Australian Shepherd vs Golden Retriever- A Decision-Making Comparison

When you consider getting a puppy and start doing your research, there are many breeds that can pop up in your head, and picking just one can be difficult because they are all adorable and playful.

You can go through a lot during this process because it’s a big decision, you are choosing a companion that will share a life with you, you have to pick a puppy that has a similar personality and character, for example, if you are an active person who spends most of his day working out or playing sports, you shouldn’t get a quiet dog that likes to spend most of his day eating and sleeping.

The Australian shepherd and golden retriever are always at the top of the list and for a really good reason, and by the end of this article, you’ll understand why? So let’s get started.

Here is a quick overview of the Australian shepherd vs Golden Retriever Characteristics

Other Names Austrian shepherdGolden retriever
Weight 40 – 65 Pounds 55 – 75 Pounds 
Height18 – 23 inches 21 – 24 inches 
Lifespan 12 – 15 years 10 – 12 years 
Colors Blue merle, black, red merle, red, or white, tan, and black Light golden, golden, and dark golden.
Health 9/109/10
Grooming Needs7/108/10
Exercise Needs8/108/10
Shedding 7/107.5/10
Kid Friendliness 9/1010/10
Pet-friendliness 8/108/10
Protectiveness 8/107/10
Good for apartments No No 
Average puppy cost $300 to $1,800 USD $1,000 to $3,500 USD 
Popularity Ranking in the US124

The Australian Shepherd VS Golden Retriever

The australian shepherd vs golden retriever

Australian shepherd  

Size: 18 – 23 inches

Weight: 40 – 65 pounds 

Colors: blue merle, black, red, red merle, or black, tan, and white.

Coat Type: double coated/coarse

Australian shepherds are an intelligent breed, they are originated in the western united states, I know you probably thought that they were bred in Australia but no, they are all American.

No one knows which breed was used to create the Australian shepherd but many people believe that a border collie is included in the generation due to the many similarities between the two breeders.

Their ancestors also include the shepherd-type dogs that were imported from Australia and there you go, that’s how they got their name.

The Australian shepherd is one of the most unique-looking breeds of all time, they have remarkable coats, color, flowing thick hair, and texture, all of these things make the Australian shepherd stand out from any other dog breed.

Golden retriever 

Size: 21 – 24 inches

Weight: 55 – 75 pounds 

Colors: light golden, golden, and dark golden.

Coat Type: double coated/coarse

Golden retrievers were descended from Russian sheepdogs bought from a circus then they were developed in Scotland.

A man known as Lord Tweedmouth used to breed animals of all kinds, he wanted a dog to be more attentive with a superb nose and to retrieve his prey without harming it, he also wanted the dog to be friendly and well-tempered so the dog can be his companion and can stay in the house.

So he bred a tweed water spaniel and a red setter and he kept the yellow puppies and kept breeding them till he finally got the one and only golden retriever.  


One of the most important things to know about a dog you want to adopt or buy is their temperament because it tells you if this dog can keep up with your lifestyle or not, so let’s start with the Australian shepherd.

The Australian shepherd is a confident pup with a strong personality and insanely good leadership skills due to their nature of being herding dogs.

They are loyal, protective, and ideal family dogs, they just need strong leadership to respond to so they are not the best choice for a first-time dog owner, but as soon as you train them properly, you will have the most obedient pup of all time because they’re intelligent and love to please their owners.

Now, the golden retriever is the most playful and fun dog you can ever have, I mean, we literally call people who are fun, energetic, and always optimistic, a golden retriever so it’s no secret.

Goldens have a calm, sweet, and gentle nature, and they are the ideal family dogs because they can get along with everyone which makes them suck at being guard dogs and not better as watchdogs as well.  

Health and lifespan 

Australian shepherds are usually healthy dogs but they can be prone to some diseases and health conditions so not all Australian shepherds will get one or a few of the following diseases but there is a chance so it’s better if you are well aware of these health conditions.

