Australian Shepherd vs Golden Retriever: Which Is Better?

australian shepherd vs golden retriever

Did you know that Australian Shepherds and Golden Retrievers live different amounts of time? Aussies often reach 15 years, while Goldens might live about 12 years. This could influence someone who’s picking a pet.

Choosing between an Australian Shepherd and a Golden Retriever is a big decision. Each breed has its own personality and traits. Golden Retrievers are very friendly, making them super likable. Australian Shepherds, however, are smart and protective, creating a strong bond with their owners.

It’s important to know the differences between these breeds when choosing. Each breed requires different amounts of exercise and grooming and matches differently with families, kids, and other pets. Your choice should reflect your lifestyle and what you want in a companion.

Whether you need a dog with strong herding instincts or one who is social, depends on your personal preferences. Let’s look closely at these two smart breeds to see which one might be the best choice for you.

Key Takeaways

  • Golden Retrievers live 10-12 years, while Australian Shepherds often live 13-15 years.
  • Golden Retrievers need about an hour of exercise daily; Australian Shepherds require 1-2 hours of activity.
  • Goldens are outgoing and great with kids; Aussies can be reserved and may exhibit herding behaviors.
  • Australian Shepherds bond closely with their owners and require ample mental and physical stimulation.
  • Both breeds are intelligent and trainable but excel in different tasks due to their unique instincts.

Breed Overview: Australian Shepherd vs Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers and Australian Shepherds are both highly valued by pet lovers. Knowing about their traits can help you pick the right one for you.

breed overview

Golden Retriever Overview

Golden Retrievers are known for their friendly nature. They stand 20–24 inches tall and weigh 55–75 pounds. They live around 10–12 years.

They are gentle and great with kids and the elderly. They need about an hour of exercise each day. They are also good for therapy and service jobs because they are adaptable and kind.

Australian Shepherd Overview

Australian Shepherds are famous herding dogs. They are very energetic and loyal. They are 18–23 inches tall and weigh 35–70 pounds. Their life expectancy is 13 to 15 years.

Aussies form strong bonds with their families but might be protective. This might not be ideal for homes with many visitors. They require 1–2+ hours of exercise daily. Without enough activity, they may get anxious or try to herd.

They also need regular grooming. Aussies want to please their owners and follow their natural instincts.

Temperament and Personality

When looking at smart dogs like Golden Retrievers and Australian Shepherds, it’s key to know their temperaments. Both breeds are very smart. Yet, they act differently when around others.

Golden Retriever’s Friendly Nature

Golden Retriever Friendly Nature

Golden Retrievers are known for being friendly and kind. They’re perfect for families because they’re gentle and love being around people. They’re very patient with kids. They tend to be calm and don’t bark much. This makes them a peaceful addition to any home. Also, they’re easy to train and eager to please. So, they’re great for people who want a smart but manageable dog.

Australian Shepherd’s Protective Instincts

Australian Shepherds are protective and loyal to their families. They’re alert and make good watchdogs. They might be a little shy with new people at first. Also, they may try to herd children, so they need training and watching. Australian Shepherds are smart and ready to learn. But, they need more training effort than Golden Retrievers. They’re vocal and always on the alert because they used to be herding dogs.



Personality Traits


Barking Tendency

Golden RetrieverEasygoing, FriendlyPatient with children, SociableVery trainable, Eager to pleaseLess prone
Australian ShepherdLoyal, ProtectiveReserved with strangers, Affectionate towards ownersHighly trainable, Requires committed trainingVocal and alert

Both breeds are smart and can do many tasks. But they each bring something special to a family. Goldens are welcoming and peaceful. Australian Shepherds are faithful and protective. So, each breed fits different family styles.

Exercise Needs and Energy Levels

Understanding the exercise needs and

Golden Retrievers need around one hour of exercise daily. They love playing and are great at games like fetch. This breed is ideal for active families.

In contrast, Australian Shepherds require 1 to 2 hours of exercise each day. They have high energy levels and enjoy staying busy. Activities such as agility courses and hiking are perfect for them.


Average Exercise Per Day

Activity Type

Golden Retriever1 HourFetch, Playful Activities
Australian Shepherd1-2 HoursAgility Training, Herding Tasks

Both breeds need a lot of physical activity. Golden Retrievers like to have fun in a laid-back way. On the other hand, Australian Shepherds enjoy more challenging tasks. This matches their higher energy levels.

Grooming Requirements and Maintenance

It’s vital to know how to care for Australian Shepherds and Golden Retrievers. Each breed has specific needs due to their different coats. Proper grooming keeps them healthy and comfortable.

Grooming a Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers need moderate grooming. They shed a bit all year, and a lot once or twice. Use a pin brush daily during heavy shedding. A weekly brush works when they shed less. Therapy or show dogs get extra grooming. Don’t forget monthly nail trims and teeth cleaning. Check their ears every week for any issues.

