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The Australian Shepherd (also known as the Aussie) is an average, agile and intelligent dog. Because of his energetic and hardworking nature, he is one of the best sheepdogs that exists. Therefore, it can be difficult to handle for those who do not have enough time and space. However, it is a very noble, intelligent and beautiful dog, who belonging to an active family, dynamic and very aware of the education of this dog, will be able to have with him an unrivaled best friend. The Australian Shepherd is a breed of dog well known for its abilities as a pasture dog.
Despite its name, the Australian Shepherd is a breed of dog from the Basque Country. It was then developed on the west coast of the United States about 150 years ago, by the hand of Basque emigrants from Australia. Although it is true that it quickly reached other parts of the world, such as the United States and Australia, where it enjoyed greater prosperity and popularity.
The Australian Shepherd Dog should not be confused with the Australian Cattle Dog, two dogs with similar names but very different physical abilities.
In this ‘ Pets Feed ‘ breeds sheet, we will detail information about the origins of an Australian Shepherd and we will explain what are its characteristics and the habitual character of this breed. Read on to learn all about the Australian Shepherd Dog:
Despite the fact that the name of the breed is “Australian Shepherd”, the home of these dogs is America. This type of animal cannot be called ancient, its formation began and ended in the twentieth century. Although the breeds, whose blood flows in the veins of Australian Shepherds, trace their history back to ancient times. Modern Aussies have achieved excellence in shepherd’s work, and have also established themselves as winning rodeos.
Many breeds have participated in the creation of the Australian Shepherd Dog. Let’s understand the most important ancestors of the Aussies in more detail:
In the nineteenth century, their Pyrenean shepherds arrived in America with the Basque shepherds. The first ancestors of the Australian Shepherd Dogs appeared from them and the local shepherd dogs.
In the middle of the nineteenth century, Old German Shepherds appeared in Australia (New South Wales). These herding dogs, originally from Germany, were marbled gray-black in color, had a thick coat and were called tigers or tigers. The offspring of tigers and local herding dogs came to the United States and contributed to the formation of the Aussie breed.
Another breed of herding dogs, the Australian coolies, contributed to the emergence of the Australian Shepherd. The coat color of modern Aussies resembles that of a coolie.
In the early twentieth century, American breeders came to grips with a new breed called the Australian Shepherd. The process involved crossing coolies, tigers and Pyrenees with collies and Bernese Mountain Dogs. As a result, the Aussie breed was bred. These hardworking, hardy animals have become some of the best herding dogs.
In 1977 the breed standard was approved. By this time, a club of amateurs of Australian Shepherds was organized and more than two dozen nurseries engaged in breeding purebred representatives of this species.
Physical Characteristics of the Australian Shepherd Dog
The body of this beautiful dog is medium, slightly longer than large and muscular. The back is straight and level, while the rump descends moderately. The chest is deep and the lower line retracts slightly in the abdomen.
The head of the Australian Shepherd (Aussie) is strong, thin and well-proportioned to the rest of the body. The nose is black in blackbird and black dog, but it is liver color in red dog and redbird. The eyes are almond shaped and can be brown, blue, amber or any combination of these colors. The ears are triangular, medium and high. By breed standard, this dog’s tail should be straight and may be naturally long, naturally short or amputated.
Fortunately, many countries ban tailing today, so many dogs are saved from this cruel and meaningless practice. Naturally, short tails in the Australian Shepherd can also be signs of problems, as they have a genetic relationship to spine problems.
The coat of the Australian Shepherd Dog is of medium length and texture, and may be straight or wavy. The inner layer of the hairs varies according to climatic variations. The colors accepted for this breed are: merle blue, black, merle red and red.
Personality and character of the Australian Shepherd
This dog is an excellent shepherd and has a sure and very energetic temperament, similar to that of the border collie. The Australian Shepherd (Aussie) generally has a strong guardian and shepherd instinct, and is very curious and intelligent. Although he is a dog with strong guard tendencies, he is also a friendly and loyal animal.
He is generally not quarrelsome or aggressive, although he can be somewhat reserved when he meets someone. The Australian Shepherd can get along with other dogs and other animals, as long as he has received proper socialization. Either way, it is important to start socializing these dogs at an early age, in order to reduce the chances of developing aggressive or fearful behaviors.
Because of his great intelligence, the Australian Shepherd (Aussie) can be easily trained. However, it is a very active dog that can have training problems when trying to promote calm behaviors. He obtains good results in sports training in all their specialties and, of course, training for breeding (grazing). Clicker training is perhaps the best way to train this dog, as it gives him a lot of mental stimulation.
When he is left alone for a long time, he tends to be a destructive dog. The same can happen if he doesn’t get enough physical and mental exercise. Either way, the Australian Shepherd can be a great pet if he gets the exercise and attention he needs. However, it must be taken into account that this dog requires a lot of exercise and a lot of attention. Most people do not have enough energy or time to have one of these dogs.
