The Australian Shepherd!

The Australian Shepherd was so named as it made its way to the US through Australia, though it is originally from a breed of European dogs that served as companion to Basque shepherds exporting Merino sheep. It is believed that this breed was crossbred with the Collie, thus beginning the development of the Australian shepherd. This breed is quick, agile, muscular, and thus capable of carrying out a full day’s work, even if it means keeping up with boisterous sheep. It has a weatherproof double coat, with a straight or wavy outer coat of moderate length.

Some Quick Facts:


Life Expectancy:
12 to 15 years

Energy Level:
Average.

Living Conditions:
Good outdoor dog. Not great for apartments.

Barking:
Average

Exercise Needs:
Daily roaming and activity with mental component.

Breed Group:
Herding

Size:
Medium

Height:
18 to 23 inches

Weight:
40 to 65 pounds

Standard Hair Colors:
Solid black, solid liver or red, blue or liver merle.

National breed club:
United States Australian Shepherd Association

Australian Shepherd Skills

The modern Australian shepherd resulted from various crosses meant to make the breed more suitable for working on the harsh terrain of western America and Australia. The breed gained popularity in the 1950s as a trick dog in rodeos, and was eventually presented in motion pictures. These days, the breed is known to do well as a watchdog, as well as in competitive obedience, agility, conformation, retrieving, guarding, herding, and performing tricks. It is also known for its ability to assist in police work, narcotics detection, and search and rescue operations.

Australian Shepherd Personality

The smart and resilient Australian shepherd was developed to be an active dog breed, so a lack of physical and mental challenges can cause this breed to become a nuisance as a companion. Provided that it is trained and exercised regularly, this breed tends to be very loyal, obedient, affectionate and alert. Though it may express its tendency to herd by nipping smaller animals and children, it is quite protective and unfriendly with strangers.

Exercise Needs

A good mental and physical workout is essential for this breed, as well as a job that it can pour its efforts on.

Living Conditions

Apartment living is least favored for this breed, as it does best in a large yard. Outdoor living is possible with temperate climates, though it would be happier sharing space with its owners.

Grooming Requirements

Once or twice a week combing or brushing is recommended for this average shedder, while baths should be given as needed.

Health Issues

Some lines of this breed may be susceptible to blindness or deafness, as well as spinal deficiencies, as a breeding defect. Diseases commonly detected in this breed often affect the eyes or the hips. The breed is noted to be sensitive to ivermectin, so handlers must follow a prescribed safe dosage.

If you liked this dog…

...you might also like the Briard, an old French sheepdog breed that is also known for its superior abilities as a watchdog and defender, and that needs just as much social interaction as the Australian shepherd. .

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