Dog Breeds 101: Australian Shepherd

Also popularly known as the Aussie, the Australian Shepherd is a medium-sized dog that has earned a great deal of popularity because of its appearance in rodeos and Disney movies. These dogs are also commonly recognized for their excellent search-and-rescue skills. [1]

Despite their name, the Australian Shepherd does not actually originate from Australia. Instead, this dog was born and bred in the United States. How did this breed acquire its name? No one really knows, but there are several popular unproven theories. [2]

This dog breed has a beautiful and thick coat that can be a variation of red merle, solid red, black, and blue merle. Their coat is of medium-length which can either be straight or wavy. Despite the length of their hair, Aussies never have to be trimmed, their fur rarely mats and grooming is easy. [3] Australian Shepherds’ eyes can be a variety of colors: amber, brown, blue or any combination thereof.

The Australian Shepherd is a dog that remains “puppy-like” throughout their entire lives. Yet, Aussies possess impressive courage which makes them excellent watch dogs. They are also known to be obedient, independent, responsive, smart, and confident.

These dogs can be friends with anyone in the family, including children of all ages. However, they do have a tendency to protect those they love. Aussies are known for their loyalty, affection and devotion to those they live with. This highly intelligent breed is very lively, agile, easygoing, and eager to please. These dogs are praised for their love of learning and their willingness to be trained. [4]

Australian Shepherds cannot sit at home all day. For example, a daily 15 minute walk around the block is not enough for them. They need to get ample exercise or they will become bored and possibly act out in undesirable destructive behavior.

Since Australian Shepherds are generally active outdoors, this breed is not recommended for potential owners living in an apartment. An Aussies’ average lifespan is 12 to 18 years.

Dog Breeds 101 - Australian Shepherd - WP
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[2] D. Caroline Coile, Australian Shepherds (Barron’s Educational Series, 2009).

[3] Tammy Gagne, Australian Shepherds (Capstone, 2009).

[4] Megan M. Gunderson, Australian Shepherds (ABDO Publishing Company, 2013).

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