Australian Shepherd | 5 Facts, Habits & Temperament

Australian Shepherds are elegant, intelligent, and herding dogs. They were initially bred as working dogs. Australian shepherds are 18-24 inches tall and weigh 40-65 pounds as adults, with males being more significant.

The History of the Australian Shepherd

australian shepherd
australian shepherd

Although its name may suggest otherwise, this breed is native to America. The Australian Shepherd was initially bred to assist ranchers and farmers in the western United States by herding livestock.

Even today, certain Australian Shepherds continue to fulfill this role.

Numerous theories exist regarding the specific breeds that were utilized in the development of the Australian Shepherd.

The Australian Shepherd is believed to have descended from collie and shepherd-type dogs brought to Australia in the 1840s along with sheep shipments.

This is how the breed got its name. Breeders tried to improve the dogs’ herding skills and develop a breed known for being adaptable, diligent, and intelligent.

The breed experienced a surge in popularity during the post-World War II years, which coincided with a renewed fascination with Western-style horseback riding.

The crowds at rodeos or horse shows and Western movies or TV shows audiences were amazed by the athletic dogs that worked alongside the cowboys.

Although the breed garnered significant attention, it was not officially recognized by the American Kennel Club until 1993.

The Australian Shepherd of today still possesses the same captivating qualities of being energetic, clever, and eye-catching, just as it was back in the old West when it proved to be highly beneficial to ranchers and farmers.

Numerous people adore him and enjoy his role as a beloved family companion, protector, and herding dog.

Australian Shepherd Dimensions

The Australian Shepherd is slightly taller than its height, measuring between 20 to 23 inches at the shoulder for males and 18 to 21 inches for females.

australian shepherd
australian shepherd

On average, the weight of males ranges from 50 to 65 pounds, while females typically weigh between 40 and 55 pounds.

You might see advertisements for dogs called teacups, toys, or miniature Australian Shepherds. Australian Shepherd breeders do not view these dogs as true Australian Shepherds.

The breed is designed to be a highly functional working dog that excels at herding challenging livestock over long distances in rugged terrain or snowy conditions.

It is important to note that this breed has no more minor size variations.

Characteristics of the Australian Shepherd

Aussies, a herding breed, are naturally inclined to stay active and are physically designed for endurance. They thrive on engaging in activities and can sustain high levels of physical activity throughout the day.

They are fast, agile, and possess a great deal of endurance. If you enjoy dog sports, you’ll find that an Australian Shepherd is delightful to watch on the agility course!

Australian Shepherds are widely recognized as one of the most intelligent dog breeds. The AKC cautions that Australian Shepherds can deceive inexperienced owners.

In simpler terms, this particular dog requires constant engagement and activity.

In addition to their other qualities, Australian Shepherds are known for their unwavering loyalty to their owners, although they may exhibit reserved behavior towards unfamiliar individuals.

The ideal companion for an Australian Shepherd

Australians have a strong affection for their fellow citizens, and you don’t need to be a rancher to establish a connection with them.

australian shepherd
australian shepherd

The ideal owner of an Australian Shepherd is just as devoted to their dog as their dog is to them. Being active and energetic is beneficial when caring for an Australian Shepherd.

This breed requires daily exercise, so it is essential to be prepared to meet their activity needs. Additionally, having ample time for training and providing companionship is necessary.

Australian Shepherds are known for their deep devotion to their owners. However, they can also exhibit protective behavior towards their loved ones and may display wariness towards unfamiliar individuals.

The ideal person for an Australian Shepherd is someone who comprehends their requirements and is dedicated to assisting them to flourish.

Training an Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherds are known for their intelligence, motivation, and enthusiasm for having a purpose. Training is a good idea and essential for maintaining one’s mental health.

The good news is that Australians have a strong enthusiasm for learning! Training your dog is critical to developing a strong bond with your Australian Shepherd.

If you decide to bring an Australian Shepherd puppy into your home, it is highly recommended that you enroll them in a group puppy class as soon as they reach the appropriate age.

The foundation of socialization and training will provide you with the necessary tools for success. If you decide to adopt an adult Australian Shepherd, participating in group obedience classes can still be an excellent opportunity to focus on socialization and master fundamental skills.

