Male vs. Female Australian Shepherd: Which Is Better?

Male and female Australian Shepherd smiling while resting on the grass

If you’re curious about the differences between male and female Australian Shepherds, this article is perfect for you. While both genders make loving and capable herding dogs, there are a few important differences to keep in mind.

Male Australian Shepherds appear bigger than females due to their heavy coats and denser build. Males are also more affectionate and cheerful than females. In contrast, female Australian Shepherds are more slender, calmer, and more mature.

With that said, allow this guide to assist you in selecting between the male and female Australian Shepherd based on your preference. Continue reading to learn more about their main differences. 

Physical Differences

Male and female Australian Shepherd waiting for treats

Male Australian Shepherds

Australian Shepherds have distinguishable physical characteristics and specific growth curves that can be attributed to gender. These subtle differences become more obvious as they grow from puppies to adults.

Male Australian Shepherds generally have a larger build compared to their female counterparts. When fully grown, males typically weigh between 55 and 70 pounds and have an average height ranging from 28 to 32 inches when standing upright.

Australian Shepherds have a double coat that keeps them warm in winter and cool in summer. But, notably, male Aussies have thicker, heavier, and longer hair than female Aussies. They also share the same coat colors as female Aussies.

Moreover, male Australian Shepherds also have bigger, more masculine heads. These distinctive physical characteristics of males are designed to attract females and aid in their mating activity.

Female Australian Shepherds

In contrast, female Australian Shepherds are typically smaller and shorter than their male counterparts. On average, they grow to a height of 25 to 29 inches and weigh between 35 and 55 pounds.

As expected, females tend to be thinner and leaner than males. Their bone structure is also lighter and narrower than male Australian Shepherds. 

Watch this video to learn more about male and female Australian Shepherds:

What is a toy Australian shepherd, what is better, male or female

Temperamental Differences

Male Australian Shepherds

Both males and females of the Aussie breed are known for their eagerness to please their owners. They are very intelligent and trainable dogs with a strong herding instinct that makes them protective of their families and territory.

However, as with most breeds, the male Aussie has distinct temperaments quite different from the female. 

Male Australian Shepherds have a high energy level that makes them more outgoing. They have a puppy-like style and attitude even into adulthood and are generally more playful than their female counterparts. 

They are also more affectionate, expressive, dependent, and obedient, especially to their owners.

However, males are more likely to suffer separation anxiety because they hate being left alone. This condition should be recognized early and treated, especially when the dog becomes destructive to get your attention. 

Female Australian Shepherds

Female Australian Shepherds reach maturity earlier compared to their male counterparts, making them more responsive to training and respecting authority.

Because of that maturity, they tend to become calmer, gentler, and more laid-back. This behavior is often perceived as being less affectionate to their owners.

Further, females are a bit more independent and can be stubborn as they age. This is why they need plenty of training and socialization while still in their puppyhood. 

Female Australian Shepherds are also more sensitive than males, especially regarding who or what is invading their territory. As a result, they’re more likely to respond aggressively toward a person or animal they view as a threat.

Behavior and Training

Male and female Australian Shepherd during training

Male Australian Shepherds

The Australian Shepherd was originally developed to herd livestock and is often called a working dog. That is why it is natural for them to be mentally and physically active and thrive when they have a task.

Australian Shepherds are known for their curiosity and desire to explore as soon as they are out of the crate. Hence, training a puppy at an earlier stage is beneficial for facilitating proper behavior.

Male Australian Shepherds tend to be more eager to learn but are more often distracted. This eagerness is derived from their wanting to please their owners and seek their attention. 

Male Australian Shepherds also perform better in agility training, though both male and female Australian Shepherds are built for speed and movement. The body structure of males is more muscular than females.

Further, males are more willing and happy to learn new things during training because of their curiosity and adventurous nature. They are also more motivated by food and treats as a reward than females.

Some pet owners who don’t plan to breed prefer to have their male dogs neutered. This is because male neutered dogs tend to become less aggressive unless provoked or disturbed, which is true for male Australian Shepherds.

Neutering also reduces the tendency of male Australian Shepherds to mark their territory more frequently.

Female Australian Shepherds

A significant change in behavior happens when a female dog reaches physical maturity as it experiences hormonal differences in its body during the estrous or heat cycle. This is true for female Aussies.

During this period, female Australian Shepherds become aggressive or hyperactive around male dogs. They also tend to roam or leave the house in search of males with whom they can mate. 

