression was to sneak a pound of butter off the kitchen counter and throw it up all over our van. She got successfully placed and was a high-energy but civilized member of her new household. She had no behavioral or physical problems that I ever discovered.

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From what I've seen (and this is a personal account) they are very hard headed and stubborn. They are extremely high drive, there is always the exception but even those are stubborn. The drive is not controllable though from what i can tell, and this is in agility, they aren't as handler focused as you would expect a border collie to be and seem to assume to be able to run the whole course themselves. They are beautiful dogs but from my point of view a bit uncontrollable. I haven't seen any that are aggressive, just recently one was attacked by a foxy and it just stood there until its mum picked it up and even then didn't make a sound even though the foxy was screaming and grabbing its legs. I don't know if i would get one, they are quite solid and I don't like the heavy dense coat they have, but i do believe it is the colour that first attracts people.

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I currently have six dogs, four of whom are aussies, and have been involved in Aussie rescue. I think some of the main differences between Aussies and BC's stem from the fact that they were bred for different tasks. Aussies were bred to be stock dogs primarily on American range cattle, and they were bred to have a strong guardian tendancy as well which gets them in trouble in today's world where they tend to be inappropriately "protective". I find they are sensitive but tough (if that makes any sense) and in my limited comparison to BC's...I think they tend to be a bit more independent and less biddable when working. I also think they are a bit more clownish - like to liven things up and do things that would horrify a serious working BC. My aussies have varied from the silly-with-me but seriously movement controling and awesomely obedient working girl (Deena, who is now gone) and my boy Cowboy who works hard but needs to be reminded it's a partneship, to a drama queen nutcase (Hazel) to a dog with serious people issues (Jessie) and my newest dog, Ruger who is cool with everything so far (though whether he is all aussie or not is debatable since he's been accused of having a BC "butt".) They are all different and all aussies. All of them are sensitive to me...but....they can be hard headed about certain things.

 

I do think there is a difference though between "working lines" and "show lines". My workingbred dogs have an "off switch" - when I'm sitting here at the computer...they're snoozing or amusing themselves. I have heard that "show lines" are much more "up" all the time and hyper and that they need to be to show well. Myth or truth I don't know.....

 

I tend to think that BC's in general are more sociable with other dogs than Aussies who can be a bit quarrelsome at times and a bit more reserved with people.

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I have 2 Aussies and 1 BC puppy. Kate (aka -the best girl in the world), is a blue merle and is a once in a life time dog. We have had her for 13 years and while she was a high energy puppy, she is not like what some others have described as typical Aussies. She loves to work on the farm and has the most beautiful run of any dog I've ever seen. She is very tolerble of other dogs and seems to have a good judge of character when it comes to people. Pip is a 2 yr old tri clown, that wouldn't bite a flea if it was biting him on the butt. Although a clown, he is also very intelligent and loves to work.

Scout, my BC is only 3 months old, so I can't really compare him to the Aussies, although my DH says he is the meanest puppy that has ever lived..I just laugh because he has forgotten Kate when she was a pup. :rolleyes:

The thing I love most about the Aussies is there loyal devotion. They have a look in their eyes that I've never seen any any other breed, that makes you fall in love. (Scout does seem to be picking it up)

But as every other breed, they are not for everyone. I believe more and more they are being breed (owned) by people that don't understand them and may not provide an ideal envirnoment. I also worry the same will happen to BC's as more and more AKC breeders pop up. Just after getting Scout, I had someone ask me about him, when I questioned why, she was calling about an ad for BC's in the paper. Her reason for wanting one was becasue her boyfriend wanted a dog he could take with him, and they had papers. I got *a look* when she found out that Scout isn't *registered*.

None of my dogs are registered, and I wouldn't trade them for a million bucks!

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I find they are sensitive but tough (if that makes any sense) and in my limited comparison to BC's...I think they tend to be a bit more independent and less biddable when working. I also think they are a bit more clownish - like to liven things up and do things that would horrify a serious working BC. My aussies have varied from the silly-with-me but seriously movement controling and awesomely obedient working girl (Deena, who is now gone) and my boy Cowboy who works hard but needs to be reminded it's a partneship, to a drama queen nutcase (Hazel) to a dog with serious people issues (Jessie) and my newest dog, Ruger who is cool with everything so far (though whether he is all aussie or not is debatable since he's been accused of having a BC "butt".) They are all different and all aussies. All of them are sensitive to me...but....they can be hard headed about certain things.

