The Australian Shepherd breed is a medium-sizes, agile and intelligent dog. Due to its energetic and hard-working character, They make great working and companion dogs. These dogs need a large space to meet their energetic needs and a loving family as they are also very affectionate and loyal.
In this AnimalWised breed sheet we are going to go through the origins, characteristics, care, health and more of the Australian Shepherd.
- Group I
- More than 31
Funnily enough, the Australian Shepherd has nothing to do with Australia. This breed's origin is thought to be Spain and then later developed in the Unites States in the 1800s.
Over time the Australian Shepherd demonstrated great qualities in guiding different types of livestock and became the dog of choice for many American shepherds and farmers.
After World War II the popularity of these dogs increased in North America. Today, the Australian Shepherd is very popular in much of the United States and in many European countries. They excel in canine sports such as agility and canine freestyle, but of course, they perform best in herding.
The Australian Shepherd is a muscular medium-sized dog. Males measure 48–58 cm (19–23 in) at the withers, and females measure 46–56 cm (18–22 in).They can weigh from 35 to 70 pounds (16 to 32 kg)They have a well proportioned body, although slightly longer than tall, with strong legs and beautiful hair.
Their coat is medium length with straight or slightly wavy hair. The accepted colors are the following: blue merle, black, red merle, red – all with or without white markings and/or tan markings. Their hair is short and smooth on the head, ears, front of forelegs and below the hocks.
Their ears are triangular and high set on their head. Their almond-shaped eyes can be brown, blue, amber or any variation or combination, including flecks and marbling.
The Australian Shepherd is an intelligent working dog with strong herding and guarding instincts. They are loyal companions and energetic working dogs. They are good natured and somewhat reserved in initial meetings.
Although these dogs are good guard dog this doesn't mean they are aggressive. In fact, these dogs tend to be friendly and loyal. Especially towards their human companion and their family. At first, they may be reserved when meeting someone new. However they will quickly trust their instincts and that person if they are friendly towards them. Socialising them from a young age will also help.
Australian Shepherds are intelligent dogs, meaning that you can easily train them and create a strong bond with good communication. With all of this being said, these dogs are well-tempered dogs that make a great companion dog for active families.
Caring for your Australian Shepherd isn't too difficult. When it comes to their hair, you'll want to groom it about twice a week to rid it from dead hairs and dirt. Baths are only necessary when they get dirty. Dental hygiene is also important so remember to brush your dog's teeth with canine toothpaste, never with human toothpaste as it is toxic for them. Learn more on our article about different ways to clean a dog's teeth.
As we've previously mentioned, these dogs are very energetic which means that they will need plenty of exercise. Ideally, at least one hour per day. These dogs also thrive living in a house with a garden, which allows them to run around when they have excessive energy.
Lastly, as with any other dog, it's very important to take your Australian Shepherd to the vet every 6-12 months for a checkup. Remember to also keep up with their vaccination and deworming schedule.
Australian Shepherd dogs are very intelligent dogs that will need more training than other dogs. This is because they may develop behavioral issues if not given enough cognitive challenges. The first step in training and educating your Australian shepherd is properly socializing them from a young age. This implies introducing them to new people, environments and other animals. We need to make sure these encounters are safe and enjoyable. This will help them maintain a balanced temperament as they grow.
Next, you can begin with simple commands. Make sure to always train your dog through positive reinforcement. This will help them feel motivated and loved during their training, creating a deeper bond between you and your dog. Once they have mastered some basic commands, you can move onto some dog sports and intelligence games.
Unfortunately, Australian Shepherds, like other shepherd dogs, are prone to certain hereditary diseases. These include: eye problems, hip dyspepsia, dermatitis, epilepsy, and more.
This is why it's so important to bring your dog for regular check-ups. This allows your veterinarian to detect any disease early on and be able to treat it before it gets serious.