Australian Shepherd Health
Unfortunately, and like other sheepdogs, the Australian Shepherd (Aussie) is prone to several hereditary diseases. These include cataracts, eye collie abnormalities, hip dysplasia, nasal dermatitis caused by the sun, Pelger-Huet syndrome, iris coloboma, lumbar sacral syndrome, epilepsy, progressive retinal atrophy, von Willebrand disease, dystiquosis and persistent arterial duct.
In addition, crosses between merle-colored dogs often lead to blind and / or deaf puppies. Crossbreeds between naturally short-tailed dogs can produce puppies with serious defects in the spine. However, with regular veterinary examination and good care, we can prevent the onset of certain diseases. It will also be essential to follow the dog vaccination schedule and deworming.
Keeping an Australian Shepherd in an apartment is not recommended. This dog can be said to be hyperactive. If he begins to get bored or does not get the opportunity to run around, the property of the owners will be at risk. Not only will the Aussie out of boredom destroy everything that gets on the tooth, the bored Australian can bark loudly for several hours in a row, jumping up and down, showing with all his appearance that he needs to run free.
If you decide to settle an Australian Shepherd in an apartment, be prepared for daily walks. At least three hours a day, the dog should actively walk, it needs games, sports competitions, training. If you live in a private house with a land plot, equip the Australian with a spacious aviary with a warm booth. In no case should a freedom-loving dog be kept on a chain; it will get angry and will suffer. When keeping Aussies in an aviary, walks outside the aviary are still necessary. If the site is fenced, let the dog run around the area. At the same time, you must be sure that the fence is reliable, otherwise the pet will find a loophole and run away.
If you own a red Australian Shepherd, do not walk in the sun. Such dogs do not tolerate sunlight very well, they can quickly get heatstroke. Walking, training is better to postpone to the evening or morning hours.
Representatives of the Australian Shepherd breed are very hardworking, they work even when they are no longer strong. The same goes for entertainment, the dog will run, jump, play until it falls, for example, from sunstroke. The owner must carefully monitor the pet and stop its activity in time, giving it the opportunity to rest and gain strength.
In addition to proper maintenance, a pet needs proper care to maintain beauty and health. Cosmetic treatments include the following:
- We comb out the Australian Shepherd wool once every 5-7 days. We pay special attention to the mane. Although it is not very lush, tangles and tangles are still formed with poor care.
- We bathe as needed. Scheduled bathing is carried out 2-3 times a year using special shampoos for coarse dog hair. It is very important to thoroughly rinse the detergent from the wool after water procedures.
- Three times a week, we brush our pet’s teeth with a special brush and toothpaste for dogs. Such procedures remove plaque, prevent the appearance of tartar and unpleasant odor from the mouth. Unconscious owners often ignore brushing, and as a result, the dog begins to lose teeth at an early age.
- We clean our dog’s ears once a week. For this, it is recommended to purchase special preparations that soften the earwax.
- The Australian Shepherd’s eyes are its weak point. Such a dog is prone to eye diseases. Therefore, the owner should regularly examine the pet’s eyes for inflammation or excessive accumulation of secretions. Noticing the slightest symptoms of the disease, you need to urgently consult a veterinarian.
The diet of the Australian Shepherd should be balanced. If you choose a natural way of feeding, take care of vitamin and mineral supplements. It is also recommended to give Aussie fish oil and chondroprotectors. These supplements strengthen cartilage, tendons and ligaments. The Australian Shepherd is prone to joint dysplasia, so this recommendation should not be ignored.
It is much easier to feed your Australian Shepherd professional dry food, which contains all the necessary additives. The owner has only to pour the food into the bowl at the same time and correctly calculate the rates, so as not to overfeed or, conversely, not to leave the dog hungry.
Puppies need to be fed a highly nutritious, good quality diet to develop and grow as they should. As a guide, an Australian Shepherd (Aussie) puppy can be fed 3 or 4 times a day.
Once an Australian Shepherd puppy is 12 months old, it can be fed with food for adult dogs.
The Australian Shepherd (Aussie) is a high energy dog who needs to be subjected to a ton of exercise every day. He also needs a lot of mental stimulation on a daily basis to become a truly happy and balanced dog.
The saying “a tired dog is a happy dog” is never truer than when talking about an Australian Shepherd. In short, this dog is never happier than when it receives a “job” to do and will be an extremely unhappy dog if left on its own for long periods.
An Australian Shepherd is not suitable for living in an apartment because of its large amount of energy, but neither is it suitable for being isolated in a garden.
Ideally, the Australian Shepherd lives in houses with large gardens or on rural properties, where he can exercise outdoors, but shares with the rest of the family most of the time. Getting started with one of the most popular canine sports can be a great way to exercise and achieve physical health.
