How To Tell If an Australian Shepherd is Purebred [With Images]

How to tell if an Australian shepherd is purebred

Who doesn’t love the affectionate, intelligent, and active Australian Shepherd breed? But, it’s crucial to own a purebred Aussie to avoid unexpected problems.

So, how can you tell if an Australian Shepherd is purebred? Examining its appearance, body size and shape, coat, coat color, eye color, ears, tail, head, and behavior is essential. Checking pedigree papers and performing a DNA test are also recommended methods.

Whether you’re getting an Aussie puppy or a grown one, there are always several essential things you need to consider. So, let’s dive right in and figure out how to identify an original Aussie.

How to Identify a Purebred Australian Shepherd

Before we get into the article, I want to share with you several crucial points that you have to keep in mind when buying a new Aussie. Which is there are tons of scam breeders out there who are capable of deceiving any person. Do not fall prey to such swindlers.

Because getting a purebred Aussie is crucial since we can recognize several health issues along with other behavioral problems that come with mixed Aussies, we will keep that question at the end of the article. So, ensure to read the whole article.

  1. Consider their general appearance.
  2. Look at their body size and shape.
  3. Examine their coat.
  4. Examine their head.
  5. Observe how the dog stand.
  6. Consider their ears.
  7. Check out their eyes.
  8. Examine their tail.
  9. Observe their behavior.

The general appearance of a purebred Australian shepherd.

Usually, Aussies are very intelligent working dogs, and they can do a wide variety of jobs, including eye dogs, drug-sniffing dogs, search and rescue dogs, and hearing dogs. In fact, they have very strong herding and guarding instincts.

In general, Aussies are incredibly energetic dogs that have the capability to work all day without any problem. They are affectionate and remarkably loyal dogs in the canine world.

Or course, original Australian shepherds have a well-balanced body. But the tall of the dog is relatively shorter than the length. Aussies are considered medium-sized dogs with different colored bodies.

So, let’s figure out every possible feature of an original Australian shepherd.

Look at their body size and shape.

This is one of the essential things you wanna consider. As we discussed earlier, Aussies are considered medium-sized dogs. But, having good awareness about their weight and height is very important.

GenderHeight (cm)Weight (Kg)
Male 51 – 5825 – 32
Female46 – 5416 – 25

In fact, Aussies have a solid and sturdy built body.

The coat of purebred Australian shepherd.

The main features of their coat are,

  • Straight to wavy.
  • Medium length.
  • Weather-resistant.
  • Usually medium texture hair.
  • Multi-colored coat with exciting and dynamic color combinations.
  • Smooth.
  • Thick.

Do you know what the outstanding feature of their coat is? Their coat is water-resistant, which helps a lot to play and work all over the day without worrying about either rain or shine.

We can see that their fur is well pronounced back of both fore and hind legs. The thickness of their undercoat is usually varied with the climate.

Purebred Australian shepherd dogs have a well-defined mane and frill than batches. This is one of the recognizable features of Aussies.

See how their coat is spread out.

So, there are seven main color variations we can expect from them when it comes to coat colors. They are,

  • Black
  • Red
  • Merle
  • Blue merle
  • Red merle.
  • Red tricolor.
  • Black tricolor.

Besides these coat colors, we can identify three main markings. Those markings can be applied to any of the colors mentioned earlier. So, here are they,

  • White markings.
  • Tan points.
  • Both.

The head of an original Australian shepherd.

When it comes to their head, you can easily recognize that it should be well proportional to the body. In fact, their head can be defined as,

  • Dry.
  • Clean cut.
  • Strong.

Examine their head, muzzle, The shape of the skull, nose, and everything that belongs to their head.

If we compare the length of the muzzle and the back skull, I would like to say that the muzzle length is almost equal to the back skull length.

If you look closely, you can recognize that their noses are rounded at the tip, and muzzle tapers are slightly little from base to their nose.

Observe how the Aussie stands.

If you check out the following image, you will recognize that their hind legs are slightly extended to the back of their body. When you look at the dog from the side, the angle between the hind legs and the belly shouldn’t be like 90 degrees. It should be larger than that.

Usually, they give an impression of a strong neck and flat back as they stand on the ground.

Recommended reading: Do Australian shepherds drink a lot of water?

The ears of purebred Australian shepherds.

Usually, original Aussies have folded-down ears, but more importantly, they don’t seem floppy. If you check the above images very carefully, you can see that the ears are connected almost high on Aussie’s head.

The shape of the ears is triangular, and mostly they have rounded points. But it is a kind of a controversial matter when it comes to figuring out if they have upright ears or folded ears.

The eyes of original Aussies.

Many Aussies have multi-color eyes. They have large eyes, and all Aussies don’t have multi-color eyes. This condition (When they have a different color in each eye or different colors in the same look) is called heterochromia.

Look at their different eye colors.

These dogs can have a mix of any of the following eye colors.

  • Brown. (In most cases)
  • Green.
  • Yellow.
  • Blue.
  • Orange.

Examine their tail.

In general, Australian shepherds have bushy, bobbed tails. Check out the tail and head are at the same level when both keep upwards.

In fact, Check its tail as he holds it upright. If you can see an arc shape upwards, that Aussie can be a purebred one.

Observe the behavior of an original Australian shepherd.

The very first thing you wanna look for is their herding behavior. They can herd any kind of farm animals, just like Border collies. Aussies can herd even chickens.

They are incredibly protective dogs, and well-trained Aussies would love to follow your commands without any stubbornness or behavioral issue.

