English Setter and Australian Shepherd Whats The Difference

July 21, 2023
Annette Thompson

Are you in the market for a new furry companion, but not sure which breed to choose? It can be overwhelming with so many options out there. Two popular choices are the English Setter and Australian Shepherd. While both breeds have their own unique characteristics, it’s important to understand the differences between them before making a decision.

When it comes to physical appearance, these two breeds couldn’t be more different. The English Setter has long silky hair that comes in various colors and requires regular grooming. On the other hand, the Australian Shepherd has short fur that doesn’t require as much maintenance and comes in mostly black or brown with white markings.

However, their personalities are also quite distinct from each other. The English Setter is known for being gentle and affectionate while the Australian Shepherd’s intelligence makes them highly trainable but also prone to boredom if not given enough mental stimulation.

In this article, we’ll dive deeper into these traits and more to help you make an informed decision on which breed would best suit your lifestyle.

Key Takeaways

  • English Setters have long, silky hair that requires regular grooming, while Australian Shepherds have shorter fur that is easier to maintain.
  • English Setters are gentle and affectionate, while Australian Shepherds are highly trainable but also prone to boredom without enough mental stimulation.
  • English Setters tend to be more mellow and adaptable to smaller spaces than Australian Shepherds, while both breeds require plenty of physical exercise and mental stimulation.
  • Ultimately, the choice between an English Setter and an Australian Shepherd comes down to personal preference and what aligns with your values.

English Setter Vs. Australian Shepherd: A Brief Overview

When comparing the English Setter and Australian Shepherd, it’s essential to understand their unique traits, temperaments, and histories. Let’s explore each breed individually before delving into the specifics of their comparison.

The English Setter: A Majestic and Gentle Companion

The English Setter is a regal and elegant breed with a rich history. This noble dog originated in England during the 19th century and was primarily developed for bird hunting. With their striking appearance and gentle demeanor, English Setters quickly gained popularity as sporting dogs and family companions.

english setter

Distinctive Characteristics and Temperament

One of the English Setter’s most prominent features is its beautiful, long, and silky coat, which comes in various colors and patterns. These dogs have a refined and aristocratic appearance, combining elegance with athleticism.

In terms of temperament, the English Setter is known for its friendly and gentle nature. They are generally friendly, good-natured, and highly affectionate towards their family members. English Setters are also typically excellent with children, making them a popular family choice.

Grooming Needs

Due to their long and flowing coat, English Setters require regular grooming to keep their fur tangle-free and healthy. Weekly brushing sessions are necessary to prevent matting and remove any debris. In addition, occasional professional grooming is recommended to maintain their coat’s beauty and overall health.

Training Needs

English Setters are intelligent dogs that respond well to positive reinforcement training methods. Early socialization and obedience training are crucial to ensure they develop into well-mannered adults. While they are generally eager to please, consistency and patience are key when training an English Setter.

Health Considerations

As with any breed, the English Setter is prone to specific health conditions. Common issues include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, epilepsy, and deafness. Regular veterinary check-ups and a balanced diet are important for maintaining overall well-being.

Living Space Consideration

The English Setter thrives in a home with a spacious yard where they can roam and explore. Their active nature necessitates regular exercise, such as daily walks or playtime in a securely fenced area. While they adapt well to apartment living with sufficient exercise, a house with a yard is ideal for an English Setter.


Early socialization is crucial for English Setters to ensure they become well-rounded dogs. Exposing them to various people, animals, and environments from a young age helps prevent potential behavioral issues and promotes their overall sociability.

The Australian Shepherd: A Versatile and Energetic Working Dog

Contrary to its name, the Australian Shepherd breed didn’t originate in Australia. It is believed to have developed in the western United States during the 19th century. Australian Shepherds gained popularity for their exceptional herding abilities and versatile working nature.

Australian Shepherds

Distinctive Characteristics and Temperament

Australian Shepherds are medium-sized dogs with a well-muscled build. They are known for their vibrant coat colors, including black, blue merle, red merle, and red, often with striking white markings. Their eyes are typically a mesmerizing combination of blue, amber, or brown.

Regarding temperament, Australian Shepherds are intelligent, loyal, and highly energetic. They are frequently recognized as one of the most intelligent dog breeds and thrive on both mental and physical stimulation. Australian Shepherds are quick learners and excel in dog sports and activities, including obedience, agility, and herding trials.

Grooming Needs

The Australian Shepherd’s lengthy double coat must be combed frequently to prevent matting and keep shedding in check. Additionally, they may shed more heavily during seasonal coat changes. Overall, their grooming needs are manageable with a thorough brushing session once or twice weekly.