 

That's a perfect way to explain what I see from the outside (having never owned an Aussie). I am terrible at explaining things, well done. :rolleyes:

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My brother has a beautiful Aussie. We have a beautiful Border Collie. :rolleyes: We used to think they were so much alike and looked a lot alike until we got them together for a visit. Night and day. Body type and personality. Buddy, the Aussie is sweet tempered and patient, but acts like he could easily live without his humans--more independent. He ignores them until he wants something. A much bulkier build too. Scooter, on the other hand, is smaller and has that "want to please" personality (dogality?) and loves to hang out with us. I love both of them and would take Buddy in a heartbeat if anything happened to my brother, but there are distinct differences in the breeds when you stand them side by side. Just my amateur opinion. :D

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My BC is very loyal, always wanting to please me. When I ask her to do something, she gives 100%, otherwise she's relaxing by my feet. I am the most important thing in the world to her and she would do anything for me. When she plays tug with me, if I drop it she's right there pushing it back at me to get me to play with her again. She's very biddable, sweet with people and isn't anxious or frantic ever. She also seems to have more desire to work than the aussie does.

 

Hubby's aussie is protective of him only, anxious, frantic, more hyper than the border collie. However, at home when its just us, he will be calm and lay around (that started around age 2-3). He is very pushy with other dogs, very in their face, has no concept of other animals/people personal space. If you have something he wants, he is very responsive to training and commands...if you don't, he couldn't care less. Once he gets what he wants from you, he takes it away to either eat it, or destroy it in peace. If you play tug with him and let go, he runs off with his prize to destroy it because now that he has it, his time with you is done. His impulse control is ok at times, but not great in other situations. However, my border collie isn't great with that either at times. My border collie seems to catch onto things quicker overall...but I've also spent more time training her.

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My experience is limited to training with them at agility (my trainer is very involved in aussie rescue so they make up a lot of her students) they seem more physical, in the sense that they will muscle their way through something rather than think their way through the problem. They are also much more vocal, at trials it seems like it is either a sheltie or a an aussie that is barking its way round the course.

The well trained and brought up ones seem like nice dogs, I think their behavior problems stem from the same problems as Border Collies, bad breeding and inexperienced owners. An example of this would be my best friend who has one, they researched breeds well, looking for a family dog, and read lots of advice that said an aussie makes a great family pet. Her husband who is Irish and had a vet for a father would never have got a Border Collie as his dog, but there was nothing in the pet books to suggest that an aussie was really an american Border Collie. The consequence is Max a nice dog who lacks manners and has to be watched like a hawk around their kids. If he came to live with us it would not take long for him to become a great dog, but I won't have him as a house guest.

Edited to add that max is very loyal to Glen not to the rest of the family.

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I have a blue merle aussie boy, who can be hard headed and stubborn, he is also a clown and has a great sense of humor. He is MY dog as pointed out the look in their eyes when they look at THEIR person is one of total love and dedication. Sadly poor Riley is the victim of merle x merle breeding, he has allergies and is blind from cataracts. He still loves to run with the gang in a well known field, is independent minded, and loves loves loves to play with his large jolly ball. The trust he has in me is wonderful, as even blind he trusts me to guide him safely through weave poles, over a teeter or jump (8 inches) and through a tunnel to play his most favorite game agility. He has a great off button, but has enough get up and go to match a border collie. I will have another when he's gone but will look for one from working lines.

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While I enjoy watching them and admire their skill in agility, I could never own an Aussie.

 

I have a young bitch in one of my agility classes that is incredibly high drive. Her owner purchased her as a conformation-bred dog and was completely surprised by how the puppy ended up (her other conformation-bred Aussie is as dead as dead can be!). I have had so much fun working with this dog, but I don't think I could ever live with her.

 

Others have expressed her so well above -- She plows through obstacles and doesn't seem to care at all if she gets hurts. If her handler is at all behind her, she will leap off contacts from the very top, then get back on and do it again. She is absolutely spastic. When they started out, it did not help at all that her handler was also quite "frantic" in her attempts to direct this little tornado -- I have gotten the handler to calm down and it is starting to rub off on the dog -- but everyone has to plug their ears when this little spitfire is up for her turn.

 

When Aussies are well trained they are amazing to watch -- But I think getting them to that point is the hard part and it takes a certain type of very dedicated handler to live through it. This dog in my class NEVER turns off. Even when you run her to the point of exhaustion, she is still "on" and alert. I often wonder if she sleeps. lol

 

My Border Collie is positively mellow in comparison. Secret is my first BC and I am actually surprised at how good of an off switch she has. She's not neurotic at all and is quite easy to live with -- much easier than I expected, at least.

 

Plus BC tend to have less hair, which is always a good thing in my book. :rolleyes:

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Every Aussie we've had (three purebreds and one half Border Collie, half Aussie) have been working/farm-bred and have been terrific dogs. Stock sense, common sense, devotion, level-headedness, off-switch, tough, sound, and smart. And, surely, they had quite a lot of bounce, bluster, and pushiness. Maybe, as in Border Collies, an awful lot is in the breeding.

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Here is what my best friend, who has a 14 year old rescued BC, always says before going to any event where Aussies might be present:

 

Miss Ellie Mae, lets fluff out your tail, flaunt it if you got it :D:D:D:D:D

 

Mind you we are midle-aged women :rolleyes:

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Well, yeah, I meant to include that in "bounce, bluster, and pushiness".

