AUSTRALIAN SHEPHERD VS GOLDEN RETRIEVER
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HISTORY Let's dig into each breed's history just a bit so we can understand what they were bred to excel at and how those same skills translate to their modern-day roles. The Aussie was the pride of Basque shepherds who used them to, well, herd flocks of sheep. Eventually, the breed found its way to the shores of Califonia in the US in the very late 1800s. They were quickly picked up by local ranchers who adored the Aussie for its quick movement, incredible mind, and adaptability to herd everything from geese to cattle. It wasn't until very recently in 1993 that the AKC recognized them despite being a fixture and icon in cowboy culture for nearly 200 years at that time. The Aussie is still closely associated with cowboy culture and is incredibly popular as a working dog on ranches and rodeos across the US. The Golden was developed more recently, if you consider the mid-1800s recent, and have changed only slightly since the breed's founder passed. Golden's were developed in Scottland between 1840-1890 by the first Lord Tweedmouth, Dudley Majoribanks, who wanted to create the perfect gun dog. His goal was a retriever that was well suited to traverse his estate's rugged landscape and be comfortable in the often rainy weather. He kept meticulous records of the crosses and breeds used during the 50 years he spent developing the Golden, and the breed has hardly changed since his passing. Though the Golden was developed more recently, they gained AKC registration in 1925 and have since been one of the most popular dogs in service roles. Today, you'll see them still retrieving game birds for the hunter, though you'll more likely see them assisting those with disabilities, using their keen nose for drug detection, and search and rescue missions. APPEARANCE While both breeds have a thick double coat and long feathering along their bodies, their coats are very distinct and different in color. The Aussie comes in a variety of colors that can include red and blue merle, black and white, and tri-color. As their name suggests, the Golden comes in varying shades of gold from light to nearly a liver color. Their size is also different. Aussies range from 40 to 65 pounds in their standard size, while Goldens are 55 to 75 pounds and a couple of inches taller. TEMPERAMENT/TRAINABILITY/ENERGY Moving on to temperaments, both the Aussie and Golden are very similar and why they both excel in many of the same modern roles. The Aussie is known for its utter devotion, quick intelligence, and high energy that allows them to be skills farm hands and family companions. Goldens are similarly known for their friendly nature, high intelligence, and loyalty to their family. Both breeds do best in active homes where they can be with or near their family as they thrive on human companionship. SOCIAL NEEDS - OTHER CHILDREN/SMALL ANIMALS The social needs for the breeds are a bit different. At the same time, both do best when they have a job to do, and it plays into their natural need to burn off their energy. If you've ever thrown a stick or a ball for either, you know they will keep bringing back to you until your arm falls off. The Aussie is incredibly tenacious and is laser-focused on the job you give them, or they invent for themselves while the Golden is slightly more relaxed about it. Aussies do well with children, but they will herd them. You'll need to be vigilant to redirect this behaviour into something that keeps children from tripping since they are notoriously hard to herd. The Golden really shines when it comes to children. Once they've grown up, Goldens are excellent and very gentle with children of all ages. WRAP UP You can see that the Aussie and Golden are very different in their historical roles, but you'll likely find both a great choice to add to your active home. The Golden is the clear choice if you intend to use their retrieval skills in the field or desire a slightly calmer family companion. The Aussie is perfect for active homes who want a running partner or have livestock of some variety. You really can't go wrong with either of these fabulous breeds, but you must evaluate how much exercise you'll be able to give either of them and how they'll fit in your home as it changes over the next 10 plus years of their lifespan.