Australian Shepherd - Dog Breed Characteristics & Care
The Australian shepherd is a very active and athletic dog breed. Learn more about Aussie's personality, care, training, history, etc.
|Breed Group||Herding Dogs|
|Height||18 to 23 inches tall at the shoulder|
|Average weight||40 to 65 pounds|
|Lifespan||12 to 15 years|
- Australian Shepherd or Aussie is a mix of a Pyrenean sheepdog and a collie.
- Aussie is excellent for companion and herding as well.
- If you are looking for a dog that works with children, then Aussies are great.
- One thing that sets this breed apart is that they don't make unnecessary noise all the time. If it barks, there has to be a reason for it.
- The name of this dog has nothing to do with Australia. It was named such since they were associated with a different bread from Australia.
- These dogs like spending the day running around and going for long walks in the park.
- They gained much popularity from rodeo contests.
Pros and Cons of Australian Shepherds
- Aussies are amazing guides
- they have no aggressive bones except perhaps if challenged
- they are super friendly and work well with children
- good babysitters for your little ones
- Aussies are intelligent and able to make their own decisions
- they are playful and like grasping everything
- Aussies are trainable, resourceful, hardworking, and strong
- always ready to participate in any activities
- Aussies are furry, so they shed a lot
- They are physically active and like to be outdoors
- They are always on the move since this breed can't sit still
- Aussies don't want to be alone
- They connect to a single person for life
- It is pretty touchy, vulnerable at some point, and might show jealousy when you pet another dog
- Aussies hate the hot weather
- If you live in a city with minimal space, having an Aussie may not be convenient.
Description of the breed
Australian Shepherd's appearance is easily recognizable. It has a short tail, bright eyes that look vigilant, a muscular body structure, and a fluffy coat. If you have seen a Border Collie, they look pretty similar in the outside appearance.
It is easy to spot the bitch from the male since it looks more graceful and elegant but not thin-boned.
Although the Aussies head looks large with its body, it does not seem bulky. It has a slightly rounded skull paired with a flat or rounded forehead. A bump at the back of the head is not a cause for concern among this breed.
The cranial vault line stands parallel to the nose bridge, and the depression between the nose and forehead is visible. It has a cone-shaped, medium-sized muzzle that gradually tapers from the base to the nose bridge.
Australian Shepherd's nose color depends mainly on the dog's color, and they are well-pigmented.
Marble Blue and black coated Aussies usually have black earlobes, while red and marble red Aussies have brown earlobes. It is also acceptable for red and marble red Aussies to have a few pink tints in their earlobes, but it should not be more than a quarter of the whole area.
Aussies have strong jaws with pincer bites. If overshot or undershot from three millimeters, the dog does not qualify for this breed.
This breed has forty-two counts of white teeth. It is equally divided between the upper and lower jaw. It is ideal to have all teeth in place, but a few might be lost due to some injury. They are very active, so it is a huge possibility.
The eyes of Aussies are almond shape, mid-rise. Iris can be hazel, blue, green, or brown. Sometimes it has marbling or inclusions of other shades, but this is not considered a defect in animals.
Black and marble-blue coated dogs have a dark glasslike shape around their eyes, while the red and marble-red dogs have a dark brown color surrounding their eyes.
Australian Shepherd always sports an expressive and conscious look. It loves to observe what is happening around it and always looks at the person with interest. It is friendly, but you should use the eyes to indicate when and how to approach the dog.
This breed is known for its small triangular ears, slightly round at the ends. Both ears are situated higher on the head but not so far apart. Some dogs have lateral ear placement, but the end is directed forward.
The dog is excited or alert when the ears rise from its natural semi-erect position. A dog is disqualified as an Aussie if it has fully erect or hanging ears.
Australian Shepherd has a short neck that is well-muscled and curvy at the nape. In addition, the neck looks firm on the shoulders.
Aussies have proportional width from the front and back with a strong frame and well-developed muscles.
It has a broad back paired with a straight topline and a slightly sloping croup after the pelvis.
The chest is narrow, but there is a distinct relief in the middle. The elbow joint serves as the lowest point. The ribs have the correct rounded shape and are elongated.
The abdomen has a moderate curvature, but it does not drop or sag.
The tail of an Aussie can be extended or shortened, with the shorter variety having a maximum length of ten centimeters. The second option will be evident from birth. Even though the puppy's tail is short, this isn't necessarily bad. Docked tails were previously permitted; however, this practice is now banned in all civilized nations.
The forelimbs are distinguished by shoulder blades that are flat and close to the withers. The blades are set at a 45-degree angle of inclination.
- The humerus is equal in length to the shoulder blade and forms a right angle.
- The paws are thick and strong and have an oval shape in their cross-section.
- The elbow joint is situated in the middle of the segment connecting the withers to the ground.