Spaying can prevent bad behavior associated with the heat cycle. Spayed females have their ovaries and other parts of their reproductive system removed, so they lose the ability to reproduce as well as their interest in mating too.

When it comes to training classes, female Aussie puppies tend to learn faster than male puppies. However, this does not mean that females are more intelligent than males; they just mature faster, so they tend to focus more.

Training a dog of both sexes will also depend on factors like the trainer’s experience, the dog’s age, and the environment where the training class is done. 

Watch the video below to see a super agile female Australian Shepherd in action:

Watch Australian Shepherd, Holster, Win 2016 Masters Agility Championship | FOX SPORTS

Health Differences 

Male Australian Shepherds

Male and female Australian Shepherds share the same life expectancy. These dogs live for about 13 to 15 years but may suffer different health conditions despite being generally healthy dogs.

Some of the common health issues they face are vision problems, hip dysplasia, epilepsy, and cancers. That’s why it is vital to keep an eye out for these health conditions by regularly visiting the vet.

Male Australian Shepherds have some health conditions specific to their gender. These include prostatic hyperplasia and testicular cancer. Neutering, or the surgical removal of your dog’s testes, reduces the risk of having these diseases. 

Female Australian Shepherds

Female Australian Shepherds generally enjoy the same health as their male counterparts. Both male and female Australian Shepherds’ bodies are designed for motion, making them ideal for any kind of physical activity.

However, despite this, female Australian Shepherds can still develop physical health conditions such as hip dysplasia or elbow dysplasia.

On a different note, intact female Australian Shepherds are predisposed to certain health conditions such as mammary gland tumors and uterine infections or pyometra. Spayed dogs have lesser chances of getting these illnesses.

However, it is also essential to mention that spayed females lose control over their bladder, which may increase the risk of obesity.

When female Australian Shepherds are altered, their metabolism slows down, causing them to gain more weight.

All things considered, taking care of the Aussie breed, regardless of gender, requires a solid commitment. This includes giving it high-quality dog food, exercise, and regular visits to the vet. 

With Other Dogs and Pets

Female Australian Shepherd standing beside a German Shepherd

Male Australian Shepherds

Both males and females of the Australian Shepherd breed exhibit herding instincts toward other pets. Thus, training and socialization should begin as puppies for them to curb these tendencies. 

On the other hand, the male Australian Shepherd, being extroverted, outgoing, and energetic, has no trouble fitting into an environment with other pets. They can be around other animals without the need to worry about aggression.

If male Australian Shepherds are trained by their owners in their early stage of life and grow up with other puppies, you can expect them to be friendlier and more playful.

A breeder of Australian Shepherds I am acquainted with has attested to the natural friendliness of male Aussies in his home. Even with the herding and prey drive of this breed, he has never seen any signs of aggression from his male Aussies with his other dogs and even with his pet rabbits.

However, he has also advised that it is still better to have your male Aussie undergo early socialization training just to be safe.

Do you want to know how friendly they can be? Watch and be convinced with the video below. 

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Female Australian Shepherds

A female Australian Shepherd is also safe around other pets. However, they are more reserved and less affectionate compared to males. 

Although females take more time than male Australian Shepherds to come out of their shells, they can also be playful and friendly once they do.

In summary, regardless if you have a male or female Aussie, it is generally a good companion with other dogs and pets.

With Children

Male Australian Shepherds

Male Australian Shepherds are naturally exuberant and fun-loving, so they are a good match for older children who tirelessly want to play. As males tend to be energetic, they can give children tons of entertainment.

Therefore, a house with ample space to run is preferable for the playtime of your dog and your children.

However, parents and guardians of younger children should consider supervising them while they play with dogs to avoid anyone from getting hurt.

Female Australian Shepherds

Female Australian Shepherds tend to be more nurturing guardians of children than males. This behavior stems from their motherly nature, which gives them calmer and less energetic personalities.

As female Australian Shepherds are generally more independent and mature than their male counterparts, they may be more inclined to set boundaries. They may prefer to be alone rather than play and roam with children, unlike males.

Female Aussie Shepherds are also not as expressive and affectionate as males. This makes them more sensitive to threats and more protective around children.

Pros and Cons of Male and Female Australian Shepherds

Male and female Australian Shepherd in the woods

Male Australian Shepherds

Male Australian Shepherds have playful and energetic personalities, and they can relieve stress and bring forth a lot of entertainment in the family, especially with hyperactive or older children. 

Males who excel in agility training are ideal for people with active lifestyles. These dogs will enjoy long walks or runs with their owners, as well as engaging in other physical activities.

