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Breed Profile: Australian Shepherd

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Australian Shepherd Dog Breed - Australian Shepherd Profile Photo © GK Hart/Vikki Hart

Group:

Herding

History:

The Australian Shepherd, despite is name, was actually developed in the United States. American ranchers raised and bred the dogs as livestock herders and farm workers.

As with many breeds, the Aussie's early history is not clear. It is believed by some that the breed originated near Spain in the Pyrenees Mountains. The name "Australian Shepherd" may have come from an association with Basque shepherds who came to the United States from Australia in the 19th century.

Aussie enthusiasts and breeders have worked hard to keep the breed true to it's heritage. Aussies were first recognized by the AKC in the early 1990s.

Size:

40-65 pounds

Colors:

Blue merle
Red merle
Black
Red
all colors may have white markings and/or tan (copper) points

Health Problems:

Responsible breeders strive to maintain the highest breed standards as established by kennel clubs like the AKC. Dogs bred by these standards are less likely to inherit health conditions. However, some hereditary health problems can occur in the breed. The following are some conditions to be aware of:

About the Breed:

The Australian Shepherd is a medium-sized working dog with a relatively long, soft coat. The breed is extremely agile, intelligent, loyal and hard-working. Though known as a herding dog, the Aussie has a talent for all types of athletic activities. However, the breed also makes an excellent companion dog for high-energy owners.

Due to its high intelligence level, the Aussie is quite receptive to training and learns quite quickly. This breed's focus is work - with proper training, the Aussie is extremely obedient. The Aussie excels at dog sports and other activities like Frisbee, herding, agility and obedience competition.

Frequent exercise is absolutely essential for the Aussie - even more than most dogs. The breed can become bored, frustrated and hyperactive if not active enough. Plus, exercise will help maintain the Aussie's overall health.

The Aussie is a medium to long-haired dog with a somewhat thick coat, so routine grooming is important. Thorough brushing of the hair should be done 1-2 times per week to avoid tangling and matting.

Overall, the Aussie is a very smart and loyal companion that is affectionate and connected with its owner. The breed is very alert and in-tune with the sights and sounds around it. Most Aussies excel at herding and general farm/ranch work. However, they are also quite skilled in other jobs, including assistance, search and rescue, and pet therapy. Of course, the breed also makes a wonderful companion for the right family. The Australian Shepherd tends to adapts well to all kinds of households with proper exercise and training.


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