Breeds Similar to Australian Shepherd

Aussies get confused for a lot of other breeds – and sometimes they’re not confused, but are linked in some way. Here’s a table showing you the ways these breeds relate to the Australian Shepherd

Australian Cattle Dog While these two breeds couldn’t really look much more different, people often confuse your dog for a “cattle dog” and this is really what they mean. ACDs are generally known for having a harder temperament than Aussies, being shorthaired, tailed, and being purely a tough cattle dog.
Bernese Mountain Dog This breed isn’t related to Aussies in the remotest way – developed totally separately, many Aussies (specifically black tris) are confused for this breed, especially if they are on the bigger end of the size spectrum. It’s rather surprising, considering how common Aussies are compared to Berners, but the mistake and comparison is a common one. Berners are mellow, easy going, hard working dogs.
Border Collie For the most part, aside from the tail, BCs and Aussies can be easily mistaken by the general public, and even by people familliar with the breed – the breed type so overlaps. Like Aussies, the BC has a breed split: the Australian Border Collie is known for a heavier build and coat – prized for use in the conformation ring, and the English Border Collie is prized for its working ability. It’s working breed club (linked to the left) eschews conformation or heavily regulating breed standards in hopes to avoid loss of the working BC to the show one.
Brittany Spaniel A sporting breed, red Aussies are often mistaken for Brittanys (again, funny because they are relatively more rare than Aussies these days) because of their general build, color, and docked tail. Brittanys look for birds like Aussies look for livestock, though both are fun, trainable breeds.
Catahoula Leopard Dog Confused for its coloration, the Catahoula possesses the merle and blue-eyed gene. An old American breed, they are used for hunting and herding tough livestock.
Collie Dogs with a lot of coat or the merle or tri pattern might be confused, but mostly the Collie is in this list because it shares some genetics with the Aussie – most notably some genetic health issues.
English Shepherd The similarity of this breed to the Aussie is almost indistinguishable. Developed in the Eastern US as a farm dog to the Aussie’s development in the West as a ranch dog, the ES has a few differences: a tail and merle is a disqualification.
German Koolie You won’t find Australian Shepherds in Australia unless they’ve been imported. What you will find is the German Koolie, a likely ancestor of today’s Aussie.
Hangin’  Tree Cowdog Not to be confused with the line of Aussies bearing the Hangin’ Tree name – the developer of that line ended up developing a breed and using an Australian Shepherd, Hangin’ Tree Black Bear in it. This breed was developed to be an overall American cattle dog.
McNab A tiny breed with no supporting organization that I know of – maybe not really known outside of California, these smooth-haired, compact versions of Border Collies have docked tails.
Miniature or Toy Australian Shepherd(North American Shepherd) A breed developed in the 1960s to encourage a smaller size of Aussie, it currently is split between two philosophies: a separate breed (which this site and all Aussie associations support) and a size variety. You can learn more about this here.
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Neat looking little yellow retrievers, they can be mistaken for light red Aussies.
Pyrenean Shepherd Most photos of Pyrs don’t look like Aussies, but some do. It’s speculated that they could have genetics in Aussies.

For more information on dogs possibly related to Aussies, the Las Rocosa site has a fabulous article.