Australian Shepherd

Dog Breed Profile

Australian Shepherd

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• High energy level
• High exercise needs
• Very playful
• Very Affectionate
• Friendly towards other dogs
• Friendly around other pets
• Shy around strangers
• Difficult to train
• Great watchdogs
• Very protective
• Moderate grooming requirements
• Medium tolerance to heat and cold


The Australian Shepherd is not only a highly intelligent, energetic breed but also one that requires and enjoys regular contact with people. These animated and active dogs are extremely loyal, and their temperaments and talents see them regularly succeeding in AKC agility, obedience and herding competitions.

They thrive on being with their families, and are good with children once they are taught not to try to ‘herd’ them. They are excellent watchdogs and are very affectionate, providing for an excellent companion to an active person.

This breed, like many other herders, require an active and purposeful lifestyle, and the happiest and most content will be dogs that get regular, high activity exercise and is made to feel like one of the family.

  • Although a home with a yard is ideal for running and playing, they should not live in the yard as this goes against their emotional needs for human contact
  • Health conditions that need to be tested for include hip dysplasia and eye issues
  • Grooming needs include regular twice-weekly brushing or combing.
  • Their colors include blue merle, black, red merle, with or without marking or points
  • Once trained, the Australian shepherd can easily learn to fetch, obey commands and do well with competitive obedience and herding
  • Under proper conditions (lots of exercise, training and human contact) they can make good family pets. They are loyal and protective, but weary of strangers.

Care & Health:

Australian shepherds require regular exercise, but they also need to be made to feel like part of the family. They truly enjoy and cherish their relationships with their families, and are not suited to being left in the yard alone.

Their thick coats require at least two good brushings a week, and it’s important to have them tested for hip dysplasia and eye issues.

This breed will be happiest if challenged mentally and physically every day.

Major Health Concerns:

– Cataracts, CEA (Collie Eye Anomaly)

Minor Health Concerns:

– CHD (Canine Hip Displasia), nasal solar dermatitis, Pelger – Huet syndrome, iris coloboma,

Test for:

– hips and eyes

Life Span:

– 12 to 15 years

Additional Notes:

–occasional health concerns include lumbar sacral syndrome, epilepsy, PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy), vWD (Von Willebrand Disease), PPM (Persistent Pupillary Membranes), distichiasis, PDA (Patent ductusarteriosis)

Breed History:

Even though the Australian shepherd suggests that this breed came from Australia, it really didn’t. This breed originated in the US, although its ancestor is one which originated somewhere between Spain and France and traveled with their owners to Australia for a time before coming to the western US.

It was once thought that these dogs were best suited for herding sheep, but many today use them for herding their cattle as well.

After being recognized by the AKC in 1991, they can be seen in competitions that allow them to showcase their agility, obedience and competitive herding skills.

  • Family history is livestock and herding breeds
  • Originally from United States
  • First bred in the 1800’s
  • Original purpose was herding sheep
  • Today they are herders, pets and show dogs
  • The average size of a male is 50 to 65lbs and 20 to 23 inches tall
  • The average size of a female is 40 to 45lbs and 18 to 21 inches tall
  • Used to be known as the Pastor Dog, Bob-Tail, New Mexican Shepherd, and California Shepherd