Home of this breed is America. These dogs were bred (and today still grown) to help farmers with pastoral work. There are many theories which breeds were used in the creation of the Australian Shepherd. Most likely the ancestors are Collie and some kind of shepherd dogs, imported in America alongside sheep from Australia.
The breed became popular in the years after World War II. Lovers of equestrian sports and westerns were amazed by these athletic dogs who partner the cowboys in the movies. Despite the growing interest in Australian Shepherds, puppies for sale were hard to find and the breed was officially recognized only in 1993.
Today, this dog is grown not only by farmers as a shepherd dog, but also by many people as a guard dog and companion of the family.
The Australian Shepherd has a strong and muscular body. The height ranges from 45 to 58 cm and weight of 20 to 33 kg. The head is also well proportioned and has a clear stop. The eyes are medium sized and almond-shaped, and their color can be blue, brown or amber. The ears are set high and have a triangular shape, slightly rounded at the top. The tail is very short. The coat is short around the head, ears and front legs and back and hindquarters is longer. Colorations are in red with blue or black, white or tan markings.
Character and behavior
Dogs of this breed are very hardworking and responsible, they always strive to please their master. They are cheerful and friendly, but are also very active. They are not suitable for urban environments because they need space to spend their energy. Puppies perfectly adapt to families with children because they are very social.
As already mentioned these dogs are created to be shepherds, to dominate the herd and to control it. Therefore, if they get the chance they will show same dominance in the family too. So if you own an Australian Shepherd you should be strong and confident.
Like many other shepherds, Australian Shepherds are loyal to their owners, but avoid strangers. It is very important to socialize your puppy while still very little. Acquainted him with the people around you, walk him outside where there are strangers and other dogs.
Training and education
The Australian Shepherd is a very intelligent dog that is relatively easy to train with positive methods. The puppy will carry out the commands of his coach if he knows that there will be rewards, treats or games.
Overall dogs of this breed are strong, but like any other dog the Australian Shepherd is prone to certain diseases. This does not mean that every dog gets sick, but it is good to have these issues in mind. Some of the most common diseases are:
- Hip dysplasia
- Problems with eyes - cataracts and others.
While they are young they do not need so much movement. Should not even be allowed to run much or jump on hard surfaces (concrete, asphalt) until they are at least a year old, because it can hurt the growing bones and can lead to future joint problems.
The average life span of the Australian Shepherd is between 12 and 18 years.
Grooming and care
If you have a yard, make sure it has a stable fence because the Australian Shepherd dog would do everything to get out in the open. These dogs are very energetic and you must a daily dose of activities like playing frisbee, running etc.
The coat should be brushed once a week (in the period of change even more frequently) to be kept clean and to prevent clumping. Bathe is needed only when necessary - perhaps several times a year.
Children and other pets
The dog may perceive children as part of his "flock" so you need to train it that the pursuit of children and other pets is not allowed. Once it becomes clear, it can be a great dog suitable for families with children.
The Australian Shepherd is on the 10th place in one of the charts for smartest dogs. This dog has a strong sense of ownership, even to its master.
The most distinctive feature of the Australian Shepherd is a natural lack of tail.