Country of Origin: United States
Height: 18–23 inches
Weight: Approximately 40–65 pounds
Coat: Double coat with outer coat of medium texture and length, straight or wavy, weather resistant; undercoat varies with climate; moderate mane and frill
Colors: Black, blue merle, red, red merle; may have white markings
Registries (With Group): AKC (Herding); UKC (Herding)
ORIGIN AND HISTORY
The Australian Shepherd is not an Australian breed at all but rather was developed in the United States by cattle and sheepherders who lived in the western states. The Pyrenean Shepherd, brought to the United States by the Basques, is one obvious ancestor. Other herding dogs, such as the Smithfield, Collie, and Border Collie, also contributed to the prototype. These hardworking stock dogs were sometimes the only companion for an isolated shepherd. This talented dog was soon adept at not only herding and guarding livestock but also at almost any duty a farm family could ask of him. He is still the breed of choice for many ranchers.
The Australian Shepherd is smart and friendly—a winning combination of intelligence, ability, and personality. He works with enthusiasm and style, whether it is tending to livestock, running an agility course, participating in competitive obedience, or making someone’s day as a therapy dog.
- Exercise: The versatile Australian Shepherd absolutely must have both physical and mental exercise. He needs a meaningful job and a purpose toward which to direct his abundant energy.
- Grooming: The Aussie’s double coat needs consistent care to keep shedding under control and to keep him looking his best.
- Life Span: The average life span of the Australian Shepherd is 12 to 15 years.
- Training: With a can-do attitude—and aptitude—there is almost nothing an Aussie can’t be taught to do, as long as his instruction is positive, inspiring, and purposeful.
Excerpted from World Atlas of Dog Breeds, 6th Edition. © 2009 T.F.H. Publications, Inc. Used by Permission.