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› Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherd

Australian ShepherdThe Australian Shepherd: Bold, Energetic, Confident and Made in the U.S.A.
TraitsRating
Playfulness
Affection Level
Friendliness Towards Strangers
Good with Children
Good with Other Dogs
Exercise Needed
Ease of Training
Watch Dog Ability
Grooming Requirements
Shedding
Cold Tolerant
Heat Tolerant

Understanding the Breeds at a Glance
Dog Breed Ratings Got You a Little Confused?

Here's a little help in understanding them

  • Playfulness:   Most Playful = 5    Least Playful = 1
  • Affection:  Most Affectionate = 5   Least Affectionate = 1
  • Friendliness Towards Strangers: Most Friendly = 5  Least = 1
  • Good With Children:  Great= 5    Not Good = 1
  • Good With Dogs:  Great = 5   Not Good Around Dogs = 1
  • Exercise Required:  Extensive Daily Exercise = 1  Minimal = 1
  • Ease of Training:  Very Easy = 5     Difficult = 1
  • Watch Dog:  Excellent Watch Dog = 5  Minimal = 1
  • Grooming:  Time Consuming = 5   Minimal = 1
  • Shedding:  Heavy Shedder = 5     Minimal = 1
  • Cold Tolerance:  Well Tolerated = 5   Poor Tolerance = 1
  • Heat Tolerance:  Well Tolerated = 5  Poor Tolerance = 1

Personality / Temperament

If you are in the market for a very laid-back, simple dog, then the Australian Shepherd is most likely not going to be your preferred cup of tea.

On the other hand, if you are ready to be the proud owner of an intelligent, affectionate dog who is equally as energetic as they are entertaining, the Australian Shepherd may, in fact, be the picture perfect pup for you.

Aussies are overall very well-rounded, having a broad range of skills, talents, and personality quirks.

Not only are Australian Shepherds known for their high level of mental abilities and capacities, but they also have the reputation of being very active and high-energy due to their natural herding instincts.

Aussies would be the ideal breed for people who want their pets to keep them young. These guys have a very playful personality that can be called entirely “puppy-like,” that they carry into their older years.

This is not a dog that you can expect to see taking a nap on the porch, or walking from room to room.

This is a very active breed, and if you are looking for a pet to keep you young and on your toes, look no further than the exuberant Australian Shepherd.

Aussies are best suited for people that are regularly active and have an on-the-go type lifestyle.

This is the kind of dog that needs regular exercise due to their intense herding instincts, and if that area is lacking, it can lead to an array of undesirable behavior issues that is not generally associated with a happy, healthy Aussie.

With that being said, Australian Shepherds not only require physical exercise, but also mental activity, which is just as important when it comes to maintaining both a healthy and happy pup

Much like a young child, Aussies love discovering new things, and they never stop learning.

There is always a brand new person, location, experience, etc. for these attentive little guys to explore and learn about.

Australian Shepherds are very versatile and get along well with even the loud and active children. It is important that if you have small children to be attentive to them since it is not uncommon for this breed to try and herd your small children.

Fortunately, that can be easily prevented with proper training and socialization of your pup. However, with all that being said, even though Aussies are fairly adaptable to most situations, this is not the best breed for an apartment dweller.

It is crucial that this breed gets a lot of exercise every day and has room to be active and athletic. Without the proper amount of exercise, this breed can develop severe behavioral problems.

Both mental and physical stimulation is extremely imperative to this breed, and neglect to either component can cause your sweet Aussie to become destructive and even aggressive.

Aside from setting aside designated exercise time, Australian Shepherds need to be physically and especially mentally stimulated around the clock.

At the very least they need something to keep them occupied because boredom can lead to those uncharacteristic behavior issues that no one wants. 

Due to the natural herding and working instinct that this breed was originally bred for, your Aussie will feel happiest and most content when they feel like they have a sense of purpose.

Australian Shepherds aim to make their owners happy and are always keen to please. They have almost a sixth sense when it comes to detecting what they can do to make their owner(s) happy.

It is important to remember that when your Aussie feels as if they have a sense of purpose as well as the ability to please their loved ones, they will thrive and be the happiest they can be.

If these instinctual needs or desires are neglected, then your Aussie will never be entirely content, which is unfair to both the dog and the dog owner.

At first glance, it may seem near impossible for someone to keep their Aussie happy while also juggling their own life demands, especially if there are multiple people intertwined.

Although it appears like you would have to take on the impossible to own an Australian Shepherd, luckily that is not the case at all. This is not a high maintenance breed, and with the proper physical and mental exercise, they will be the happiest dogs in the world.

Once a regular routine is in place, you will have already forgotten why you were worrying so much about the maintenance of your new best friend.

With proper care and meeting the needs of both you and your dog, you are going to have a loyal, affectionate best friend for life.

AKC Standard says…

“Temperament: The Australian Shepherd is an intelligent, active dog with an even disposition; he is good natured, seldom quarrelsome. He may be somewhat reserved in initial meetings.

Faults-Any display of shyness, fear or aggression is to be severely penalized.”

