Are you the proud parent of an Australian Shepherd who wants to learn more or are you thinking about getting an Australian Shepherd? Read the facts about this breed here.
Fast facts about the Australian Shepherd
- Weight: 50 – 65 pounds | male
40 – 55 pounds | female
- Height: 20 – 23 inches | male
18 – 21 inches | female
Australian Shepherds are powerful, well-proportioned and rustic dogs – slightly longer than tall. Their slightly domed heads and medium-length snouts are about the same length, with almond-shaped eyes that can be blue, brown, or amber. Their ears are triangular and set high, their chests are deep and their tails are straight and naturally short. They have a weatherproof coat with a moderate texture, creating a bit of mane. Their hair is short and soft around the head, ears and front legs. Australian Shepherds can be found in black, blue merle, red merle, solid red or red with white and/or brown markings. In general, Australian Shepherds have a strong, square, balanced frame.
Characteristics of the Australian Shepherd
- Easy going
- Playful and puppyish
- Bold and loyal
- Easy to train
Who gets along with Australian Shepherds?
- Outdoor types
What do Australian Shepherds like to live with?
What is the Australian Shepherd’s temperament like? Australian Shepherds are loyal, reliable, easy-going companions. When it comes to their love of play, they never really outgrow the puppy stage. For this reason, they are excellent for children – and the more active, the better. But they have a gentle nature that prevents their game from ever getting rough. They’re also eager to work: give them a job and they’ll do it with tons of energy to spare.
Australian Shepherds can be a little aloof at first. Over time, however, they will become comfortable with new people and come out of their shells. They have excellent guarding instincts and a strong sense of loyalty to their families. Australian Shepherds will bark when strangers approach the house, and sometimes they will run a few laps around the house just to be safe.
What you need to know about Australian Shepherds:
Like most herding breeds, Australian Shepherds have a strong work ethic. They love to get a job done. If left alone in the house for too long, they can become a little frustrated. For this reason they are not really suitable for apartments. Take them to work in the field or for a long run in the woods – the activity and mental stimulation will result in a very happy Australian Shepherd.
Some Australian Shepherds retain strong working dog genes. This makes them more excited to be in the field and less excited to be around the family. These dogs are more prone to herding people and nipping at the heels to keep everyone moving, but with the right training, these quirks can be resolved.
A healthy Australian Shepherd can live up to 15 years. Common health problems include hip dysplasia, cataracts, and hypothyroidism. Australian Shepherds do not shed excessively and only need an occasional brushing.
History of the Australian Shepherd
The Australian Shepherd we know today was primarily developed in the US. In fact, this breed has no real connection to Australia. Originating in the Basque region between Spain and France as a working dog and sheepherder, the breed was given the name “Australian Shepherd” because many of the Basque Shepherds came from Australia. Australian Shepherds became more popular in the mid-twentieth century, favorites of ranchers and cowboys for their unique herding abilities, but did not enter the AKC stud book until 1991.
Miniature: Photography ©chris-mueller | Getty Images.