Looking for an intelligent, hardy, faithful and agile canine companion? Look no further than the Australian shepherd. Raising an “Aussie,” as the breed is fondly known, is an enriching experience that can fill your life with memories and rewards for years to come. Find out why Australian shepherd owners are so devoted to this breed, and learn more about the many singular traits that make Aussies so special.
Australian shepherds are solidly-built dogs and are considered medium-sized at adulthood, averaging 17 to 26 inches tall at the shoulder and generally weighing 30 to 65 pounds. Coat coloration ranges from solid liver or black to red or blue merle, and pups are often born with bobbed tails. A trademark of the breed is its high variability in eye color; Aussies frequently have two differently colored eyes, and some even display two colors within the same eye.
Origins and behavior
Contrary to its name, this breed didn’t originate in Australia. The breed arose instead in the western United States, and in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Australian shepherd gained increasing popularity as an exceptional stock dog and herder. For this reason, Aussies are frequently depicted in films as the right hands of cowboys and ranchers, not to mention the athletes responsible for a variety of examples of canine derring-do.
The traits that made this energetic, adaptable dog a rancher’s best friend are the same ones that make it a desirable family companion today. Aussies thrive on mental and physical activity. The breed is highly intelligent and vigorous, and these dogs appreciate being occupied with jobs. That’s not to say that an Aussie owner must be a rancher or rodeo rider; these dogs will be happy in any environment that encourages their zest for activity. The Australian shepherd’s natural nimbleness has also made it an outstanding candidate in agility competitions, and the Aussie is a willing and remarkable player in outdoor games such as Frisbee.
Aussies are herding dogs, and like many breeds developed for this purpose, they are devoted, protective friends to those they perceive as being within their fold, be they human or animal. If an Aussie feels he isn’t getting his way, he may even lightly nip at his owner’s heels in an effort to “herd” events more toward his own liking. This can be a humorous rather than annoying behavior, but it’s a great reminder that your Australian shepherd seeks activity, approbation and order.
Australian shepherds can become deeply attached to their owners, and an Aussie’s sense of loyalty is matched by very few other breeds. Fortunately, the Aussie’s distinctive personality also comes with a reasonable noise level; these dogs will bark if an activity is in question, but they’re not known to resort to pointless yapping.
The well-adjusted Aussie is a loyal, easygoing family member with a lifelong passion for play and physical activity. The breed is also relatively long-lived for its size, with a median lifespan of around 12 years.
Your new Australian shepherd
Add an Aussie to your family, and you may find that you’ve made a decision so gratifying that you become a permanent devotee to the breed. Give your new family member plenty of occasions for learning, playing, and performing a function, and he or she will grow into a nimble, loving, perpetually playful individual with a heartwarming sense of steadfast dedication.
The Australian shepherd is no toy dog or lapdog; this is a breed that was developed for a practical reason, and the dogs at the top of their class want purpose and direction. Give them yours, and you’ll find an amazing companion, incredible athlete and unforgettable friend. Learn more about our beautiful Aussie pups today.