The Border Collie Australian Shepherd mix is a relatively new crossbreed that combines two of the most intelligent and energetic herding breeds. By blending the innate focus and trainability of the Border Collie with the confident, good-natured temperament of the Australian Shepherd, breeders have created a hybrid dog that excels as both a canine athlete and devoted family companion.
In this article, we will explore the origins, physical traits, personality, exercise and grooming needs, health concerns, finding a breeder, costs of ownership, and more regarding this bright hybrid dog. Whether you are considering adding one of these lively dogs to your family or simply want to learn more about the popular Border Collie Aussie mix, read on for in-depth information.
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History of the Border Collie Australian Shepherd Mix
To fully understand the Border Collie cross Australian Shepherd, it is helpful to first look at the background of each parent breed:
The Border Collie originated in the rugged Scottish Highlands and northern England, where they were prized by shepherds for their extraordinary herding abilities, high energy, Trainability, and relentless work ethic across rugged terrain and long days. Bred specifically for generations to respond promptly to commands, follow subtle cues, and manage livestock with a hardwired herding ability, the Border Collie became renowned worldwide as a premier sheepdog.
They excel at canine sports like agility thanks to their agility, responsiveness to handling, and eagerness to closely work with their handler. Border Collies can have either short smooth coats or long abundant rough coats, and display a variety of color patterns.
The Australian Shepherd descended from herding dogs brought to the western United States by Australian immigrants in the 1800s. Originally called by a variety of names like Spanish Shepherd, Pastor Dog, Bob-Tail, New Mexican Shepherd, California Shepherd, and Australian Shepherd, the latter name became most widely used over time.
Australian Shepherds were bred to handle the demands of herding cattle and sheep across challenging terrain and in both very hot and frigid conditions. As a result, they became known for having high energy levels, endurance, agility, and the ability to tolerate temperature extremes. Australian Shepherds come in an array of colors like red merle, blue merle, red tricolor, and black tricolor. They usually have a full plumed tail, but can also naturally have a bobbed or stub tail in the breed.
It was only natural that eventually, breeders would start crossing these two intelligent, high-energy herding breeds to blend their shared talents and temperaments. The Border Collie Australian Shepherd mix first emerged relatively recently compared to some other hybrids, as knowledgeable breeders began deliberately breeding Border Collies with Australian Shepherds. The result has proven to be a highly trainable, energetic, and focused hybrid dog excelling at both work and family life.
Appearance of Border Collie Australian Shepherd Mixes
In terms of physical traits, the Border Collie Aussie cross blends the athleticism and agility of both parent breeds. Most combine a moderately sized, muscular and lithe medium-sized body standing 18-22 inches tall at the shoulder once full grown. Their ideal weight as an adult reaches 35-65 pounds depending on whether they take after the slightly smaller Border Collie or the larger-statured Australian Shepherd.
This hybrid typically has a fluffy, feathered medium length double coat that sheds moderately year-round and more profusely during the seasonal changeovers in spring and fall. Their coat comes in a wide variety of colors, including black, shades of red, blue, brown, and white.
Merle patterns from the Australian Shepherd and signature black and white or tri-coloring from the Border Collie commonly appear. Their perky erect ears are usually triangular with slightly rounded tips. They have an oblong shaped skull and almond-shaped eyes that reveal their intelligence and attentiveness. Eye color can range from rich amber through to vivid blue. Some may have heterochromia where one eye is blue and the other amber.
Their long tail is typically full, but some Border Collie Aussie Mixes inherit the natural bobbed or stubby tail of the Australian Shepherd. Overall appearance can differ quite a bit even between littermates, some leaning more towards the Border Collie look while others reflect more of the Australian Shepherd traits.
Personality and Temperament of the Border Aussie Mix
The typical personality of the Border Collie Australian Shepherd crossbreed reflects the spirited yet biddable nature of its parent breeds. They are known as both clever companions and tireless workers. Some key traits include:
This is an extremely bright hybrid dog with high trainability and eagerness to learn. They respond readily to positive reinforcement training methods and are highly motivated by both praise and food rewards. Their close bond with their human handlers enables them to excel at focus-driven activities like competitive canine sports.
