Australian Shepherd You probably saw an Australian Shepherd and never recognized it, so we’ll outline it for you since it not seen in a lot of households. It is a medium built dog with a really long fur coat and a medium to long snout. The colour of the Australian Shepherd comes in a huge variety of colour combination, ranging from Light brown, dark brown, copper, red, black, white etc. mind you they could come in colour combined from these colours. They could have blue, brown, black, blue, green hazel eyes. Their fur coat could be wavy or straight in texture and would ideally require brushing for at least 3-4 times a week. They are the 26th in terms of American Kennel Club ranking.
Now, as it is evident from the name ‘Australian’ Shepherd, the Australian Shepherd definitely doesn’t come from Australia. It was bred in west America. Though we aren’t very sure about the particular breeds the Australian Shepherd originated from, but a few to be named in their bloodlines are different types of Collies, German Sheepdogs and Basque Shepherds.
These dogs were breed due to the need for herding and show dogs. They were mainly kept on ranches, rodeos, horse clubs, and farms. They assisted humans for herding ducks, hens, pigs, sheep and horses. They could also perform tasks like pulling and carrying weight. They also turned out be great entertainers due to their intellect and were often used as circus dogs, since they could learn tricks really fast.
These dogs are super human friendly to a point that they might not even give you personal physical space. They like to be quite literally in touch with their humans. So if you want an extra affectionate dog, he is the one for you.
Before getting this breed home remember that he was bred for working. Therefore he loves to play and do strenuous exercise. An Australian shepherd tends to become super destructive if not given enough exercise. It is the habit of this breed which gets transferred genetically that it likes to nip since it is a herd dog. So give this a thought if you’re not ready for behavioural commitments.
This breed originated in the 19th century. Australian Shepherd was bred by the American’s for they needed helps in their farms for herding and managing other animals and cattle. They were trained to nip the feet of the animals and cattle to herd and stock them. Many believe that these dogs are related to Collies in their bloodlines.
An Australian Shepherd is known to be a great therapy dog, rescue dog or a guide dog for the disabled and that is evident of the fact that they are very affectionate dogs. They are so affectionate that they won’t even give you private space. Typically an Australian Shepherd is hyper-active and loves to play or learn new things.
They even tend to show guard dog tendencies since their breed is very intelligent. Always remember they love to play and might find their own destructive or constructive means to play if you leave him unattended or don’t make him exercise a lot. So if you live in an apartment, it is best that you cut Australian Shepherd from your list to adopt or buy.
It is always advised that the training of the puppy should begin from the time you get him home. Since Australian Shepherd is a highly energetic dog you can’t leave him alone and it is best that you begin training him as soon as possible or else an adult untrained Australian Shepherd could become very troublesome.
You should only and always buy or adopt an Australian Shepherd if you have a huge play ground or a farm since they tend to get destructive in closed environment.
If we have given you the impression that this dog will stay aloof from the family if it spends the day playing, then it’s not true. This dog loves to play as much as he loves to hang out with his human family.
- Size and Weight: Australian Shepherds are medium sized dogs. A healthy adult male would weigh 19-24 kgs. A female would weigh 14-20 kgs.
- Colour and coat: The colour of the Australian Shepherd varies in form of colour combination, ranging from Light brown, dark brown, copper, red, black, white etc. and could come in any of these colour combined. Their fur coat could be wavy or straight in texture. And an Australian Shepherd could have blue, brown, black, blue, green hazel eyes. Their fur coat could be wavy or straight in texture. The combination is also known as merle.
- Genetics: it is believed that Australian Shepherd was bred from Collies, German Sheepdogs and Basque Shepherds. Typical characteristics of these breed were picked and bred to make a perfect breed for companionship and herding.
- Other characteristic: this breed is also known to be very affectionate and therefore perform excellent as guard or guide dogs.
- Life Span: life of an Australian Shepherd ranges from 13-6 years.
You should mainly look for two things before you adopt or buy your Australian Shepherd pup that is the hip score as given by Orthopaedic Foundation for Animals and the health score of the eyes as guided by the Canine Eye Registry Foundation.
Bathing your Australian Shepherd
An Australian Shepherd should be bathed only when he is dirty apart from being regularly brushed which is generally not more than a few times in the year. They should be bathed with shampoo only made for dogs to avoid drying out of skin as their skin is comparatively dry.
They tend to have a medium length coat which is water resistant. Their manes are thick especially the area around the neck and chest. There are a few things that can be kept in mind in terms of grooming of an Australian Shepherd:
- Brush: generally you need to thoroughly brush him weekly although during shedding season it can be more than that to avoid matting.
- Shampooing: you should only use shampoos that are specifically for dogs as they have dry skin.
- Shedding: they tend to shed all-round the year but they shed heavily during spring as they are they lose their winter coat.
- Nail Clipping: a weekly nail trim can be good for them even though their nails tend to wear out naturally.
Australian Shepherds are very agile and active and they need a lot of physical activity to keep them occupied. You should be able to dedicate quite a lot of time and effort for occupying your dog in various dog sports and hour long walks every day so that the daily requirement of activity is met to their satisfaction. Apart from this you can teach your dog to do chores around the house like getting newspapers etc.
They are a pretty healthy breed but like most dogs they are prone to some health problems. It is therefore important that you get the necessary health clearances of both the parents as well for any chances of history of ailments. Elipsy is a concern apart from vision problems. Puppies that have inherited two copies of the merle genes tend to be born deaf or blind so that should be kept in mind. Apart from that they should have clearances listed in the orthopaedic foundation of animals such as dysplasia (with a score of fair or better), von Willebrand’s disease, hypothyroidism, and a normalcy certification for their eyes.
Finding your Australian Shepherd
1. Purchase from Breeder
You should try to find breeders with proper health certifications. It would be best if you could find breeders associated with the original and independent Aussie Shepherd clubs. A good breeder will always welcome any kind of relevant questions that you may have about history, health problems, temperament, and pedigree of the pups.
They are also found in breed shelter groups and rescue centres. You must always inquire about the dog before adoption especially about the behaviour, any known health problems, the energy level and whether they are housetrained or not. You must also not shy away from asking experts on their opinion and mostly the centres are ready to provide any information on the help required