The Australian shepherd’s title is somewhat misleading. This breed is American, developed in the United States. To this day, nobody is completely certain why “Australian” was added to their name. However, though they’re not from Australia, they are excellent shepherds. They love to keep track of sheep, cattle, and other farm animals.
Australian shepherds resemble border collies, and collie-type dogs were probably their ancestors. They’re of medium size and can weigh anywhere between 35 and 70 pounds. These dogs come in a wide array of colors, though most of them have white markings in common. All of them have luxurious coats. Their bodies are highly athletic, ready to leap into action at any moment.
These pups love to run around, which is a good thing since they’re so often employed chasing other animals! They are energetic, intelligent, and spirited. Australian shepherds, also called “Aussies” by their loving families, demand a lot of attention because they’re so lively.
They have an excellent work ethic. If these dogs don’t have a job, they’ll happily do tricks instead. Their high intelligence lets them learn new tasks quickly. Aussies crave mental stimulation. They have fun performing in obstacle courses, looking for hidden treats, and playing catch.
One reason these dogs are so popular today? A rancher from Idaho, Jay Sisler, taught his Australian shepherds amazing tricks to entertain audiences at rodeos!
Australian shepherds live for about 10 to 12 years, which is typical for dogs of their size. Most of them are healthy, though there are breed-specific concerns to look out for. Canines of this breed are more likely than some other dogs to have eye problems and seizure disorders. Depending on breeding, a minority wind up with genetic blindness or deafness.
If you want to be an Aussie’s human, prepare for a dog with high exercise needs. Australian shepherds need at least one hour of exercise a day, preferably more. Because these canines need mental stimulation, just letting them run around the yard might not be enough. You’ll also need to provide interesting tasks to entertain them with. Without adequate workouts and stimulation, these pups might engage in destructive behavior.
Make sure to socialize dogs of this breed properly. If you don’t, they can treat people outside the family with too much suspicion. Australian shepherds may or may not like to share a space with cats. Sometimes, they try to herd small children. This behavior can be either adorable or frustrating, depending on circumstances.
Aussies need brushed once or twice a week for coat health and to deal with shedding, but their fur is otherwise low maintenance.
If you’re looking for a high-energy pup who loves to work and play, Australian shepherds might be for you. Just make sure you have the time to give this dog all the attention it deserves!