The Australian Shepherd is a breed of herding dog.
Despite its name, the breed was developed in the United States.
Animated, adaptable and agile, the Australian Shepherd lives for his job, which still involves herding livestock and working as an all-purpose farm and ranch dog. He needs a lot of activity and a sense of purpose to be truly content.
Because of their love for play, they make great family dogs, always wanting to be in the midst of their family.
Due to its high intelligence level, the Aussie is receptive to training and learns quite quickly. Give your Aussie the detailed training he needs to be fulfilled. With proper training, the Aussie is extremely obedient.
The dog has a stride in which its front and back legs cross over, making for an appearance of “on the edge” speed.
The dogs instinctively use a “pounce” position to deal with cattle trying to kick them.
They also have strong hips and legs, allowing for fast acceleration and high jumping, sometimes as high as 1.3 m (4 feet).
The average lifespan of the Australian Shepherd is about 13 to 15 years.
A hardy dog with strong herding and guarding instincts, the Australian shepherd stands 45 to 58 cm (18 to 23 inches) and weighs 16 to 32 kg (35 to 70 pounds).
It is very similar in it’s appearance to the English Shepherd and Border Collie, and indeed, studies have shown they are very similar in relation.
The Aussie has a thick coat that is medium to long in length. The coat comes in several color varieties—blue merle, red merle, red or black – either black, red merle, and red—all with or without white markings and/or tan (copper) points. Dogs with tan and white along with the primary color are usually called tricolor.
They best at jobs such as search and rescue dogs, disaster dogs, therapy dogs, guide dogs, etc.
The Australian Shepherd developed in California in the 19th century as a sheep herding dog for Californian shepherds.
The Australian Shepherd is believed to have developed from a variety of herding dogs imported to California with sheep imports, including collies from Australia and New Zealand, it was from these ancestors the breed took its name. Also, one ancestor of the Australian shepherd is the berger de Pyrenees, an outstanding working dog from the mountains between France and Spain.
The Australian Shepherd spread from California throughout the Western United States where it became extremely popular with ranchers who valued the breed’s sheep working qualities, as well as their ability to
handle cattle and other livestock.
American ranchers raised and bred the dogs as livestock herders and farm workers. They do well at high altitudes such as in the Rocky Mountains, Sierra Nevada, and high plains where ranchers pastured their livestock.
A purely working breed for over a century, the Australian Shepherd was virtually unknown outside of the livestock industry until the mid 20th century when the breed was popularised by Jay Lister, a rodeo performer, wowed crowds at rodeos across the western states with his Australian Shepherds performing all manner of tricks.
Their stunts and skills earned them places in several Disney films, including Run Appaloosa Run and Stub: The Greatest Cowdog in the West.
A breed club was formed to promote the breed, the Australian Shepherd Club of America, and kennel club recognition followed in 1979 when the breed was recognised by the United Kennel Club.
The breed was subsequently recognised by the American Kennel Club in the 1990s and later the Fédération Cynologique Internationale.
From the late-20th century the Australian Shepherd has increasingly been seen in conformation shows and it has become an extremely popular companion dog, in 2019 it was ranked by the American Kennel Club as the 15th most popular breed of dog in the United States.
Aussies tolerate both hot and cold weather well. They don’t adapt well to apartment living as they really need space for exercise throughout the day.
Routine grooming is very important to keep an Aussie healthy and comfortable as they shed year-round.
The average price of the Australian Shepherd ranges from $650 to $850. However, an Aussie can cost anywhere between $300 to $1,800+ depending on breeder reputation, coat colors, pedigree and location.
The fastest 100 m with a can balanced on head by a dog is 2 min 55 sec achieved by Sweet Pea, an Australian Shepherd/Border Collie cross and her owner Alex Rothaker (USA) at the college of Lake County, Grayslake, Illinois, USA, on 3 September 2008.
The fastest 30 m dog recall is 17.54 sec, and was achieved by Jennifer Fraser and her dog Daiquiri (both Canada), in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, on 8 August 2020. Daiquiri is a 5-year-old, male Australian Shepherd dog. They beat the previous record by just over 3 seconds.