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Australian Shepherd Dog

Agile, intelligent, and highly versatile, the Australian Shepherd or Aussie, is happiest when running and spending time with their owners. Their high energy and constant need to keep busy will most likely suit someone with an active lifestyle, as the Australian Shepherd will not be very fond of spending a lot of time indoors. Give them your attention, and a fun activity, and they will be wagging their tail like they’re having the absolute best time of their life. 

13 – 15 years
19 – 29kg
51-58cm for males and 46-53cm for females
Black, blue merle, red merle and red, with or without tan points
UK Kennel Club Groups
The need-to-know
  • Dog suitable for owners with some experience
  • Extra training required
  • Generally healthy breed
  • Enjoys vigorous walks
  • Enjoys more than two hours of walking a day
  • Medium dog
  • Minimum drool
  • Requires grooming every other day
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Barks and alerts to visitors/anything unusual
  • Could have issues with unknown dogs but gets along with known dogs
  • Gets along with other pets with training
  • Great family dog
  • Needs a large garden
  • Best suited to countryside
  • Cannot be left alone
Generally healthy breed

The Australian Shepherd dog can suffer from: 
- Hip dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia 
- Collie eye anomaly which is an inherited condition where the eye does not develop properly, potentially leading to blindness.
- Hereditary cataracts which is a condition where the lens in the eye becomes cloudy and this can result in blindness. 
- Progressive retinal atrophy which is an inherited disorder where part of the eye degenerates and wastes away which can result in blindness.
- Cobalamin (vitamin B12) malabsorption which is a genetic problem that can lead to weakness and growth deficiencies.  
- Multi-drug sensitivity, an inherited condition where affected dogs are paricularly sensitive to certain drugs.

Priority Kennel Club health schemes and testing:
- Hip dysplasia screening scheme 
- DNA test for hereditary cataracts which tests whether or not a dog has the potential to be affected by this condition
- Eye screening scheme 

Australian Shepherd Appearance 

Solid, muscular and robust, the Australian Shepherd size is medium, and this is an athletic dog who looks like they are built to work. Slightly longer than they are tall, Aussies have a medium length coat, that should be straight or very slightly waved, with a thick weather resistant undercoat. Tails, if present, should carry decent feathering and be set in line with the croup, the muscular area on the buttocks of the dog. Some are born naturally tailless. As for the Australian Shepherd colours, they can be black, blue merle, red merle and red and might feature tan points. 

Australian Shepherd Personality

With strong working instincts, particularly the instinct to herd and drive groups of animals, and a natural suspicion of strangers, the Australian Shepherd is devoted to their owners, and loves to be a part of family life, if that family can offer the right active lifestyle. Early dog socialisation with other animals and children is vital, and Aussies must be given a job to do, and plenty of physical and mental exercise to keep them satisfied and content. For the right owner, they can be the perfect dog but like most working breeds, a bored Aussie is a nightmare to live with.  

Vet Rating

History and Origins

Ideal Owner

Exercise Needs

Space Requirements

Nutrition and Feeding

Grooming Australian Shepherd Dogs

Training Australian Shepherd Dogs

Are Australian Shepherds Good Family Dogs?

Australian Shepherd Fun Facts

  • The Australian Shepherd is remarkably popular with celebrities. Famous owners include actress Amanda Seyfried (The Art of Racing in the Rain — a fabulous dog film), Susan Sarandon, Bruce Willis, Demi Moore, director Steven Spielberg… the list is almost endless!  
  • The Australian Shepherd actually gained popularity from rodeos, and while their main talent was herding the bulls, they could also do impressive tricks like balancing acts, rope jumping, or walking on their front legs. 

  • They used to go by many names, some of which included Spanish Shepherds, Pastor Dogs, Blue Heelers, New Mexico Shepherds, or California Shepherds. 
  • The Australian Shepherds are often born with heterochromia, meaning that they have two different coloured eyes. 


Are Australian Shepherds good pets? 

Yes, the Australian Shepherd makes for an excellent pet as they’re very eager to please, can be gentle and affectionate with family members, and are highly trainable. 

Do Australian Shepherds shed a lot? 

Yes, Australian Shepherds can shed considerably throughout the year given their double coat, but you should expect excessive shedding in the spring and summer months. 

How intelligent are Australian Shepherds? 

Australian Shepherds have a reputation for being highly intelligent dogs, but what they excel at is adaptive intelligence which makes them great at learning tricks and being easily trained. 

What are Australian Shepherds known for? 

Along with being herding dogs, Aussies are also excellent as narcotics detectors or search and rescue dogs. 

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