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There is a difference between working bred Australian Shepherds and those bred for other purposes. Here are a few links that may help you understand the character of the true working Aussie:

 

http://www.workingaussiesource.com/stockdo...ion_article.htm

 

http://allaboutaussies.wordpress.com/2008/06/

 

http://stockdogsavvy.wordpress.com/2010/01...american-breed/

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I've seen good and bad Aussies and Border Collies. Each dog has their purpose. It depends which one you like. Do you like Hot Fudge or Caramel? Both serve their purpose.

 

I prefer Border Collies. Some of my friends prefer Aussies. We enjoy our dogs for what they bring to us.

 

The Aussies that I have trained are either working/show lines:tend to be more bouncing/barking and look at the handler more. From working lines: loose eyed working and not barking. A couple from working lines were not bad and I enjoyed working them.

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You are right Diane. The Border Collies are the best and so exciting for me to watch. My Aussies are my favorites because they all are so different. My Alfie is from working lines and she loves her sheep. The others are learning but do bark and act like crazies sometimes. It is a challenge for me to figure them out.

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My only experience with aussies is when I woked at a local vet in high school. One of the dr's owned 2 of them and they were the sweetest dogs ever. Then my sister brought home a male from a friend we worked with there as a rescue. He was one of the worst dogs I've ever known. He was great with people and sweet natured but as soon as a cat or stray dog would run past the fence he was gone to catch it. We tried everything with that dog and nothing worked. I'd finally had enough when he jumped the fence and went after a small lap dog. All I could see was brown fur flying in the air. I chased after them with no shoes on and the dog never once heard my commands to stop. He just kept grabbing the little dog and shaking him like it was his prey. Needless to say he was sent back the next day. I never did hear what happened to that dog.

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Here is what my best friend, who has a 14 year old rescued BC, always says before going to any event where Aussies might be present:

 

Miss Ellie Mae, lets fluff out your tail, flaunt it if you got it :D:D:D:D:D

 

Mind you we are midle-aged women :rolleyes:

 

 

I'll admit, I'm not yet middle aged, but this struck me as hilarious.

 

Working as an animal rescue volunteer, the difference between BCs and Aussies, temperament-wise, as far as I've seen, is the BC drive to please and the way they look at you. That soul-searching stare... the intense one-on-one connection that BCs will try to form even in the first five minutes of me taking them out... I met Colin, a gorgeous red and white BC (possible mix, we don't know of course) on Friday. His eyes are an unusual color for a BC, but his temperament is very BC-like, at least in my experience--within five minutes he had seriously bonded with me, because I was asking him to do commands for treats (which ended up not being necessary--he is so eager to please) and giving him intense one-on-one attention; he kept coming up to me as I was kneeling in front of him and asking for hugs (pressing his body against my legs and his nose into my side and staring into my eyes). After a twenty minute walk, he didn't want to go off with the employee who was going to let him run with the other dogs in the yard. He kept making eye contact with me and coming to me or sitting and refusing to budge with the guy. They laughed and asked if I wanted them to go get his papers now (and boy did I, but we can't because I'm pregnant and after the baby we just can't afford another living being in the house right now). But I literally had to tell Colin, "OK, you can go, go play!" before he would walk with the employee to go in the yard, but as soon as I said that and gestured to release him, he went happily, tail wagging. He is so great I'm going to post him in the rescue section actually... Here: http://www.bordercollie.org/boards/index.php?showtopic=27947

 

The Aussies I've met just seem playful--they're BEAUTIFUL dogs--but they don't seem to have as intense a desire to please and form a human bond. This is just my experience though, and I'm no expert.

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The Aussies I've met just seem playful--they're BEAUTIFUL dogs--but they don't seem to have as intense a desire to please and form a human bond. This is just my experience though, and I'm no expert.

 

I have to say that my aussie could not be more different from this statement. Uh, outside of her being beautiful of course. She was in 2 homes before coming to me when she was 5 months old. I admit I didn't really want a 3rd dog (had 2 GSD's at the time) but she was headed to the pound. I took her in with every intention of finding her an appropriate home. She never looked back when I took her from her former owner. I never had any intention of ever owning an aussie, didn't particularly like their looks and didn't like the way they acted. From the minute this dog walked into my home she never stopped working to endear herself to me. I would have to say that she is one of the most devoted, loyal dogs I've ever owned.

Others might not see that in her because she is definitely a mommy's girl and doesn't really have the time of day for anyone else. She's not very affectionate but she's the one you'll find lying next to me while I'm lying in bed, she's the one lying at my feet while I'm on the computer, she goes everywhere with me and she seems to think it's her job.

 

Like in the BC, I do think the lines, working vs. show, make a difference. If I ever decided to get another aussie, I would sure be very careful of where it came from. It would have huge shoes to fill.

 

Chase my BC is the snuggler and his soulful eyes melt my heart :rolleyes:

 

I guess it's like someone else said here, it depends on what you like. But I sure feel lucky that I get the pleasure of experiencing both in my life.

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