Have you been seeking a strong, intelligent, and playful companion?
Well, allow me to introduce you to the Australian Shepherd, a dog breed that will make you fall in love at first sight.
In this article, I talked about its history, characteristics, and temperament.
Are you ready to learn about this cute doggie?
Let’s jump right in!
Brief History Of The Australian Shepherd Dog
Austrian Shepherd Dogs or “Aussie” as they are fondly called, did not originate from Australia as you might think.
Rather, they were developed by Basques (Shepherds) in the USA.
When these Shepherds arrived in Australia in search of greener pastures for their herds, they bred their ranch dogs with Collies and Border Collies in the area.
The product of this insightful crossing is what the California ranchers called ‘Australian Shepherd” when the adventurous Basques came into their country
This was as far back as the 1800s. These dogs became more refined in America and have since been a model of cowboy culture.
The Australian Shepherd entered the AKC Herding Group in 1993. And the dog has been called different names like California Shepherd, Pastor Dog, Blue Heeler, etc.
Gratefully, it didn’t lose any of its admirable characteristics over the years.
I described these characteristics in the next section.
Physical Characteristics Of The Australian Shepherd Dog
This medium-sized dog has beautiful features that you can hardly ignore. They are:
Height: the males are about 20 – 23 inches tall while the females are about 18 – 21 inches in height.
Weight: the males are usually heavier than the females. They weigh between 50 – 65 pounds while the females weigh between 40 – 55 pounds.
Eyes: the eyes of the Australian Shepherd contribute largely to its beauty, usually having an alert but friendly gaze.
They take on different colours, but the most common are dark brown, yellow, amber, green, or blue.
Some Aussies possess the heterochromia gene, which is expressed in a multi-coloured pair of eyes.
Coat: the coat of this dog is usually medium in length and somewhat coarse. It can be wavy or straight. And the colour ranges from black to blue merle, red and red merle.
A common giveaway is a white fur in the middle of the face, down to the throat, and under the belly. So cute!
Tail: the Australian Shepherd dog has a bobbed or docked tail.
Legs: this dog has straight legs with strong bones. They appear oval with oval feet and closely knit, well-arched toes. Most times, the front and back dewclaws are removed.
Generally, this dog appears longer than it is taller, standing magnificently on its firm legs with a deep chest and well-sprung ribs.
Australian Shepherds are very strong and ever ready to work.
Moving on, we’ll see the personality of this dog breed.
Personality Of The Australian Shepherd Dog
As you can already tell, this dog has a huge and loving personality.
Aussies are easy-going and playful dogs. They remain active from puppyhood to their adult years.
Additionally, this dog will not mind having other pets around and it relates well with children.
This dog is very loyal and will make a great companion for its owner. Also, it will serve well as a watch and guard dog.
Furthermore, the Australian Shepherd dog is highly intelligent and therefore trainable. You can teach your pet some tricks and how to run errands for you.
I must add that obedience and socialization training are inevitable for this dog at a young age. This will help channel its energy appropriately.
Australian Shepherds are never at their best when idle. These dogs love to be busy. So, place them in a spacious yard, take them out for runs or a walk frequently, and so on.
We’ll learn more about that in the next section where I talked about how to care for this dog breed.
Care Of The Australian Shepherd Dog
The following are tips on how to care for your Aussie:
Encourage him to exercise daily
As mentioned, the Australian Shepherd is a very energetic dog and requires lots of exercises to remain active.
Endeavour to include stimulating and agility exercises in your dog’s daily routine as well as ample playtime.
Take him on long walks, let him follow you for jogging, play fetch with him, teach him different tricks like a handshake and engage him often, send him for local and international competitions with other dogs.
Dedicating one hour daily to help your dog exercise is a good start.
Feed your Aussie well
To ensure that your dog stays at optimal health, feed him high-quality foods whether from a commercial source or homemade.
The food must be rich in animal protein and contain other essential nutrients like Vitamins and Minerals.
Also, give your dog food portions that are commensurate with his age, size, and activity level.
You can talk to your vet or an animal nutritionist about the best food options for your dog.
Brush your Australian Shepherd dog regularly
Another way to care for your four-legged friend is by brushing his coat regularly.
It is recommended that you brush the coat 2 – 3 times every week to remove dead hair.
As an average shedder, your dog may shed twice a year, especially during fall & spring.
Brushing your dog’s coat regularly will protect your clothes and sofa from dead fur.
Don’t forget to even up the hair around the ears, feet/toes, and the tail.
Trim his nails
When you hear those nails clicking on the floor, it’s time to cut them short.
Trimming your dog’s nails will prevent painful splintering. Also, your dog will not injure himself when he scratches.
You will also not get any accidental scratches during playtime. (LOL)
Clean your dog’s ears, eyes, and teeth.
Your Aussie’s ears should not be left out when you’re cleaning him up.
Always check the ears and remove any foreign matter or wax buildup.
Also, clean your dog’s eyes every morning with a washcloth to remove every debris.
For his teeth, use the appropriate toothbrush and toothpaste to brush them at least twice a week.
You can also offer him dental chew treats to help him maintain healthy teeth.
Practising the tips above will let your dog know how much you love and care for him. It will also help him understand who the boss is (winks).
In return, your dog will reward you with affection and respect.
*If grooming your dog is overwhelming, you can invest in the services of a professional groomer for an excellent job.
So, are these dogs super healthy? Or are they associated with health problems?
Find out in the next section!
Health Problems Associated With The Australian Shepherd Dog
Australian Shepherds are generally very healthy dogs but they can suffer any of these problems:
This is a genetic malformation of the hip socket, in which the head of the thigh bone does not fit well into the socket.
After a while, the cartilage on the bone begins to wear away and the dog’s movement may be affected.
Hip dysplasia may be mild or severe. Before adopting your dog, ask the breeder for the’ hip scoring’ result to be sure it does not have this deformity.
Genetic eye disorders are also common in Aussies including colobomas, different types of cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), and detached retinas.
Other eye problems which this dog is prone to but not are hereditary include Persistent Pupillary Membrane and Collie Eye Anomaly.
Again, request eye testing results before adopting this dog.
Most Australian Shepherds lack pigmentation in the ears and this is a major cause of deafness.
Puppies born from two merle parents are more likely to be deaf.
Before adopting this dog, request for a BAER test to confirm that it is not deaf.
This is a common problem with most dogs. Gratefully, it can be avoided.
Endeavour to give your dog quality meals and in appropriate quantities for his age, size, and activity level. That way, he will maintain a healthy weight.
Feel free to consult an animal nutritionist to plan your dog’s diet.
Pro tip: send your puppy to the vet immediately after adoption for medical examination.
The Australian Shepherd Dog is a flamboyant dog with charming eyes and a stout body.
Generally fun, loving, loyal, hardworking, and obedient. There is nothing not to love about this breed.
And that’s all I have for you on this dog breed information. I hope you enjoyed the read.
Now tell me; would you adopt the Australian Shepherd dog?
Perhaps you already did, what has it been like living with this dog.
Drop your responses in the comments section right now, let’s engage!
Also, share this article with your friends, thank you!
Other dog breeds you may be interested in:
- Belgian Malinois Dog Breed
- Golden Retriever Dog Breed