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Australian Shepherd: Not a dog for everyone

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Australian Shepherd

The Australian Shepherd is intelligent and focused and can be your best buddy if you provide strong leadership, plenty of exercise, and mental stimulation. Learn everything about the Australian Shepherd in the sections below. 


The Australian Shepherd is a breed that originated in Australia and made its way to America. 

One popular theory of the breed’s origins dates back to the 1800s when European Basque shepherds arrived in Australia with their sheep and herding dogs.

Together with their dogs and sheep, many of these shepherds relocated to the western United States shortly after.

Because of their previous links with Australia, these herding breeds were naturally dubbed Australian Shepherds by American shepherds.



The Australian Shepherd is a medium-sized, athletic dog


20 to 23 inches (51 to 59 cm) 


Weight of 35 to 70 pounds (16 to 32 kg).


The weather-resistant double coat of the Australian Shepherd is somewhat long and wavy, with a dense undercoat and coarse topcoat; the hair is short on the face and well feathered on the back legs.


The breed has distinct colorations and coat patterns, with no two dogs having the same coat pattern.

Australian Shepherd comes in various coat colors, including blue or red merle and solid black or red.


Long or naturally bobbed (short) tails are allowed in the breed; previously, long-tailed dogs had their tails docked, but the current breed standard allows for long-tailed dogs.


The Australian Shepherd is clever, active, loyal, protective, playful, and adaptable.

Strong herding tendency 

Even though people breed the Australian Shepherd for companionship these days, many dogs retain a strong herding tendency. Often Australian Shepherds engage in herding children or other pets.

Extremely active 

The Australian Shepherd is a highly active breed that can become destructive if not given enough exercise.


Australian Shepherds are typically healthy dogs; however, they can suffer from a variety of health issues.

  • Vision issues are prevalent
  • Epilepsy is a worry
  • When merle-to-merle mating occurs, puppies with two copies of the merle gene are more likely to be born blind or deaf

All dogs, like people, are susceptible to inherited health issues.


  • Avoid breeders who do not offer a health guarantee on their puppies
  • A professional breeder will be honest about the breed’s health issues and the frequency with which they arise in her lines.
  • If you’re getting a puppy, find out how long dogs in her line have lived and the causes of death 
  • Although careful breeders test their breeding dogs for genetic disease and breed only the healthiest and best-looking specimens, Mother Nature can have other ideas. A puppy can have health issues despite appropriate breeding techniques. However, because of advancements in veterinary medicine, most dogs can still enjoy a happy life.
  • Remember that once you’ve brought your new puppy home, you can safeguard him against one of the most common health issues: obesity. One of the simplest methods to extend the life of an Australian Shepherd is to keep him at a healthy weight. 

Finding a breeder

  • You can start your search for a breeder by visiting the website of the Australian Shepherd Club of America.
  • The Australian Shepherd Club of America’s rescue network will assist you in locating a dog who could be the ideal companion for your family.


Australian Shepherds have typical longevity for a breed their size, which is between 11 and 13 years.

Australian Shepherd Grooming

Although the Australian Shepherd has a lot of hair and grooming requirements, caring for them isn’t as tricky.

Coat care

  • The coat needs weekly brushing to get rid of dead hair that would otherwise end up on your clothes and furniture.
  • The Australian sheds only twice a year, in the spring and the fall. Brushing frequently, taking warm baths, and blow-drying thoroughly will help keep the handfuls of hair under control during this period.
  • Bathe the Aussie only when he gets dirty outside of shedding season. Over bathing strips away natural oils required for the weather-resistant coat. 

Nail care

Although active Australian Shepherds’ nails naturally wear down, it’s a good idea to examine them weekly to see if you need to trim them down. 

Ear and teeth

Otherwise, keep his ears clean and brush his teeth regularly to maintain good general health and fresh breath.

Life in the family

As an intelligent breed, the Australian Shepherd will find something to do if left alone.

Aussies require an experienced owner who understands how to channel their energy through constant training and plenty of exercises, as they have a high prey drive and a strong herding instinct.

Do Australian Shepherds get along well with children?

Due to their strong herding instincts, Australian Shepherds may nibble at children’s heels or try to herd them. However, the Aussie usually is well-behaved and friendly with children. You can reduce nipping tendencies with proper socialization and training and enough exercise or a task to do. It would be best if you discouraged nipping as soon as possible to prevent the habit.

Can Australian Shepherds live with other pets? 

If bored, Aussies may attempt to herd cats or other domestic pets, but they get along well with them if adequately socialized. 

Are Australian Shepherds considered an aggressive breed?

Australian Shepherds aren’t known for being aggressive. Rather, they are kind and affectionate. Australian Shepherds, on the other hand, have a natural instinct to work and may attempt to herd and be pushy with smaller animals, including their owners. As part of this process, they have been known to nip. If they have not been properly trained or socialized from an early age, herding and nipping are more common.

Exercise requirements

  • 40 minutes of exercise every day
  • Since these dogs have historically spent hours in the fields with their owners herding sheep and cows, they require plenty of daily exercises, mental stimulation, and obedience training to be happy.

Energy level


Life expectancy

As an overall healthy breed, the Australian Shepherd has a lifespan of 12-15 years.

Living environment 

The Australian Shepherd is not suitable for living in an apartment. They are moderately active indoors and require at least a vast yard to thrive.