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.

 

The Australian Shepherd also exhibits great affection for their human family, kids and adults alike, and takes to guarding their home seriously.  Although reserved with strangers the Aussie should not be shy or display aggressiveness.  The Australian Shepherd is an intelligent all-purpose stock dog of great endurance and character.  Many Aussies still do the work they were bred for, and even those that have never seen sheep or cattle usually have a strong herding instinct.  This means that Aussies need fenced yards and leashes, as the temptation to herd dogs, children and traffic can simply overwhelm them.

 

Being bred to work hard all day means most Aussies are not content to be couch potatoes, although Aussies have individual character and some are more sedate and quiet-nature than others.  For the most part however, these are high-energy dogs that need a purpose in their lives, a job as it were.  Owners must be committed to give these dogs the time and attention they require through play and training, for as with any dog undirected energy can turn towards destructive behaviors such as digging and chewing.  Running, jumping and roughhousing are all a part of being a normal Aussie.

 

The great intelligence of these dogs, necessary to out-think and control livestock, can be detrimental when left untrained and unused.  Aussies are quite capable of out-thinking their owners.  Obedience training is highly recommended as a means of teaching owners how to handle the typical Aussies innate desire to please and turn it into appropriate behaviors.  Aussies learn very quickly, so be certain you are willing to keep your Aussie occupied with walks, play and training to benefit both mind and body.

 

To care for one’s Aussie you require a least a weekly brushing of their coat (more often in the spring and fall when they shed) Because this is an active breed, a good quality dog food is needed as well as fresh water.  Regular Vet check ups and bathing whenever needed.  Their physical needs taken care of, the Aussie must be mentally healthy as well.  This breed will not take to being tied up and ignored; obedience classes are must as well as any activity, organized or not.  Most Aussies are avid swimmers and would enjoy a summer at the cottage as much as their owners.

 

 

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!!

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Call us:

705-333-0615

 

Leslie and Greg Edwards 

Vasey, Ontario,Canada

Copyright 2014 Cheynat Australian Shepherds.  All Rights reserved.  Reproduction and/or distribution is expressly prohibited without written permissions

Site last updated Nov 18 2020