Historically, there has been much debate about the origins of the Australian Shepherd. However it is now well accepted that the Aussie is more of an American than an Australian as the name suggests. It appears likely that many breeds played a part in the make-up of the Australian Shepherd, among them Border Collies imported from Australia around the turn of the last century. Today The Aussie continues to work on American ranches as well as being trained to work with physically challenged people, in search and rescue work and as sniffer dogs.
The Aussie resembles the Border Collie, with typical attributes of most sheepdogs. It is a medium sized dog and they come in a variety of colours – blue merle, red merle, solid black, tri-colour, solid red, with or without white markings. They eyes can be blue as well as brown.
Aussies are quick to learn and easy to train. They are well natured, enthusiastic and extremely intelligent. As a working dog they have strong herding and guarding instincts and are very active. Often demanding on their families, Aussies enjoy following family members from room to room as well as going along for a ride in the car. In a suitable home, with plenty of exercise the Aussie is an exceptional companion, gentle, loyal and devoted, but reserved with strangers.
Grooming and care
The Aussie’s coat will shed, mostly in early summer or late spring. Brushing once a week will help to keep matting and tangles at bay.
Australian Shepherds need at least 30 minutes of daily exercise and respond well to training.
For the latest research in breed-related problems in Australian Shepherds visit the University of Sydney’s LIDA (Listing of Inherited Disorders in Animals) website.