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Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherd is lithe, agile and slightly longer than it is tall. They are loving, bold, independent, smart and responsive.

Overall Status

Height 18 to 23 inches at the shoulder
Temperament Smart, Work-Oriented, Exuberant
Weight 35 to 65 pounds
Life Expectancy 12 to 16 years
Coat Color Black, Merle, Red
Barking Level When Necessery

Quick Factors

Dog Friendly
Exercise Need
Grooming Needs
Strangers Friendly
Family Affectionate
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Daily Care

Grooming Tips

Australian Shepherds shed year round and shed very heavily twice a year during season changes. To keep shedding under control and mats from forming in the coat, Aussies should be brushed weekly, year-round, several times per week during periods of heavy shedding. This breed is relatively clean by nature so baths only need to be given as-needed when the dog is dirty or begins to emit an odor.

Regular ear cleanings, teeth cleanings, and nail trimmings should also be part of the grooming regimen in order to promote optimal health and appearance.

Exercise Tips

A high-energy, athletic dog, the Aussie needs a great deal ofexerciseon a daily basis. At a minimum, he should have a large, fenced-in yard to run around in for at least an hour or two daily. Aussies bond closely with their owners and love to accompany them on long walks—or, better yet, hikes.

Once an Aussie leaves puppyhood behind, and his skeletal system is fully formed, he can make a great running companion. The best course, however, is to give the Aussie a job, whether that is herding livestock, shepherding children, or competing in canine events such asobedience,herdingoragilitytrials, or dock diving.

Feeding Tips

An Australian shepherd should be fed two meals a day of up to 1.25 cups of dry dog food per meal. The amount will depend on your dog's size, activity level, age, and other factors. Be sure to monitor your dog's weight and address any tendency to be overweight. Discuss your dog's nutritional needs with your veterinarian to get appropriate recommendations.

Health Tips

Aussies are generally healthy dogs, and aresponsible breederwill test breeding stock for health concerns such aship dysplasia, epilepsy, cataracts and certain forms of cancer. AnAussie’s earsshould be checked regularly to remove foreign matter and avoid a buildup of wax, andhis teethshould be brushed regularly.


Early socialization and obedience training are both musts for the Australian Shepherd. One of the most frequent reasons Aussies end up in rescue situations is owners couldn’t (or wouldn’t) constructively channel the breed’s boundless energy through training.

Aussies bond strongly to their families and so can be territorial and overprotective of their owners’ property, and they can become destructive if left without companionship for long periods too often. Fortunately, that loyalty combined with the breed’s keen intelligence and high energy makes them very easy to train.


The Australian Shepherd (affectionately called an ‘Aussie’) does not actually originate in Australia. It is believed that some Basque farmers brought the ancestors of these dogs with them when they emigrated to Australia, then subsequently to the United States during the 1849 California gold rush.

However, the breed as it is known today was developed in the American Southwest over the next few decades. The Australian dog was crossed with several breeds in an effort to produce an animal able to deal with the harsh temperatures and demands of the American West. Breeding during this period was mainly focused on ability—speed, agility, and endurance--rather than appearance, which delayed the Australian Shepherd’s recognition as a breed.

Australian Shepherds became popular pets after they were featured as rodeos performers in the 1950’s, and later in Disney films such as ‘Run Appaloosa Run’. Australian Shepherds were recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1993.

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