AKC Group: Herding
Australian Shepherds came about during the 19th and early 20th century to watch over livestock flocks. After the second World War, Shepherds began to regularly appear in Westerns, TV shows and rodeos. Their popularity on farms or ranches saw an explosion.
Size: The traditional Shepherd is 18 to 23 inches and 40 – 65 pounds. There are mini Shepherds that are smaller in size and weight but share the same personality!
Color: Blue merle, red merle, black and red.
Life span: 12 to 15 years.
Health problems: Cataracts, glaucoma, epilepsy, heart problems, allergies, skin problems, cancer.
The Australian Shepherd’s coat is medium length and either straight or wavy. The double coat can present a problem if it feathers.
Australian Shepherds are clever, energetic and fast. Extremely active, they demand a lot of attention and need to be busy! Australian Shepherds are born workers, if you don’t keep them busy or give them a “job” to do, life will not be harmonious. The reason you often see a Shepherd on a farm is that’s where they do best. On a farm they can work, in the city, they can’t. On a farm they can run, in a city, it’s hard to burn off their energy. If they are raised with other animals or children, they can tolerate them well; strangers, not so much.
Expect your Australian Shepherd to shed excessively twice a year. During these times, you’ll need to brush and groom regularly. Otherwise, their coat isn’t bad to maintain.
You’ll need to take your Australian Shepherd to training classes within their first year as proper training for these dogs is essential. Australian Shepherds excel at agility and obedience. Socialization to other people and animals really help Australian Shepherds to open up and showcase the best of their personality and tame their over-protective leanings. They are quick learners and they love to play!