Australian Shepherd

Breed History

australian shepherd litter

Australian Shepherds are intelligent and beautiful dogs that have a rich history and popularity. Herders by nature and they’ve used that skill on many different animals, but on the ranch mainly.

Energetic and ready to work in an enthusiastic manner makes this Shepherd special in the herding group. Reigning from Pyrenees Mountains in the Iberian Peninsula between France and Spain in Europe.

Ancestor of the Australian Shepherd is the Pyrenean Shepherd a breed that is still around today.

The word Australian is strange to attach to a dog that has origins in in Europe, but the connection is made because of the migration of this breed to Australia.

Once the people settle on the island, they got their nicknames Aussie. A name we still use to reference the breed for easy identification. After leaving their second country they were heading to California.

California’s gave them the name Australian because they thought these dogs came from there when they came from Europe. Large sheep and cattle were a specialty of this working breed when it got to the states.

California, and the west coast, is full of acres of land for farmers and ranchers where the Australian Shepherd has abundant opportunity to herd animals. Showing an uncanny ability to control animals more than twice its size.

Effectively using a grip that aims at the heels of the cattle to influence movement. Barking and eye contact are in use but in a conservative fashion.

Registration

Coming over to America late in the 20th century from Australia this Shepherd became the 135th dog in the American Kennel Club in 1991. That is very late considering the Kennel Club has been recognizing dogs since the 1870’s.

Although they made a late arrival to the AKC this breed is one of the most recognized around the world and showing excellent popularity worldwide.

Australia doesn’t recognize this breed that was imported from Europe as an indigenous or native animal from their land.

Size

Male Weight: 40-50 pounds

Female Weight: 30-45 pounds

Male Height: 20-23 inches

Female Height: 18-21 inches

Australian Shepherd Colors

  • Blue Merle
  • Red Merle
  • Solid Black
  • Solid Red

Note: These colors can be with or without white markings according to their breed standards.

Different Types of Australian Shepherds

There isn’t a different type like in some other breeds, but there are types that they breed for different reasons. The two different Shepherds they breed are for herding and for show dogs.

Bigger size goes to the show dogs. They have a slightly noticeable stocky appearance in comparison. To be fair it should be known that the herding dogs are more active and burning more calories.

Activity like this may contribute to the smaller size.

Just to be clear there is no different type of Australian Shepherd. They use different ones for different reasons, but they are the same dog. Clarification of this is important.

Price of Australian Shepherd

The price of this dog from the top breeders with a documentation of the bloodline, or papers, is around $1,500-$8,000 per puppy.

Getting a dog without papers can cost you above $500 averaging $700 without bloodline documentation. Increasing the chances of having a different breed somewhere down the line.

Grooming

Brushing daily is the most important activity most owners of any breed can do, but with this dog it is even more important. Closer to the skin is good but on the skin is the best. During shedding season, you will be able to help remove loose fur.

Heavy shedding at least twice per year. You can expect to get hair in the car, couch, carpet, and anywhere else you choose to put your dog. All year you can expect hair to come off to some extent.

Coat either cools or heats up the body depending on the seasonal difference.

Take to the vet for grooming if you need to get it cut.

Nails will trim by using our exercise method naturally while running. If not, you will need to trim them yourselves or pay a groomer to do it.

Keep the ears clean and clean ears on the regular. If you keep the dog in farming, ranch, or dirt environments the ears will get dirty quickly. Infections can result from negligence.

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Australian Shepherd Life Span

The lifespan of this Shepherd is 13-15 years. Wow! That is a long time to have a dog. You can raise this dog with the kids for most of their childhood, teenage years, and possible adulthood depending on when you get them.

Getting this breed from puppy to death will be a long enjoyable journey. Owners must be prepared for the length of life and the possibility of what can be a long relationship.

Health Issues

Evaluations should be done for certain health issues. These tests are mandatory of any owner of an Australian Shepherd.

