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Australian Shepherd Dog Breed

Australian Shepherd
Despite the name, the Australian Shepherd is not Australian but was bred in America to work as a herding dog. The breed's ancestors travelled from Australia with the Basque shepherds and their flocks of Merino sheep.

Other Names:
Aussie. Australischer Schaferhund

Dog Breed Profile     Share this K9Obedience page

Origin: America

Breed Purpose: Herding

Kennel Club Dog Group: Pastoral

Height: Dog, 52cm-58cm. Bitch, 46cm-53cm

Weight: Dog, 25kg-29kg. Bitch, 18kg-25kg

Lifespan: 12-15 years

Exercise Needs: The Australian Shepherd is a true working dog that needs plenty of daily exercise to satisfy its high energy levels. Just like the Border Collie this dog needs to be mentally as well as physically challenged. The Aussie excels at herding, agility, competitive obedience and other canine sports. If these dogs do not receive adequate exercise they can become destructive, nervous and unstable.

Diet & Feeding Needs: The Aussie has no special dietary requirements but thrives on a natural home prepared diet.

Health Problems : The Australian Shepherd is prone to a number of genetic eye defects such as ocular coloboma, iris coloboma, juvenile and senior cataracts, detached retina, persistent papillary membrane, progressive retinal atrophy and distichiasis. Only purchase puppies from reputable breeders whose stock have been eye tested. The Aussie is also prone to Epilepsy, Thyroid problems, allergies and hip and elbow dysplasia. The gene producing merle coloured dogs also carries a blind/deaf factor. Merle to merle dogs should never be crossed as a high percentage of the offspring will be deaf. Also the natural bobtail should not be crossed with another natural bobtail as the offspring may suffer with serious spinal defects.

Physical Description: The overall appearance of the Australian Shepherd is of a robust dog of medium-sized proportions. A distinctive feature of the Aussie is its natural or docked bobtail. The top of the head is the same length as the tapering muzzle. The ears are triangular and set high. The eyes can be any colour combination from glassy blue to all shades of brown. The chest is strong and deep and the body is stocky. The weather resistant coat is of medium length and the four colours are black, blue merle (a marbling of grey and black) red (light cinnamon to dark liver) red merle (a marbling of red silver and buff). White and tan markings may appear on the face, chest and legs.

Australian Shepherd Dog Breed Summary:

These dogs are loyal, affectionate and love playing with children.

They are naturally protective and make good watchdogs. Much like the Border Collie, the Aussie is highly intelligent with a strong desire to work.

Dogs from working lines do not make good house pets unless they are given a job to do such as competing in one of the canine sports.

These dogs are eager pupils and will learn a new command quickly however they do not do well if left alone for long periods and become destructive and nervous.

Due to their high exercise requirements this dog needs an active owner who has a genuine interest in meeting the Australian Shepherd's needs.
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