AUSTRALIAN SHEPHERD DOG BREED
Despite its name, this breed was not developed in Australia. Quite the opposite, the Australian Shepherd originated in the Western United States, and he was highly valued by stockmen for their versatile abilities. Hence, Australian Shepherds were used on Australian farms and ranches as Shepherd dogs and watchdogs. That’s why this breed was nicknamed “Aussie” or Ozzy.
Height: 18-23 inches Weight: 40-65 pounds Lifespan: 12-15 years
A distinctive feature of the Australian Shepherd is his naturally bobbed tail. Aussies come in an incredible number of colors and shades, including blue, amber, hazelnut and all shades of brown. Tan dots or white markings on the face, chest, and legs are common. The Australian Shepherd is an athletic breed of medium size and solid build.
The Australian Shepherd is an intelligent, loyal dog. This breed of dog is highly energetic, and so it feels good only when it has a job to do. By nature, Aussies are very responsible, and they always do what they are instructed. It must be remembered that this is a herding dog, with a very high prey drive. This breed is very cold and wary of strangers. Moreover, the Aussie is always ready to protect you. Dogs of this breed are extremely important friendship with the man. Aussies always find a common language with older children, who know how to handle a dog. In addition, Australian Shepherds do not show aggression toward other dogs.
Coat / Care:
The Australian Shepherd has a truly beautiful coat of medium length, which can be straight or wavy. It’s water-resistant property is what protects the dog from adverse weather conditions. The undercoat changes completely twice a year. There are four standard color options, including black, marbled blue, red and marbled red. The dog’s face, chest, front and rear legs can be decorated with white and brown markings. Australian Shepherds need minimum maintenance. Hence, it is enough to occasionally clean the dog with a stiff brush. More care is required only during the shedding season. This breed should be bathed only when it is really necessary.
Unfortunately, Australian Shepherds are susceptible to quite a significant number of diseases. This breed is susceptible to certain health problems, including deafness, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), hypothyroidism, distichiasis, detached retina and cancer. Also, there is a tendency to epilepsy, canine hip dysplasia and cataracts. The Australian Shepherd has a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years.
The Australian Shepherd learns with ease. However, early socialization and obedience training are mandatory. It is very important that the coach imposes the ground rules, or this breed will try to occupy a dominant position otherwise. Moreover, Australian Shepherds require tough, consistent, and yet fair management. This is a very intelligent breed of dog, which quickly grasps new information.
The Australian Shepherd needs day-to-day exercise. Long walks are not enough for this breed’s proper development. In fact, Aussies should take part in active family games. Representatives of this dog breed tend to show their best side when they have a job to do. Hence, Australian Shepherds are not suitable for apartment living. Besides, this breed requires an active owner and a large, well-enclosed yard.
Photo credit: Ted Van Pelt/Flickr