Hip Dysplasia – is a condition where the leg bones don’t properly sit into the hip socket. Painful for dogs and it is a recommendation to get the hips looked at by a vet. They can tell at a young age if they have this condition through x-rays.

Elbow Dysplasia – the same as the previous condition. You want to get them to the vet earlier and you can see from x-rays if your dog has this health issue.

Eye test – because this breed experiences a lot of different eye issues. Getting this test periodically throughout their life will lead to early treatment if there are signs of development.

Cataracts – is a normal occurrence to older dogs and the vet can help with this diagnosis. You will start to notice a gray shade over the dog’s eyes. Sometimes it affects the vision other times it doesn’t.

Collie Eye – can cause blindness and bothers the retina area of the eye.

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Breed Group

Australian Shepherds are a part of the legendary herding group. These dogs are known for their superior ability to herd sheep, cattle, birds, and many other animals.

Dogs in this group are intelligent and understand instinctually how to make animals move from one place to another without inflecting violence.

Dogs that are in this group include the following

People have been working in coordination with humans to assist in ranch and farm activities. The absence of this outlet will make this breed possibly try to herd family members. Hopefully, not and the next section will show you a great way to provide an outlet for this breed.

Australian Shepherd Exercise Needs

High energy is the term you should use with this breed. That can be a double-edged sword and a knock against the owner who refuses to provide a daily outlet.

For high energy you need to take you dog out on many runs per day. Naturally they would be running around herding animals exerting energy. When we remove them from that we must provide a way to use that energy.

We recommend:

Morning: 1 Hour Run

Evening: 1 Hour Run, walk, or treadmill

The key here is to take them out with consistency. The more we use the run the better we will train our dog to behave. Not do a trick or listen to a command but to behave.

High energy is a result, at times, to lack of exercise. Experiencing this issue, you can tell when you are not providing the enough. Jumping, not listening, digging, and other issues are signs that your dog needs more exercise.

Twice per day is one of the few ways to accomplish getting them nice and calm in the house or backyard. You can have them as a house dog but too many problems can rise from being lackadaisical.

Carelessness in the exercise department is a department from being an owner and helping the dog be themselves.

Leverage this simple activity to assist with behavior medication and see how much it works wonders for dog owners.

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Training

The program to train a dog consists of three basic areas. Exercise for behavior, commands with repetition, and corrections for control or compliance.

Exercising is the first part of the program you must implement. It makes everything else easier and less intense. Healthier for you and me as dog owners but even more important for your dog.

The next step is to get them to listen to commands using real life. Make them lay after a long run, before eating, going outside, going inside of the dog park, and other activities. Use the sit command for these as well.

Regular use of commands in combination with regular activity makes it a way of life. Treats can be motivating or not motivating. They make or may not play with toys or chase balls. They will always have to use the bathroom and need to go out.

Discipline is when you always have the dog’s attention. Applying discipline has a strong connection with attention. If you tell your dog “no” and they stop then verbal is all you need. In fact, you will find that verbal is all you do most of the time.

Once you apply the correction properly you and the dog get clear on expectations and you get on the right page. Correction will be more at the beginning and close to none towards the end of training.

Using our techniques will change the dynamics in the relationship.

Are Australian Shepherds Good Family Dogs?

Depends on what you are looking for in a dog. You will deal with barking and destructive behavior when you lack the motivation to exercise and train. That can go bad for any dog not just this one.

Once you deal with this primal activity you will find out that they have been set up for success.

They get along with kids and other dogs. That is a great sign for any dog breed. Protective of the yard and can work if you give them the opportunity.

You will need to be a good dog owner that is ready to put in the work requirement for owning this breed. If you are confident about your abilities, I encourage you to get the breed. If not, it could be the beginning of a bad relationship.

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Conclusion

To conclude, the Aussie is one of the most beautiful dogs you will ever see. They are one of the smartest dogs and are very energetic due to their nature and what they were bred to do.

You may want to be a student of the game if this is your first dog. Study the way you should exercise or buy a dog training course.

Getting to the correct thinking process and daily activities it takes to train a dog is upmost important.