Australian Shepherd at a glance
Male: 50-65 lbs.
Female: 40-55 lbs.
Height at Withers:
Male: 20-23 in.
Female: 18-21 in.
Moderate length coat, natural bobbed tail, solid and muscular without cloddiness. They have feathering on the back of the legs and a generous mane around the neck, with varying coat colors.
Exercise Requirements: 30-60 minutes/day.
Energy Level: High.
Longevity Range: 12-15 years
Tendency to Drool: Low. Tendency to Snore: Low.
Tendency to Bark: Moderate.
Tendency to Dig: Moderate. Social/Attention Needs: High.
Ratting, Herding, protection, companion.
Characteristics: Double coat, hard coat.
Colors: Merle, Black, Red Merle, Red tricolor, Black tricolor, Blue Merle, Red
Overall Grooming Needs: Moderate.
AKC Classification: Herding Group.
UKC Classification: Herding Group.
Aussies are well balanced, slightly longer than tall, of medium size and bone, with coloring that offers variety and individuality.
The Australian Shepherd is traditionally a medium-sized breed. They can weigh from 35 to 70 pounds (16 to 32 kg) and stand from 18 to 23 inches (46 to 58 cm) in height. Most Aussies are Merle, Black, Red Merle, Red tricolor, Black tricolor, Blue Merle, or Red.
The Australian Shepherd, the cowboy’s herding dog of choice, is a medium-sized worker with a keen, penetrating gaze in the eye. In all ways, Aussies are active yet easy-going dog, the Australian shepherd loves to romp with children and tends to get along well with other pets. Australian shepherds are great family pets, herding animals, police dogs and competitors in obedience trials. They are also known for being obedient, intelligent, affectionate quick to learn and devoted to their human packs. So if you’re looking for a brainy, tireless, and trainable partner for work or sport, your search might end here.
Aussies are adaptable. They can be just as happy living in a city apartment getting a couple of walks each day as they can be on a country estate with lots of room to run.
Because the breed is somewhat fearless around other dogs, it is important to introduce an Aussies to other dogs while still a puppy.
Aussies are sociable dogs that love to be with their people. Their deepest need is to be fully included in family activities, whether those activities center on watching television or going out for a run.
Because they shed quite little, these dogs are ideal for people who are allergic to other breeds. However, they need to be groomed regularly; frequent brushing, hair and nail trimming, and periodic clipping and stripping are necessary.
Aussies age gracefully; they do not show signs of age until late in life. The average life expectancy is 12 to 15 years.
The Australian Shepherd is descended from a line of Europe’s finest herders. The Aussie’s world tour began in Europe, near the Pyrenees Mountains. It was here, in the borderlands between France and Spain, where the indigenous people known as the Basques built their centuries-old reputation as world-class shepherds. Their herding dog of choice was called the Pyrenean Shepherd, progenitor of our modern Aussie.
In the early 1800s, Australia’s Anglo émigrés began a push into the continent’s vast interior in search of rich pastureland for cattle ranching. Eventually, many Basques, with their faithful shepherd dogs in tow, sailed east to try their luck on the virgin Australian continent, a wide-open paradise for sheep herders.
During their long sojourn in Australia, the Basque shepherd refined their dogs with judicious crosses to Australia’s British imports, Collies and Border Collies, among them. After building up their flocks, the intrepid Basques left Australia for greener pastures—literally—and set sail to California.
California ranchers admired the Basques’ herding dogs and assumed they were an Australian breed—thus the misleading name Australian Shepherd. Aussies, further refined and perfected in America, have been an iconic part of cowboy culture ever since. Many are still happily herding in the American West, others earn their feed as rodeo performers, and still others of this exuberantly versatile breed work as therapy dogs, drug detectors, service dogs, and search-and-rescue dogs. The Australian Shepherd entered the AKC Herding Group in 1993.