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Australian Shepherd

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Australian Shepherd Facts

  • Group
  • Herding
  • Affiliations
  • UKC, CKC, AKC
  • Height
  • 18" - 23" (45.7 - 58.4cm)
  • Weight
  • 35 - 60lbs (15.8 - 27kg)
  • Lifespan
  • 14 years | Add yours

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  • Exercise Requirement
  • High - This breed requires vigorous daily activity
  • Training Requirement
  • Average Training Time
  • Grooming Requirement
  • Easy
  • Colors
    • Red
    • Blue-Merle
    • Black
    • White / Liver
     
  • Breed Characteristics
    • Can be trained as a watch dog or guard dog
    • Good with children
    • Ok outdoors
    • Should sleep indoors
 

True Cost Of Ownership

Alternate Names

The Australian Shepherd is also known as Aussie.

Origin

Despite its name, the Australian Shepherd was developed in the western United States.

Date Of Origin

The Australian Shepherd originated in 1920.

History

Although the Australian Shepherd is believed to have originated in the Basque regions of Spain and France, the breed was actually developed by American farmers and ranchers in the early 1920's. Originally bred as a working shepherd suitable for the varied climate of California, the Australian Shepherd has adapted superbly to both family life and work as a service dog.

The Australian Shepherds became very popular with western ranchers and farmers due to their versatility, hardiness, and ability to master any job required of them. Limitations for the breed didn't end with farm work, Jay Sisler's rodeo performances helped bring the breed to the public's attention in the 1950's, where his Australian Shepherds performed amazing tricks.

It is not clear where the name "Australian" came from, although it is possible that many of the dogs coming from Australia were blue merle and the adjective "Australian" became associated with any dogs of that coat color. [citation needed]

The Australian Shepherd was recognized by the UKC in 1979 and by the AKC in 1991.

Description

The Australian Shepherd is a medium sized athletic dog that is longer than it is tall. It has a strong head with a slightly rounded skull. The muzzle is equal in length or slightly shorter than the back skull. The almond shaped eyes can be brown, blue, amber, or any combination, including flecks or marbling. Triangular drop ears are set high on the head; they break forward when the dog is at attention. The straight tail is naturally bobbed or docked. It should not exceed 4". The medium length double coat may be straight or slightly wavy. It is feathered at the back of the legs, thighs and neck. The coat can be blue merle, red merle, black, or red, with or without white markings and tan points.

Temperament

The Australian Shepherd is an intelligent dog with a strong work drive. It is highly trainable and loyal to its family. The Australian Shepherd makes a good watchdog because it is wary with strangers but never aggressive. Playful and fun loving the Australian Shepherd is good with other children and other dogs, although it may try to herd them. While it is affectionate and playful, the Australian Shepherd still maintains a basic working instinct. It has a strong prey drive and is not always trustworthy with small animals.

As a breed developed to work hard, the Australian Shepherd needs thorough daily exercise. Running alongside a bicycle, going for a jog, frisbee, agility training, or other dog sports can all be a part of their daily activity. Australian Shepherds will also need a job to keep themselves busy and important.

Socialization and puppy kindergarten class is important for Australian Shepherds as they are naturally reserved with strangers. As puppies, Australian Shepherds need to be exposed to people of different sizes, ages, and ethnic backgrounds. Continuing training and development after the puppy basics is vital to teach household rules and good social behavior.

Uses

The Australian Shepherd is still used for farm work, herding, and as a companion and has adapted well to both family life and work as a service dog. The Australian Shepherd has also shown a great proficiency in search and rescue.

Health Concerns

Potential health concerns for the Australian Shepherd include collie eye anomaly, deafness, and hip dysplasia.

Additional Information

The Australian Shepherd does best with active owners, in rural or suburban settings, that will provide a job and sufficient exercise. Australian Shepherds rarely do well when left alone in the house with nothing to do for many hours, and may get into trouble.

Grooming for the Australian Shepherd includes brushing at least 2 times weekly, possibly daily brushing during high-shedding times such as spring and fall. Tangles (matting) can form in the soft coat behind the ears or on the back legs and must be worked out with a comb as soon as they form to avoid more complex matting - usually requiring the assistance of a professional groomer. This coat requires only minor thinning and regular bathing, but no trimming. Shedding volume for a healthy Australian Shepherd is moderate year round.

Show Sources & Contributors +

Sources

The New Encyclopedia of the Dog

Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 2000

Website: http://www.dk.com

Author: Bruce Fogle

Dog Bible

Publisher: BowTie Press, 2005

Website: http://www.bowtiepress.com/bowtie/

Authors: Kristin Meuh-Roe, Jarelle S. Stein

The Howell Book Of Dogs

Publisher: Wiley Publishing Inc, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Author: Liz Palika

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