Weight: 45 to 55 pounds (male); 30 to 45 (female).
Availability: May take some effort to find.
The Australian Shepherd is a medium sized, robust, well-balanced, rustic dog with pendant ears, an abundant, medium length coat and a bob-tail. He should be attentive, lively and agile with a body slightly longer than its height at the withers. The Aussie has a strong, deep chest and stands squarely on all fours. The front legs are straight. Front dewclaw removal is optional, but rear dewclaws are generally removed. The feet are compact and oval, with arched toes. The top of the head is approximately the same length as the slightly tapering muzzle. The head has a moderate stop. The teeth form a scissors bite. The medium sized oval eyes come in many shades of blue, amber and brown, often combined or with flecks. The triangular, pendant ears are set high on the head. The medium length coat comes in blue or red merle, red or black tricolor, all with white and/or tan markings. The hair around the ears and eyes should not be white. The coat may be straight or slightly wavy, and should have feathering on the backs of the legs, and a mane and frill around the neck. Hair on the head, front of the forelegs and on the outside of the ears is shorter than the rest of the coat. The tail is generally docked if it is longer than 4 inches, though most are naturally short. Each individual’s masculinity or femininity is clearly defined.
Basque shepherds from Spain and France first brought this outstanding herding dog to the United States and Australia. Australian Shepherds are superior farm dogs, capable of doing the work of several men and handling all kinds of stock. They are also outstanding obedience dogs, often placing high in trial. The versatile, intelligent Australian Shepherd has served as a narcotics detection dog, service dog for the deaf, and in search and rescue work. The breed is also known for excellence at Frisbee. The Australian Shepherd is recognized by the AKC, the United Kennel Club and the Australian Shepherd Club of America. The Australian Shepherd Dog Club of America sponsors Stockdog Trials to promote and preserve the breed’s outstanding working abilities. Today’s Aussie is a popular farm dog and family companion.
Aussies are naturally suspicious of strangers, so they should be well- socialized as puppies. The gene for the beautiful merle coloration also carries a blind/deaf factor. This may be expressed only in merle/merle crosses. Be sure to check the hearing on merle puppies. Buy from a reputable breeder. Working lines of Australian Shepherd may be too energetic to be suitable pets. Some like to nip people’s heels in an attempt to herd them. The Australian Shepherds are quiet workers, unlike some breeds which are bred to bark constantly at the livestock. Beware of hip dysplasia and PRA. Buy only from OFA and CERF-certified stock.
Retrieving, herding, watchdog, guarding, police work, narcotics detection, search & rescue, agility, competitive obedience, and performing tricks.
Easy going, perpetual puppies who love to play. Excellent children’s companion–great with active children. A devoted friend and guardian, naturally protective. Courageous, loyal and affectionate. Very lively, agile and attentive. Eager to please, with a sixth sense about what the owner wants. Highly intelligent and easy to train. Though aggressive when at work with livestock, the Aussie is gentle with human friends. The Australian Shepherd needs lots of exercise and a job to do, as the breed is very intelligent, active and easily bored. Can become nervous and destructive if left alone too much without exercise.
Children: Excellent with children.
Friendliness: Moderately protective.
Trainability: Very easy to train.
Independence: Fairly independent.
Other Pets: Generally good with other pets.
Combativeness: Not generally dog-aggressive.
Noise: Not a barker.
Indoors: Moderately active indoors.
Owner: Not recommended for novice owners.
Trimming & Stripping: No trimming or stripping needed.
Coat: Medium coat.
Shedding: Average shedder.
Docking: The tail is customarily docked.
Exercise: Needs lots of exercise.
Jogging: An excellent jogging companion.
Apartments: Not recommended for apartments.
Outdoor Space: Best with a large yard.
Climate: Does well in most climates.
Longevity: Average (10 to 12 years).