Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherd Dog  (Aussie) had its beginnings in Spain and Andorra, where it worked with the Basque shepherds. When the Basques followed the sheep-herding movement to Australia, the faithful dogs went along. Then, when Australian sheep were imported into the western U.S., once more the Basque herders and their dogs, now renamed as Australian Shepherds, made the trip. The breed has been popular with livestock people in North America for over a century.

Australian Shepherds

Australian Shepherd breed of dog

Australian Shepherd FAQs Frequently Asked Questions:

Let us seek some answers related to the Australian Shepherd breed. Are they hypoallergenic (non-shedding), or do they shed a lot? Do they bark a lot? Are they good guard dogs? Are they good family dogs? Good with children? And many more questions that a potential Australian Shepherd owner may be concerned about.

Is the Australian Shepherd a hypoallergenic (non-shedding) breed?

Australian Shepherds is not a hypoallergenic dog breed. They can shed all year round, and shedding can become very heavy in Spring when they need to shed their winter coat. Also, Australian Shepherds are prone to developing skin allergies, likely due to genetic factors. As in most dogs, this is potentially influenced by their genes, upbringing, exposure to allergens, and general exposure.

How do I stop my Australian Shepherd from shedding?

Aside from diet, the only way to control dog shedding is with regular grooming. The more often your dog sheds, you should brush him. In most cases, brushing should take place once a week or several times a week. For particularly heavy shedders, it may be necessary to brush them every day.

Do Australian Shepherd dogs bark a lot?

Australian shepherds are considered a noisy breed. They will bark at strangers, loud noises, and other animals. However, excessive barking can be restrained by training. Well-trained Australian Shepherds are vocal only when they need to be, such as moving stock, warning of danger, or if a loud noise startles them. They will also bark if they are neglected or become bored. Keeping Aussies busy and active is the secret to the effective management of this dog breed.

Is Australian Shepherd a good family dog?

If you’re seeking a hard-working, loyal, and intelligent companion, then the Australian Shepherd may be the ideal family dog for you. Extremely smart and focused, an Aussie can be the perfect family dog, as long as you are prepared to keep him mentally and physically stimulated.

Are Australian Shepherds affectionate? Good with kids?

Aussies are extremely affectionate only with people they know and like. Like most herding dogs, Aussies have a high prey drive and may chase animals, children, bicycles, and cars if not controlled.

An Aussie doesn’t want to be everyone’s best friend. They have to be socialized as puppies so they’ll tolerate meeting new people, but they won’t approach just anyone for kisses. Though some are friendlier than others, they’re generally very attached to just one or two family members. Aussies that are raised with cats are usually fine with them, but some Aussies are cat aggressive.

Are Australian Shepherds good guard/watchdogs?

Like most other herding breeds, Australian Shepherds are fiercely protective of their family and can be wary of strangers. They are often cautious around new people, even if they get plenty of socialization. Although they are protective and have guardian instincts, they cannot be relied upon as guard dogs. However, they can be good watchdogs.

Are Australian Shepherds aggressive dogs? Do they bite?

No. Australian Shepherds are not considered aggressive dogs. The breed is considered highly intelligent and easy to train. Aussies are known for being especially eager to please their owners. Due to their herding instincts, nipping and biting inappropriately will be an issue. The desire to herd is natural to your Australian Shepherd. Herding dogs nip and snap at the heels of livestock to keep them in a group. This behavior can be resolved to some extent with training – every time your puppy nips or bites, say no and stop playing with her. Australian Shepherds are quick learners.

Can Australian Shepherds swim? Do they like it?

Most Australian Shepherds like to swim. Their love of the outdoors and vigorous physical exercise makes swimming an ideal activity. In the summer months, swimming can also provide welcome relief from the heat of the sun.

How much do Australian Shepherds cost? How much is an Australian Shepherd puppy?

The average price of the Australian Shepherd ranges from $700 to $800. However, an Aussie can cost anywhere between $500 to $1500 depending on breeder reputation, coat colors, pedigree, and location. Miniature Australian Shepherd puppies cost a little more.

