Australian Shepherd vs. Blue Heeler

Pet Type


July 14, 2024

There are plenty of dog breeds out there that are quite similar to one another. That said, even breeds that look like they are the same can be quite a bit different from one another. Take the Australian Shepherd and the blue heeler.

That said, there are major key differences between the two breeds. Knowing how they differ, as well as what their key similarities are, can allow you to make the proper decision for your home.

What Are the Key Differences Between the Two Breeds?

When comparing the Australian Shepherd vs. blue heeler, it helps to know what the key differences between the two breeds are. They actually differ in a number of ways, including their disposition, origin, physical appearance, and trainability.

In terms of size, the blue heeler is the smaller of the two. This applies to both height and weight, which can be an important consideration when talking about dog breeds. Some people don’t want to deal with a larger breed and the Australian Shepherd is the larger of the two.

When it comes to their appearance, the shepherd has the fluffier coat of the two. The blue heeler, meanwhile, has a much thicker, denser coat. The heeler might not shed quite as much but their coat requires proper management.

Finally, they have quite similar lifespans, though the Australian Shepherd tends to live slightly longer than their counterpart. Both can live in excess of 10 years and as many as 15 years depending on the dog.


One of the most important aspects to consider when comparing the Australian Shepherd vs. blue heeler is their trainability. The good news is that both of them are quite trainable because of their breed purpose.

An Australian Shepherd is very easily trained if they are started at a younger age. That said, they do require regular training and exercise as they grow older. They are a very active breed of dog, so for lazy owners they are definitely not recommended.

For the blue heeler, they are also very trainable. They also require regular training, often in a routine. Positive reinforcement goes a long way with this breed, so make sure that they get a lot of positive treatment and treats along the way.

Energy Levels

Neither dog is for the couch potato out there. If you aren’t privy to giving a lot of walks, then these aren’t the kind of dogs for you. Both have really high energy levels and require regular training and exercise.

If they don’t get regular exercise, they can get bored quickly. When that boredom happens, they can potentially become disruptive and destructive. Though training can help to mitigate that somewhat, it is regular activity that will make the difference.


Every dog has a different temperament. That temperament is important for how they would fit into your home. Those with families can have a particular need to find a dog that has a positive, loyal temperament.

The good news is that both of these dogs are really loyal and independent. They can be friendly, but they are particularly protective and distrusting of strangers. Both are very playful, very active, and love attention.

Take the time to properly socialize either breed. They both have a history in herding, so they can be protective and distrusting of those they don’t know. With socialization, they can get used to different people, become better with kids, and adapt to different sounds.

The blue heeler was raised as a cattle dog, so they can display tendencies of herding. Don’t be surprised if they try to herd your kids from time to time, which can be an annoyance.


When comparing the Australian shepherd vs. blue heeler, the heeler is the more independent of the two breeds. That is one of the most obvious differences between the two breeds. For dog owners who don’t have a lot of dog experience, the heeler can wind up taking the lead in your home.

For families that aren’t home all the time, the heeler might be the better option as a protector. The Australian shepherd requires a little more attention than the heeler as the latter doesn’t mind being left home alone for a time.

The shepherd is more keen about pleasing their owner than they are taking the lead. Still, they can be quite independent as well. They are more patient than the blue heeler as well, which can make some of the tougher situations regarding dog ownership easier to handle.

The shepherd would also like to not be left alone. They can even develop anxiety and display destructive tendencies depending on the frequency and length of being alone. Keep this in mind with your Australian shepherd.


Though they can be similar in many ways, it is important to know the difference between the Australian Shepherd and the blue heeler. Knowing those key differences can give you a better idea of how the two compare and how either may fit into your home in a better manner.

They have slight differences in size and coat, among other things. Both make for energetic, loyal, smart breeds that can make great family dogs.