The exact origin of the Australian Shepherd is not known. The breed that is cherished and loved today was developed exclusively in the United States. The Australian Shepherd has an innate versatility that makes them useful on ranches and farms as a herding dog, retriever, and watchdog. They are typically referred to as “The Aussie”.
The Australian Shepherds most identifiable characteristic is the natural or docked bobtail. Their eyes are one of this breeds most commented on feature. Their eyes come in a variety of colors or color combinations and include blue, amber, hazel, and all shades of brown. The Aussie is a vigorous and athletic breed.
Australian Shepherds are intelligent, delightful, and loyal. They are highly energetic and thrive on being given something to do. The Aussie has a high degree of intensity and a “no-quit” attitude. Their herding instinct may be problematic or annoying to their family, as this breed will often attempt to perform this task on everyone or anything that moves. They are reserved and cautious with strangers until the Aussie decides about them. They are confident and protective. Human companionship is crucial to this breed. They get along well with active, considerate older children. The Aussie is not typically aggressive to other dogs.
The Australian Shepherd requires minimal grooming. An occasional brushing with a firm bristle brush will suffice. It is important to do more in depth grooming when they are going through their seasonal shedding. Bathing should only be done when absolutely necessary. The Aussie is susceptible to a myriad of health issues and concerns. Their merle coloration carries a blind/deaf factor. Natural bobtails may have serious spinal defects. They are also prone to epilepsy, hip dysplasia, and cataracts.
The Australian Shepherd has a striking and varied coat. It is of moderate length, straight to wavy, and weather resistant. The under coat is shed twice a year; with moderate shedding between these periods. The coat comes in four accepted colors: black, blue merle, red, and red merle. A variety of white and tan markings may appear on the face, chest, front, and rear legs.
Australian Shepherds are easy to train. They benefit from early socialization and very basic obedience. It is important that they know who the master is or they will attempt to take control. The Australian Shepherd requires firm, fair, consistent, and effective direction. Their high intelligence and keen learning ability make repetitive training boring.
The Australian Shepherd requires an inordinate amount of exercise. A mere walk is not sufficient. They thrive on running, herding, playing, and all family activities. They are at their best when they are given a great deal of social interaction and a task to do. Australian Shepherds are not recommended for apartment dwelling. They are moderately active indoors and require a non-sedentary owner and a large securely fenced yard or safe open area.
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