The Australian shepherd is a medium-sized working dog with a lot of energy. Despite the name “Australian,” the breed is likely to have originated in the United States. Breed experts believe this collie/shepherd mix was brought to the United States with sheep or laborer from Australia. The breed is extraordinarily agile, clever, devoted, and hardworking.
Despite its reputation as a herding dog, the Aussie is skilled in a variety of sports. They’re common on the rodeo circuit and are often connected with the cowboy lifestyle. However, the breed also makes a great companion dog for people with a lot of energy.
The Australian shepherd dog breed originated in the United States. Basque immigrants from the Pyrenees of northeastern Spain/southwestern France travelled to the American West to herd sheep in the mid-nineteenth century, bringing dogs with them. The moniker “Australian shepherd” may have referred to those who moved to the United States after initially working in Australia, or it may have referred to the origin of the sheep herds, but this is unclear.
These dogs are not recognized as a native breed in Australia. The dogs were reared and developed by ranchers in the United States as livestock herders and farm laborers. They thrive at higher latitudes, such as the Rocky Mountains, the Sierra Nevada, and the high plains where ranchers pastured their livestock. After WWII, the breed became well-known due to the popularity of Western movies, television series, and rodeos.
Aussie fans and breeders have worked tirelessly to preserve the breed’s origins. The American Kennel Club (AKC) first recognized Aussies in 1991. Miniature Australian shepherds were produced, and the breed was recognized as miniature American shepherds in 2012.
The Australian Shepherd has a thick double coat made up of a woolly inner coat and a lengthier, wavy to straight waterproof outer coat. The inner coat is light in warm areas, but thickens in colder or damper climates. The fur on the face and legs is short, but there is longer feathering on the rear of the front and hind legs.
The coat colors range from tri-color of black, tan or red and white to solid black, solid red or blue or red merle colors. White markings are often found on the chest, face and feet. The male Australian Shepherd weighs about 50 to 65 pounds, while the females weigh around 40 to 55 pounds.
- Weight: 20 to 32 kg
- Coat Length: Long
- Amount of shedding: Medium
- Color: Black, tan or red & white (Tricolor), solid red, solid blue, and red merle
- Pattern: Tricolor, solid and merle
The Australian Shepherd requires a lot of action to be happy and pleased because it is a working dog. When raised from puppies, the breed is wonderful with children. Because the Australian Shepherd is a herding dog, it will frequently want to herd children, pets, and other animals, thus train early to avoid nipping. This breed also gets along nicely with cats and is not often aggressive.
The Australian Shepherd, a loving family dog, is a natural watchdog, however it is too friendly to be a guard dog. Even though the Australian Shepherd enjoys being around people, it is self-sufficient enough to tolerate being alone during the day as long as it has enough of toys and area to exercise.
- Lifespan: 13 to 15 years
- Active: High
- Intelligence: High
- Vocalize: High
Responsible breeders have strived to maintain the highest quality breed standards as set by kennel clubs such as AKC. Dogs bred according to these standards tend to inherit genetic diseases. Among the diseases that need to be considered include:
- Progressive retinal atrophy: An eye condition characterized by retinal degradation that causes reduced vision and, in severe cases, blindness.
- Hip dysplasia is a disorder in which the hip sockets do not form properly
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