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Australian Shepherd…. Everything You Need to Know at a Glance!

Whenever you find yourself doing a bit of research about a dog and you suddenly discover that, that particular dog has traveled across three different continents and that in each, he became extremely popular, you can bet you’re researching a pretty awesome dog breed.

And this is…

Exactly what we have with the Australian Shepherd breed.  But before we spoil the Australian Shepherds origin story, we’re should probably mention why we here at IndulgeYourPet have chosen to write this article.

You see…

Here at IndulgeYourPet, we really love animals, and we particularly love dogs.  This is why, we always try to help new “owners” try to determine which “kind” of dog is going to be the best for them.  And sometimes it’s tough!

It’s tough because…

Sometimes people just have their heart set on a particular “type” of dog regardless of which type of dog will actually work out best for them.  This is why we try to write articles like these so that if you are considering adopting an Australian Shepherd puppy, you’ll be able to get a better idea of what it might be like to own one before you actually do.

Because…

The last thing that we want to see happen is for you to adopt an Australian Shepherd puppy only to regret your decision six months from now!  So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the Australian Shepherd breed and learn a little bit more about why so many people over the years have fallen in love with this breed and provide you with some insight on what it would be like to own one yourself.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!

Australian Shepherd Fast Facts

Country of Origin:  United States

Original Purpose:  Sheep Herding

Height:  18 to 23 inches tall

Weight:  40 to 65 pounds

Lifespan:  12 to 15 years

Dog Breed Classification:  Herding group

Origin of the Australian Shepherd.

Nobody would really be able to fault you if you thought the Australian Shepherd came from Australia, after all it would sort of make sense if he did.  But the truth is, the “version” that we know and love today was actually first “created” here in the good old US of A!

That said however…

The Australian Shepherd “breed” didn’t just all out of the sky and land in the US.  You see, the Australian Shepherd as we know him today actually comes from a long line of dogs first appearing in the Basque areas of Western Europe.

It was there…

That the “ancient” relatives of the modern day Australian Shepherds were first used as sheep herding dogs within the “Basque” regions of Western Europe during the early 1800’s.  During this time, these Basque dogs were highly valued which is why when folks began migrating to Australia the chose to bring their cherished animals with them.

In Australia…

These dogs proved equally valuable as the did in Europe and soon because quite popular all over the continent, which is why when some of the Austral Shepherds of the “Human” variety chose to move to the United States, they also chose to bring their cherished shepherd dogs with them.

Then once in America…

These dogs really began to “flourish” throughout the Western United States, and since many of the “original” dogs came from Australia, it was only natural that folks began calling them all “Australian Shepherds”.

And by 1950…

The “breed” had pretty much established itself throughout the Western United States leading to the development of the first Australian Shepherd dog club in American in 1957.  Surprisingly though, the breed was not officially recognized by the American Kennel Club until 1993 which seems a bit late to us, but what do we know?

Characteristics of the Australian Shepherd

The Australian Shepherd has a fairly thick and water-resistant coat that will help him or her to survive in colder places where cattle dogs like this might work. The coat is longer on the head, body and upper legs and can be a variety of colors including: blue merle, red merle, black or a combination of white, black and tan aka ‘tri-color’.

And while…

In most cases, its quite easy to differentiate an Australian Shepherd from other similar breeds such as a Collie or a Border Collie, two things about the Australian Shepherd will definitely set them apart right away.

First…

Australian Shepherds will have a “docked” tail or a naturally bobbed tale.  And second, Australian Shepherds will typically have…

“Really cool looking eyes!”

That can vary in colors even within the same dog!  So, don’t be surprised if you find yourself having to pick and choose between several different Australian Shepherd puppies if you see a couple with a wide variety of eye colors including: brown, blue, amber, or any combination of the three!

Personality of the Australian Shepherd

The first thing you should know about the Australian Shepherd dog breed before you get one is that they really do require regular, consistent exercise. This is not a dog that is going to want to sit on the couch with you all day long watching TV!

So…

You’ll need to plan for up to an hour of outdoor play time every day; and we don’t mean a stroll around the block. From puppy to adult, the Australian Shepherd needs and wants a regular “high energy” activity like playing fetch or going for a run with an owner.

Which means…

You can either choose an activity for him and enjoy participating in it.  Or you Australian Shepherd can pick one for him or herself since you didn’t take the lead.  The only problem with this idea is that the “activity” your Australian Shepherd might choose may not be exactly what you have in mind…

You see…

His activity might involve tearing apart your couch, eating your coffee table or maybe just chewing all of your shoes. It’s your choice!

Now if you’re not sure…

You’re “up” to the task, you can also consider a Miniature Australian Shepherd aka toy Australian aka mini Aussie. Just as you’re probably guessing this is a smaller version of the same dog. This one, however, doesn’t necessarily need to run around as much (but keep in mind, they still need to keep their minds active!).

As an Australian cattle dog…

The “traditional” Australian Shepherd dogs are natural bold and confident dogs ready to take control of the herd and lead them to where ever their master wants them.  That said, they are also eager to receive praise from their owner which is one reason why they are such good students and very easy to train.

Incredibly loyal…

These dogs make great family pets provided that receive plenty of socialization early on and are taught not to think of every small child as something that needs to be chased and corralled!

Health Problems of the Australian Shepherd Breed

When discussing the health of different dog breeds, it’s very important to understand the role the breeders play in that. A good breeder will determine a lot when it comes to the health; and they should be a recognized by the American Kennel Club because then they will be held to a breed standard.  You can also look into the Australian Shepherd Club for good breeders. Also, the breeder should be willing to provide you with documentation about the dog’s genealogy.

But beware…

Regardless of how “responsible” your breeder may be, there are just some medical conditions that are prone to affect Australian Shepherds no matter what you do.  For this reason, if you do decide to purchase an Australian Shepherd or better yet adopt an Australian Shepherd rescue, you will want to be on the lookout for the following conditions as they may play a role in your dogs life.

  • Hip Dysplasia,
  • Epilepsy,
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy,
  • Cataracts,
  • Pelger-Huet syndrome,
  • And Ivermectin sensitivity.

Now we…

The last thing that we want to do is “scare” you away from adopting an Australian Shepherd if you honestly feel like this would be a great dog for you because honestly, just about every “purebred” dog out there is going to run the risk of developing some type of medical condition.

But it is good…

To know what you might run into.  It’s also good to be aware that these conditions exist so that you can get a better idea if purchasing a pet insurance policy might be a good idea for you.

Now will a pet insurance policy be right for everyone?

No, probably not.  But until you now what they “will” and “won’t” cover and how much it will cost per month, it’s going to be pretty tough for you to know if a pet insurance policy is “right” for you.

But don’t fret…

In our Best Pet Insurance Companies article, we list many of the pros and cons of owning a pet insurance policy so that you’ll be able to determine if one might be right for you right away!

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