The Australian Shepherd, also called the Aussie, is a medium-sized working dog. The breed was actually developed in America, so the name may confuse people. But in all fairness, the dog does not have any connections with Australia at all. The breed originates form dogs raised in the Basque country which were brought by breeders to America. The breeders who developed the Australian Shepherd spent a brief period developing the dog in Australia, and it is the only reason the dog has been named as such.
The Aussie resembles English Shepherd and Border Collie breeds in appearance. They are very intelligent and trainable dogs, which makes them really good at dog challenges and dog training sports. Today they excel at dog ability sports and are used as rescue dogs, search dogs and guide dogs. They have many purposes and remain one of the most loveable dog breeds.
Australian Shepherd History & Origins
The history of the Australian Shepherd is really vague. This is also connected with the vagueness that comes with its name. They had a number of names before this one was established and there are many different origin stories related to the name. None of them was actually confirmed as the most plausible one. But what is certain, is that the Australian Shepherd comes originally from the Basque country as the dog was used to herd sheep there. It was brought to America where it was further developed. The use of the dog was the same but the dog had to be adapted to weather conditions and endurance in the Rocky Mountains of America.
The resulted Aussie has become of the most recognizable dogs. It’s high intelligence, endurance, athleticism, trainability and other characteristics cannot be matched by other dogs. Today the dog excels in various fields and a lot of organizations have seen the benefit that this breed displays.
Characteristics & Temperament
The Australian Shepherd is a very intelligent and energetic type of dog. They have immense energy and like running around, jumping and playing. They need to excel physically so they require to exert their energy. As their background is being a working dog, this is what they strive the most and always need to be amused somehow. They require a lot of attention and will need to find something to do. If you are an owner of one, you have to play or let the dog exercise at least 2 to 3 hours a day.
A dog which is not properly trained or is not allowed to get enough exercise will start displaying destructive behavior. Early socialization will also be good for the dog to get as much new experiences as it possibly can. The Aussie is a great family pet and also a good guard dog. It is weary with strangers, while on the other hand great with kids.
Australian Shepherd Appearance, Colors, Size
The Australian Shepherd is a medium-sized dog. It can grow to be somewhere around 17 to 26 inches in height and weigh about 30 to 65 pounds. But size and weight may vary depending on the Kennel clubs and the standards that they have established.
The Aussie has a few color alterations that it has. Included are 30 to 65 pounds solid black, solid red (liver), blue merle, and red/liver merle. These colors may be mixed with copper and there are also tri color variations. They mostly include black or red dog with copper and white trim. There are also bicolor ones that are black or red with a white trim.
The Australian Shepherd has a pretty standard lifespan for its size. They can live up to 11 years, but in some cases they can get all the way up to 13. Nevertheless, some health issues are seen as standard for the breed. They can be prone to having vision problems, In the case of merle-to-merle breeding, there is a high chance that a dog inherits the merle gene which in turn might result in the puppies being born as blind or deaf. Epilepsy is a common concert for Aussies as well.
Australian Shepherd Grooming & Shedding
There is not much work necessary around an Australian Shepherd. The dogs do have long hair and that may be the only issue for the. Generally, they are mild shedders, but during spring they shed the most as they need to drop the winter coat. Regularly you can brush them a few times a week, but during their shedding period it is smart to do it on a daily basis until it passes.
The Aussie is a pretty clean dog but it likes spending its time mostly outside. This means that it can get dirty often and may require occasional baths. Frequent baths are not recommended, but if the dog is really dirty you can do it.
Price and Breeders
The popularity of the Australian Shepherds has grown and is still growing. The value of this dog is pretty high and breeders in America have a pretty quality offer to provide to people who want to get one. As it stands, the current price is between 600 to 800 USD for a single pup.
Australian Shepherd Rescue
Various rescue organizations have established ways for you to adopt an Australian Shepherd. This way it gives you an alternative that will allow you to find a dog that does not cost so much. But you are also saving a dog and giving it a better life. Check out the pages of Aussie Rescue and Placement Helpline, Inc., Second Time Around Aussie Rescue, Inc., and Aussie Rescue Canada for more information about how you can do this.