ABOUT THE AUSTRALIAN SHEPHERD
Despite the name, the Australian Shepherd owes his origin to Spain and the Basque sheep herders. They brought their dogs and sheep with them when they immigrated to both Australia and the United States. This immigration occurred during the last quarter of the nineteenth century, and it was not until the early 1900’s that these ”Little Blue dogs” were formally introduced to North America. Those of us who love Aussies can’t imagine a more perfect breed of dog. Unfortunately, the very characteristics we value in these dogs make them unsuitable for some homes and owners. Consider carefully if your lifestyle can accommodate the exuberance of the typical Aussie.
The Aussie is of medium size, slightly longer than tall, and measures between 18”-21” for females and 20”-23” for males. Although known as a blue dog the Australian Shepherd actually comes in a wide variety of colors. Aussies can be solid black or red with or without copper and white trim. As well as the familiar blue merle coat, these dogs can be red merle, again with or without copper and white trim. Whatever the color the coat should be medium in length and either wavy or straight but never curly. The expressive almond-shaped eyes can come in a variety of colors as well. Colors being, brown, blue, amber or any variation or combination including flecks and marbling.
Although developed as a working dog, the intelligence and enthusiasm of the Aussie help them to excel at obedience, flyball, Frisbee and agility. Truly versatile, the Aussie is a dog that can be out working cattle one day and in the show ring the next day. Because they are alert and quick to learn, they are highly trainable, as shown by their desire to please.
As well with all dogs, poorly socialized Aussies may become aggressive without proper training. Aussies are generally healthy dogs, and be expected to live up to twelve years or more, so ownership can be a lengthy commitment. Aussies are perfect for people wishing to own a highly trainable, versatile, super-smart dog that can work or play “ till the cows come home”. If you have the time and commitment for an Aussie, you won’t be disappointed. These special dogs deserve special owners. Their loyalty, drive, character and whimsical sense of humor place them in a class all of their own.
The Australian Shepherd once thought of as a rare breed is becoming more popular as people see how truly versatile they are. We must remember though that this is a working breed and in order for the Aussie to be a well adjusted member of ones family, he must be well cared for and allowed to “work” (regular exercise, Frisbee, obedience, etc.) and loved.
One thing to remember is always have fun with your Aussie!!