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Australian Shepherd

Tags: herding, Large-sized, Kid-friendly, Protective guardian, Challenging for first-time owners

First the "Australian" part: my breed is not from Down Under, although some of the sheep we learned to herd in California and the Southwest U.S. in the early 1900s -- when our breed was developed and refined from various local shepherd types -- might have come from Australia. When the AKC finally accepted our kind in 1992, we officially became Australian Shepherds. We tend to weigh around 45 pounds and stand about 20-23 inches at the shoulder -- with naturally short or docked tails. Our medium length coats might be wavy or straight and colored blue merle, black, red merle -- along with some white, tan or copper. Clearly the herders and ranchers who "invented" this breed cared more about our work ethic than color.

Rave review

  • Affectionate, devoted family friend
  • Agile and active
  • Always alert
  • Born to run, happy to walk
  • Busy is better than bored
  • Coat needs regular care
  • Energizer doggie
  • Even-tempered, good-natured

Report card

  • Herding instinct
  • Independent thinker
  • Intelligent and ready to learn
  • Shy by nature
  • Lives to work
  • Loves kids and vice-versa
  • Novice owners might be challenged with this breed
  • One owner/family-oriented
  • Outdoors enthusiast
  • Perfect protector
  • Playful pal
  • Pleased to please
  • Caters to the country, tolerates town
  • Ready to romp
  • Socialization and training must start early
  • Wary of strangers
  • Willing watchdog

What to expect

You're getting a born herder when you take on an Australian Shepherd, so find an outlet for that instinctual drive or I might drive you and your family crazy. Some rural areas offer opportunities to herd real livestock, so please look into that. Whatever you find, I need plenty of exercise and room to run. Apartments are not my idea of a corral. My coat needs a weekly brushing. If my training and socialization start, early I might overcome my natural shyness.

Watch for

Possible eye disorders, canine hip dysplasia, epilepsy, blood disorders.

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