A combination of clever, cute, and fluffy, the Australian Shepherd dog, nicknamed Aussie, is one of the most popular dog breeds. So, what exactly makes these goofballs so desirable? We are going to feature this graceful dog today on The Dogs Journal.
If you are planning to get an Australian Shepherd puppy, you should first do your homework on this breed to learn whether you’d be able to keep this dog or not. For that purpose, we have prepared this comprehensive guide about the Australian Shepherd. In this article, you’ll learn about the Australian Shepherd’s temperament, grooming needs, training, pros and cons, health-related issues, and everything else that a dog owner should know.
So, let’s find out more about this lovely dog breed below.
Got an Australian Shepherd puppy? Check Australian Shepherd Names
Introduction and History of Australian Shepherd
Even though this breed is called the Australian Shepherd it does not come from Australia but rather the United States. These pups were originally bred as diligent little companions for farmers that helped herd animals and take care of other ranch responsibilities. So, why are they called Australian Shepherds? Well, the name actually stems from their Aussie heritage.
It is believed that breeders used the Australian Collie and other shepherd dogs to breed these fur balls that first came into existence in the gold rush era of the 1840s.
Post world war II, the breed enjoyed an excessive popularity boom from being used around horse shows and being featured on TV shows. As a result, they are still a popular breed in both the United States and the rest of the world. However, it was not until 1993 that the American Kennel Club officially recognized the breed.
The Australian Shepherd is a very handsome dog owing to its unique and unusual looks. Here are a few common features that can help you spot this dog easily.
- The Australian Shepherd can have a straight or a wavy water-resistant coat found in several unique color combinations like blue, blotched black and white with red patches, and several others.
- Their tails are rather short and stubby and genetically bobbed, a feature that adds to their cuteness and visual appeal.
- They have the most beautiful almond-shaped eyes often found with heterochromia meaning they can have two entirely different colored eyes. The most common combinations are blue and hazel or brown and green.
- Most Australian Shepherd dogs have medium-sized triangular ears, slightly round around the tip covered with short smooth hair.
- Their muzzles are small, covered with colored patches making them appear unique compared to other dog breeds.
- They can easily weigh up to 70 pounds and stand tall at an average height of 20 inches.
- Overall, they are medium-sized, robust, and very active pups that are swift and powerful owing to their compact build and fast reflexes.
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Personality & Temperament
The Australian Shepherds are highly intelligent, easily trainable, and extremely loyal dogs. They are known for their gentle behavior towards humans and other animals. They are energetic and cheerful and enjoy games as well as obedience sports.
Interestingly, they are quite reliable and fierce dogs that will bark and chase strangers away, a quality that makes them excellent guard dogs.
Additionally, they are very sweet and compliant pups that will escort you around without complaining. They are also called Velcro pups because they have a strong desire to follow their owners around everywhere.
What is more, is that they are very devoted creatures that do not hesitate when it comes to protecting their humans.
Grooming & Care
If you are wondering whether the Australian Shepherd dog sheds, the answer is ‘Yes’. However, the shedding is moderate and can therefore be easily managed. But their beautiful multicolored coats require constant attention and care. It is recommended that you brush your dog’s coat at least twice a week and trim it every few months so that it appears neat and tidy.
Since these dogs are fond of outdoor activities, they require frequent cleaning so be prepared to give your dog frequent baths. Also, remember to trim your dog’s nails every month so that he can easily stretch and play around without hurting himself or those around him.
Apart from this, the Australian Shepherd is a pretty low maintenance dog that is quite self-sufficient making it an ideal pet.
The Australian Shepherd requires at least one hour of training and exercise every day to keep it fit and healthy. Since they are smart and playful pups, they love to run around and play games like fetch.
If you leave them outside by themselves, you’ll find them herding stray animals or other pets as they have very strong herding instincts.
Like all dogs, it is best to expose them to early socialization activities that require both physical and mental stimulation. This prevents them from becoming cranky and destructive as they grow older.
Since the Aussie Shep is a fast learner, they can easily be trained as service dogs, police dogs, and even guide dogs for the elderly.
These pups are full of energy and zest, this is why they need to be fed high-quality dog kibble and no human food. A good balance of vegetables, fruits, and food with carbs is essential to their growth and overall health. So, don’t forget to take extra care of your dog’s dietary needs.
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These magnificent creatures are not made for apartment life. They need a large fenced backyard because they love spending time outdoors. They are also very protective of children and smaller animals like rabbits and chickens owing to their herding nature.
Moreover, they are very well-behaved creatures, that do not bark excessively nor give their owners a hard time.
They do however require constant mental and physical stimulation which is why they love learning new tricks and exercising.
While the Australian Shepherd is a healthy dog breed, they can develop several health complications with age. Most of the common of which is epilepsy, a disorder where the dog suffers from seizures. While there is no cure for epilepsy, its symptoms can be tamed with medication guaranteeing that your dog lives and long wholesome life.
Another prevalent problem in the Aussie Shep is that of deafness. A condition that can sometimes be treated with surgery and medication but has no permanent cure.
To make sure your dog is healthy, it is recommended that you immediately reach out to a vet if your pet displays any unusual behavior.
Wrapping it up
Like all dogs, the Australian Shepherd is affectionate, obedient, and friendly. While that is reason enough to adopt a dog, pet enthusiasts should check if they have the necessary time and resources for it.
Remember, dogs can be quite a responsibility but their love and cheerfulness make it all worthwhile!
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