In addition, mental stimulation through different types of intelligence games will be a great tool for avoiding behavioral problems such as stress and anxiety. These exercises will be a great way to train him and make the dog useful. It is very important to think about these factors before deciding to adopt such a noble dog. Poor care can lead to behavioral problems.
The Australian Shepherd is certainly not a good choice for new owners or for people who lead more sedentary lives for these reasons.
Training and education
Australian Shepherd dogs are very obedient and easily trained pets. It is a pleasure to train such a capable shepherd dog. He quickly memorizes commands and executes them, trying to please the owner. The main thing is to encourage the dog for diligent performance with an affectionate word and delicacy. Consistency in training and accurate formulation of tasks are also important. Build your workouts so that the dog does not get bored.
The owner of the Australian Shepherd must show firmness of character during training. The fact is that this dog is so intelligent that it will quickly discover the opportunity to be stubborn and establish its leadership in the situation. Therefore, the master’s word and his authority must be indestructible. Maintaining obedience, always managing the situation and ensuring that commands are followed are the main rules of training.
Australian Shepherd Dog Breed Highlights
The Australian Shepherd is so active that it can tire even the most athletic owner. He cannot sit for a long time without moving, so think carefully if you can provide such a pet with sufficient physical activity. For a start, it is worthwhile to get acquainted not only with the pros, but also with the main disadvantages of this breed, so that later you do not have to suffer, neither you nor your pet.
- The Australian Shepherd (Aussie) is faithful and always ready to please.
- It is very intelligent and in good hands, easy to train.
- This dog behaves very well to all kinds of dog sports that it really likes.
- The Australian Shepherd is an excellent protector of its family.
- This dog is not the best choice for new owners.
- They are very energetic and active dogs who like to be busy and mentally stimulated.
- The Australian Shepherd loses a lot of hair all year long, but especially in spring and autumn.
- This dog breed needs to know its place in the pack and who is the ‘alpha’ of the household.
- It has a leading temperament.
- The Australian Shepherd (Aussie) suffers from separation anxiety when left alone.
Australian Shepherd Fun facts
- During its expansion in the United States, the Australian Shepherd became popular by doing acrobatics in the rodeos because of its capacity for the spectacle and its sympathy.
- Although its official name is Australian Shepherd, in Anglo-Saxon countries, they are known as aussies, an affectionate nickname, easy to pronounce and remember.
- These dogs have a very high energy and very oriented towards the pasture. If they do not meet their needs, they will tend to graze the children or even the adults with whom they live, behavior which can be very annoying if it is not corrected.
- The Australian Shepherd needs about 30 to 60 minutes of exercise a day, preferably with high energy activities such as playing frisbee. He also needs work to do, such as daily obedience training or grazing and agility tests.
- This dog can be very destructive and bark for long periods if it does not receive the exercise and mental stimulation it needs.
- The Australian Shepherd will alert you with barks to warn you if he sees or hears something suspicious, and will protect your family and your home with surprising ferocity.
- Although this sheepdog has a reputation for needing open space, it does well in cities if it is given enough stimulation and exercise. However, he is not a good apartment dog. He will want at least a small patio to help him release some of his high energy.
- The breed needs a firm and secure owner: the Australian Shepherd is probably not a good option if you have never had a dog.
- The Australian Shepherd is, by nature, distant from people he does not know, and unless he is regularly exposed to many different people, ideally if he starts this as a puppy. This can lead to reduced fear and aggression.
- The Australian Shepherd has many names: Australian, American Shepherd, Wigglebutt, Rodeo Dog, California Shepherd, Short Tail, Velcro Dog, New Mexico Shepherd, Spanish Shepherd, North American Australian Shepherd, Shepherd Dog, Aussie.
- The Australian Shepherd sees the fence as a problem to be solved and not as a routine obstacle. The dog will use all sorts of methods to overcome the fence. She will not rest until she finds the right solution. Therefore, Aussies often run away from home and end up in life-threatening situations.
- The Indians call the blue-eyed Australian Shepherd Dog ghost or ghost-eyed.
- Aussies were often featured in Walt Disney films, with the highest popularity of these dogs as film actors from 1948 to 1959.
- The Australian Shepherd is very fond of affection, he loves to sit near the owner’s leg, from time to time trying to climb onto his lap, like a cat.
- Aussie is an unrivaled athlete. His strong point is high speed and sharp turns.
If you think that the Australian Shepherd is the right breed for you, go to an experienced and professional breeder, because it is only then that you will have all the guarantees of health of the puppy, and that he can guide you. in the care you need to provide. All you have to do is think of the names for your next pet. If you meet all the needs of your Australian Shepherd, you will have an ideal dog for the whole family for many years.