Australian Shepherd

The Australian Shepherd is a medium-sized working dog that originated in the western United States in the mid-nineteenth century. Aussies, as they are often known, are highly intelligent and very energetic dogs that excel at canine sports, and are widely used throughout the emergency services in roles such as search and rescue or drugs and explosives detection. They also serve frequently as therapy dogs.

The beautiful coat of the Australian Shepherd comes in many colors, including blue merle, red merle, black or red. They may have white markings and copper points (markings on the face, ears, legs and tail). However, you should avoid Aussies that are primarily white as this coloration is linked to health problems such as deafness and blindness. Not only is the Aussie’s coat beautiful, but his eyes come in a wide variety of colors as well, including brown, amber, blue, green, hazel, and even two different colors. And some have “split” eyes which are half one color and half another.

Australian Shepherds are bred to herd livestock by biting at their heels. If they don’t have any animals to manage, they may start exhibiting this behavior with children, other pets, and vehicles. This should always be corrected immediately, and you can redirect the behavior by giving your Australian Shepherd some demanding tasks or games that will provide him with the exercise and mental stimulation he needs.

Like most other herding breeds, the Aussie is prone to barking. He’s always on alert and will bark at anything that seems out of the ordinary. It’s important to teach him what does and doesn’t warrant alarm, so things like squirrels in the yard or neighbors coming home don’t end up setting off a false alarm.

Although you might think that an Australian Shepherd needs a home with plenty of space to run, he can actually adapt to any living environment as long as his people give him a couple hours of exercise every day. And even though he loves being outdoors, the Aussie is by no means a yard dog–he is bred to work closely with people. If your Australian Shepherd lives inside with the family, he will be less likely to experience destructive boredom brought on by loneliness.

It’s crucial to know that there are two types of Australian Shepherds: those bred for herding and those bred for shows and AKC performance events. The former are usually smaller, thinner, with shorter coats than the latter; traits that make them more agile while they’re herding livestock. Additionally, the shorter coat is less likely to get stuck on brush or branches.

  • Furlyfe Rank
  • Group AKC Herding
  • Origin United States
  • Size Medium
  • Weight 35 to 65 pounds
  • Coat Length Medium
  • Coat Type Double
  • Colors Black, Black Merle, Red, Red Merle
  • Other Names Aussie, Little Blue Dog
  • Temperament Active, Affectionate, Friendly, Good Natured, Intelligent, Protective, Loving

Breed Characteristics

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