Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherds, or Aussies, are beautiful loyal, and protective. As their name implies they were originally bred to herd animals, and many continue to do this. They love to work, and are happiest when they have a job to do. If you decide to get an Aussie and do not plan on having him do herding work, it is important that you give him other jobs. This breed is incredibly high energy, and is not big on relaxation. If you do not give your Australian Shepherd a job, he will likely make up one for himself. This could include chasing the neighbors, herding children or other animals, or actively demolishing your house. Hardworking and loyal, Aussies make great guard dogs and pets. Often, this breed is very stand-offish with strangers (as most guard dogs are), and needs to be well socialized as a puppy.

Australian Shepherds are medium sized dogs, and have long, soft and wavy hair. Their coats are thick and meant to keep them warm and dry in the rain.They can come in a variety of different colors. But the most common are blue merl, red merl, tricolor, and black. Their long hair sheds year round, but can become particularly messy when they loose their winter coat in the spring. Because their hair is long, it will require regular brushing, and an occasional trim to keep them looking tidy. Aussies should not be bathed more than a couple of times a year, and are generally very clean dogs.

The History

The Australian Shepherd’s name can make his history appear a little confusing. Unlike the name suggests, the Aussie is actually from the South-West of the United States, and not from Australia. This Australian Shepherd breed was developed on farms and ranches in the middle of the 19th century. Although the full pedigree of the ancestors of the Aussie continues to be rather murky. It is likely that they are in part descended from the herding dogs that were sent to the Mid-West with sheep from Australia.

Although they were shepherd dogs, they were not considered to be very good herding dogs. They were bred with local pups to eventually produce the Australian Shepherd. Originally bred as work dogs, Aussies were not very popular as pets until after World War II. At this time Cowboy culture made a comeback in the United States, and Americans fell in love with this loyal and hard working Western pup. Aussies increased in popularity as pets, and continue to do so today.

Is an Australian Shepherd Right for You?

Aussies were bred to work, and are extremely high energy. This type of dog does well in high energy homes. And with owners who can give them lots of exercise and mental stimulation. An Australian Shepherd needs around an hour of intense physical activity a day, or mental stimulation like obedience classes. If you cannot give your pup this much attention and such a hard work out, than an Aussie is not for you.

While Aussies are loyal and loving, they are also used to being dominant and herding animals. If you do not train them well as puppies, they will likely try and herd your children. And become the dominant one in the relationship. This makes them not the ideal candidate for timid or first-time dog owners. Aussies do not like to be alone, and can suffer from separation anxiety. This is not the right dog for you if you spend lots of time away from home.

Did You Know?

Australian Shepherds were often known as California Shepherds or New Mexico Shepherds before they took on their current name.

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