English Setter vs Australian Shepherd What’s the Difference

The English Setter and Australian Shepherd are two excellent dog breeds that are friendly and great for your family. In this post, we will consider the characteristics of each breed. Read along to find out which will be the best for you or the family. 

english setter vs australian shepherd
English Setter vs Australian Shepherd: What’s the Difference?

The English Setter 

The English Setter has a rich history which we will consider in this comparison table. They are very affectionate dogs that serve as hunting dogs and family companions. This breed is one of the friendliest breeds out there as they interact well, not just with humans but with other pets in the home.

However, as they are highly energetic animals, they might not be the best fit for apartment owners. If you have a yard and space to play, though, you will have a lovely time with these dogs. 

Origin of the English Setter 

The English Setter is a type of hunting dog that originates in England. The earliest appearance of this breed was 400 years ago when it was mostly used for hunting. The specific origins are undetermined; however, it is generally assumed that the breed is a cross of different hunting dogs, ranging from pointers and spaniels. 

It was named for its practice of setting or bending low when they found a game so that their human companions could throw nets over them. 

The modern English Setter was bred in the 19th century by an Englishman and a Welshman. 

Laverack bought his two first Setters in 1825, and these two dogs served as the progenitors of the breed. He was focused on developing a breed that was gentle in temperament and a good companion. 

His work was expounded on by the Welshman Llewellin, who crossed them with Gordon Setters and other breeds to make them better hunters. 

The two types of digs finally arrived in America in the late 18th century, with the Laverack line of Setters being the base for show Setters while Llewellin’s line served as the foundation for field dogs. 

These dogs have come a long way from their previous appearance as they have an appearance unique to them and unmistakable with other dog breeds. They are not the most popular breed of dogs, as they rank 98th among the registered breeds by the American Kennel Club. 

Appearance of the English Setter

The appearance of these dogs is rather unique, and it exists in two major forms. Today, they come with sculpted heads and athletic bodies ending in a long, feather-like tail. You will also find patches of color in certain specimens, although these are not accepted for show specimens. 

One of the best things about the English Setter is his coat. The coat is one of the most attractive coats in any dog. It is prized for its flatness – no curl or wooliness. It is very soft to the touch and has feathering on different parts of the body like the chest, the ears, under the thighs, the tail, and the back of the legs. 

You can find him in different colors, ranging from orange or lemon Belton, liver Belton, blue Belton, and blue Belton & tan. 

Temperament and Training of the English Setter

The typical English Setter has a warm, gentle, and affectionate temperament. He is a pretty lively dog, which is unsurprising considering his sporting roots, however, he is not so active that you cannot keep up with him. He can serve as a watchdog too. 

The temperament of this dog, as with all dogs, is developed by different factors, some of which include socialization and training. When choosing a puppy, choose one that is gentle and playful, not that who beats up his littermates or that which is huddled up in a corner.

It is also recommended that you meet one of the parents to see that they have temperaments you are comfortable with. This will help you project what he will be like when grows up. 

English Setter are great with people, however, because of their hunting roots, they can also stay alone and think for themselves. 

Training is relatively easy as these are already friendly dogs. Training should be done with kindness and consistency, whether in rewards or discipline. The English Setter is a relatively intelligent dog, so training sessions are to be kept engaging and interesting. 

Care of the English Setter 

This breed is generally healthy, although there are some health conditions that it might suffer from. 

As we said earlier, it is better to have your English Setter in a house with plenty of space to run and play. Your dog needs exercise to stay in shape. And if you have puppies, you should not allow them to run on hard surfaces to reduce the chances of injuries. 

Grooming is also part of your care. Brush the dog at least three times every week, or daily if you can. You should also consider bathing the dog every other month so that he will continue looking and smelling nice. 

Since it has relatively long hair, you might have to trim the hair every six weeks. Since this breed has floppy ears which can block airflow, check the ears and clean them every week to reduce the chances of infections. 

