Australian Shepherds, sometimes referred to as Aussies, are an extremely intelligent, energetic, and loyal breed of dog that loves spending time with their owners playing and exploring new terrains. They require lots of activity and enjoy owners that are just as active as they are. Additionally, their high energy level and obedience make them excellent working dogs.
Personality Of The Australian Shepherd
Australian Shepherds are usually described as being highly intelligent, active, protective, playful, and extremely loyal to their human counterparts. They are very energetic dogs that retain a strong herding instinct within them. If you have small children, you may find your Aussie trying to herd them or other small pets.
Australian Shepherds require a lot of activity due to their energetic personality; if they do not receive enough physical activity, they may become destructive within your home and develop behavior problems in the future.
These dogs are known for their high level of stamina. In addition, they are extremely loving dogs that are responsive to obedience training and love learning new tricks with their owners. With the proper training and enough physical activity, they will be utterly devoted and obedient for life. Aussies tend to be more reserved when it comes to people or animals that they do not know as they have an instinctive protective nature. However, with proper socialization and introduction, they are very loving dogs and love meeting new people and animals; they view them as more people to play with!
Australian Shepherds form a deep bond with their owners and are usually very protective of them. You may notice that your Aussie never wants to leave your side, as it feels an instinctive need to protect you from an external danger that may arise.
Appearance Of The Australian Shepherd
Australian Shepherds are medium-sized dogs that have a somewhat athletic body type. These dogs are usually around 18 to 23 inches tall and are known to weigh between 35 to 70 pounds. There is some dimorphism between the male and female dogs of this breed. Female Aussies, on average, are between 18 to 21 inches, while males are on average between 20 and 23 inches. However, individual dogs may exceed these standard measurements.
The Australian Shepherd has a coat that is somewhat long and wavy. They have a thick double coat that has a dense undercoat that is much softer than their coarse upper coat. The hair on their face is much shorter than on their body. In addition, the coat tends to feather on the back of the legs and under the dog’s belly.
Aussies are known for displaying unique colorations on their coats. However, the breed standard allows for blue merle, red merle, solid black, and solid red. These color variations can be with or without white markings and with or without tan points.
History And Origin Of The Australian Shepherd
Despite its name, the Australian Shepherd is not actually an Australian breed of dog. Instead, the Aussie came to the United States by way of Australia. There are multiple theories that claim to be the truth as to where the Aussie came from. One of these popular theories is that the breed originated in the 1800s when the Basque people of Europe settled in Australia.
These settlers brought with them their sheep as well as their sheepdogs. Soon after settling in Australia, many of these people moved to the United States, along with their dogs and sheep. People in America soon after coined the term Australian Shepherds to refer to the dogs that they brought with them; even though these dogs did not originate in Australia.
In addition, Aussies descend from pastoral dogs that were taught to herd Spanish flocks in North American as early as the 1500s. Some researchers claim that the Australian Shepherd also descends from the Carea Leones, which was a mountain sheepdog with eye color similar to that of the Aussie.
The Australian Shepherd that we know today likely developed from a variety of herding dogs that were brought to California around the early 1800s. These dogs quickly gained popularity and spread across the United States due to their working qualities.
Until the late 20th century, the Australian Shepherd was mainly only used within the livestock industry. It was not until the late 1900s that this dog worked its way into the homes and hearts of other people. This fame is largely due to Jay Lister, a rodeo performer, wowing crowds with the Australian Shepherd across the United States.
Caring For And Training Your Australian Shepherd
It is important to provide you Australian Sheepdog with daily exercise to prevent excessive weight and other negative health conditions. This regular exercise can include daily walks on a leash, playing in the yard, or simply going to the park to play a game of fetch.
This working breed requires little in terms of grooming. An occasional brushing is all you need to do to keep their coat clean and odor-free. Australian Shepherds shed their coats once a year. To prevent hair from ending up all over your house, you should frequently brush your dog during this period as well as provide them with a bath to remove excess hair. As with all dogs, they also need regular attention to their nails, teeth, and ears to prevent infection and health problems.
The Australian Shepherd is a very intelligent and responsive dog that does well with obedience training. They need structure in their lives and an owner that is willing to provide them with tasks to do to prevent boredom. Frequent physical activity and mental stimulation are required to keep the breed from becoming bored and tearing up your house. This also prevents the dog from becoming frustrated and developing behavior problems.
Common Health Issues Of The Australian Shepherd
Every dog has the potential to develop genetic health problems as well as inherit specific diseases from its parents. This is why it is important to work with a reputable breeder that keeps the health of the dogs in mind while breeding. It is important that dogs are genetically tested for certain diseases and provided with the proper vaccinations before adoption.
The Australian Shepherd is a relatively healthy breed if it receives proper care from its owner. This includes feeding them a diet high in healthy protein. The Aussie has an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years and is prone to some minor health issues, including iris coloboma, nasal solar dermatitis, hypothyroidism, and hip dysplasia. Some more serious diseases and illnesses that are found in this breed are cataracts, retinal atrophy, lumbar-sacral syndrome, and von Willebrand’s Disease.
As the owner, it is important that you take your dog to the vet on a regular schedule to prevent the formation of preventable diseases and keep your dog in optimal health. This helps to guarantee a happy and healthy existence with your canine companion for years to come. If at any time your dog is displaying concerning symptoms or behavior, you should visit your trusted veterinarian to rule out any health conditions that may be affecting your furry friend.
Adopting An Australian Shepherd
As with all purebred dog breeds, seeking a professional breeder is important. The work and passion that breeders put into their animals and their offspring are decisive for the success of the breeding and the physical and mental health of the animals.
Mating is done with the knowledge of possible inherited diseases and the compatibility of the parents. A good breeder also supervises the dogs during pregnancy to prevent problems from developing within the mother. After delivery, the puppies are also examined by a veterinarian and, until they are relocated, they receive everything they need for proper development; good quality food, vaccines, deworming, and social contact with their siblings, other dogs, and humans. This ensures that your puppy grows up to be a happy and healthy adult dog that gets along well with other people and animals.
Good breeders do not sell their puppies before 8 weeks, as the imprinting phase of the first weeks is vital for their health and development. Additionally, good breeds may ask you questions about your home before you adopt one of their puppies. Good breeders are concerned with ensuring that their puppies go to live with a family that will provide them with the best care possible.
Of course, all this costs money. Professionally bred dogs tend to be more expensive than other pet stores, offering low-priced, non-pedigree dogs. But these offers often come at an added cost; inbreeding, short rearing periods, and lack of veterinary care make it possible for your dog not to be as healthy and hassle-free as you would like. For this reason, you should only trust a professional breeder. Alternatively, you can find many purebred dogs in animal shelters that are happy to find a new home.
We always encourage people to check out their local animal shelters, as there are always dogs there that are looking for a loving family to adopt them. You may even get lucky and discover that your animal shelter has an Australian Shepherd that is looking to be adopted.