Miniature Australian Shepherd Dog

Miniature Aussie may grow to be 13 to 18 inches tall at the shoulder (about 4 to 8 inches shorter than a regular Aussie). They weigh somewhere between 20 and 40 pounds. Males are generally larger than females. So this breed is not super tiny, about 20–35 pounds smaller than a regular Australian Shepherd.

Mini Australian Shepherd with Standard Aussie
Standard Australian Shepherd with a miniature Australian Shepherd

How long do Australian Shepherds live?

The oldest known dog was an Australian Shepherd named Bluey, who lived to the ripe old age of 29 years 5 months before being euthanized in November 1939. The average lifespan for Australian Shepherds is about 14 to 16 years.

Ok, so let’s assume you have chosen the Australian Shepherd as the best dog breed suitable for yourself. You have decided to find yourself an Australian Shepherd puppy as your next family member. How will you choose the best pup? Let us look at some standard characteristics of the Australian Shepherd dog breed which will help you select the right puppy. Keep reading.

Choosing a good Australian Shepherd puppy

The definition of the best Australian Shepherd puppy depends on your requirements. Your expectations from an adult Australian Shepherd can be broadly categorized as follows: Confirmation for show or breeding; obedience; smart guard dog; companion; homely pet.

Although it is tempting to look for all these qualities in one Australian Shepherd puppy you are planning to buy, it is seldom possible to find all qualities in a single pup.

If you want your Australian Shepherd puppy to grow up to be a champion in the show ring, you should look for confirmation of the Australian Shepherd dog breed standards. We have put together a general guideline for selecting an all-around good puppy for you. Our guideline includes breed standards and gives importance to temperament, appearance, physical details, gait, health issues, grooming needs, and maintenance.

Look for the following characteristics while choosing an Australian Shepherd puppy.

Australian Shepherd’s General Appearance

The Australian Shepherd is a well-balanced dog of medium size and bone. He is attentive and animated, showing strength and stamina combined with unusual agility. Slightly longer than tall, he has a coat of moderate length and coarseness with coloring that offers variety and individuality in each specimen. An identifying characteristic is his natural or docked bobtail. In each sex, masculinity or femininity is well defined.

Australian Shepherd’s Temperament

The Australian Shepherd is intelligent, primarily a working dog of strong herding and guarding instincts. He is an exceptional companion. He is versatile and easily trained, performing his assigned tasks with great style and enthusiasm. He is reserved with strangers but does not exhibit shyness. Although an aggressive, authoritative worker, viciousness toward people or animals is intolerable.

Australian Shepherd image

Australian Shepherd’s Head

Clean-cut, strong, dry, and in proportion to the body. The top skull is flat to slightly rounded, its length and width each equal to the muzzle’s length, which is in balance and proportion to the rest of the head. The muzzle tapers slightly to a rounded tip. The stop is moderate but well defined. Teeth: A full complement of strong, white teeth meet in a scissors bite. An even bite is a fault. Teeth broken or missing by accident are not penalized. Undershot bites; overshot bites exceeding 1/8 inches (.32 cm) are disqualified—eyes: Very expressive, showing attentiveness and intelligence. Clear, almond-shaped, and of moderate size, set a little obliquely, neither prominent nor sunken, with pupils dark, well-defined, and perfectly positioned. Colour is brown, blue, amber, or any variation or combination, including flecks and marbling. Ears: Set on high at the side of the head, triangular and slightly rounded at the tip, of moderate size with length measured by bringing the tip of the ear around to the inside corner of the eye. At full attention, the ears break slightly forward and over from one-quarter (1/4) to one-half (1/2) above the base. Prick ears, and hound-type ears are severe faults.