- The forearms are perpendicular to the surface when moving.
- The pasterns are short and slant slightly. It is permissible for dewclaws to be present.
- Elastic skin covers the dense pads attached to the fingers, tightly packed together.
The hindquarters have a lot of muscle mass. The femur and the axis of the pelvis are perpendicular to each other.
- There is a bend in the hock region of the well-defined knee joint.
- You can see the Aussie's shins from behind, and they will be straight and parallel to the ground.
- There aren't too many pluses, and dewclaws aren't permitted, unlike in the forelimbs.
- When the fingers are rolled up and snug against each other, they look like a ball that snugly fits each other.
The Australian Shepherd is known for its graceful and light-footed movement. This does not alter the animal's balance, even though they are pretty broad.
The fore and hind limbs move in the same direction as the body's central axis. The closer the dog's paws are to the center of gravity of his body, the faster he moves.
A straight back is maintained at all times during the movement. The Australian Shepherd can change its movement trajectory in an instant if necessary, which enables it to perform natural agility.
The Australian Shepherd has a thick coat. Hair is of average length and is relatively coarse. The standard allows for a slight waviness, but most of the time, it is straight.
The cover is made up of two different types of hair. The backbone located above is long and dense and acts as a protection for the dog against rain. The densely packed, soft, and fluffy undercoat lies beneath the guard's hairs, and it keeps the dog warm during cold weather.
Twice a year, the undercoat is completely replaced. The dog's environment determines its richness. The inner layer will be very dense if the climate is cool. If most of the year is hot, then it is less. This is logical since the undercoat keeps the dog warm.
Australian Shepherds come in a variety of colors. They never repeat themselves, just like human fingerprints. However, the standard only recognizes four colors of wool covers:
- marble blue (most common)
- marble red
Colors mixed with white spots are allowable in all of the above colors, but they must not be excessive. The dog's coat will darken as it ages. Colors such as sable, golden, brindle, and graphite are also found. But, they are considered a mixture because they are not recognized as standard.
Size and weight
The Australian Shepherd is a dog breed that falls into the medium-size category. Females, on the other hand, are slightly smaller than males. The male can stand between 52 and 58 centimeters tall at the withers. The female is usually 46 to 53 centimeters long. A male dog weighs between 23 and 29 kilograms, while a female weighs 18 to 25.
Australian Shepherd Personality
Dogs like Australian Shepherds were originally developed to serve farmers and their families as dependable companions. To this day, they are still responsible shepherds and loyal companions, and they enjoy their work and the company of their owners very much.
Aussies are well-balanced, full of energy, and active dogs. They are incredibly affectionate and upbeat. The breed's representatives are adept at learning new things, and they do so joyfully and flawlessly. It is critical that the owner pays attention to them and express gratitude for their assistance and help. If the pet is left alone at home, he will become bored and begin to destroy things and furniture.
Australian Shepherds adore kids and make excellent friends with them. They are also friendly with other dogs and behave admirably at dog shows and on long walks at the park. However, they may be wary of strangers.
For families with children, this breed is ideal. Aussies get along well with children, play games with them, and can work as guards or nannies. Other animals, on the other hand, can be troublesome. The Shepherd's developed instinct can cause the dog to chase living creatures.
Loves to play outside
These dogs are more communicative and loyal to their owners, and they only play active games with them. This breed enjoys running outside in the rain, snow, and sleet. They adore winding circles in the stadium or completing the obstacle course repeatedly. In addition, if the owner is present, the animal's happiness will know no bounds. Moreover, Aussies smile when it sees a member of their family. It has a lot of enthusiasm and is not afraid to show it.
Tips for training and education
Spend enough time with your dog
The blood of a natural guard flows through the veins of the Australian Shepherd. Aussies are friendly and affable and are not naturally aggressive. But, if you don't spend enough time and effort training and educating your dog, it may become overly protective of its home and its owner's property. This type of behavior should be viewed with much caution. Aggressive behavior, like cowardice, is considered to be an alteration from its normal behavior.
Develop norms and routines
Illustrate the norms of behavior to the puppy as soon as he arrives in his new home. First and foremost, he must learn what he is permitted to do and expressly forbidden. It is essential to develop a routine at home. A pattern of behavior will allow the young dog to quickly adapt and feel at ease in a new environment.
Show that you are the master.
The dog must be aware of his master's identity. If you don't show it right away, the intelligent dog will try to take command. This species has a keen mind. Its mental abilities are exceptional, and the dog is easily trainable in various commands. It learns a new trick in 30-40 repetitions on average, which is a very high number.
Start training them young.
It is better to begin training at home than in training centers. To begin, teach the puppy basic commands like "stand," "come to me," and "no". That is going to keep him out of harm's way. After that, you'll be able to continue your training session outside. It's a great way to get some exercise while still getting some work done and having fun.