You should also brush his teeth at least twice every week to keep them free from tartar build-up and bacteria. 

Australian Shepherd 

The Australian Shepherd might have ‘Australia’ in the name, but it is a dog breed from the United States. It is a breed that was originally bred for herd livestock. Today, though, these dogs have left the field behind and are wonderful family companions as long as you give them something to do. 

Origin of the Australian Shepherd 

Despite the name, this breed was bred in the United States. It was bred for ranchers and farmers in the USA who needed an extra paw with their flocks. Theories abound about how the breed was developed, however, there is no consensus or general agreement about the breeds that were crossed to create the Australian Shepherd. 

Some suppose that it hails from the Collie and other Shepherd-type dogs that came with shipments of sheep from Australia in the 1840s, which is likely why it is called the Australian Shepherd.  

This breed enjoyed its highest popularity period at the end of the Second World War with the renewed enjoyment of horseback riding among the populace. Many at horse shows were impressed by the sleek, athletic dogs that they saw riding with the cowboys. Surprisingly, it was only until 1993 before this breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club. 

Appearance of the Australian Shepherd

This athletic dog is around 23″ tall at the shoulder for males while females stand at about 21″. The males also weigh between 50 to 65 pounds, with females weighing 40 to 55 pounds. 

The coat of this dog is especially suited to the rain and snow. It often features a medium-long water-resistant coat that allows him to frolic in the snow or the rain. 

The hair is either straight or wavy and covers the whole body. There is medium feathering that covers the forelegs too while the neck and chest are covered in long hair. 

These dogs are available in different colors, ranging from blue merle to red and tri-color options. You might also find them in black. 

Temperament and Training of the Australian Shepherd

As this breed is originally a livestock dog, it tends to be pushy when given the chance. Therefore, if your leadership is wavering or lax, it will gladly take the lead. If you are a timid owner or this is your first time, you might run into problems with this dog. 

Furthermore, as a livestock dog, it is indifferent to strangers and needs early socialization when they are young. This breed has a habit of nipping and chasing, which is great for herding livestock, but is not good when applied to children and other pets. Therefore, obedience training is important in curbing that behavior. 

Care of the Australian Shepherd of the Australian Shepherd

This breed is an active breed that will enjoy space to run. There is an in-bred desire to herd something, which might cause him to wander away from the house. Therefore, it is important to have a secure fence and ensure that he is walked on a leash if not trained. 

This dog’s coat requires weekly brushing but doesn’t need a bath very often.  

Keep your dog in good shape by providing 1 to 3 cups of high-quality dog food divided into two meals in the day. 

English Setter vs Australian Shepherd: Side-by-Side Comparison 

 Australian Shepherd English Setter 
Size Large  Large 
Weight Blue Belton, Lemon, Orange Tan Tricolor,Liver 50 -65 pounds in adult males and 40 – 55 pounds in adult females 
Coat length Feathered Feathered 
Coat colors Blue Belton, Lemon, Orange Tan Tricolor, Liver Red, Blue Merle, Black 
Country of origin USA England 
english setter vs australian shepherd
English Setter vs Australian Shepherd

Final Verdict 

The Australian Shepherd is a herding breed that needs to be taught not to nip at your kids. Once you teach them this, they make for excellent canine companions. English Setters are also excellent dogs for the family.

They do well with other pets, although if you have birds you should protect them until you have instilled that hunting birds is a no-no. We hope that this English Setter vs Australian Shepherd article has helped you in deciding which of these dogs is best for your family.  

stuart and his dog

Family Dog Expert Author

Hi there! I’m Stuart, a devoted dog lover and family dog expert with over a decade of experience working with our furry companions. My passion for dogs drives me to share my knowledge and expertise, helping families build strong, loving bonds with their four-legged friends. When I’m not writing for SirDoggie, you’ll find me hiking, playing with my beautiful dog, or studying music.