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Australian Shepherd Dog

Australian Shepherd Dog

These dogs are often compared to the Border Collie dog breed. Solid and muscular, they are slightly longer than they are tall, standing at 51-58cm (males) and 46-53cm (females). They generally weigh 19-29kg depending on their sex and build. The coat comes in black, blue merle, red merle, and red, with or without tan points. See the breed standard for full details.

  • 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
Australian Shepherd in the forest

Personality

This dog has strong herding instincts and loves to be part of family life, thriving on the companionship of his owners. They can be initially reserved with new people so early socialisation is essential. Ongoing training and a combination of physical and mental stimulation is also important to satisfy his considerable intelligence and energy.

Australian Shepherd with the owner

History and Origins

Surprisingly, the Australian Shepherd dog breed is actually American! Shepherds from the Basque region of the Pyrenees took small 'blue' dogs to work in the U.S. in the late 1800s and early 1900s to work with sheep. The Australian part of the name comes from the sheep that they worked with that were imported from Australia. Another theory suggests that the dogs immigrated first to Australia and then to the U.S. When they first arrived in the south-western United States in the late 1800s, the dogs were initially allowed to interbreed with other shepherd dogs, to enhance working ability. A breed club was established in the U.S. in 1957.

Health and Common Issues

The Australian Shepherd dog is generally a very healthy breed. However as with many breeds, they can suffer from various hereditary eye disorders, and hip dysplasia (a condition that can lead to mobility problems). Eye testing and hip scoring of dogs prior to breeding is therefore important.

Exercise Needs

This dog needs at least two hours a day. Many Australian Shepherd dogs perform to a high standard in the dog sports (agility, heelwork to music, obedience and flyball), where they can use their physical and mental energy.

Nutrition and Feeding

Your dog's diet needs to have the right balance of all the main nutrient groups including a constant supply of fresh water. It's also important to conduct regular body condition scores to ensure you keep your dog in ideal shape and remember to feed him at least twice daily and in accordance with the feeding guidelines of his particular food.

Grooming Australian Shepherd Dog

The coat is medium in length, with a weather-resistant undercoat. There's some feathering (longer hair) on the back of the legs and a moderate mane, which is thicker on male dogs. A brush through two or three times a week should suffice, with more frequent grooming needed when the coat sheds.

Best Family Dog Breeds

While many dogs are traditionally thought of as being good with children , all dogs and children need to be taught to get on with and respect each other, and be safe together. Even so, dogs and young children should never be left alone together and adults should supervise all interactions between them.

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