The Australian Shepherd , also known as the Australian Shepherd , is not native to the land of kangaroos, as one might think from the name.
It is in fact a breed developed in the United States and the name of Australian was given for an association with shepherd dogs that arrived in the United States from Australia around 1800.
The physical and character selection has made the Australian Shepherd an intelligent , balanced working dog with innate attitudes to guarding and conducting the flock. Let’s get to know him better.
Learn all about the : Different Dog Breeds
The origins of the Australian Shepherd
The Australian Shepherd is a prestigious breed recognized by the FCI ( International Cynological Federation ). It finds its origins towards the end of the nineteenth century, when the predecessors of what is now considered the Basque or Vasco shepherd arrived in America , from whose area of origin it takes its name: the Basque Country.
This dog breed then provided the starting point for the development of the Australian Shepherd and was then further crossed with others, such as the Smithfield , an unrecognized breed, probably introduced in Australia during the colonial period.
The name Australian Shepherd would also derive from this theory, even if in this regard the dog doctrine is not yet uniform.
Thanks to its medium size and innate ability to lead livestock , US breeders began to select this dog until it became the very famous and recognized breed in the United States.
Although today the Australian shepherd is also engaged in other activities, he remains the undisputed protagonist for the management of flocks on the ranches.
Australian Shepherd: appearance
The Australian Shepherd is a medium-sized dog, strong and hardy, with a nice proud bearing and good musculature , but not excessive.
This dog’s ears are triangular in shape and snug. The head is well harmonious and in proportion with the body, the skull is cubic with the same length as the muzzle.
Australian Shepherd Color
Among the colors of the breed standard we find black, brown, tricolor black, tricolor red and a combination of colors in the coat called merle (blue merle and red merle).
Among the colors not accepted for this breed we find instead the sand yellow, the slate color (gray with blue reflections) and the lilac which is part of the purple range.
There are also precise rules for white which can only be present on the neck, chest, legs, lower muzzle and head, but extended for a maximum area of 10 cm. The eyes must also be surrounded by color.
These specifications should not be considered only from an aesthetic point of view: an Australian Shepherd with ears and eyes not surrounded by colored fur could exhibit hearing problems or lack of vision.
Regardless of color, the Australian Shepherd’s coat always has a medium texture and a combination of straight and wavy . It resists weather well.
On the head, the ears, the front of the legs and under the hocks the coat is short and smooth .
The undercoat is required by the breed standard, but the amount varies according to the climate where it lives and the season. The limbs have culottes of fringed hair.
The color of the eyes of the Australian Shepherd conquers with its shades. It can be brown, blue, amber or a mix of the indicated colors.
The eyes can be dotted and marbled. L ‘ eterocromia , ie the irises of two different colors, it is considered to be very common in merle.
The preferred measures range from 51 to 58 cm in height at the withers for the male, while from 46 to 53 cm for the female.
Weight is not indicated by the breed standard. In any case, indicatively the male can weigh up to 32 kg , while the female up to 25 kg .
Australian Shepherd: character and attitudes
But let’s better understand the character of the Australian Shepherd Dog (also called Aussie) and why it is such a popular dog around the world.
Awake and active. It is a working dog for guiding and guarding the flock. For this reason, he does not tire easily and is always attentive to his surroundings.
Docile and balanced. This dog is a devoted companion, is good and has a stable disposition that allows him to get along well with other dogs, without imposing or being submissive.
He is fond of the family and children that he follows everywhere and respects with love and patience. He is lively and sociable, but only with those he knows. It is also called the ” dog that smiles ” for its particular expression (almost a tic) when it lifts its upper lip and shows its teeth, obviously without growling!
Intelligent: Thanks to his intelligence he is easily trainable and very motivated in practicing the activities that are proposed to him.
Love the master. The Australian Shepherd has a particular attachment to the owner, whom he loves and follows as an important point of reference. He is always ready to receive commands and instructions, he feels the need for company and to share all the time with his 2-legged friend.
Dynamic and awake. It is agile and fast and therefore it can be a sporting dog, in particular in the SheepDog, FlyBall, Agility and Obedience, but also as a guide dog, rescue dog and drug dog.
Australian Shepherd: Care
And we come to some very important aspects to know when deciding to welcome an Australian Shepherd dog into our family.
Where he lives best
This dog adapts both to urban life and to the farm, the important thing is to always guarantee movement and constant presence of the owner.
Whether you choose an industrial or home-style diet, this breed of dog must always be fed with high quality food , respecting the type of activity and the stages of growth of the animal.
The Australian Shepherd has an average lifespan of around 13-15 years .
The Australian Shepherd has a complex genetic makeup and a tendency to suffer from inherited diseases such as hip and elbow dysplasia.
Deafness and oculopathy problems, such as cataracts, are also frequent. This pathology leads to an opacity of the lens, with consequent loss of vision. After 3 years of age this dog may suffer from epilepsy.
Many Australian Shepherds are sensitive to the active ingredients of certain medicines , due to a genetic abnormality called MDR1.
The Australian Shepherd is a resistant and healthy dog, which does not require special care. Just pay attention to the coat brush it from time to time.
It is essential to ensure this dog has regular movement and to check its general health, periodically taking it to the vet, especially to check for the presence of parasites , internal and external.
Coming to education , on the other hand, Australian Shepherd puppies must be educated very well right away, to prevent them from becoming dependent on the owner and not even leaving him for a minute!
However, we must remember that the Australian Shperd is not independent and should not be left alone , at home or in an apartment. It is therefore better to consider whether to adopt this dog if you do not think you have the necessary time available to follow it.
In fact, he needs training and socialization, but also the right mix of physical activity and mental stimuli, to support his ability to solve problems.
The diseases of the Australian Shepherd
Australian Shepherd Price
As always, we invite you to consider adopting a dog forced into a kennel as the first option . For those who necessarily want a puppy of this breed, some warnings for this too.
Remember that the price of an Australian Shepherd is around $600 to $1200. Be wary of those who offer Australian Shepherd puppies at much lower prices. Often it will not be a healthy puppy and will probably be a dog with genetic anomalies typical of this breed of dogs.
Learn all about the : Different Dog Breeds