The Australian Shepherd – Smart and High Spirited

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Breed Focus on the Australian Shepherd

 

We so love the Australian shepherd for a number of reasons. This intelligent, hardworking breed is as at home on the range as he is in your family room.

They’re athletic while at the same time being very graceful and love to be in a home full of activity that challenges him.

If you’re looking for a dog to train for agility, field trials or flyball, the Aussie should be on your short list.

Breed History

With a name like the Australian shepherd you would think this dog was born in Australia. Nope. This breed is American born and bred and was originally created to herd livestock for ranchers in the western part of the United States.

Of particular interest, Australian shepherds still hold that ranching and farming job in many American families.

After World War II, western style horseback riding surged into the forefront and the Aussie gained in popularity. Yet, this breed was not recognized by the American Kennel Club until 1993.

Appearance

autralian shepherd

This dog is a little bit longer than he is tall standing at as much as 23 inches tall for a male and 21 inches tall for a female. Males can weigh anywhere between 50 and 65 pounds and a female slightly less than that at 40 to 55 pounds.

Their coats are medium long and they have a number of possibilities for eye color that range from dark brown to yellow to blue, green or even amber.

Personality

The Aussie has the perfect personality for canine sports. They love to take charge of a situation which has made them such a great candidate as a herding dog all these years. But you don’t have to give him a flock of sheep to keep him busy.

Find a local flyball club and you will keep your Australian shepherd very happy. Alternatively, Aussies love agility challenges and will thrive in these areas. But they also do well in search and rescue and pet therapy.

He loves sticking close to his humans but can be standoffish with strangers. A way to get around this issue is to socialize your Aussie puppy early, taking her to places where she can interact and meet new people – to parks and visiting friends and family.

Without early socialization, your Australian shepherd could become fearful of strangers which could lead to other social problems.

Trainability

This breed is eager to work and always wanting to please. An intelligent dog that responds well and learns quickly with positive reinforcement training methods. They can be independent and therefore stubborn but if you train them early starting with puppyhood, they will excel. This is a breed who thoroughly enjoys staying busy so giving this dog a “job” like agility, flyball, herding or some other high energy canine sport is highly recommended.

Grooming Requirements

Aussie coats come in a variety of colors including blue merle, red merle and tricolor. You will want to brush her coat every week and possibly more than that when she is shedding. Unless she’s a dirty, she shouldn’t need to have a bath more than a couple of times a year.

Keep her teeth cleaned and her nails trimmed.

If you’re active and on the go, this breed is perfect for you. This intelligent, hardworking breed is as at home on the range as he is in your family room.

They’re athletic while at the same time being very graceful and love to be in a home full of activity that challenges him.

Thinking About Adding An Australian Shepherd To Your Family?

Please consider adopting before purchasing and please avoid purchasing an animal from a pet store.  You can find purebred Australian Shepherds in need of good homes. Click here to search for you a Aussie in need of adoption near you: <Petfinder>

 

 

Photo Credit: istockphoto.com

 

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Gerald Owens, has a vision – to create an online community that embraces all aspects to having and caring for pets. Our mission is to provide pet “guardians” with accurate, relevant information on how to have happier and healthier animal companions.

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