One of the main issues with them is they tend to herd you or other people as they don’t have any other animals. Basically, this happens due to their natural instincts to herd animals. So, you shouldn’t let it happen.

As we discussed earlier, Aussies are extremely energetic canines and won’t satisfy with 30 min walks. So, if your Aussie is well trained to be off leash, that will be so beneficial to burn off some of their energy.

If the dog requires strenuous exercises, activities to keep him calm throughout the day, that’s a positive sign of a purebred Australian shepherd.

How to identify a purebred Australian shepherd puppy?

Now you know how to identify an original grown Aussie. Usually, most people would love to own a puppy rather than owning a grown Aussie except the situations where you get the dog from a humane society or rescue group.

If you wish to find an Aussie puppy, I would like to recommend you get a puppy at least two months old. When an Aussie puppy turned around two months old mark, the appearance is almost the same as a grown one (Besides the weight and height)

Since the puppies aren’t socialized well yet and don’t have basic obedience training, some behaviors may change from grown Aussies. But, when it comes to energy level, we can expect a higher level when compared with other breeding puppies.

As we discussed, their body structure, head shape, coat colors, eye colors, and everything is almost the same as grown Aussies. Because of that, it seems a little bit hard to figure out if an Aussie puppy is purebred or not.

That’s why I have several important tactics that can be used to do that. Let’s understand what is under the next subtitle.

Other methods to tell if an Australian shepherd is purebred.

Obviously, we can easily figure out if an Aussie purebred by using above mentioned methods. But the situation is a little bit difficult when it comes to choosing an original Aussie puppy. So, here are some other ways you can possibly try.

  • Check if the Australian shepherd has pedigree papers
  • Do a DNA test
  • Consult a veterinarian.

Check if the Australian shepherd has pedigree papers.

It doesn’t matter where you gonna buy the dog, you must ask about the pedigree papers of the dog. This is one of the essential points you wanna consider since there are so many fraud dog breeders out there that are smart enough to fool away people very easily.

If the breeder cannot show the pedigree papers, I wouldn’t recommend buying that particular puppy. But if you do, you will have to face loads of problems down the line.

The other point I wanna mention here is that there are many pedigree paper registration organizations out there. So, you got to check if the organization is a well-recognized one.

Do a DNA test

This is also one of the promised methods that will definitely tell you if the Aussie is purebred or not. Even though the name seems very Serious, this process is pretty much straightforward.

This can be done with two different methods.

  • Perform an at-home DNA test.
  • Perform the DNA testing with a veterinarian.

Perform an at-home DNA test.

This method is really excellent and straightforward. But, you got to spend some money on this. But it’s so worthwhile than owning a non-purebred Aussie.

So, here are the steps you have to follow to perform an at-home DNA test.

  • Place the order for a DNA kit from a well-recognized company. This can be done online.
  • Take the swam from the DNA kit.
  • This step is essential. Get a sample from your Aussie’s cheek cells.
  • After that, package the pack and mail it by following the instructions given in the DNA kit.

Perform DNA testing with a vet.

If the DNA testing requires blood samples, never ever try to do this on your own. So, getting some help from your vet is recommended.

It doesn’t matter what method you have performed. It always takes several weeks to receive the results. But this time may vary depending on several factors.

If your Australian shepherd is a purebred one, you don’t wanna worry too much. The result will be given in the results paper as 100%.

But, if you own a mixed Aussie, you will receive a percentage value by considering their pureness. But, you do wanna understand that they will provide an approximate value. It is never gonna 100% accurate.

Disadvantages of owning a not purebred Australian shepherd.

There are several disadvantages of owning mixed Aussies. Let’s figure out some of the main drawbacks.

  1. Difficult to predict their adult size
  2. Hard to predict the future temperament of your Aussie.
  3. Congenital or genetic health issues

Difficult to predict their adult size

I hope now you have a good awareness of their size and weight. We already discussed that Aussies are medium-sized dogs.

But, what if the dog became too small than it’s supposed to be? It’s a real matter, isn’t it?

Hard to predict the future temperament of your Aussie.

We have discussed what’s the Aussie’s temperament is looks like. If you hope to buy an Aussie for some extra protection, mixed Aussies cannot guarantee that they are gonna good protectors as they mature.

In fact, if you own a farm and looking forward to buying an Aussie to herd and guard animals, what will happen if you buy a mixed Aussie? Sometimes that dog won’t exhibit natural herding instincts as it is supposed to do.

I hope now you can understand that you will have to face loads of unexpected problems in the future if you just buy a non-purebred Aussie.

Congenital or genetic health issues

Some people say that cross-breeding dogs tend to produce much stronger and healthier dogs. But, the problem is there is no such scientifically proven way to confirm that statement.

So, bear in mind that mixed Aussies might exhibit several serve health issues, including genetic problems as they get older. But, This doesn’t mean that it will always happen.

Things to be aware

I hope now you have proper awareness about how to tell if an Australian shepherd is purebred. But, you need to understand that there are several other essential factors you wanna keep in mind. So, let’s find out what they are.

  • Suppose the pup that you are gonna buy is a purebred one. You still have something essential to consider. Check out if the parents are merle dogs. If so, that puppy is more likely to have a genetic problem, including deafness or blindness.
  • If you figured out that your dog is not a purebred one, don’t discriminate against him. Treat the dog as you used to do. In fact, you got to consult a veterinarian as soon as possible and check if it has some potential health issues. If so, you can take action.


How doesn’t like to own these affectionate, protective, devoted furry friends? But, owning a purebred Australian shepherd is also really important. So, this article is a pack of information about this particular matter. I hope you found this helpful. Have a nice day.

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