Australian Shepherds are medium-sized working dogs with a robust, balanced, muscular build and a rustic appearance. Their bodies are just longer than they are tall at the withers. They have strong, deep chests and they stand squarely on all four legs. The breed’s front legs are straight, and their feet are oval-shaped, compact, and have a set of well-arched toes. Australian Shepherds have a well-proportioned head with a moderate stop and teeth that close in a scissor bite. Their oval-shaped, medium-sized eyes come in a variety of colors that may be marbled or flecked. Their high-set ears are triangular in shape and slightly rounded at the tip. Many Australian Shepherds have a naturally docked bobtail. Australian Shepherds have a slightly way, weather-resistant double coat that varies in length depending on the climate they originate from. The breed’s hair is short and smooth across the head, outside of the ears, in front of the forelegs, and below the hocks. The backs of the forelegs have hair that is somewhat feathered. Male Australian Shepherds have more of a mane and frill than their female counterparts. The breed’s coat may be straight or slightly wavy, and it exists in merle, red merle, solid black, or solid red. White markings and/or tan points may exist in red merle Australian Shepherds.
Australian Shepherds are partly famous for their "Ghost Eyes". Some Aussies have yellow eyes around a black pupil. Also, Australian Shepherds exist in blue Merle. It really appears to be Grey spots on white fur in common lighting, but in evening light, the dogs seem to glow in a bluish tone. White markings and/or tan (copper) points may occur on any color coat. They come in a wide array of colors including blue, grey, green, amber, yellow, gold, copper, brown, or any combination thereof. Eyes may be of mismatched color or even several colors in one iris.
Australian Shepherds are a loving breed that loves to play. They are loyal and affectionate, and they get along great with children. Australian Shepherds are devoted companions that are protective over their family. They are playful, spirited, and lively, but their demeanor is very mild and easy-going. The Australian Shepherd has a natural desire to please, and he is highly intelligent and easy to train. They are very perceptive and intuitive, and they consistently know what is expected of them. While they are not remotely aggressive with people or other animals and pets, the Australian Shepherd takes its job very seriously and will be assertive when at work with livestock. This breed needs a lot of exercise and prefers having a job to do. When improperly trained and insufficiently exercised, Australian Shepherds can become nervous, bored, and destructive of property. They need proper socialization. Australian Shepherds don’t bark and they are quiet workers. They may be too energetic to make household family pets.
If you are thinking of adopting an Australian Shepherd, please note, you may need to take daily jogs or runs about three miles long for a regular walk. Australian Shepherds are shepherd dogs and are used to wide open Californian ranches, herding cows and bulls. Proper exercise is very important in an Aussie. They may bark excitedly or alert you to any unusual activity and they can be noise sensitive. Show lines are much less driven than working lines; less intense, making good pets. These dogs must be trained early on not to nip at the heels and the backs of peoples knees, as this is their natural herding inclination. If you fail to do this, it will be hard to trust your dog around others, especially small children, who he/she might try to herd.
The gene that prompts the Australian Shepherd’s beautiful merle coloration is the same gene that makes the breed prone to blindness and deafness. This propensity is predominately seen in merle and merle crosses. Potential owners of this breed should check the hearing of Australian Shepherd puppies with merle coats. Australian Shepherds with natural bobtails can acquire serious spinal defects. Other major health concerns of this breed include cataracts and CEA. Less prominent concerns include CHD, nasal and solar dermatitis, Pelger- Huet syndrome, and iris coloboma. Some lines of Australian Shepherds have been seen with lumbar sacral syndrome, PRA, epilepsy, distichiasis, PDA, and PPM. It’s suggested that owners of this breed have their Australian Shepherds’ hearing and eyes checked. Typically, Australian Shepherds live for 12 to 15 years and they average 7 puppies per litter.
