Australian Shepherd Description
The coat should be somewhat wavy, and it will protect the dog from extreme weather conditions. The length and texture of the coat are dependent on the climate. These dogs will have bobtails that are docked. The length of the Australian Shepherd should be a bit longer than its height. The chest should be powerful, and both of the front legs should be straight. It is mandatory for owners to remove the back dewclaws, while the front dewclaws may or may not be removed. The teeth should form a scissors bite, and the acceptable colors for the coat include liver, black, or blue merle.
The interesting thing about this breed is that it was not bred in Australia. It is actually a breed that was first bred in the United States to work on ranches in the 19th Century.
Ask any Australian Shepherd owner to describe their pet, and they will most likely present you with a list of wonderful characteristics. However, this breed is not for everyone.
The Australian Shepherd, affectionatly called the "Aussie", is a member of the herding family. Despite its name, the breed originally hails from the Basque region of Spain. Because of their tremendous herding ability, they have long been used by farmers to herd sheep and cattle. This herding instinct is one which carries over into domestic, non-working situations, as any Aussie owner will tell you!
The Aussie is a medium sized dog, averaging forty-five pounds. Their coloring can range from a black-bi (black with white markings, for example), to a blue merle (beautiful blue-grey tint), and even red. Their ears are triangular, folding downwards when relaxed and perked almost upright when alert. Their coat is shiny and medium length over most of their body, although thicker and longer around the neck and behind their legs. Their eyes are bright and engaging, and show obvious interest in the world around them. The tail is normally docked.
Professional breeders of the Australian Shepherd guard jealously over the purity and integrity of the breed. They are knowledgable about things such as which color combinations are compatible to breed...an important factor. It is known that certain mixes produce litters which may be prone to genetic flaws such as predisposition to blindness. Because of the complexity of issues surrounding breeding of the Aussie, and the desire to maintain pure lineages, it is recommended that breeding of Australian Shepherds be left in the hands of professional breeders.
This is an exceptionally intelligent breed, requiring stimulation to avoid boredom. This is not a breed that does well spending vast quantities of time alone, as they prefer the company of their owners. As with all dogs, if an Aussie becomes bored, they may develop unwelcome behaviors, such as chewing furniture or digging up the yard.
The Aussie displays incredible agility, and they are full of energy. This breed requires plenty of daily excercise, and it should be noted that it is not uncommon for an Aussie to scale fences upwards of six feet high. Many Aussie owners channel their dogs natural athletic ability into such events as agility competitions. The Australian Shepherd is very intelligent and eager to please. This combination of characteristics make the Aussie relatively easy to train, and consequently, they are commonly used on television and in the movies!
They are a loyal breed, thriving on companionship. They tend to be somewhat reserved around strangers, and are known to be territorial. (Though not usually aggressive) It is important to socialize these animals at an early age, to ensure ease in social situations as they grow older.
The Aussie is usually very good with children, making it an excellent family dog. One of the traits of the Aussie is a desire to be near their owners. It is common for an Aussie to spend a vast majority of their time herding everything from their owners to children, and even small animals and cars!
While being continuously followed by a pet may be endearing to some, others may find it annoying, and ultimately these owners may decide an Aussie is not for them after all.
Prior to purchasing an Australian Shepherd, it is important to evaluate your lifestyle to determine whether this is the right breed for you. If you feel that you have sufficient time on your hands to invest in providing a quality home for this breed, an Aussie makes a wonderful pet!
Also Known As
The Australian shepherd is a joyful breed that loves to play. It has large amounts of courage and is great with children. These dogs are protective of those that care for them and make good watchdogs. While they are loving and calm with humans, they can be aggressive when they are dealing with cattle. These dogs are extremely intelligent and need to be mentally stimulated. If they are left alone for long periods of time, they can become problematic. They are cautious with strangers, and owners will want to train them while they’re young.
These dogs are prone to becoming blind and deaf. It is important for buyers to check the hearing of the puppy before they make a purchase. The bobtails of these dogs have been known to cause spinal problems. Nasal solar dermatitis is another problem that owners will want to watch for. The Australian Shepherd has a maximum life expectancy of 15 years.
These dogs need extensive amounts of exercise, and this is not optional for owners who want them to behave properly. If the Australian Shepherd isn’t given the exercise it needs, it can develop a large number of behavioral problems. This breed is not good for apartment dwellers. They will need to be placed in a large yard.
Special Grooming Needs
The coat of these dogs is simple to care for. Owners will want to use a brush whenever it is needed, and these dogs should rarely have to be bathed. The Australian Shepherd will shed a standard amount of fur.