Motivate your pet
You must provide your pet with a reason to get some exercise. Praise and reward the dog for each successful command. Australian Shepherds have a voracious appetite for treats and will gladly work for them if it means getting some.
Train your dog outdoors
Taking your dog for a walk in the park can help him focus better. Consequently, the dog begins to develop the habit of being unaffected by the presence of outside stimuli. Begin training your pet by letting them run around and do their own thing for a while. Then they'll be all in on carrying out your commands.
Don't punish or chastise the Aussie if it doesn't understand what you're asking for. In this situation, you must be patient and diligent. The dog will become frightened or stubborn if you yell at it. Australian Shepherds have a very high level of emotional sensitivity, and they may take great offense at you.
Seek help from professionals
If you're having trouble training your dog, consider hiring a professional dog trainer. Training a dog can be done in conjunction with a general obedience class taught by an experienced instructor. When it comes to training Australian Shepherds, just a few sessions are usually enough.
Keeping and caring for Australian Shepherds
The coat of the Australian Shepherd is medium length. Seasonal shedding occurs in abundance. The molting process takes longer if the atmosphere in the room in which the dog lives is dry.
Brushing or combing an Australian should be done two or three times per week at the very least. In addition to eliminating hair follicles, it also improves blood flow. While molting, it's best to perform this procedure on a more regular basis.
It is not difficult to maintain the dog's coat, but it regularly requires a significant amount of time. During molting periods, you'll also have to deal with a lot of hair on your furniture and clothes.
Shepherd dogs should be bathed at least once a month or, as often as they become dirty, using special dog shampoos. In winter, snow-rolling is an excellent way to clean a pet's coat. You can also go swimming in the river during the summer months. Afterward, the dog must be rinsed in clean, running water.
Using a rubber mat to keep the pet's paws in place while bathing is an option if it is held at home. A towel and a hairdryer can be used to dry the wool after it has been soaked in water.
Nail and Teeth
The dog's nails must be trimmed monthly with a nail cutter.
You should also monitor your dog's dental health and take him to a veterinarian for regular checkups to ensure that he doesn't develop any problems down the road.
Keep them active and free.
Being confined to a kennel all day would be intolerable for Australian Shepherds, who are naturally active and mobile and capable of running several kilometers per day. These dogs need outdoor games in the open to maintain their health, well-being, and muscle tone.
They must be constantly engaged in various physical activities, including obedience training, sports, and preparation for exhibitions. As long as they don't get in the way of your exercise routine, running or cycling with them will be so much fun.
For example, a large aviary can be built for an Aussie, allowing it to live outside. Frost, rain, and heat don't bother them since they are adaptable. On the other hand, this dog cannot be chained because it needs to be able to move freely.
An Australian Shepherd's diet can be enriched with industrial feed. Premium, super-premium, and holistic foods should be your first choice whenever possible. Vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients are abundant in these foods.
Australian Shepherd Dry Food is a healthy and balanced diet developed specifically for dogs, and it can never be compared to homemade food.
Do not feed your dog the same food for the rest of its life. Puppy, adult animals, and old age lines are available from dog food manufacturers. Lactating dogs, as well as dogs suffering from various diseases, have options too. The composition of each one varies, and it is according to your dog's needs with respect to its age.
Pay attention to the composition of the food you serve to your Aussies. It should include animal-derived proteins and fats and vegetable components, and cereals. On the other hand, flavors and flavor enhancers should not be present.
The Australian Shepherd is a breed of an active dog. It should not be overfed because obesity is harmful to animals' health. Underfeeding, or lack of food, will also be dangerous. Muscle tissue and the skeleton will be unable to develop and form properly. It is critical to maintain sufficient calories and a nutritional balance. It's also nearly impossible to supply it with natural products. As a result, top veterinarians recommend both dry and wet food.
A fully grown Australian Shepherd must be fed twice a day, morning and evening. This should be done after a walk to avoid overloading the animal's gastrointestinal tract. If you choose to provide your doggie with dry food, make sure he has access to fresh water at all times.
Feeding a dog from a communal table is strictly prohibited. This creates a bad habit of begging for food, but it also has a negative impact on the animal's health. Dogs should not eat food that is meant for humans. It contains a high amount of salt, sugar, and other additives harmful to the dog's health.
Health and disease
If you give an Australian Shepherd good nutrition, a lot of exercise, and lots of love and care, it can live a long life. In addition, giving your dog all of the necessary vaccinations on time is needed to avoid the most deadly diseases.
The majority of herding breeds are susceptible to juvenile cataracts. The Australian Shepherds are no exception. They may also be more sensitive to the following diseases than others:
- autoimmune diseases, including allergies;
- vision problems, optic nerve dystrophy;
- hip dysplasia;
- malignant tumors;
- skin diseases, demodicosis.