As a cross of two working herding breeds, the Border Collie Aussie Mix has an innate high energy level and needs at least 60 minutes of vigorous exercise and mental stimulation every day. They particularly thrive when provided with jobs or athletic activities allowing them to expend their energy. Without adequate outlets, these dogs are prone to boredom, frustration, and stress.
While energetic and athletic, in the home the Border Collie Australian Shepherd Mix bonds very closely with all members of their family. They aim to please their owners and want to constantly be with their special people. Without proper attention, training, and socialization during the impressionable puppy and adolescent life stages, they can develop separation anxiety when left alone.
This hybrid tends to be playful, friendly, and adaptable when properly socialized from a young age. But some wariness around strangers can occur, so extensive exposure to new people, sights and sounds should start early. Instinctive herding tendencies also commonly surface and they may try to circle, gather or chase kids, other pets or vehicles at times if not redirected.
While sensitive and responsive, harsh physical or verbal corrections can cause this hybrid dog to shut down. They do best with positive reinforcement training that takes advantage of their eagerness to work closely and please their handlers. With the right combination of leadership, training, plenty of activity and outlets, and affection, the Border Collie Australian Shepherd mix develops into a delightful family companion animal.
Exercise Requirements of the Border Collie Australian Shepherd Mix
Given the high energy nature inherited from both parent breeds, the Border Collie crossed with Australian Shepherd requires a substantial amount of daily exercise and mental stimulation to remain happy and well-balanced. At a minimum, aim to provide:
- At least 60 minutes of vigorous physical activity each day such as running, hiking, swimming, playing fetch, and participating in dog sports like agility, flyball or disc dog. Interactive games with owners are ideal.
- Mental stimulation through continued obedience training, food puzzle toys, exploring new environments, and social visits. Training sessions, even in short 5-10 minute increments, will satisfy their need for mental engagement.
- Consistent leash training ensures pleasant walking manners do not get out of control. Work on a solid recall so they can be allowed off leash safely in enclosed areas.
- If their demands for both physical and mental exercise are not adequately met, this hybrid may manifest unwanted behaviors like excessive barking, destructive chewing habits, hyperactivity, anxiety, and neurotic compulsive staring or circling.
- Without a sufficient energy outlet, Border Collie Australian Shepherd mixes are also prone to obesity. Regular aerobic activity and keeping treats minimal prevents unhealthy weight gain in this highly energetic breed.
By providing your Border Aussie Mix with at least an hour of vigorous running, hiking, swimming or engaging in their favorite canine sports like agility, flyball or frisbee on a daily basis, you can avoid the negative effects of pent-up energy and keep them fit and content. These adaptable hybrids thrive when exercised both physically and mentally.
Grooming Needs of the Border Collie Aussie Mix
The grooming regimen for a Border Collie Australian Shepherd Mix is relatively straightforward, but does require weekly brushing and seasonal attention:
- Their fluffy, feathery medium length double coat sheds moderately year-round, and extensively during the spring and fall seasonal blowing of the undercoat to adapt to weather shifts. During shedding seasons, expect copious amounts of loose hair and plan to brush them daily or every other day.
- Brushing weekly using an undercoat rake followed by a slicker brush keeps their coat neat. Bathing only occasionally when dirty, as over-bathing strips the coat’s healthy oils. Trim nails monthly and provide dental care several times per week.
- Check and wipe their ears regularly to prevent infections. Avoid inserting cotton swabs deep into the ear canals. Monitor feet for overgrown fur between the paw pads which can trap irritating dirt and debris if not trimmed.
- While the Border Collie Aussie Mix requires slightly more routine grooming than a short haired Border Collie, their coat remains lower maintenance than a Rough Collie or Australian Shepherd. Set aside time weekly for at home brushing, and you can keep your dog looking dapper.
With consistent weekly grooming sessions and extra attention during shedding seasons, the Border Collie cross Australian Shepherd’s handsome medium length coat stays in tidy, healthy condition for them to shine as your active companion.