Australian Shepherd’s Neck and Body

The neck is firm, clean, and in proportion to the body. It is of medium length and slightly arched at the crest, setting well into the shoulders. The body is firm and muscular. The topline appears level at a natural four-square stance. The chest is deep and strong, with ribs well-sprung. The loin is strong and broad when viewed from the top. The bottom line carries well back with a moderate tuck-up. The croup is moderately sloping, the ideal being 30 degrees from the horizontal. The tail is straight, not to exceed 4 inches (10.2 cm), natural bobtail or docked.

Australian Shepherd’s Forequarters

The shoulder blades (scapula) are long and flat, close set at the withers, approximately two fingers wide at a natural stance, and are well laid back at an angle approximating forty-five (45) degrees to the ground. The upper arm (humerus) is attached at an approximate right angle to the shoulder line, with forelegs dropping straight, perpendicular to the ground. The elbow joint is equidistant from the ground to the withers. The legs are straight and powerful. Pasterns are short, thick and strong, but still flexible, showing a slight angle when viewed from the side. Feet are oval-shaped, compact, with close-knit, well-arched toes. Pads are thick and resilient; nails short and strong. Dewclaws may be removed.

Australian Shepherd’s Hindquarters

Width of hindquarters approximately equal to the width of the forequarters at the shoulders. The pelvis’s angulation and the upper thigh (femur) correspond to the shoulder blade’s angulation and upper arm, forming an approximate right angle. Stifles are clearly defined, hock joints moderately bent. The metatarsi are short, perpendicular to the ground, and parallel to each other when viewed from the rear. Feet are oval-shaped, compact, with close-knit, well-arched toes. Pads are thick and resilient; nails short and strong. Rear dewclaws are removed.

Australian Shepherd’s Coat

Of medium texture, straight to slightly wavy, weather-resistant, of moderate length with an undercoat. The quality of undercoat varies with climate. Hair is short and smooth on the head, outside of ears, front of forelegs, and below the hocks. Backs of forelegs are moderately feathered; breeches are moderately full. There are moderate manes and frills, more pronounced in dogs than bitches. Non-typical coats are severe faults.

Australian Shepherd dog breed

Australian Shepherd dog

Australian Shepherd dogs

Australian Shepherd Colors

All colors are strong, clear, and rich. The recognized colors are blue merle, red (liver) merle, solid black, and solid red (liver), all with or without white markings and/or tan (copper) points with no order of preference. The blue merle and black have black pigmentation on the nose, lips, and eye-rims; the red (liver) merle and red (liver) have liver pigmentation on the nose, lips, and eye-rims. Butterfly nose should not be faulted under one year of age. In all colors, the areas surrounding the ears and eyes are dominated by colors other than white. The hairline of a white-collar should not exceed the point of the withers.

Australian Shepherd’s Gait

Smooth, free and easy; exhibiting agility and movement with a well balanced, ground-covering stride. The Fore and hind legs move straight and parallel with the centerline of the body; as speed increases, the feet, both front, and rear, converge toward the centerline of gravity of the dog, while the topline remains firm and level.

Australian Shepherd Puppy
Australian Shepherd Puppy

Australian Shepherd’s Size

Preferred height at the withers for males is 20-23 inches (50.8-58.4 cm); females are 18-21 inches (45.7-53.3 cm); however, quality is not sacrificed in favor of size.

Other Disqualifications in the Australian Shepherd breed

Monorchidism and cryptorchidism; Other than recognized colors. ; White body splashes. ; Dudley nose. ; Undershot bite; overshot bites exceeding 1/8 inches.

Australian Shepherd videos

We hope you enjoyed reading about the Australian Shepherd dog breed. You may consider sharing your views in the comments section below. Inputs and priceless experiences from dog owners, Australian Shepherd breeders, and dog lovers, in general, help us better understand our most loyal friends. Thank you for your interest.

One thought on “Australian Shepherd”

  1. Thanks for pointing out that Australian Shepherds would usually live for 14 to 16 years. I have been thinking about looking for Mini Australian Shepherds for sale here in Washington this year. And it seems like it will still be a great breed for me because 14 to 16 years of life for a dog is already long.

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