The Australian Shepherd was given its name because they were seen with Australian sheepherders in the United States. Australian Shepherds – nicknamed “Aussies” – are still used for herding livestock today.
Australian Shepherds are 20-23 inches high and weigh 50-65 pounds. Aussies come in colors of black, blue merle, red, red merle, and will also have spots of white and brown. Australian Shepherds’ eyes come in many colors such as blue, amber, hazel, and all shades of brown. Some Aussies have mismatched eyes, giving them a unique look. Australian Shepherds live for about 11-13 years.
Australian Shepherds are friendly dogs, although leery of strangers. Because of this it is very important to get this dog around other people, places, and animals while he still very young so he will be a better dog when he grows up. Australian Shepherds love their masters, and thrive on human attention. They will follow their human from room to room, just waiting to be told what to do. Even if kept as a family pet, Aussies have a great love for herding. Some of these dogs will even herd children! Australian Shepherds are happiest when they have a job to do, like fetching the newspaper or guarding the yard. Aussies are very intelligent dogs, and this shouldn’t go to waste. Training your Australian Shepherd will help him feel as if he has his own “job”.
Australian Shepherds need lots of exercise. A bored Aussie will quickly find his own way to keep busy – whether it be chewing the table legs or barking his head off. It is very important to give this dog a daily walk. This breed would love to go to the dog park, too. It is also important to provide many toys, as they love to play. Aussies, if not given toys, will find their own. This could be anything from a child’s teddy bear to your furniture. Just because this dog will chew and bark when bored doesn’t mean that he’s a bad dog. He is just bored and/or lonely. If given plenty of exercise, attention, and toys, Aussies make splendid companions.
The Australian Shepherd has been used as a seeing dog for the blind, hearing dog for the deaf, police dog, search and rescue dog, and therapy dog. They are often seen competing in dog agility. Other dogs sports they compete in are herding and flyball. Competing with your Aussie in dog sports also makes him feel like he has a “job”.
Aussies are loving, intelligent, and loyal to the very last beat of their heart. They enjoy hiking with their humans and running in the back yard.