The strong and large dog breeds are mainly used as working and herding dogs. One of such breeds used as herding dogs is Australian Shepherds.
The scene where an Australian Shepherd herds a flock of sheep is beauty in itself. However, Australian Shepherd is also a good family dog that loves its owner, besides being a good working and herding dog.
Australian Shepherds, also known with a nickname Aussie, are highly intelligent, sharp, and energetic dogs who love to do jobs and activities like sports.
Here are some details about the Australian Shepherd.
About Australian Shepherd
Australian Shepherd is a versatile dog that makes the best use of its intelligence and energy if gets a chance for it. Otherwise, you have to think all the time to keep it busy to channelize high energy levels. They have no concept of being a couch potato.
Australian Shepherd stands at the 17th rank according to the AKC Breed Population with a height of 20 to 23 inches and 50 to 70 pounds of weight. Australian Shepherd has a straight or curly coat with tri or bi-color selection from brown, white, and blue.
Do not get confused with the name. Australian Shepherds has nothing to do with Australia. They initially originated from the United States of America. The origin of Australian Shepherd is confusing before it arrived in the US in the 19th century.
The American Kennel Club registered Australian Shepherd in the year 1993.
History of Australian Shepherd
The Australian Shepherd is an American-born dog breed. It is the descendant of collie and shepherd-like dogs. These dogs were imported from Australia for herding the livestock in the 1840s. This point creates a link with the name.
From these breeds, the breeder created a dog that was hardworking, muscular and had strong herding abilities.
The Australian Shepherds got famous after World War II. People highly praised this athletic and herding dog that could be seen along with the cowboy.
Even today, Australian Shepherd is an attractive and eye-catching dog breed with its sharpness, intelligence, and high energy levels.
The American Kennel Club registered the Australian Shepherd in 1993. It is the 137th dog breed in the AKC dog breed list.
The Personality of Australian Shepherd
As a herding dog, Australian Shepherd has a dominating personality, with its eyes clearly saying, “I am the head.” They grow confident and firm with good training and leadership.
Australian shepherds are versatile dogs with high intelligence. They are easy to train and love to play.
Australian Shepherd might not be very expressive. They are reserved but are naturally very kind and loving dogs. They are very loyal to the family but harsh towards strangers. They start barking continuously with a special rhythm to alert the owner for some unusual situation.
Health Care of Australian Shepherd
Australian breed is a pretty healthy dog breed. However, some diseases can affect the health of an Aussie at any time in life. Epilepsy and vision problems like cataracts and collie eye anomaly are common in Australian Shepherds. The newborns have high chances of being blind and deaf.
With great care and following the instructions of a vet, you can protect your dog from several health issues.
- Australian Shepherds are highly energetic. To burn this energy positively, take them regularly on a 30 to 40 minutes’ walk.
- Feed your dog with healthy and quality food on time.
- The straight or curly coat needs weekly brushing.
- Bath for 3 to 4 times a year will be enough as Australian Shepherds usually stay clean.
- Their hair and nails need regular trimming.
- Check their eyes. Their beautiful colored eyes are very sensitive. Clean the eye discharge regularly.
- Check their ears weekly for bacterial infections.
Physical Needs of Australian Shepherd
Australian Shepherds are highly energetic. They need proper exercise and a regular walk of about 30 to 40 minutes. Puzzle games are also helpful to keep a dog engaged both physically and mentally.
Aussie is a medium to large dog breed and loves to play. They need an open and wide play area. This makes them unsuitable to keep in the apartments. They need a backyard protected with a fence.
Adaptability of Australian Shepherd
The Australian Shepherds are highly obsessed with the family and cannot tolerate being left alone. They are very sensitive dogs that are extremely affectionate and love to be with the family.
The coat of Australian Shepherd is highly protective and makes them adaptable to every climate. The coat of Aussies living in hot areas is lighter and that living in cold climates is heavier.
Feeding the Australian Shepherd
This medium to large dog breed has a food intake of about 1.5 to 2.5 cups of dry dog food. It does not like to have human food, so avoid it.
Divide this meal into 2, if you want to keep your Aussie in good shape, active, and healthy. Australian Shepherd has a high chance of getting overweight. Do not overfeed your dog and keep checking if it is overweight or not.
Press gently at the back, along the spine, and feel the ribs. If you can feel the ribs but can’t see them, the dog’s weight id perfect. If you can’t feel the ribs with a gentle press, your dog is overweight. It needs less food and more exercise.
Breeding of Australian Shepherd
Like humans, dogs also have different timing of getting sexually mature and ready to breed. Usually, Australian Shepherds females go into heat twice a year and go into their first heat at about 6 to 8 months of age.
The gestation period lasts for about 9 weeks: or 63 days. There are many, physical, psychological, and behavioral changes that can be seen in Australian Shepherd during pregnancy. The owners need to be very caring and tolerant towards the female Australian Shepherd during pregnancy.
Lifespan and Growth Cycle of Australian Shepherd
Australian Shepherd lives for about 12 to 14 years approximately.
Australian Shepherd is a medium to large dog breeds with an average height of 20 to 23 inches and a weight of 50 to 70 pounds.
Male Australian Shepherds are usually taller and heavier. They weigh about 55 to 70 pounds and they are 19 to 23 inches high. The female Australian Shepherd weighs about 35 to 55 pounds with 18 to 21 inches in height.
Coat and Colors of Australian Shepherd
Australian Shepherd has a straight or curly double-coat. Short hair covers the head, ears, front of forelegs, and below the heels. Moderate feathering covers the back of forelegs, the upper part of hind legs and the neck and chest are covered with long hair.
Grooming the straight or curly coat of Australian Shepherd is not an easy task and needs a weekly brushing after proper conditioning.
The coat of Australian Shepherds living in sunny areas is lighter and the coat of Australian Shepherds living in cold climate areas is heavier, which protects them from intense cold weather.
The coat of an Aussie has many colors like blue or red merle, red, brown, white, tan, and brown. Australian Shepherd usually has tri-colors that make it an attractive dog breed.
Friendliness of Australian Shepherd
Australian Shepherd has a high potential of being friendly with the family, children, and other dogs and pet animals. But having a herding instinct, Australian Shepherd is not friendly towards strangers and protects the family when a stranger arrives.
Australian Shepherd likes the company of children but it needs to get trained for not hurting the children.