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Male vs Female Australian Shepherds: Which Is Right For You?

Should you get a male or female Australian shepherd? It’s a tough decision to make, and we receive a lot of questions about this!

After having spoken to countless Aussie owners, both new and experienced, we’re going to highlight the main differences between males and females, and explain the best way to know which gender is right for you. Let’s get started!


KEY Differences Between Male & Female Australian Shepherds

First I’ll focus on what some consider more important differences, and that’s personality/temperament differences between the male and female Aussies. I will cover the physical differences further below.

Keep in mind: Personality traits can be heavily affected by the way they are raised and the environment they grow up in, which is something we control.

Not every male will be the same way, and the same goes for females too. So it’s only fair to keep this in mind.

1. Trainability

Many owners say that females are ultimately easier to train than males. This can be due to females not challenging your authority as much as males do, which leads to them listening and obeying your commands quicker.

Both males and females can be trained to a high level, but the majority have said females seem to “get it” quicker than the males. This could of course depend on the trainer and their previous experience as some will have better techniques or naturally give off more authority than others.

Psst! A quick word on training. So many Aussie owners are praising Brain Training For Dogs we’ve got to mention it. Owners are reporting improved obedience and behavior quicker than anything else they’ve tried. We highly recommend checking it out.

2. Showing Affection

It appears that males win the race when it comes to showing affection. The vast majority of owners claim that their males are far more “cuddly” and affectionate with them than their female siblings.

I’m not sure why this is, but it’s certainly an interesting one! This is actually similar across many other breeds too, not just for Australian Shepherds.

3. Dependent vs Independent

Many owners have said that their females are more independent than their males. Many females will happily sit on their own or lay down in another room without needing to know exactly where you are.

Males tend to be more clingy and follow you around more. This may possibly tie into being more affectionate too, but it can be said that males are more dependent on their owners.

4. Territorial Behavior

Both males and females can be territorial. It depends on the situation. Neutering and spacing most of the time reduces territorial displays of behavior, but whether or not you want to go down that route is something separate to think about.

There is one big difference between male and female territorial behavior, though, and that’s peeing! Many males have the need to pee just about everywhere they can to claim their space. This makes potty training males a little harder in the beginning.

5. Showing Dominance

Just like with most breeds, males try to show dominance much more than females do. This doesn’t mean females can’t be dominant, but males try a whole lot harder!

This requires more of a conscious effort on your part as the owner to establish yourself as the leader/alpha from the beginning. This also ties into trainability, as males tend to challenge you more than females.

6. Energy & Playfulness

I’ve heard mixed things when it comes to energy levels and playfulness. Some say their male Aussies are much more energetic and playful, and others have said their females are. So this one is hard to know beforehand.

I think this depends on their overall lifestyle, activity levels, and how often you and your family play with them. If they are used to a very active day with a lot of interaction, socializing, and exercise then it doesn’t matter, it will promote high energy and playfulness, regardless of gender.

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Physical Differences Between Male and Female Australian Shepherds

Let’s run through some physical differences between the two sexes.

Height & Weight

Male Aussies typically grow to be a little taller and heavier than females. Although some large females can grow to be the size of an average male.

Male Australian Shepherd Averages
Height: 20-23 Inches
Weight: 50-65 Pounds

Female Australian Shepherd Averages
Height: 18-21 Inches
Weight: 40-55 Pounds

Full article: When do Australian shepherds stop growing & reach full size

Coat Length & Style

It may come as surprise but there’s a significant difference here!

Males typically have much thicker, denser, and longer coats than females do.

Males also boast more of a lion’s main that extends around the head and neck area. This hair can be particularly long and isn’t commonly seen in females.

Although both females and males will need a strict brushing routine, males will likely need more attention shown to their long hair to keep it clean and in good condition.

When it comes to color, there doesn’t seem to be distinguishable differences, both males and females can be a wide range of colors and this depends upon the parents.

Do Males or Female Australian Shepherds Shed More?

Another very popular question is whether male or female Australian shepherds shed more?

Both males and females shed a lot, year-round, with two distinct “blowouts” just before summer, and again, just before winter. The severity of each blowout depends on the climate where you live. Hotter regions usually mean greater hair loss.

In general, there isn’t a huge difference between which sex sheds more. You will have to keep up a consistent brushing routine whether you have a male or female Australian shepherd

Some experts do believe, however, that females will eventually drop more hair than males as they frequently experience hormonal changes. Whether you notice the difference, is something else.

Related: Australian Shepherd Shedding Guide

Commonly Shared Opinions From Owners Who Own Both

To make this article as accurate as possible, The Puppy Mag posted questionnaires, polls, and luckily, I had the pleasure to speak to a handful of owners who own both male and female Australian shepherds.

Here’s what Australian Shepherd owners all agreed on:

  • Male Aussies “tested” their owner’s authority more
  • Male Aussies were more receptive to affection, and also gave more affection
  • Male Aussies were more hyper
  • Male Aussies were less tolerable to being alone
  • Female Aussies were more “laid back”
  • Female Aussies were happier to be alone
  • Female Aussies were quicker learners
  • Female Aussies could be more stubborn with age
  • Female Aussies mature quicker physically and mentally

Again, I will say that despite owners agreeing on these things, personality traits can be influenced by their environment and the way they are raised.

Other Popular Australian Shepherd Articles:
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Choosing Between a Male or Female Australian Shepherd

I often hear the question phrased as “which gender is better to own?”

Honestly, all Australian Shepherds are amazing when raised properly…

It doesn’t matter which gender you have.

Knowing whether you want a male or female mostly comes down to personal preference, which you likely already have.

  • And despite there being common personality differences between the genders, I don’t know if they are big enough to make the decision black or white.

If you feel a connection to male dogs more than females, for whatever reason that may be, then you should probably get a male, even if he does try to pee inside your house more!

Thank you for reading! I hope this has cleared up the differences between male and female Australian shepherds. If you have further questions please feel free to contact me! All the best, Harry.

View more Australian Shepherd articles >>


Are male Australian shepherds more protective than females?

Not necessarily. Female Australian shepherds can be very protective over their owners just like males can. While males typically try to establish dominance, it doesn’t always make them more protective.

Both females and male Australian shepherds will shed significantly year-round. Some experts believe that females shed slightly more due to hormonal changes, but this difference may not even be noticeable.

Male Australian shepherds tend to be a little more affectionate in general, but this doesn’t mean cuddly. Whether or not an Aussie likes to cuddle is more about how they are raised rather than their gender.

Yes, in nearly all cases male Australian shepherds will be bigger than females. Males grow to be both taller and heavier. It’s rare that you’ll find a female larger than a male.

Female Australian shepherds are considered a little easier to train as they don’t try to challenge your authority as much. This doesn’t mean males are difficult to train though, with the correct training style, all Aussies are quick learners.

Additional resources:


Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.