So here are the health conditions that Australian shepherds are prone to:

  • Hip dysplasia 
  • Epilepsy 
  • Detached retina 
  • Elbow dysplasia 
  • Deafness 
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy 
  • Cataracts 
  • Osteochondrosis Dissecans 
  • Distichiasis 
  • Collie Eye Anomaly 
  • Persistent Pupillary Membranes 
  • Allergies 
  • Hypothyroidism 
  • Drug sensitivity 
  • Nasal Solar Dermatitis 
  • Cancer 

Golden retrievers are generally in good health as well but just like any other dog, they are also prone to some health issues and you don’t have to be concerned because it’s not necessarily that they will have them but you should always keep an eye on them.

Here are the most common health issues that golden retrievers are prone to:

  • Hip dysplasia 
  • Elbow dysplasia 
  • Allergies 
  • Osteochondrosis Dissecans 
  • Cataracts 
  • Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis 
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy 
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease 
  • Epilepsy 
  • Hypothyroidism 
  • Osteosarcoma 
  • Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus 
  • Hemangiosarcoma 

If you notice any sign of illness, tiredness, or just a change in their behavior, please don’t just stand by and look it up, you should take your dog to the vet to make sure that everything is okay.

Nutritional Needs 

Australian shepherds are incredibly energetic and that’s why they need high-quality sources of animal protein, high-fat content, digestible carbohydrates, wholesome and natural ingredients, and most important of all a balanced nutrition.

When it comes to dry food they should only eat the high-quality ones and make sure to look for one that checks all the boxes, contains a premium source of animal protein, wholesome, natural ingredients. 

Golden retrievers’ nutritional needs are really similar to the nutritional needs of the Australian shepherd because they are both highly energetic breeds.

Their diet should contain fat, minerals, protein, vitamins, and fat, each one these things has a really important role, for example, the fat is the source of the calories and it helps your pup to absorb the vitamins, the protein is the most important thing especially during their puppy phase because it helps them to grow and develop properly.

The vitamins and minerals improve everything, their coat, muscles, energy, and health in general. 

The recommended daily amount of food for the Australian shepherd is 1.5 to 2.5 cups of high-quality dry food divided into two meals a day but for golden retrievers, it’s 2 to 3 cups also divided into two meals a day.

You can also add omega-3 to their meals for better health and coat.

Grooming Needs & Shedding

The Australian shepherd has a double coat which is medium-length and water-resistant as well to help them tolerate the rain and snow.

Australian shepherds shed moderately all year long and shed heavily in the spring because that’s when they lose their winter coats.

They should be brushed at least once a week to prevent matting and tangled hair, and they should be bathed only when they need one, when they have an odor, something fell on their coat, or if they fell in something such as mud or unclean water.

Golden retrievers have double coats as well, their coat is a dense and water-repellent outer coat and a thick undercoat to keep them warm on cold days.

They also shed moderately in the summer and winter and heavily in the fall and spring, golden retrievers need daily brushing to keep their coat clean and detangled.

You should brush their teeth at least three times a week to prevent bacteria, gum disease, tartar build-up, and bad breath. Trim their nails once or twice a month. If your dog usually wears them down and you can hear them clicking on the floor then they need trimming.

You should also wipe their ears with a cotton ball dampened with gentle pH-balanced ear cleaner to wipe out the dirt and debris and to prevent infections.

Exercise Needs 

Australian shepherds were bred to be working dogs so they are used to constant movement and activities, so they need at least half an hour to an hour of exercise every day.

You can work out with them every day and they won’t be too tired like most dogs due to their high energy, you can take them hiking, swimming, or running, you can even just play frisbee, tug-of-war, or hide and seek with them.

Even if you gave them the amount of exercise they need per day, you should provide them with puzzles and toys to keep them busy for the rest of the day, Australian shepherds can be destructive if they didn’t get enough exercise or when bored.

