Australian Shepherd vs Golden Retriever – Which One Is Better?

Considering you’ve landed here, I’m sure you’re looking for a pet to adopt.

There are many factors that you need to consider when it comes to making someone special a new part of your family.

Australian Shepherds and Golden Retrievers are two of the most popular family-friendly breeds to make them the perfect bet for first-time dog owners.

Both breeds are people pleasers, and their smooth, large velvety fur can never fail to melt anyone’s heart.

Just like most dog owners, if you are also struggling to choose between the two, I’ve done all the research for you!

Here’s a complete comparison guide of Australian Shepherd vs. Golden Retriever to ensure you only find the option for your family.

So, let’s get started!

AttributesAustralian ShepherdGolden Retriever
Good For First Time OwnersNoYes
Good Guard DogNot The Best ChocieNot The Best Choice
Apartment FriendlyPossible With Enough ExerciseYes
Good Family DogYesYes
SheddingModerateModerate To High
Barking And HowlingHighLow
Height18-23 inches (46-58 cm) 20-24 inches (51-61 cm)
Average Life Expectancy12-15 Years10-12 Years


Australian Shepherd – Dog Breed Information

Australian Shepherds have traveled a long way from Australia while breeding their Pyrenean Shepherd with the Collies of Britain before making a mark in California and finally expanding their breed.

Although they are called “Australian” shepherds, what many people don’t know is they actually originated in the U.S during the 19th century as herd or guard dogs.

They are known to be one of the most energized dog breeds with high agility and intelligence to allow them to play all day long without compromising their speed or energy.

An average Australian Shepherd adult has a height between 18-23 inches (both male and female).

Although they rarely cross 65 pounds, you can normally find these dogs weighing from 50-60 pounds, where the male ones are slightly larger and heavier than female dogs.

However, they can be slightly hard to train due to their dominant nature, especially when you are a new pet owner.

Golden Retriever – Dog Breed Information

Who doesn’t know about Golden Retrievers, right?

The pawtastic (pun totally intended) nature is widely known for being the best choice for your kids.

These friendly dog breeds are loved worldwide to make them the most popular dog breeds out there.

In addition, they are loved for their intelligence, social, high energy, and easy-going nature, making them the best dogs for families with kids.

Coming to their characteristics, their long and the extremely smooth outer coat is repellent and comes as either straight or slightly wavy to make their golden fur glow in daylight.

They are medium to large-sized dogs with a height ranging from 20-24 inches, where a male adult can weigh around 60-75 pounds and a female with 55-65 pounds of weight.

Golden Retrievers have also been praised for their active energy and ease of training that can be used to enhance their guarding demeanor.

Australian Shepherd vs. Golden Retriever – What Are the Differences?

Now that you are equipped with the basics of both the dogs, it’s time I answer the question you came here in the first place: Australian Shepherd vs. Golden Retriever, what’s the difference.

Here are some of the factors that distinguish these relatively similar dog breeds.

Coat – Australian Shepherd

The Australian Shepherds have two layers of coats with a wide range of colors from black with a few white spots, Blue/black, red, and much more shade variations in the same colors.

Their coat is known to be water-resistant, and thanks to its thick and long fur, it can help provide them the ever needed extra support and comfort regardless of the weather that aid,

Aussies residing in colder areas are likely to have heavier undercoats than Australian Shepherds who live in warmer climates.

Although they don’t shed as much as Akita or Alaskan Malamute, known for heavy shedding, they still shed relatively higher than most dogs.

This is especially true during spring when they are losing the thick undercoat of winters. On other days, however, their coats are probably the least problematic.

Coat – Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers are also characterized for having thick, dense undercoats and water repellent to make them easy to maintain and groom.

In addition, where some of them have straight hair, others have extra wavy fur that has wavy features on their tail, back, and chest.

Unlike Australian Shepherds, they don’t have much variety in colors; you only get to see them ranging from light to dark golden.

Another thing that many people confuse is the white Golden Retrievers. According to American Kennel Club (AKC), they aren’t recognized as purebred Golden Retrievers.

This is because they shed more than Australian Shepherds during spring and fall.

Guarding Abilities – Australian Shepherd

If you have ever seen Australian Shepherds before, I’m sure you must have noticed their strategic resting places, which lets them have a maximum view of their surroundings.

In addition, they are great with vigilance and vocality to make them perfect dogs for herding purposes.

In case of suspicious activity, they never fail to bark and alter their owners, and with proper training, you can also teach them some advanced skills to help them protect you in the long run.

Guarding Abilities – Golden Retriever

As for Golden Retrievers, they won’t be as noisy as Aussie Shepherds, but they do the work just as well.

They tend to react more physically than barking, which ensures complete safety in their presence.

If you train these fur buddies just well, they won’t bark unless they have a solid reason behind it.

They aren’t as vigilant as Australian shepherds when it comes to being watchful, but they can be quite productive in their duties and get along with strangers or new changes quite well.


Golden retrievers tend to be the better choice as far as friendliness is concerned.

They are laid back and don’t react aggressively to anyone, and can quickly elevate your mood with their fun and loveable acts.

At the same time, Australian Shepherds are more focused on the duties given and tend to be better guard dogs.

You may need to have human adult supervision when this dog and your little human kid are around, especially if he’s a newborn, as it will be a stranger for these dogs.

However, this is only needed for a short period of time; once they familiarize themselves with the new change, prepare yourself to see their endless loyal and caring nature.


Grooming definitely has to be the most important factor to look for when adopting a new pet.

But, in general, regardless of which dog you go for, combs, toothpaste, dog shampoos, and cotton wool for cleaning ears are some of the essentials that you need to buy to keep your little pets in their best conditions.

They both collect dirt and bacteria around in their paws, and their coats can get dusty to be the root cause for most of your allergies at home.

Here almost both of them require equal care with regular nail clippings, hair and teeth brushing, and ear cleaning to make sure they are railway huggable and clean.

However, your Golden retriever may require you to go the extra mile to keep their thick fur in shape and get rid of the built-up dirt in their coat at least once a month.


Whatever breed you choose, you need to make sure they are always well-mannered, obedient, and responsible for their daily tasks at the end of the day.

Therefore, it is crucial to keep their learning abilities and nature in mind before diving in headfirst to adopt any dog breed.

Here, Australian Shepherd is easy to handle, but they don’t make up the best pet for first-time dog owners.

This is because they naturally have a dominant behavior that can be slightly harder to tame and give them proper training

They have difficulty recognizing who’s in charge of the orders and whom they can work towards pleasing.

However, the silver lining is one of the most intelligent dog breeds out there, so they won’t take much longer to get along with your family and train effectively.

Now, Golden Retrievers have a completely different approach to training.

Due to their gentle and collated nature, they don’t exhibit dominant behavior during strings.

Ranking #4 out of 100 in intelligence, you can surely count on them for a hassle-free training session.


If you have reached here, everything boils down to finding the dog that can be a loyal and loving addition to your beautiful family.

As Australian Shepherds and Golden retrievers are both the most energetic dog breeds, you won’t have any problem seeing them brighten up the mood with their high spirits.

Their intelligence can make it easier to learn new things, and can be a great way to shape them in the behavior you want them to have.

Now the best dog between them depends on what you prioritize the most.

If an energized dog can effectively fulfill his guard duties and is easy to maintain, Australian Shepherd is probably the best option to go for.

However, if you are looking for more of a family dog that can get along with your family in an instant and are easygoing, nothing can beat Golden Retrievers in these characteristics.

So make sure you are aware of what you can handle and take your bet!

Authored By

Madeline Wright

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