breed
breed

Australian Shepherd

avatarChristy McDowell, LVT, VTS (ECC)

Height18-23"
Weight40-60 lbs
TypeHerding
Life Expectancy12-13 years
Area of OriginUnited States

Energy Level

Playfulness

Friendliness to dogs

Friendliness to strangers

exercise requirements

affection level

friendliness to other pets

watchfulness

Grooming Requirements

Vocality

The Australian Shepherd is a working dog, and has been the cowboy's herding dog of choice since they came to America in the late 1800s. They are active, friendly, and can be the perfect family pet, if owners understand their special needs. Australian Shepherds are a loyal, protective breed that is ready to work at any moment. They will do almost anything to please their owners and are extremely intelligent and easily trainable.  

Energy Level

Playfulness

Friendliness to dogs

Friendliness to strangers

exercise requirements

affection level

friendliness to other pets

watchfulness

Grooming Requirements

Vocality

Where Are Australian Shepherds From?

The Australian Shepherd, despite the name, is an American-bred dog developed in California for controlling large flocks of sheep. Another name for the breed is the Australian Shepherd Dog or the Aussie, for short. The breed came about when the Pyrenean Sheep Dog, which was taken to Australia by European Basque farmers to control large flocks of sheep, was crossed with the Collie in the mid to late 19th Century.

The breed was thought to be purely Australian, which inspired the name, although the true origin is European. The main development of the breed took place on American ranches over the following years, creating the modern animal we know today. The exact breeds that were used to develop the modern-day Australian Shepherd are unknown, but believed to be the Smithfield, Collie, and Border Collie.

In the 21st Century, Aussies are still used to herd flocks all over the world and have even branched out into field trial competitions, narcotics detection work, hearing service for the deaf, search and rescue work, and Frisbee displays.

Where Are Australian Shepherds From?

The Australian Shepherd, despite the name, is an American-bred dog developed in California for controlling large flocks of sheep. Another name for the breed is the Australian Shepherd Dog or the Aussie, for short. The breed came about when the Pyrenean Sheep Dog, which was taken to Australia by European Basque farmers to control large flocks of sheep, was crossed with the Collie in the mid to late 19th Century.

The breed was thought to be purely Australian, which inspired the name, although the true origin is European. The main development of the breed took place on American ranches over the following years, creating the modern animal we know today. The exact breeds that were used to develop the modern-day Australian Shepherd are unknown, but believed to be the Smithfield, Collie, and Border Collie.

In the 21st Century, Aussies are still used to herd flocks all over the world and have even branched out into field trial competitions, narcotics detection work, hearing service for the deaf, search and rescue work, and Frisbee displays.

Care

What Kind of Diet Does An Australian Shepherd Need?

The Australian Shepherd does well on any veterinarian-approved, high-quality dog food. If you train your Aussie with treats, use caution not to offer too many as they can be prone to obesity.

Caring for an Australian Shepherd

What Kind of Diet Does An Australian Shepherd Need?

How Often Should You Groom An Australian Shepherd?

What Kind of Health Problems Do Australian Shepherds Have?

Can You Train an Australian Shepherd?

How Much Exercise Does an Australian Shepherd Need?

What Kind of Diet Does An Australian Shepherd Need?

The Australian Shepherd does well on any veterinarian-approved, high-quality dog food. If you train your Aussie with treats, use caution not to offer too many as they can be prone to obesity.

What Are the Physical Characteristics of an Australian Shepherd?

Australian Shepherds are medium sized; the average height is 18 – 23 inches and the average weight is 40 – 60 pounds. The most noticeable feature of the Aussie is their eyes, which can be solid or any combination of blue, brown, amber, or hazel.

The gaze is keen, but friendly, and the eyes can be brown, blue, or amber in color. The ears are triangular and set high on the head. Overall, the Australian Shepherd’s head is proportionate in size to the body.

The Australian Shepherd is of medium size and sports tremendous balance.

No. At birth, the tail shoots straight up or is naturally bobbed. The tail is docked specifically for competition, where it should be no longer than 4 inches.

The shoulders are close together and slung back. The forearm runs the length of the shoulder blade. Typically, dewclaws in the front are clipped to avoid future injury.

Australian Shepherd hair is medium textured. The coat is weather proof, but the undercoat varies based on climate. Hair on most of the body is shorter and relatively smooth, except the forelegs, which are feathered. Acceptable colors are blue merle, black, red merle, and red.

Hindquarters are the same width as the forequarters. Rear dewclaws are removed to prevent injury and according to the breed standard.

Australian Shepherd Facts

1

The breed is usually silent, but may occasionally make a noise that is somewhere between a bark and a howl.

2

They are extremely active and love to work, but will become destructive if not tasked with a job or allowed to exercise.

3

The popularity of the Aussie breed increased after WWII, when they were featured in Western-themed films and television programs.

Other Breeds to Explore

Border Collie
Choosing a Bearded Collie
Choosing an Australian Cattle Dog

References

  • Morris, Desmond. Dogs: The Ultimate Dictionary of Over 1,000 Dog Breeds. Trafalgar Square, 2002.
  • American Kennel Club. The Complete Dog Book. Random House Digital, Inc., 2006.
  • Wilcox, Bonnie and Chris Walkowicz. The Atlas of Dog Breeds of the World. T.F.H Publications, Inc., 1995.

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