Feeding Recommendations for Border Collie Australian Shepherd Mixes
The high energy levels of the Border Collie Australian Shepherd hybrid demand a nutrient-rich diet to properly fuel their active lifestyle and keep them healthy and lean:
- High quality commercial kibble formulated specifically for active, athletic dog breeds generally provides the right balance of protein and nutrients for this mix. Dry food containing at least 25% protein and 15% fat ensures they receive sufficient protein for developing and maintaining lean muscle mass.
- These dogs have high metabolisms, so caloric needs will range around 1400-2000 calories daily depending on age, size and activity level. Growing puppies need more while adults require less after their growth plates close.
- To prevent overeating, obesity, and bloat risk, divide their total daily food allotment into 2-3 meals rather than free feeding. Ideal meal sizes are 1.5 – 2.5 cups per meal. Carefully monitor weight and body condition, adjusting portions up or down as needed.
- Puzzles and chew toys will satisfy cravings in between mealtimes and provide mental stimulation. Avoid overindulging in treats, as weight gain comes easy if activity level is not properly matched to caloric intake.
By feeding your Border Collie Australian Shepherd Mix a premium high protein diet in proper portions, you can fuel their active lifestyle and keep them fit and healthy. Monitor their condition closely and adjust food as needed.
Potential Health Issues to be Aware of in Border Collie Aussie Mixes
Hybrid vigor typically provides some benefits when crossing two pure breeds, but responsible health screening and preventative care are still important for this mix:
- Hip and elbow dysplasia – Reputable breeders will certify all breeding dogs through OFA screening. Maintaining lean body weight and avoiding over-exertion until at least 18-24 months helps structures develop properly. Joint supplements support mobility.
- Eye defects such as Collie Eye Anomaly, cataracts, and progressive retinal atrophy – Schedule annual exams by a veterinary ophthalmologist to catch issues early. Reputable breeders will also screen breeding dogs.
- Allergies – Monitor for signs of skin irritation, itchiness, ear infections, paw licking or digestive issues indicating food allergies. Grain-free or boutique diets are not always better. Follow your veterinarian’s recommendations.
- Bloat risk – Use a slow feed bowl, avoid rigorous exercise immediately before and after eating, split meals into smaller portions, and learn signs of bloat.
- Seizures – If seizures develop, especially between ages 2-5 years old, keep a detailed log to share with your vet. Medication can help control episodes once an underlying cause like epilepsy is diagnosed and addressed.
With conscientious health testing by the breeder and proper preventatives like regular vet exams, quality nutrition, and attentive care on the owner’s end, Border Collie Australian Shepherd Mixes generally thrive with excellent health into their senior years. Stay informed on breed-associated conditions.
Finding a Reputable Border Collie Australian Shepherd Mix Breeder
Taking care to locate an ethical, responsible breeder is the best way to start off your search for the ideal Border Collie Australian Shepherd Mix puppy. Warning signs of questionable breeders include:
- No evidence of health or temperament testing on the parent dogs
- Refusal to allow home visits or meeting both parents
- Pressuring buyers to put down deposits before properly screening
- Producing too many litters simultaneously from multiple dams
- Pricing far below or above the $500 to $2000 average market rate
Instead, look for breeders who demonstrate the following positive indicators:
- Registered membership in dog breed organizations and clubs
- Willingly answers any and all questions potential puppy buyers may have
- Clearly focused on responsibly breeding for health, temperament and improvement of the breed rather than solely for profit
- Provides proof of health testing documentation for conditions like hip dysplasia and Collie Eye Defects
- Ages puppies properly and begins training and socializing foundations before sending home at 8 weeks
- Offers health guarantees and lifetime support and guidance
By partnering with an ethical Border Collie Australian Shepherd Mix breeder, you can gain confidence your new puppy has received the very best start in their first 8 weeks of life. Making this important effort leads to a rewarding relationship with your canine companion for years to come.
