If you're looking for a naturally good-natured and affectionate dog, then the Australian Shepherd might just be for you! Here's everything you need to know about one of Australia's favourite breeds.
- Size Medium-sized dog (18-30kg)
- Coat Shed year-round and even more during the spring when they lose their winter coats.
- Energy Australian Shepherds have high energy levels and need exercise daily (two or more walks).
- Lifespan 13-15 years
- Country of origin Contrary to what their name suggests, Australian Shepherds originated in the Western United States around the time of the Gold Rush!
- Breed type Their appearance is similar to English Shepherds and Border Collies but they most likely came from Pyrenean Shepherds and Old German herding dogs. Temperament: Australian Shepherds are kind and loving to the humans they know and have a reputation for being highly intelligent and obedient.
- Other names They're also known as "Aussie"
- Great breed for: Families with kids and other dogs, Herding animals, Police dogs and competitors in in obedience trials
What is an Australian Shepherd?
Australian Shepherds are known for being excellent stock dogs and herding events. They became popular with the rise in Western riding after World War II. Like most working breeds, Aussies have tons of energy and drive. They excel at fetch, frisbee and dog sports. They're great search and rescue dogs, guide, service and therapy dogs! What can't they do?
What do Australian Shepherds look like?
Aussies are a medium-sized dog that weighs roughly 16-32kg and range from 46-58 centimeters. They come in many colours including black tri, with copper tones and white markings on their faces. You can also find them in red (with or without copper points), blue merle (grey and black patches), red merle (cream and red/liver patches).
Australian Shepherds are also very recognized by their eye colours. A lot of them sport different coloured eyes including one blue and the other brown. The bicoloured eyes are associated with the merle colour combinations!
Most Aussies are born with long tails but breeders have historically docked them when they're puppies. Most people recognize Australian Shepherds to have short tails.
What makes Australian Shepherds special?
Australian Shepherds have many talents! From working with humans as service and therapy dogs to changing the game in frisbee, they excel in every category. For example, an Australian Shepherd named Hyper Hank was well known for frisbee in the 1970s. Hank and his owner even played at the Super Bowl and with the Carter family at the White House.
How often do I need to groom my Australian Shepherd?
Your Australian Shepherd should be groomed at least once a week to prevent matting of the fur and to remove debris and dead hair. This also helps spread the natural oils down their fur, keeping the silky and soft!
Australian Shepherds are considered more high maintenance on the grooming scale. Pet Cloud offers grooming services to help keep your pupper happy and healthy!
How often should I walk my Australian Shepherd?
Aussies are extremely active dogs that require committed owners and at least two daily walks minimum. Giving them the chance to roam off-leash, playing fetch or frisbee are some excellent ways to tucker them out!
How do I train my Australian Shepherd?
The very beginning of training can be the most challenging part! Thankfully, Australian Shepherds are very intelligent and highly motivated by food and praise. The best approach to training your dog is through positive reinforcement. Consistency and positivity are the keys to success! Pet Cloud offers dog training classes for one hour sessions over the span of six weeks. One of their trainers will come to your home and will use techniques based off positive reinforcement in line with the RSPCA guide.
Quickfire Australian Shepherd questions
How long will my Aussie live?
The average lifespan is about 12-14 years.
Can my Australian Shepherd be home alone during the day?
If you have an Aussie puppy, crating him/her while you're out of the house is important. Because Australian Shepherds have lots of energy, they can cause mess/fuss while their owners are out of the house. With that being said, only crate your dog when you have to!
Are Australian Shepherds barkers?
Although Australian Shepherds have their own individual personality and noise level, this breed is considered alert and vocal. They often bark when they're isolated from their family or bored.
What kind of health risks do Australian Shepherds face?
Overall, Aussies are considered a very healthy breed, but they do face a couple healthy risks. This includes epilepsy and vision problems. In merle-to-merle breeding, some pups can inherit two merle genes, leaving them blind.
Where can I get an Australian Shepherd?
Depending on your preference, you can either adopt or go to a breeder. Adoption is an excellent route for giving dogs a new home. For more information, you can check the RSPCA adoption guide.
If you're wanting to go through a breeder, make sure to do your research and find one that's responsible and not supporting puppy mills. The RSPCA has a guide that will help you find the right breeder!