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Rough Collie vs Australian Shepherd: How are They Different? (With Pictures)

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

By Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Rough Collie vs Australian Shepherd

Rough Collies can be a bit bigger than Australian Shepherds. They tend to stand between 20 and 24 inches when fully grown, whereas Australian Shepherds tend to stand between 18 and 23 inches tall. Rough Collies can weigh between 35 and 75 pounds as an adult, while Australian Shepherds can weigh between 30 and 65 pounds. Rough Collies come in a variety of colors, including white, merle, sable, and tricolor. Australian Shepherds may be black, red, blue merle, red merle, and tricolor.

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Visual Differences

Rough Collie breed_vs_breed Australian Shepherd
Image Credit: (L) Grigorita Ko, Shutterstock | (R) RebeccasPictures, Pixabay

At a Glance

Rough Collie
  • Average height (adult): 20–24 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 35–75 pounds
  • Lifespan: 14–16 years
  • Exercise: 1+ hours a day
  • Grooming needs: Moderate
  • Family-friendly: Yes
  • Other pet-friendly: Often
  • Trainability: Moderate
Australian Shepherd
  • Average height (adult): 18–23 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 30–65 pounds
  • Lifespan: 13–15 years
  • Exercise: 2+ hours a day
  • Grooming needs: Moderate
  • Family-friendly: Yes
  • Other pet-friendly: Often
  • Trainability: Easy

divider 9Rough Collie Overview

rough collie in the woods
Image Credit: SGracheva_2610, Pixabay

The Rough Collie was originally bred to herd farm animals in Scotland and England. Today, they live as pets in households of all shapes and sizes. This breed has a long, textured coat and an intelligent mind. The average Rough Collie is loyal and eager to please their human companions. These dogs also happen to love spending time around children. These qualities are what made the breed such a good option for filming the “Lassie” movies and television shows.

Personality / Character

Rough Collies are known for being playful, sociable, and family-oriented. They do not like spending time alone and prefer to have someone at home with them throughout the day. These dogs love to play, so it’s always a good idea to make sure that a variety of toys are available at any given time. Most Rough Collies look forward to daily walks, trips to the dog park, and time outside in the yard playing fetch. They benefit from social interactions but should be socialized from a young age to ensure that they don’t become too protective over their human companions.


While Rough Collies are intelligent enough to take to obedience training well, their stubborn streak can slow the process down. Patience and commitment are two key factors in ensuring success. These dogs can also excel in service and agility training. Their agility and loyalty make them perfect service companions. Due to their original breeding circumstances, they can also be taught to herd animals on a farm, although they are not as instinctual about it as they once were.

Rough Collie
Photo Credit: No-longer-here, Pixabay

Suitable for:

Rough Collies are highly affectionate and family-friendly, so they can get along in a variety of household situations. They do like spending time outdoors in the fenced yard of a house, but they can do well in apartment settings if they can get out a couple of times a day for walks and exploration. Farms and ranches are other great locations for these dogs to call home.

divider 9Australian Shepherd Overview

cute australian shepherd dog wearing headphones
Image Credit: izemphoto, Freepik

Despite their name, the Australian Shepherd was developed in the United States using pastoral dogs that were brought to the Americas to herd Spanish sheep flocks. Now they are popularly bred as household pets, like the Rough Collie. They are smart, agile, active, and sometimes sociable, though if they are not used to being in social situations, they can become anxious around strangers.

Personality / Character

Australian Shepherds are fun to spend time with because they’re open to new activities and adventures, and they are usually laidback when they feel confident in their surroundings. They play well with children, and they love nothing more than to please their human companions. These dogs don’t mind spending time alone but prefer being with someone or at least another animal in the house if they are stuck inside. This breed won’t say no to a camping adventure or road trip.


These dogs are highly intelligent and prone to excel at obedience training. If started early, the average Australian Shepherd should be well-behaved in both private and public settings by the time they reach adulthood. Like Rough Collies, these dogs can do well when it comes to agility and service training. They can also be trained to herd farm livestock. They aren’t quite as stubborn as Rough Collies, so the training process shouldn’t require as much patience.

australian shepherd dog playing fetch with a toy
Image Credit: JoshuaMartinTX, Shutterstock

Suitable for:

Aussies are suitable for a variety of household environments. Their families can include children, seniors, and singles alike, and they don’t mind rooming with other household pets. They prefer houses with yards but can do okay in apartments if they go out often for adventures and daily exercise. They need more than just a walk and bathroom breaks, though; they thrive in a lifestyle that includes plenty of outdoor time.

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Which Breed Is Right for You?

When deciphering whether the Rough Collie or Australian Shepherd is right for you, it is important to consider your lifestyle and the time commitments that you can make to ensure that your new pet feels like an integral part of the family. If you’re more adventurous and want a dog to go hiking, camping, and road-tripping with, the Australian Shepherd might be the best choice. If you’re more laidback but don’t mind daily walks and spending time with your dog, whether watching television or washing dishes, the Rough Collie might be right for you.

Divider 4A Quick Recap

Both of these dog breeds are athletic, active, sociable, loyal, and intelligent. They were both originally bred to herd livestock and today, live happily as household pets around the world. However, there are a few differences to take note of, such as the fact that Australian Shepherds need more exercise and Rough Collies are more attention-seeking. Which is right for you? That’s a question that only you can answer.

Featured Image Credit: (L) OlgaOvcharenko, Shutterstock | (R) Medenka Nera, Shutterstock

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