Grooming an Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherds have a unique double coat in various colors. Most don’t need haircuts, only if a vet suggests it for health reasons. Brush them weekly to prevent matting. Use proper tools like clippers and slicker brushes. Haircuts can cause stress and health problems. Consider climate and your time when thinking about haircuts.

grooming requirements

Grooming Aspect

Golden Retriever

Australian Shepherd

Coat TypeSingle-layered, wavy to flatDouble-layered, dense undercoat and soft outer coat
SheddingModerate year-round, heavy twice a yearRequires regular grooming to prevent matting
Brushing FrequencyWeekly, daily during heavy sheddingWeekly
Bathing FrequencyMonthly for companions, before therapy work and showsAs needed, not frequently due to coat protection
Nail ClippingOnce a month, weekly for show dogsAs needed
Ear ChecksWeeklyWeekly
Teeth BrushingThree times a weekAs needed

Family-Friendly and Compatibility with Other Pets

The Golden Retriever and Australian Shepherd are great with families. But, they are different when it comes to kids and other pets. Knowing this is key if you plan to bring them into homes with pets or kids.

Golden Retriever as a Family-Friendly Pet

Golden Retrievers have a gentle and loving nature. This makes them perfect for families. They are medium to large dogs, weighing about 65lbs. They get along well with small dogs. For example, a 95lbs Golden Retriever can live peacefully with an 8lbs dog. They are patient and friendly, which is great for kids.

Golden Retrievers also do well with other pets. Early socialization and the right training help them adjust. They are easy to train and love to play. This makes them a joy in any family.

Australian Shepherd with Children and Pets

Australian Shepherds are great family pets, especially in their miniature form. They sometimes try to herd children and pets. Early socialization is important. Be sure to watch them at first to establish rules and prevent any rough play.

Australian Shepherds, though smaller than Golden Retrievers, are just as loving and protective. They love physical and mental games. This makes them ideal for active families. But, keep an eye on them to prevent any nipping during play.

In conclusion, both Golden Retrievers and Australian Shepherds can be wonderful family pets. Their success with other pets depends on early training and positive early interactions.


Average Weight

Family-Friendly Pets Rating

Compatibility with Other Pets

Golden Retriever65lbsExcellentHigh
Australian Shepherd (Miniature)Miniature sizeVery GoodModerate to High


When picking the right dog, think about your lifestyle and if the dog’s traits fit well with it. Golden Retrievers are known for their friendly nature. They’re great for families. They need around an hour of exercise a day, don’t bark much, and are easy to train. They quickly become a loved part of the family thanks to their loving and loyal nature.

Australian Shepherds, however, need more activity. They need one to two hours of exercise daily because they’re very energetic and smart. While they might be shy at first, they grow to be very close to their families. They need both mental and physical activities due to their herding instincts. This might require extra care and training around kids. But, their protective and eager nature makes them great friends too.

Both breeds bring their own kind of happiness but do need serious commitment. It could be the easy-to-adapt Golden Retriever or the lively Australian Shepherd. Each one can give joy and love to families ready for their needs. By looking at factors like temperament, exercise demands, and grooming needs, you can make a good choice. The perfect loyal friend for your family is out there waiting for you.


Q: What are the main differences between an Australian Shepherd and a Golden Retriever?

A: The key differences are their personalities and jobs. Golden Retrievers are outgoing, friendly, and flexible. They’re often therapy animals or family friends. Australian Shepherds are smart, protective, and need lots of activity. They do best in herding or active roles.

Q: Are Australian Shepherds and Golden Retrievers good family pets?

A: Yes, both can be great for families. Golden Retrievers are gentle and patient, perfect for kids. Australian Shepherds are also good but might try to herd people. So, they need early training and socializing.

Q: How much exercise do Australian Shepherds and Golden Retrievers need?

A: Golden Retrievers love an hour of exercise daily, like playing fetch. Australian Shepherds need one to two hours. They enjoy activities that use their brains and bodies, such as agility.

Q: What are the grooming requirements for Australian Shepherds and Golden Retrievers?

A: Both need regular grooming. Golden Retrievers benefit from brushing and occasional baths. Australian Shepherds also need regular grooming to prevent their thick coats from matting.

Q: Are Australian Shepherds and Golden Retrievers intelligent breeds?

A: Indeed, both are very smart. This makes them easy to train for different jobs. Golden Retrievers often work in service and therapy. Australian Shepherds are stars in agility and herding.

Q: How do the temperaments of Australian Shepherds and Golden Retrievers differ?

A: Golden Retrievers are always friendly and love being around people. Australian Shepherds are protective and loyal, creating strong bonds with their families. Both breeds love people, but in different ways.

Q: Which breed is better for a more active lifestyle?

A: For those who are very active, Australian Shepherds are the better choice. They thrive on having jobs to do and being active. They love herding and agility activities.

Q: Can Golden Retrievers and Australian Shepherds get along with other pets?

A: Golden Retrievers usually love other pets. Australian Shepherds can also be good with other animals but need proper introduction and training. This helps manage their herding instinct.

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About the author

Nathan Green

I'm Nate Green, a lifelong dog lover and proud owner of numerous dogs throughout my adult life. My passion for dogs goes beyond just owning them; I am dedicated to understanding and sharing the joys and complexities of dog ownership with fellow enthusiasts.