Dog Breeds

Australian Shepherd Advantage and challenges

Advantages

  • Intelligent and easy-to-train
  • Very loyal and dependable
  • Athletic, tireless and eager worker
  • Great companion for the whole family

challenges

  • Very active and needs lots of exercise
  • Destructive if left alone too much
  • Needs early socialization
  • Lots of shedding

Australian Shepherd Physical Characteristics

Size

  • Medium 18-23 inches

Weight

  • 35 - 65 pounds

Coat

  • Medium-length coat, straight to slightly wavy

Colors

  • Blue merle, black, red merle and all red with or without white markings and/or copper points

Life Expectancy

  • 9-15 years
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Australian Shepherd Personality

The Australian Shepherd (Aussie) has been called the ideal farm and ranch dog - but you’re just as likely to see the Aussie serving as a seeing-eye dog, police dog, therapy dog at children’s homes or even as a sled dog. A wonderful and loyal pet for active and attentive families, this adaptable and hard-working breed is the 34th most popular registered with the AKC in the United States.

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Australian Shepherd History and General Information

History and Origin

Despite the name, the Australian Shepherd is an all-American dog. Its early ancestor was bred as a work dog for Basque sheepherders who came to the United Statesfrom Australiain the 1800s. Because the dog accompanied the Basque herdsmen from Australia, it eventually came to be known as the Australian Shepherd even though it was bred here domestically. After World War II, Aussies became popularly introduced to the general public through rodeos, horse shows, movies and television. This breed’s stamina, trainability and intelligence made it beloved by farmers and ranchers, and eventually its loyalty and colorful personality made it beloved by everybody else too.

General Information

Every Aussie needs a job to be happy – whether it’s chasing a ball, jogging with you, herding cattle (or the neighborhood kids!) or guarding your home. Obedience training comes easily to this breed, and it thrives on mental challenges. Keep in mind this dog wants to be with you at all times. If you’re watching TV, your Aussie will want to sit right next to you. If you’re taking an afternoon drive, your Aussie expects to come along. Make sure your Aussie gets plenty of exercise, stimulation and companionship – the last thing you want on your hands is a bored and destructive Aussie with an overabundance of time and pent-up energy to focus on tearing up your house or yard.

Reserved around strangers, your Aussie’s first impulse is to protect your family and property. Early socialization training is key to help prevent excessive shyness or aggressiveness. Typically, when in its comfortable element, this dog is a comedian that loves to entertain and express itself, and when given lots of regular exercise and loving attention, this versatile breed can adapt happily to many different settings.

Australian Shepherd Health

Health Ailments

Aussies are susceptible to hip dysplasia, eye problems and deafness.

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Australian Shepherd Community

Your Aussie

Send us pictures and stories about your pet.

Aussie Discussion Group

Get tips from other Aussie lovers – and submit a few ideas of your own.

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