They are generally safe around children and other pets because of their friendly and outgoing nature. However, due to their herding instincts, they should be adequately trained to avoid injuries caused by these tendencies.

In fact, dogs with well-trained herding abilities are sometimes used to aid the physically disabled and even as search and rescue dogs. This is true whether you get male or female Australian Shepherds.

On the other hand, male Australian Shepherds may be subject to separation anxiety due to their affectionate and dependent nature. They also need enough space where they can roam around and use up their high energy levels.

The male Aussie is also naturally predisposed to certain health conditions that may affect a male dog similar to other breeds, such as testicular cancer.

Here is a recap of the pros and cons of male Australian Shepherds:

Energetic and entertainingRequires a lot of physical activities
Highly trainable due to willingness to please ownersNot for apartment dwellers
Safe around kids and other petsNeed experience and patience to handle
Affectionate and expressiveProne to separation anxiety

Female Australian Shepherds

Like male Australian Shepherds, females make lovely pets for families with children and other animals. 

Female Australian Shepherds tend to be more obedient and mild-tempered compared to males. They are also more likely to establish boundaries with their owners and display greater independence than their male counterparts.

Furthermore, female Australian Shepherds are typically easier to train than males. However, like any dog, they can become stubborn as they age, so it’s important to begin training them as puppies. This early training can be equally effective for both sexes.

Female Aussies have respect for authority but can sometimes lose interest in training due to their need to be independent. Further, since females are more sensitive, they can also be quite unpredictable at times.

They are also subject to illnesses that generally affect female dogs, like breast cancer and pyometra. Neutered or spayed dogs have a lower risk of being predisposed to these illnesses.

Here is a recap of the pros and cons of female Australian Shepherds:

More mature Can be stubborn
Highly trainable due to ability to focusShows boundaries
More mild-temperedLess affectionate
Protective of its familyUnpredictable at times due to its sensitivity

Should You Get a Male or Female Australian Shepherd? 

If you’re still undecided about whether to get a male or female Australian Shepherd, that is understandable. These two genders are great dogs in their own ways despite their slight behavioral and physical differences.

However, it is up to you to determine what gender to get based on your personal preference, routine, and the kind of lifestyle you presently have.

If you are active and enjoy the outdoors, a male Australian Shepherd will be a better companion for you. The male Aussie is more outgoing and playful than the female.

Meanwhile, females are more suitable for you if you prefer to have personal space and set boundaries, compared to males.

If you have small children at home, consider raising a female Aussie. While both genders are generally safe around children and other family members, females tend to be gentler and calmer because of their motherly nature.

However, if you’re looking for a dog that can keep up with your children’s energy and hyperactivity, a male Aussie would fit you better. It can play with your kids and keep them entertained all day long.

Remember to consider your needs, the dog’s needs, and your lifestyle when choosing between a male and female Australian Shepherd. 

Whatever your decision may be, it is vital that you only get from reputable breeders to make sure you get a healthy pet.

You can also consider adopting an Aussie from a rescue organization. It is a noble act since you get to give a dog a new chance to have a better life.

Frequently Asked Questions

Male and female Australian Shepherd on a hammock

Are Male or Female Australian Shepherds Calmer?

In general, female Australian Shepherds are calmer and more mature than males. They are more laid back and reserved and also less hyper and outgoing.

Therefore, they make perfect pets for families that prefer to have a gentle companion at home.

Are Male or Female Australian Shepherds More Affectionate?

Both male and female Australian Shepherds have an affectionate temperament but expect males to be more expressive, attention-seeking, clingy, and dependent than females. 

Are Male or Female Australian Shepherds Easier to Train?

Female Australian shepherds are generally easier to train than male Australian Shepherds because they tend to be more focused.

It’s important to note that female Australian Shepherds have a strong will and can sometimes exhibit stubbornness. However, training them for obedience from a young age can help address this behavior.

Final Thoughts

Male and female Australian Shepherds have distinct physical and behavioral differences. Males are generally larger, more muscular, hyperactive, and affectionate, while females tend to be smaller, leaner, laid back, and more mature.

In the end, it’s a matter of personal preference, lifestyle, and environment. After all, this dog will be a loyal, loving, and excellent companion to you and your family members.

Further, there are no major personality differences between the male and female Australian Shepherd that make any of the genders undesirable in any way.

Do you have a preference between male and female Australian Shepherds? Let us know in the comments below which you think would suit you better!

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