American Kennel Club

Australian Shepherds

History

One of the very first things you will come across while researching the Australian Shepherd’s origin, is that the name is quite misleading since the breed did not originate in Australia, as the name very clearly suggests.

Possible ancestors of the Australian Shepherd include bob-tailed and longhaired Collie- type dogs who actually do come from Australia.

Many people assume that to be the origin of the misleading name, Australian Shepherd.

Others think the name was coined due to the fact these dogs were closely associated with Basque shepherds who came to the United States from Australia during the 1800s.

Even though there are conjectures as to where the breed’s name originated, the factual history of the Australian Shepherd is relatively vague.

Aussies were selected for their work-ability instead of their bloodlines, which is why we have such naturally capable herding dogs today.

However, since there are not any reliable or traceable bloodlines within the history of this breed, it leaves a decent amount of their heritage up for interpretation.

Although there are many varying theories and speculations in circulation, it is most widely accepted that the Australian Shepherd most likely developed in the Basque region of the Pyrenees Mountains between Spain and France.

The breed was then said to have been transported and confined to the United States where they started to work as herding dogs on ranches and farms, and substantially any location where their excellent herding abilities would be put to good use. Aussies were then officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1991.

Currently they are number 17 in popularity in the United States


Vital Statistics

Weight: 

     Male: 50-65 lbs; 25-29 kg

     Female: 40-55 lbs; 18-25 kg

Height:

     Male: 20-23 in; 52-58 cm

     Female: 18-21 in; 46-53 cm

Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

Origin:  United States

Other Names: Aussie, Aussie Shepherd, Australian Sheepdog, Little Blue Dog

Colors & Markings

  • Black,
  • Blue Merle,
  • Red,
  • Red Merle

Markings:

  • White markings,
  • Tan points,
  • Tan Points, White Markings
Australian Shepherd

Ease of Training

The Australian Shepherd is the type of breed that revolves around training. Proper training can make or break the behavior and overall mood of your Aussie.

This is something that requires a lot of focus and dedication, as it should not be taken lightly. Since this is a herding breed, they are accustomed to being the dominant one, and it can be frustrating at times trying to teach them otherwise.

It is a good idea to start training your Aussie the day you bring it home.  Luckily, this is not a stubborn, hard-headed type of dog. Australian Shepherds are extremely intelligent and pairing that with their eagerness to learn and need to please, training is not as hard as you may have initially thought.

It is just important to get an early start since you are essentially teaching them that some of their natural born instincts are not to be tolerated. Early socialization is equally as important, especially because Aussies can tend to be reserved and hesitant toward strangers.

This is not an aggressive breed, therefore, if your pup has any aggressive tendencies such as growling at strangers or noises, it will not be hard to correct that because it is driven by fear and not actual anger.

As long as your dog knows that you are the owner and the master, training will not be too hard. Australian Shepherds respond the best to positive reinforcement and other positive training methods.

With the dedicated amount of time and patience from both you and your dog, training can be a very pleasant experience that bonds you and your furry friend even more.

Protection

Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherds are very devoted, loyal, and protective when it comes to their owners and family, making them natural born watchdogs.

Herding breeds usually have the tendency to have a prominent protective streak, and despite being very friendly and affectionate, the Aussie will alert to loud and sudden noises such as thunderstorms and fireworks.

With proper and very early training, your dog can be trained to ignore certain noises that may occur on a more regular basis, especially if your dog becomes more accustomed to the loud noises.

Without any noise phobias interfering with your pups watchdog abilities, Australian Shepherds will not fail to show off their courage when it comes to alerting their owner of any sounds that are out of the ordinary.

Grooming the Australian Shepherd

Fortunately, this is not a breed that requires an extensive amount of grooming or bathing.

Aussies have medium length coats and are average shedders. Therefore, an occasional brushing with a firm comb or bristle brush will be entirely adequate for this breed.

The brushing will help lift and remove a lot of the dead hair that just sits on the coat, preventing any excess hair from covering the entirety of your furniture and clothing.

Heavy shedding occurs only twice a year, during the fall and the spring. During those heavier shedding periods, more frequent and regular brushing and/or bathing are recommended, but on a day-to-day basis Australian Shepherds only need bathing when necessary.

Even though grooming is relatively low maintenance, it is important not to neglect routine check-ups of the eyes, ears, nails, and teeth.

Occasionally check to make sure there is not any buildup of dirt or earwax in the ears, and regularly trim your Aussie’s nails to prevent cracking and overgrowth.

Brush your Aussie's teeth as often as is possible to prevent dental tarter buildup and expensive veterinary dental bills.

If you have any urgent concerns, contact your veterinarian or local animal ER immediately.

Health Concerns

The Australian Shepherd is a reasonably healthy breed, but like all dogs, is subjected to some inherited disorders. 

Read more

Reference and Further Reading

Before choosing a breed, we always recommend that you read as much as you can to help you make the best choice for you.  The following books are available on Amazon and will give you a broader view of the breed. 


Other Resources

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