Golden retrievers are also incredibly energetic and you can find them running around the house all day long and that’s why they need space, they are not suitable to live in apartments because it will limit their movement and they need to run and play for as long as you want and should be able to do that without destroying the whole house.

Golden retrievers need 20 to 30 minutes of serious exercise twice a day, you can take them for a hike in the morning and walk in the afternoon or night so they can be calm indoors.


Australian shepherds are an intelligent breed, they are easy to train as long as you have experience in training dogs so in order to get an Australian shepherd you must be an experienced dog owner because they do well with first-time dog owners due to their strong and confident personality.

You should take them to an obedience training class to help them respond well to any training and to respond well with you.

When you are training an Australian shepherd, you should only use positive reinforcement, reward, and praise them when they respond well to your training.

Golden retrievers are easy to train due to their intelligence and their nature of wanting to please their owners, so they are perfect for a first-time dog owner.

They only respond to positive reinforcement as well, golden retrievers thrive on obedience training and agility classes.

As Family Dogs 

Both dogs are ideal family dogs, the Australian shepherds can get along well with their family, they are gentle with children, and can be raised around babies because they are calm and harmless.

However, Australian shepherds can be aloof with strangers and that’s why they must be socialized, and even though they are great with kids, any interaction between the two must be supervised.

Golden retrievers literally get along with everyone so they are more than perfect for families, and they can’t harm anyone or anything so they are the perfect companion for your children to grow old with.

As Guard Dogs 

Australian shepherds can make decent guard dogs and watchdogs, they are wary of strangers and can alert you when there’s something off with barking.

They can make you feel safe because they are protective by nature and you can also train them to protect you if you want.

However, golden retrievers are not guarding dogs or watchdogs by nature but they can make perfect watchdogs if you trained them to, they are protective and loyal so if there is any threat, they will try to protect their owner with everything they’ve got.

Where to find them? 

You can find Australian shepherds or golden retrievers in your local shelter or in rescue groups, however, if you checked in the shelters around you and still didn’t find what you are looking for, you can get them from a breeder.

The Australian shepherd is going to cost you between $300 to more than $1,800, and the golden retriever is going to cost you between $1,000 and $3,500, however, it really depends on the breeder so make sure to find one with good reviews.

How to Choose between Australian shepherd Vs Golden retriever? 

If you are a first-time dog owner and want an easy-going dog that is easy to train, and can get along with your family and friends, you should get the golden retriever, but if you are looking for a smart dog with high protective instincts and make a good guard dog, you should get the Australian shepherd.

If you liked this article and it helped you make a decision, share it with your friends and family, and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Are Golden Retrievers smarter than Australian shepherds? 

Yes, golden retrievers are smarter than Australian shepherds, the Australian shepherd is the 42nd smartest dog breed but golden retrievers are the 4th smartest dog breed, however, both dog breeds are smart and easy to train and you can keep them mentally stimulated for a higher IQ. 

Are golden retrievers better family dogs than Australian shepherds?

Yes, golden retrievers are more friendly and have a sweet and gentle nature which makes them perfect family dogs. Australian shepherds are also great family dogs but they are not as affectionate as goldens.

Helpful Resources 

Australian Shepherd Dog Breed Information

Living with a Retriever: Recommendations and Sources

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Hey there, I'm Matt, the author behind With a deep love for dogs and a dedication to strengthening the bond between owners and their retrievers, I've created a hub of resources for enthusiasts like you. Through engaging articles, training guides, and product reviews, I aim to provide practical advice that makes a real difference in your life as a dog owner. Whether you're a seasoned pro or new to the world of retrievers, my approachable and informative writing style ensures that you'll find valuable insights. Join me on this incredible journey of discovering what makes retrievers tick, unlocking their potential, and creating an unbreakable bond with your furry companion. Let's embark on an adventure of dog ownership together. Thank you for visiting and being part of our vibrant community.

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