Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) surveillance systems are generally not specifically designed to detect emerging resistances and usually focus primarily on resistance to individual drugs. Evaluating the diversity of resistance, using ecological metrics, allows the assessment of sampling protocols with regard to the detection of rare phenotypes, comprising combinations of resistances. Surveillance data of phenotypic AMR of Canadian poultry Salmonella Heidelberg and swine Salmonella Typhimurium var. 5- were used to contrast active (representative isolates derived from healthy animals) and passive (diagnostic isolates) surveillance and assess their suitability for detecting emerging resistance patterns. Although in both datasets the prevalences of resistance to individual antimicrobials were not significantly different between the two surveillance systems, analysis of the diversity of entire resistance phenotypes demonstrated that passive surveillance of diagnostic isolates detected more unique phenotypes. Whilst the most appropriate surveillance method will depend on the relevant objectives, under the conditions of this study, passive surveillance of diagnostic isolates was more effective for the detection of rare and therefore potentially emerging resistance phenotypes.