Merle-coated dogs are more likely to suffer from blindness and deafness. This is a congenital disability caused by a recessive gene linked to this color, hearing, and vision. Breeders must avoid crossing two dogs with the same merle color to prevent such problems. Otherwise, the likelihood of puppies being born entirely deaf and blind increases.
Historians have gone over and over the origins of the Australian Shepherd. However, they were unable to reach an agreement on this matter. Although it is widely assumed that the history of the Aussie's appearance began in Australia and is linked to the name Eliza Forlong, the breed's first representatives were bred in America.
In the early 1800s, Eliza Forlong and her family moved to eastern Australia with their family. They established a farm and began raising sheep. Shepherd dogs, now commonly known as old German shepherds, grazed them. The first ancestors of the Aussies, who arrived in Australia, came from them.
Another theory suggested that the Australian Shepherd's ancestors were coolies, closely related to modern Aussies. Farmers crossed shepherds with cattle dogs to breed ideal shepherds. Border collies and tigers were also used in the development of the breed.
When the wool market in the United States began to grow, Aussies were brought over from Australia. Americans quickly fell in love with these capable and amazing shepherd dogs. It was in this country that the first official breeder was registered and is considered the birthplace of the Australian Shepherd.
In the early 1950s and '60s, Jay Sisler, a rodeo contestant, increased the popularity of Australian Shepherds. He went to the rodeo with his three Aussies (Queenie, Stubby, and Shorty ), doing some amazing tricks. This breed appeared in several films and even starred in some dog movies. This shows how trainable Aussies are.
Farmers named Hartnagle were also linked to the history of Australian Shepherds. They chose Aussies because they needed good shepherds for their sheep flocks. The parents of Jay Sisler's dogs were from them.
In 1957, Australia's first officially recognized dog was registered. She was named Panda. It was a defining moment for the breed and its first foray into cynology. The first club dedicated to Australians was founded in 1962. There were two nurseries in 1970, 26 a few years later. However, it took another seven years to adopt the breed standard.
Photos of Australian Shepherds
Who is this breed for?
Australian Shepherds are frequently bred for their attractive appearance and high intelligence. However, not everyone realizes the responsibility of owning such a dog.
Not everyone is a fan of Aussies. Your personality should be compatible with that of the dog. Aussies are a high-energy breed. As a result, if you want to walk in the park with a four-legged friend who walks with a calm gait, you should consider purchasing a representative of decorative dog breeds.
You must run, jump, and throw the ball with an Australian Shepherd. You must continue to do so for as long as possible.
This breed is not for you if you like to spend your free time on the couch watching movies. The Aussie will gladly keep company with those who enjoy hiking, walking in the fresh air, cycling, and running. This dog needs to move around a lot and spend a lot of time with the owner.
These dogs are usually self-sufficient. They have the authority to make decisions without your permission. If a person does not know how a dog should act, the dog will decide for him. Simultaneously, he will take the initiative in his "paws" and be a relationship leader.
Aussies will feel right in a private house with a free-range territory. However, if you are prepared to walk with her for just a few hours each day, she can live in an apartment. The dog must interact with its owner and spend more time with them. Australian Shepherds do not adapt well to being alone.
The Australian Shepherd will become a loyal companion if you devote enough time to its upbringing, strength for walks and training, and patience for training.
How to choose a puppy
A puppy is, first and foremost, a commitment.
Before you spend money on a puppy, make sure you've made the right decision. To do so, go to a few shows where this type of dog is featured. Inquire about the breeders at length. Ask for some references from someone who has tried buying one. Search about the breed in question extensively.
If you're dead set on getting an Australian Shepherd, go to a few kennels where they're bred. Take an interest in the parents' pedigree and health status. The puppy must have all required documents and a veterinary passport.
Keep an eye on the puppies before deciding on one. A healthy dog should have a shiny coat, clean eyes and ears, and be well-fed. Give more preference to a puppy who enjoys himself and is curious about the world around him. He should not appear scared or aggressive in any way. The best pet will be one that makes unafraid contact with you.
Photos of Australian Shepherd puppies
Australian Shepherd prices
Only a few individuals of this breed are registered on the Russian Federation's territory. They are not more than fifty in number. All of these dogs have a great pedigree and are excellent working dogs.
If you want to buy a purebred Australian Shepherd puppy, you should expect to pay at least 60,000 rubles. On the other hand, such ideal dogs are only required by owners who plan to exhibit their dogs or use them for breeding.
You can save money by choosing some with disqualifying vices if you want to find yourself a friend and a dog for a companion. It's prevalent for them to be color issues. However, this does not affect the dog's health or psyche. In addition, the baby will be significantly less expensive.