Australian Shepherd Information

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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.

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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.

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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.

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18 – 23 inches
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40 – 65 pounds
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General Health

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.

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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.

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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.

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Ideal Environment

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 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. 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.

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Dog Training!

If you're having problems training your dog or getting control, you should read our review of 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.

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Australian Shepherd Q&A

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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?

I`m not sure if there is a fix for this. My mother hasn`t seen her cat much since she got an inside dog and she`s tried a lot of things. From my own personal experiences, I`ve found cats do well if they are introduced to dogs when they are kittens. Older cats generally seem to not like dogs and since I`m not a cat guy, I have no clue how to socialize them……


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?

You should be able to retrain him in a month or so. The key is patience and repetition. Every SINGLE time he poops in the house, calmly take him to it, put his nose very close and tell him “no” in a very firm voice then immediately take him outside and use a keyword. I use “go potty.” It’s important to remain calm. If you start to act frustrated, he will become confused and not understand that it’s about the poo. When he does go potty outside, reward him with praise and treats. The key is to do it every single time, not just when you catch him doing it.


I have a 2 1/2 yr female and she has had submissive peeing since I got her. I have two older brother that she does it too, no dad...Is is beacuse they like to domenate?? How do you stop this peeing?

the peeing is a sign of a submissive dog and yes there is a way of combatting it. this form of submission can be won over with slow but friendly advances of your older brothers or any male figure for that matter.first get a bunch of her favorite treats and instead of giving them to her, ask any male friends, male family members, or male strangers met on walks if they'd like to help you train your pup. with palms open and the treat in the center, allow them to feed her a tasty introducing the treat, you will be conditioning her to not be 'as submissive' and making the experience a positive one for her. just make sure if it looks like she is fearful (no tail wagging or wiggling, intense stare, or baring teeth). if she is displaying any of these signs do not continue and try to play with her to bring her out of that fearful state of german shepherd experienced the same symptoms and over a few weeks time, she was able to overcome it and now jumps and bounces on everyone happily...without the mess ^_^


My male Aussie is 2yrs old and His ears stand straight up like a german shepherds. Of all the pics i've seen of aussies...i have yet to see one with ears like his..Could it be he doesnt want to miss anything?

Those are called "prick" ears and are rare, but possible, in Australian Shepherds. They develop within the first year or two depending on the conditions that the puppy grows up in. Hot weather = prick ears b/c this is how they loose heat, but it is rare and genetic.


i have a 7month old male. He weighed 40lbs approx 3 weeks ago. is this a normal weight for his age?

Not sure, but I have a 6 1/2 month old aussie male that weighed 46lbs 8 oz 3 weeks ago - I do believe that yours and mine are at the TOP end of the weight scale ... mine's not at all fat, though, he's just HUGE for an aussie - he's already taller than my mom's 6 yr old female who's more 'normal' sized. (she outweighs him though - but that's another story...)


my 4 month old australian shepherd is 31lbs and is 19" tall.could he be mixed with another breed?or is this the normal weight and height of an aussie?

That does seem to be awfully tall for a four month old, but if you will go to the following link you can find out all you need to know about an Australian Shepherd.


I have a 6 year old black tri australian shepherd is that to old to start breeding it to have puppies? What other colored aussies could I breed it with so there will be no defects?

A color that most commonly has Aussies have ear problems is Red merle. It looks kind of orangish. But that's all I know.


i have a 13 week old australlian shepard i live in WA now and im moving to MS will he be able to adjust to the heat, and humidity?

I have an almost 8 yr. old male australian shepherd and I live in southeast texas where the temp. in the summer time gets 102 heat index. However my dog stays in the house and gets walked twice a day. Because of the heat and sometimes the mosquitos we have decided to have him be an "inside dog".


what is the normal litter size for a (miniature) australian shepherd?

The average litter size of the litter of an Australian shepherd is about 7. Hope this helps :) -Sreemoyee


We have an australian shepherd that is four now. Her instinct to protect the family and herd strangers out of her house is extreme. She has the fastest run, circle and nip you can imagine. She listens to us in every other instance, with the exception of her low tolerance for strangers. Anyone have a success story with an aggressive aussie that they love?

Aussies have a tendency to herd anything that moves to include people outside their master(s). For the Most part it is normal so long as it is not agressive behavior as in the dog is being what one would call viscious. Working with the dog with other people around is the only way around that. Aussies are smart but can be stubborn especially when they are adults (like any other dog). Like the "Dog Whisperer" says, let your dog know it is unwanted behavior. You as the "pack leader" as he would say need to claim the people over to visit in a sence. As the alpha you need to take control. Good Luck

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