Preparing Your Home for a Border Collie Australian Shepherd Mix Puppy
Bringing home an energetic Border Collie Australian Shepherd Mix puppy means taking time to adequately puppy-proof and prepare your household. Help your newest family member settle in smoothly by:
- Removing or securing any toxic chemicals, medications, choke-hazard items, and exposed electrical cords or outlets a curious pup could access
- Designating a confined space or room for your pup to safely stay when you are unable to actively supervise them, such as an exercise pen or crate attached to their bed and water bowls
- Stocking up on an assortment of sturdy chew toys to occupy them and save your shoes and furniture
- Acquiring crate, exercise pens, baby gates as needed to partition safe spaces in your home during the important potty training phase
- Having pet-safe cleaners ready for any inevitable potty training mishaps as your pup learns the rules
- Signing up for upcoming puppy obedience classes, socialization groups, and training right away
- Gathering all essentials like food bowls, collar and leash, bed, brush, nail clippers, toothbrush, canine shampoo, etc.
Taking time to properly ready your home and schedule sets you and your Border Collie Australian Shepherd puppy up for success during the critical first few weeks and months together. The effort more than pays off!
Costs of Owning a Border Collie Australian Shepherd Mix
Adding any dog to your family represents a significant commitment. Lifetime costs of responsible pet ownership average $20,000-30,000. Here are some estimated expenses for a Border Collie Australian Shepherd Mix:
One-Time Initial Costs
- Adoption fee or purchase from quality breeder: $500 – $2000
- Initial supplies like collar, leash, crate: $150 – $500
- Initial veterinarian examination fees: $300 – $500
- Spay/neuter surgery: $100 – $600
- Microchipping: $15 – $50
- Puppy training / obedience courses: $100 – $500
Recurring Annual Expenses
- Quality dog food: $300 – $700
- Treats and chews: $50 – $200
- Routine veterinary well exams: $200 – $400
- Flea, tick and heartworm preventatives: $150 – $300
- Vaccinations: $100 – $250
- Pet insurance: $300 – $800
- Miscellaneous supplies: $100 – $300
- Licensing fees: $10 – $100
Potential Other One-Time Costs
- Medical emergencies: $500 – $5000+
- Boarding/pet sitting services: $20 – $50 daily
- Professional grooming (if needed): $30 – $100 per visit
- Dog walker (if needed): $15 – $25 per walk
- Training classes: $100 – $500
Budgeting approximately $100 – $400 monthly provides for food, routine veterinary care, supplies and miscellaneous costs. But also anticipate potential expenses for medical issues or training. Dogs are a significant but rewarding commitment!
Answers to Top Border Collie Australian Shepherd Mix Questions
Is the Border Collie Australian Shepherd mix a good dog for families?
Yes! When given proper training, leadership, activity and socialization from a young age, this hybrid generally makes a very friendly, energetic and loyal family companion. Their intelligence and eagerness to please owners are bonuses.
How long is the lifespan of a Border Collie crossed with an Australian Shepherd?
With proper care, exercise, training, veterinary care and emergency preparedness, Border Collie Australian Shepherd Mixes typically enjoy a lifespan of 12-15 years. Some may even reach into the late teens.
How big do Border Collie Australian Shepherd Mix dogs get when full grown?
They usually reach 18-22 inches tall at the shoulder and 35-65 pounds when fully grown, depending on whether they skew more towards the Border Collie or Australian Shepherd parent in size. Proper nutrition keeps them fit.
Are Border Collie Aussie Mixes easy to train?
Yes! This hybrid tends to be highly intelligent, eager to please, and very responsive to positive reinforcement training methods. Their tight bond with their human handlers enables them to learn quickly and excel in focus-driven canine sports and activities.
Do Border Collie cross Australian Shepherd mixes bark a lot?
They can be vocal dogs, and may use their bark to try and herd children or other pets. Providing adequate exercise, mental stimulation, and training curbs nuisance barking. Teaching a quiet command is helpful. If barking becomes excessive, check for boredom/stress.
Are Border Collie Australian Shepherd mixes good apartment dogs?
Their high exercise needs do require commitment from owners to provide vigorous daily activity. However, with proper training and activity outlets they can adapt to any living situation, including apartments. Space to run and play is ideal, but meeting their stimulation needs is most important.
I hope this thorough guide has provided helpful information to understand the loyal, energetic Border Collie crossed with an Australian Shepherd dog. Please let me know if you would like me to expand on any part of the overview or if you have any other questions!
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