The merling gene responsible for the beautiful variegated coat patterns also affects the coloring of the iris resulting in the wide array of eye colors in the breed. Deafness can occur due to lack of pigmentation in the inner ear. Thus, dogs with a predominance of white coloring may lack the necessary pigment for normal hearing. Other breeds wherein deafness is common are Dalmatians, white Boxers, and Collies. Aussies with excessive amounts of white, particularly around the head and face often, but not always, are the result of a merle to merle cross. The crosses, known as homozygous merle, are vastly more likely to exhibit deafness and/or blindness. Beware a breeder that deliberately makes a merle to merle pairing. Responsible pet buyers should have ALL puppies, regardless of coat color checked for proper vision and hearing. A reputable breeder of Australian Shepherds will be able to provide parents' CERF (eyes) and OFA (hips) clearances.
The Australian Shepherd was developed in the United States as a working dog that herded livestock on ranches. Many believe that the name “Australian Shepherd” actually came from the breed’s ancestors. The breed likely originated from Spanish dogs that accompanied the Basque shepherds that were exported to American and Australia in the early days of the colonies. At some point, the Australian Shepherd was probably crossed with the Collie. Australian Shepherds have only recently received recognition as a distinct breed.
Called Australian, but actually originated in America. Affectionately called the Aussie.
Australian Shepherds have a coat that is easy to groom and maintain. An occasional brushing with a firm bristle brush is sufficient to assist the shedding process and keep the coat free of tangles and matting. Australian Shepherds should be bathed only as necessary. They are average shedders.
Australian Shepherds are energetic working dogs that need plenty of exercise. This breed isn’t suited for a small household or apartment. They are moderately active indoors and are happiest with at least a large yard. Australian Shepherds do best when they have a job to do.
Australian Shepherds are energetic working dogs that need plenty of exercise. This breed isnít suited for a small household or apartment. They are moderately active indoors and are happiest with at least a large yard. Australian Shepherds do best when they have a job to do. Agility is a great way for you and you Aussie to get out energy. Australian Shepherds may revert to their shepherd instincts in nipping at sheep's or cow's heels, and they may attempt to herd young children with this method. Proper training can correct unwanted behavior.
If you're having problems training your dog or getting control, you should read our review of DogProblems.com. Adam will do whatever it takes to help you whip your dog into shape. I've used them to help with my Great Dane as well as help friends train their dogs. It's the first place I go to help answer users Questions. Many training issues are too extensive to answer in this forum, which is why I refer a lot of the load to his site.
Update: I've been using and recommending DogProblems for three years now. I, as well as my users, value the techniques we've learned. I get weekly emails from users who have become better owners from the information they received.
Find your new Pooch
Puppies For Sale
Australian Shepherd Puppies Available Now For New Homes. We are dedicated these puppies to all lovely families that are...
Find a Breeder
~ Strong Champion Bloodlines & Working Lines ~ Health Screenings Done ~ All puppies come with: dewclaws removed,...
Rescue a Dog
Discuss this breed in our Forum!
Australian Shepherd Q&AAsk a Question
- My Aussies ears are standing up!
I am a small hobby breeder and a owner of Aussies for 13yrs and I recently purchased a female pup whos ears started to stand up and flop over when she was 12 wks old. Now she is 6 months and they are standing straight up. My...Asked by Anonymous - 2 answers
- A picture needed
Can someone tell me where to see a picture of what a austrialian sheperd half fiest and half hound looks like please????Asked by Anonymous - 2 answers
- Our Australian Shepherd is 14 months old. We cannot get our 3 year old cat to even come in ...
Our Australian Shepherd is 14 months old. We cannot get our 3 year old cat to even come in the house if the dog is in the house. Any suggestions?Asked by Anonymous - 4 answers
- I just adopted an Australian Shepherd that is 8 years old and has been in a rescue agency ...
I just adopted an Australian Shepherd that is 8 years old and has been in a rescue agency since his owner died 2 months ago. He prefers to poop in the house rather than outdoors. Can he be re-trained, and if so, how?Asked by Anonymous - 3 answers