Australian Shepherd dogs are lean and tough ranch dogs. It is a European breed perfected in the USA (United States of America) through Australia. They are usual fixtures on the rodeo circuit and are associated clearly with cowboy life.
They are the favorite herding dogs of cowboys and hence essentially described as a medium-sized working breed with a keen gaze that penetrates you. They have different body coats and include merle adorning a mottled pattern with contrasting shades of red and blue. In every way, they embody agile and rugged movers of stock.
Health Issues of Australian Shepherd Dogs
Owning these dogs is a privilege and, nonetheless, a significant responsibility for the dog’s parents. So, you need to know that Aussies are generally healthy dogs.
If you get them from a responsible breeder, they would have already tested the breeding stock for common health issues among these dogs, such as mentioned in the following:
- Hip dysplasia
- Evaluation by ophthalmologists
- Elbow evaluation
- Certain forms of cancer
You need to make sure that you check their ears regularly so that you can remove foreign matter and make sure that wax is not building up.
So far as dental hygiene is concerned, brushing their teeth regularly and consistently would help keep the dog’s teeth clean and healthy.
How to Groom an Australian Shepherd
Australian Shepherds have a waterproof and double-layered body coat. Brushing their body coat at least once a week would be best to keep it looking at its best.
However, more work awaits during their shedding season. During this period, you could use an undercoat rake every two to three days to remove plenty of dead hair from their bodies.
After this, you must clean them up using a wire brush. These dogs often play or work outdoors. Hence, it is common for them to come home dirtier than when left out.
Still, it would be best to bathe them when they have gotten into a rather messy situation. Hence, the bathing frequency depends on the regular schedule of the dog. Also, as with all other breeds, you must trim their nails regularly.
The general traits of Australian Shepherds
Australian Shepherds are strong, intelligent, and loyal working dogs. They also possess the stamina to work all day. They have coarse and medium-length coats. Most of them have a docked tail. It means that these dogs are naturally bobbed.
Apart from Merle, you also get them in black. Usually, their eyes are of different colors, and they can be a combination of any of the following colors:
This condition is called “heterochromia” and is not as common among other dog breeds. Apart from working as farm dogs, they are great companions to their human friends.
When it comes to gaining their training ability, Australian Shepherds are right up there as one of the best. However, they need quite a lot of exercise as well.
They are immensely – if not wholly – affectionate and are moderately friendly with other pets. They are more familiar with kids and are supremely intelligent. They do not shed a lot, but the same cannot be said of their barking.
Facts about Australian Shepherds
The Australian Shepherd Club of the USA says that the evidence of Australian Shepherds’ background as a worker is more apparent in their physique. They are deep-chested dogs who are a bit longer than tall.
However, their front legs are relatively straight and a combination that helps them have the kind of endurance and agility they are renowned for. Depending on whether they are a girl or a boy, they could be anywhere between 18 and 23 inches in height and 40 and 65 pounds in weight.
History of Australian Shepherds
Despite what their name may suggest, Australian Shepherds originated in the western part of the USA during the Gold Rush era of the 1840s. Some think these energetic dogs could be connected to the herding Collies of Australia and Europe.
However, the dogs that we see today were bred in California to start with. Now there are a few reasons why these dogs are so named. First is their blue merle color, indicating a close resemblance with the herding dogs of Australia, who are supposed to be their predecessors.
Read Also: Facts You Need to Know Before Choosing an Australian Shepherd
Unknown facts about Australian Shepherds
Ranchers in the USA adored these dogs because they were such great herders. However, they primarily became famous among the people in this country because of how frequently they appeared in rodeos. Not only were they great at helping them herd bulls, but they were also exceptional at performing tricks.
They are also known by several names and are regarded as sacred by Native Americans. They can perform many jobs, and an Australian Shepherd named Hyper Hank became a frisbee champion during the 1970s.
The intelligence of Australian Shepherds
When it comes to competitive obedience training, breeds such as Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds come to mind at first. However, Australian Shepherds are extremely intelligent and always eager to please. It is traits such as these that make them ideal candidates for training.
However, you need to make sure that you are making them entertaining for them. Make sure that you change things frequently. If you do this, you will be amazed at the speed at which they learn. Thanks to their immense intelligence, they are great problem solvers too.
Should you get an Australian Shepherd?
Please remember that Australian Shepherds are highly active and intelligent dogs. As such, there are better options than this breed if you are getting a pet for the first time or a sedentary individual. Because in such cases, your dog would learn how to make a fool of you without you even knowing it.
They are also not a great option if you live in an apartment. But, on the other hand, these dogs enjoy it when they have a job to do and roam around freely.
Personality of Australian Shepherds
Since they were bred to be herders, Australian Shepherds love to remain busy and are built to run all day. They are agile and quick, apart from having the stamina to spare. If you are enthusiastic about dog sports, such a dog would have so much fun on the agility course!
They are among the intelligent dog breeds going around. However, American Kennel Club warns that this dog breed can fool novice owners who do not suspect much. It means that you need to keep them busy.
One of the great things about Australian Shepherds is that they are committed to their human companions. They would like to be as close to them as they possibly can. You would find them sitting on one of your feet, leaning against a leg, or parking themselves on your lap.
It could be because they want to make you feel better despite not being as bright as they are. They are focused and intelligent individuals. If you bring them up properly, they could be your best friend.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Australian Shepherds hard to own?
Australian Shepherds are beautiful, playful, and intelligent dogs that can be fun! However, if you are a novice owner, they can be a challenging prospect for you. They are full of energy. However, they can be mischievous and stubborn too.
Can an Australian Shepherd be left alone?
You could leave an Australian Shepherd alone at home, but that should be at most six hours. It is also advisable that you crate-train them for their safety.
At what age do Australian Shepherds calm down?
Australian Shepherds calm down at around 2-3 years of age. Usually, if you are an experienced owner, you may wonder when your pup will calm down. However, all young dogs and puppies have a period until they are active.
Do all Australian Shepherds bark a lot?
Please keep in mind that Australian Shepherd dogs tend to bark a lot. That makes it challenging to get them to stop.
Is an Australian Shepherd dog an excellent indoor dog?
Yes, they indeed are! Like most breeds, grown-ups and puppies tend to be outdoorsy and active but can still adjust to indoor living.