The Australian Shepherd is a very popular dog in Europe There are many of them on the Yummypets network. Here is a little information about this beautiful dog breed.
Origins of the Australian Shepherd
Australian Shepherd, also called the "Aussie" is, surprisingly, not from Australia but from Europe! In fact, this dog was used by shepherds in the Basque country as herding dog. Then, these shepherds immigrated to Australia with their dogs and sheep. Later, they came to the West coast of the United States once again with their animals. At that point, their dogs started to be called the « Australian Shepherd dogs » because they were, indeed, coming from Australia.
So, Australian Shepherds are originally from France and Spain but now mostly live in the United States.
Physical traits of the Aussie
Aussie is a medium sized breed of solid build. Males weight between 25 and 35 kilos and are up to 58 centimetres tall. Females are smaller, usually between 26 and 53 centimetres in height and weight no more than 26 kilos. The Australian Shepherd has almond-shaped eyes, that can be blue, amber or brown. Some Aussies have eyes of different colours or an eye of two different colours. This is actually quite common.
Some Aussies have a tail, other don’t. There are two explanations. First, some of them naturally born with a bobbed tail and others with a thick furry tail. Then you must know that historically, breeders have docked herding dogs tails for hygiene and security reasons. In the US, breeders always dock newborn Aussies’ tails. In Europe, depending on the country, it’s forbidden. Generally speaking, in the US Australian Shepherds don’t have a tail and in Europe, they can either have or don’t have a tail.
Aussie has medium length hairs, either straight or wavy. His hairs are weather resistant but will need to be brushed often. Aussie’s coats are really distinctive! Aussies can be black, blue merle (silver), red or red merle (pink). They can also have, additionally to these four colours, some white and copper. To sum up, Aussies can be of 4 whole-coloured coats, 8 two-coloured coats and 4 three-coloured coats.
Breeding two merle coloured Aussies is dangerous. The "double merle" puppies are very likely to be deaf or blind because of the allele responsible for this colour.
The Aussie is likely to have eye problems, such as cataracts or red eye. The are also likely to contract hip and back problems.
Temperament of the Australian Shepherd
The Australian Shepherd is an amazing working dog! They have always been used by shepherds as herding dogs, especially with sheeps, despite the fact that they're good with any kind of herd. They have a high capacity for obedience and are easy to train. Aussies are really intelligent dogs, and make wonderful guide dogs, rescue dogs or detection dogs. They are also used in the US in rodeo shows with horses.
Aussies are energetic, fast and very sporty! They need a big backyard to let off stream and must have some really energetic activities, such as cani cross, cani biking, agility, Frisbee... They are also really playful and ask for a lot of attention. A 'homebird' family with no garden shouldn’t adopt an Aussie.
Aussies are naturally good, affectionate, smart and sociable. They get along well with dogs, other animals and children. However, they don't like to be alone and tend get bored easily.
To sum up, the Australian Shepherd is the perfect dog for an energetic family that can provide them with a big outdoor space and plenty of time!
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