AKC Dog Breeds: Australian Shepherd Dog

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Herding Group
Height: 18-23 inches   Weight: 50-65  pounds  Color: black, blue merle, red merle and red

Animated, adaptable and agile, the Australian Shepherd lives for his job, which still involves herding livestock and working as an all-purpose farm and ranch dog. He needs a lot of activity and a sense of purpose to be truly content. Today, due to the breed’s intelligence and versatility, “Aussies” also excel in AKC events such as agility, obedience and herding. Australian Shepherd Dog breed is as Australian as apple pie and the Bloomin' Onion. The breed was actually developed in the United States in the nineteenth century, specifically in the pasturelands of the Old West. Various other shepherd dog breeds were interbred to create a breed that would thrive in the dry climate of Old West ranch lands. The breed's roots, like the roots of many other shepherd dog breeds, extend back thousands of years to continental Europe. The Australian Shepherd Dogs' ancestors probably ultimately originated in the Basque country.

General Appearance
The Australian Shepherd can come in two sizes: the standard Australian Shepherd is around 18-23 inches in height, and weighs in at around 40-75 pounds. The miniature Australian Shepherd is around 14-18 inches high and around 20-40 pounds in weight. The miniature Australian Shepherd is simply a smaller version of the standard, and has all of the same personality and physical traits. The coat of the Australian Shepherd is medium in length and can be straight or very slightly wavy. The Aussie, as it is known, is a medium-sized, robust, well-balanced, rustic dog. The ears are set on high at the side of the head, triangular and slightly rounded at the tip. The coat is of medium texture, straight to slightly wavy, weather resistant, of moderate length with an undercoat. The quantity of undercoat varies with climate. Hair is short and smooth on the head, outside of ears, front of forelegs and below the hocks. Backs of forelegs are moderately feathered; breeches are moderately full. There is a moderate mane and frill, more pronounced in dogs than bitches.  An identifying characteristic is his natural or docked bobtail.


The Australian Shepherd is a highly intelligent, active dog. Though somewhat shy around strangers, they are good natured and delightful companions. Because of their love for play, they make great family dogs, always wanting to be in the midst of their family. They are great with children, though some may try to herd them by nipping at their heels; this can be prevented with proper training. These loyal companions are eager to please and never want to leave your side; the term "Velcro dog" comes to mind. They form powerful bonds with their people, which can sometimes lead them to be very protective and territorial of their families' possessions. Courageous, yet affectionate, this breed is highly versatile in adapting to whatever their family asks of them.


The grooming requirements of the Australian Shepherd can depend upon his coat, as some have shorter coats and thinner undercoats than others. These dogs shed heavily twice yearly, and the coat will need to be brushed and groomed more regularly during these periods. Depending on the length of the coat, the grooming shouldn't be a problem and the coat can be pretty easy to maintain.

Health Problems and Life Expectancy
The life expectancy of the Australian Shepherd is around 12-15 years. Some of the health problems and issues that are associated with this breed include cataracts, glaucoma, epilepsy, heart problems, allergies, skin problems, and cancers.

Activity Level
Australian Shepherd Dogs not only enjoy being active. They generally have plenty of energy and staying power to keep going strong all day. Being a dog of endless energy, an Australian Shepherd will definitely appreciate having some outdoor space.


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