INFORMATION ON THE VERSATILE
The Australian Shepherd is a truly versatile breed. They are first and foremost intelligent
companions working out of love and devotion in order to please their owner’s wishes.
They may not have the herding instinct of the Border Collie, but they are far more
versatile, herding (not chasing) everything from chipmunks to buffalo. They have been
among the top frisbee dogs flying high into the air just to catch a disc thrown. They are
quick to heel and retrieve and follow the commands in obedience being far more teachable
than trainable. Their flair over an agility course exemplifies their love of life and
fun-loving character once again excelling in this medium as well. They do it all with a
love of life and a desire to please. They are truly agile intelligent working dogs and
wonderful family companions.
This endearing quality in Aussies, their intense desire to please their owners, makes
them quick learners and loyal friends. Aussies tend to be naturally reserved with
strangers, but shyness or timidity is considered a faulty temperament. Aussies love their
family members from the youngest to the oldest and will protect them and their property if
necessary. Being so in tune with their owners, they know quickly if you accept a stranger
as friendly or not and respond accordingly. They do have strong territorial instincts and
rarely will leave their home and family when loose, although it is never recommended to let
any dog loose and unattended. With the speed and carelessness of traffic today, a fenced in
backyard does provide the best security for your dog.
AUSSIE NEEDS - FAMILY LIFE AND SOCIALIZATION
Aussies need to be a part of the family. They do not do well when kept tied to a
doghouse and no reputable breeder will sell an Aussie into a home where a dog is tied out for hours each day. They need daily exercise and love, far more than they need a huge yard to run in. A simple
game of fetch with a tennis ball or just taking them with you when you do your daily
routine makes them very contented. They love to play outside, but if they get dirty, they will clean themselves off almost cat-like when they return to the house.
As they grow, they will need to be socialized to situations and people outside of the family. Balancing this with time set aside for bonding with family members will make a mentally sound, outgoing Aussie. This will prevent them from getting too protective or even possibly shy or aggressive.
Aussies are extremely clean about themselves and their area and therefore are easy to
housebreak with just a little common sense on their owner's part. Their coat
is not as thick as a collie coat requiring little attention. Hair mats may occur, but usually
only behind the ears. Their soft hair is easily vaccuumed during the 1-2 times per year
they might shed. Males and spayed females will shed only once each year while intact females shed twice each year.
Males (20-23 in. and about 50-65 lbs.) are slightly bigger than females (18-21 in. and
37-50 lbs.) Either sex make lovely companions. The females are lovers at times
demanding that you pet them. While the males will quietly follow you everywhere. The
females may jump on your lap or on the couch beside you while the males contentedly sit at
your feet. An Aussie male is not a typical "male dog". They can easily be taught not to lift their leg on
shrubbery and usually get along well with other dogs.
GENETIC HEALTH CONCERNS
Issues that a reputable breeder should be concerned with are juvenile cataracts, epilepsy, and hip dysplasia. These are not the only issues that occur in the breed, but they are the most major ones. However, when buying a dog, they can and should be avoided by ensuring that the breeder discloses risks in the pedigree and that the dog's parents have documented OFA numbers and veterinary ophthalmologist clearances. There are no health clearances for epilepsy, but a breeder should be willing to share specifics of any epilepsy within a dog's several generation pedigree. If they are not aware of this, then they have not doen their homework as a breeder. Hip dysplasia occurs in about 6% of the breed with both cataracts and epilepsy around 4% although these last two statistics have not been scientifically supported.
Overall, the Australian Shepherd is an unusually beautiful agile, fun, versatile companion.
Although these are generally true statements about the character of the Australian
Shepherd, there is no breed that has 100% perfect individuals...not even the Australian Shepherd. When looking for a puppy or an adult,
it is important to find a reputable breeder who breeds for good temperament, for genetic
soundness and for the improvement of the breed. So when you’re ready to get an Aussie, remember,
their loyalty, intelligence, character, and whimsical sense of humor make these dogs very
special and truly deserving of special owners.
ASCA BREED STANDARD
AKC BREED STANDARD
Home - HISTORY OF THE AUSSIE - PICTURES - PEDIGREES - AKC - ASCA - USASA