Once your Australian Shepherd has mastered the basics (which will take little time), you can train them to perform tricks and tasks such as tidying up toys or fetching your slippers.

Regardless of the type of training, you are engaging in, beginning in calm and undisturbed environments is essential. Additionally, it is crucial to maintain consistency throughout your training sessions. To prepare them, this is beneficial to exercise beforehand.

Additionally, it is advisable to conduct short and focused training sessions, incorporating ample positive reinforcement.

Fun things to do with Australian Shepherds

  • Training in agility
  • In-field tests
  • Trials for herding
  • Pitch fly
  • Advanced instruction in obedience
  • Hiking

Australian Shepherds are particularly skilled in herding in the workplace. Additionally, they excel at working as service dogs, guide dogs, and police search and rescue dogs.

Grooming an Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherds possess a double-layered, waterproof coat that tends to accumulate debris while they are active.

Therefore, it is essential to be ready to engage in regular combing to maintain their coat’s cleanliness. Generally, brushing their skin once or twice a week will help keep them in good shape.

You can effectively remove dead fur using an undercoat rake during the spring and autumn shedding seasons.

Australian Shepherds typically only require occasional baths, especially if they have gotten into something foul. Regular brushing, nail clipping, and teeth brushing are sufficient to maintain a well-groomed appearance.

The Health of Australian Shepherds

Australian Shepherds are known for their robust nature and overall good health. However, specific health problems are more commonly found in Australian individuals. Hip dysplasia is a genetic condition that can affect them, causing a malformation of the hip socket.

This can result in inflammation and arthritis. Australians can also experience eye problems, such as cataracts, and may be more susceptible to epilepsy. To ensure the health of your Aussie, then it is essential to prioritize preventative veterinary care, provide them with a high-quality diet, and get regular exercise.

The AKC recommends that dogs undergo annual hips, elbows, and eyes evaluations.

Additionally, it is advised to check their ears and clean their teeth regularly. The average lifespan of a healthy Australian Shepherd is typically 12-15 years.

Many pet owners choose to have pet health insurance as a precautionary measure.

Purchasing an Australian Shepherd

Finding an Australian Shepherd puppy or adult dog can be a relatively simple task with the help of an internet search.

However, it is essential to exercise caution due to puppy mills and internet scams. A good starting point is to check out animal shelters and breed-specific rescue groups.

Many Australian Shepherds are often available through these organizations, as individuals may need to rehome their dogs for various reasons.

The price of an Australian Shepherd

Families prepared to welcome an Australian Shepherd into their home as a pet should be mindful of the various expenses associated with their care.

According to Rover’s Cost of Pet Parenthood Survey, it is revealed that 60% of pet parents who own an Australian Shepherd anticipated spending $500-$1,000 on initial expenses for their dog. Surprisingly, 58% reported that the actual upfront costs aligned with their budget, while 32% admitted that the costs exceeded their expectations.

In general, 66% of Australian Shepherd owners spend a monthly amount ranging from $50 to $149 on their pets.

Australian Shepherd Rescue

Based on information from the AKC, it is commonly reported by breed rescues that the majority of their rescue dogs are obtained through individual owner surrender.

The most frequently cited reasons for rejection include a change in lifestyle or the owner realizing that the breed is not a suitable match for them.

Australian Shepherds are commonly surrendered to rescue organizations because their owners find meeting their exercise and activity requirements challenging.

However, it’s worth noting that adult Australian Shepherds can make beautiful additions to your family. 43% of owners have chosen to adopt their Australian Shepherds from shelters or rescue organizations.

The Aussie Rescue & Placement Helpline (ARPH) is a non-profit organization that operates with the help of dedicated volunteers.

To find available Australian Shepherds in your area and to learn more about this incredible breed, please visit their website.

Nutritional Advice for an Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherds are known for their high energy levels and may be prone to developing osteoarthritis as they get older.

It is advisable to consider incorporating joint supplements into your pet’s routine as they age, as recommended by your veterinarian.

Australian Shepherds are also prone to specific eye conditions, making supplements that promote eye health potentially beneficial for them as well.

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