Australian Shepherd dogs stand out with their colourful coats, especially in the mottled varieties, and are delighting more and more dog owners. Intelligent, eager to work and active, they bubble over with energy and look forward to every outing.
Their stature is compact and muscular and is a harbinger of their stamina and strength. Contrary to their name, they do not come from Down Under, but from the USA. There they became the cowboys’ best friend thanks to their robustness and willingness to work.
They attract attention and inspire with their liveliness, but is the Australian Shepherd the right dog for you?
Breed profile Australian Shepherd
The Australian Shepherd is a beautiful dog. There are different colour variations. Whether in merle, black or red – each dog has its own colouring.
- Shoulder height: 51-58 cm for males and 46-53 cm for females.
- Weight: According to size from 16-32 kg
- Coat texture: Slightly wavy, medium length coat with dense undercoat.
- Colours: Bluemerle, Redmerle, Black and Red each with or without copper blaze and white markings.
- Life expectancy: 12 – 15 years
- Country of origin: USA
According to the FCI they are classified as herding dogs and driving dogs, sheepdogs without working test.
The Australian Shepherd is a versatile herding dog and excels in agility, obedience and herding. The powerful breed dates back to the 19th century and only became popular in the 1950s.
The temperament of the Australian Shepherd
A loyal and intelligent companion that, with the right exercise and training, has the potential to be the perfect partner on four paws. Alert and shrewd, Australian Shepherds are tireless athletes and flourish with the right exercise for body and mind.
They can learn to stay alone, but they prefer to be active and want to be with you.
You will find a great canine friend who will try to meet your needs and make you happy. They have a lot of endurance and are clever. Their character is alert as well as active and their high level of exercise means they need a lot of variety.
Their reaction speed is suitable for various games.
Whether for agility, pulling dog sports or obidience, the Australian Shepherd can also cut a fine figure as a riding companion dog.
Daily exercise is a must, at least two hours should be enough. However, just walking the dog is not enough for this active breed.
Training with a physical and mental workout makes him happy. This shows him to be an extremely loyal and obedient companion. Towards strangers Aussies, as they are also called, are always reserved and distant.
What distinguishes an Australian Shepherd?
An Australian Shepherd will suit you if you enjoy agility, dog frisbee or their favourite pastime, herding, together. Australian Shepherds are bursting with energy and willingness to work.
Their stamina is great, so they will happily accompany you on jogs and bike rides. It is important, however, that you keep their minds busy on a regular basis. An Australian Shepherd is happiest when he has been working hard all day. Then he will happily snooze at your feet after his work is done.
If you are looking for a guard dog, you should look for another breed. They are friendly with other dogs and children, provided they have been properly socialised.
If they don’t learn about things early on, they may become fearful and reserved without developing a tendency to aggression. Therefore it is important to confront him with all impressions of everyday life from an early age.
An Australian Shepherd is not suitable as a hunting dog, although a slight, natural hunting instinct must be expected in training.
Will an Australian Shepherd fit into my daily life?
Your Australian Shepherd will require a lot of exercise and you may think that your house with a garden or your flat is too small, or that you have no possibility without a garden. But more important than the size of your home is exercise and daily activity.
Of course, a large garden helps because you can run around and exercise with your dog more quickly. However, your dog will hardly be able to spend much time there alone. A garden without you is no substitute for exercise and activity.
If there are great meadows or dog parks in the neighbourhood and you work with your dog there every day, this is more suitable than a large garden where he is left to his own devices.
Australian Shepherds were bred to work alongside their partner every day and are happiest when they are pursuing this vocation. They do not like to be left alone and demand at least two hours of intense activity a day for a perfect life.
What do I need to keep in mind about care and health?
Generally free of prominent health problems, Australian Shepherds have a life expectancy of 12 -15 years. However, as with all large breeds, hip problems can occur. Their increasing popularity continues to attract breeders with dubious methods and choosing a trustworthy breeder is important.
Crossbreeding two dogs with merle colouring causes clustered blindness and is forbidden in Germany.
Brush your Aussie vigorously at least once a week, and more frequently during the shedding season to keep the dense coat shiny. This will remove dead hair before it gets on the floor or carpet.
Regular dental care, ear checks and claw trimming are also a must. Claws can be trimmed every 2-3 weeks.
You don’t need to bathe your Aussie too often, although he will happily soak himself in nature. Brushing and rubbing is enough to remove the coarse dirt and is healthier for his skin.
If you do want to give him a bath, use only appropriate shampoo for your dog’s skin.
How much dog experience should I have for an Australian Shepherd?
An Australian Shepherd’s temperament and willingness to please will suit you even if you don’t have much dog experience. However, this is only true if you are willing to exercise him and keep learning.
Their intelligence ensures that they learn quickly, but they will also take advantage of your tiredness or inconsistency. So be very disciplined about setting boundaries and your Australian Shepherd will always look up to you happily, whether you’re hiking or sitting at your desk in the home office.
Also, always have plan B ready for what you would do if your Aussie is on your case.
If you are willing to be active and take him to dog school, the Aussie is the ideal dog for you.
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Conclusion Australian Shepherd
The Aussie is an active, loyal companion. In his 12 to 15 years he knows how to make you happy. The prerequisite for this is the proper care of this beautiful dog breed.
His intelligent nature paired with a great eagerness to work let him shine in various dog games.
With little activity, the once reliable Aussie can become an aggressive dog that has too little mental and physical exercise.
If you are looking for a loyal companion that you will enjoy exercising, then the Aussie could be for you.