Training Needs

Due to their high intelligence and boundless energy, Australian Shepherds benefit from early and ongoing training. Engaging their minds with challenging tasks and providing outlets for their energy helps prevent boredom and potential behavioral issues. Positive reinforcement methods work well with these eager-to-please dogs.

Health Considerations

Like many breeds, Australian Shepherds are susceptible to certain health conditions. Hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, epilepsy, and a few hereditary conditions like collie eye abnormality and MDR1 gene mutation are common health problems in this breed. Regular veterinary check-ups, a balanced diet, and appropriate exercise are crucial for their well-being.

Living Space Consideration

While Australian Shepherds can adapt to various living environments, their energy levels necessitate regular exercise and mental stimulation. They are happiest in homes with ample space to run and play. However, they can thrive in apartments or urban settings with an active lifestyle and adequate exercise.


Early socialization is vital for Australian Shepherds to ensure they grow into well-behaved and well-adjusted dogs. Exposure to various people, animals, and environments at a young age helps them develop confidence and good manners. Proper socialization sets the foundation for a happy and harmonious relationship with their human family and other pets.

You might also like read about Aussie Bernese: A Unique Blend of Australian Shepherd and Bernese Mountain Dog and Top Dog Breeds For Families: Best Buddies For Kids!

You can also read about Vizsla Vs German Shorthaired Pointer

Choosing the Right Breed for You

Deciding on which breed of dog to bring home can be a tough decision, but understanding the characteristics and temperaments of each breed is important. If you’re considering adopting or buying an English Setter or an Australian Shepherd, there are a few things to consider before making your final decision.

Firstly, if you live in an apartment or small living space, it’s important to note that both breeds require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. However, English Setters tend to be more laid back and adaptable to smaller spaces than Australian Shepherds.

Additionally, if you’re looking for a dog that can easily adapt to different environments and situations, the English Setter may be the better choice as they are known for their easygoing nature.

When it comes to adopting versus buying a dog, there are pros and cons for each option. Adopting from a shelter gives dogs another chance at finding their forever homes while also potentially saving them from being euthanized. On the other hand, purchasing a dog from a breeder allows for more control over the dog’s background and genetics. Ultimately, it’s up to personal preference and what aligns with your values.

When choosing between an English Setter or Australian Shepherd, it’s important to take into account factors such as living space and whether adoption or buying is right for you. Both breeds have unique traits that make them lovable companions but knowing which one fits best with your lifestyle will ensure both you and your furry friend live happily ever after.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do English Setters or Australian Shepherds have any specific health concerns that owners should be aware of?

As a responsible dog owner, preventive measures are necessary to ensure your furry friend’s health. Diet management is crucial for avoiding breed-specific health concerns. Regular check ups and exercise routine also contribute to their overall well-being.

How do these breeds typically interact with children and other pets in the household?

Looking for a playful or loyal companion for your family? When it comes to interacting with kids and other pets, English Setters are known for their playful nature while Australian Shepherds are loyal. Tips for introducing them to new household members include socialization and supervision.

Are there any notable differences in the lifespan of English Setters vs Australian Shepherds?

You may have wondered about the lifespan of English Setters vs Australian Shepherds. While theories abound, research suggests that exercise needs and grooming requirements differ between these breeds, potentially affecting their lifespans.

What are some common mistakes that owners make when training either of these breeds?

Common training mistakes include inconsistent commands, lack of exercise, and punishment-based techniques. Behavioral challenges may arise from high energy levels or boredom. Focus on positive reinforcement and consistent training to overcome these issues and create a strong bond with your furry companion.

How do English Setters and Australian Shepherds fare in different types of living environments, such as apartments vs houses with yards?

Living in an apartment with an English Setter or Australian Shepherd can be challenging due to their high exercise requirements. However, a yard provides ample space for them to run and play. Choose wisely based on your lifestyle and needs!


So, you’re trying to decide between an English Setter and an Australian Shepherd? Both breeds have their own unique physical appearance, personality traits, exercise and training needs, and grooming requirements.

After considering all of these factors, it ultimately comes down to which breed suits your lifestyle the best. If you’re looking for a dog that’s friendly and affectionate with a laid-back personality, then the English Setter might be the one for you.

On the other hand, if you’re in need of a highly active dog that’s intelligent and enjoys challenging activities like herding or agility training, then the Australian Shepherd may be more suitable. No matter which breed you choose, they’ll both bring joy into your life as loyal companions.

So go ahead and take that leap of faith – coincidence has a way of working out just right sometimes!

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