Australian Shepherd Dog Breed at a Glance
The Australian Shepherd was bred to herd livestock. It had and continues to have a job handling various chores on farms and ranches. Also known as the Little Blue Dog or the Aussie, this breed is intelligent and happiest when active, and absolutely needs a large yard in which to run around. It’s a good dog for kids, but not an ideal breed for new owners without any dog ownership experience. However, it will alert owners of an intruder and will fearlessly protect its family.
HISTORY of the Australian Shepherd Dog Breed
Despite its name, the Aussie was developed in the United States. The goal of breeders was to develop an effective stock dog that was fast, athletic, energetic and capable of withstanding the severe weather of the American West. It had to be flexible, intelligent, independent, and obedient.
Origin: United States
The agile Australian Shepherd is independent, energetic, loving, affectionate, and loyal. It is highly responsive and protective. Expect considerable mouthiness, occasional barking, and a high level of sensitivity, an impulse to wander and hunting drive. It is playful and affectionate with kids and cat-friendly.
This breed is associated with 13 human attacks, including 7 maimings, since 1982, placing it among the top 30% of dog attacks.
Physical Characteristics of the Australian Shepherd Dog Breed
The common colors of the Australian Shepherd include black, red, and merle. Its coat is water-repellent.
This breed weighs between 40 and 65 pounds and stands between 18 and 23 inches tall.
Shedding is moderate, but regular brushing helps. Still, be prepared to vacuum frequently. It is not a hypoallergenic breed.
HEALTH and CARE of the Aussie
The life expectancy of the Australian Shepherd is between 12 and 15 years, which is average with large breeds.
Common Health Concerns
All breeds are susceptible to common health issues. The Australian Shepherd is at a high risk for:
- Optic Nerve Colobomas
and at a medium risk for the following conditions:
- Cushing’s Disease
- Elbow Dysplasia
- Hip Dysplasia.
The Australian Shepherd can adapt easily to hot or cold climates. It is a highly active dog that needs plenty of daily exercise, as it has a high potential for weight gain. Aussies are perfect for those who enjoy physical activities.
Expect to feed your dog between 2.5 and 3 cups of dry dog food each day so it thrives.
Regular grooming will ensure its fur remains in top shape, while stripping or trimming is minimal.
The Australian Shepherd dog breed was recognized by the AKC in 1991.