Description: The Australian Shepherd is a medium-sized herding dog. The males are found to be 20 to 23 at the withers, with the females 2 less. This dog weighs between 40 and 65 pounds, depending on its sex.
The Australian Shepherd has a relatively long coat with a dense undercoat. The coat can be found in a variety of colors including blue merle, red, black, and red merle. The dog’s eyes can be amber, blue, or brown.
The tail is often naturally short but is sometimes docked. The Australian Shepherd lives from 12 to 15 years. The Australian Shepherd is also called the Blue Heeler, California Shepherd, and Bob-Tail.
History: Oddly enough, despite its name, the Australian Shepherd did not originate in Australia. It had its origins in the Pyrenees Mountains, somewhere between Spain and France. Bred by Basques, the dog went with its owners when they emigrated to Australia.
During the 1800s, the Basques migrated again, this time to the United States, and introduced the breed here. Once here, the foundation stock was bred with Collies to produce the dog with which we are familiar today.
Temperament: The Australian Shepherd is a playful energetic dog that needs to interact with its human family. It is good with children and enjoys active play with them. As with most working dogs, the Australian Shepherd is intelligent and easy to train.
This dog has a high energy demand and must be given plenty of exercises. It originated as a working dog and will be happiest if given some ‘task’, even if that task is running next to a bicycle or learning agility skills.
Health Issues: One rather odd health issue with the Australian Shepherd concerns any breeding between two merle dogs. This crossing can sometimes result in deafness or blindness in the offspring.
Care should be exercised to choose a suitable mate for the merle dog. Serious spinal problems can arise if bob-tail dogs are bred to bob-tail dogs. The Australian Shepherd can also suffer from cataracts. Hip dysplasia and hypothyroidism can also occur in this breed.
Grooming: The Australian Shepherd, despite its rather long coat, does not require extensive daily grooming. An occasional brushing will keep the coat in good condition.
The only exception to this is when the undercoat is being shed. At this time, the dog needs to be combed or brushed to remove loose hair. The ears should be kept clean and dry, and if the dog has been in running through brushy areas, check for ticks and fleas.
Living Conditions: Although the Australian Shepherd loves to be around its people, it is not a suitable dog for living in an apartment, it is much too active inside. If kept in a confined situation, it will become bored and destructive. An active family that loves outdoor sports and activities is the best owner of this dog.
The Australian Shepherd does very well on farms or ranches where its guarding and herding instincts can be used. This dog is capable of living outside, but as it bonds closely with its human friends, it is best kept near them.
If you can’t find a local breeder in your area don’t worry, many breeders are using major airlines like American, Delta, Continental and Northwest airlines for shipping their puppies.
At this time the airlines will ship puppies to the following states: Alabama AL – Alaska AK – Arizona AZ – Arkansas AR – California CA – Colorado CO – Connecticut CT – Delaware DE – Florida FL – Georgia GA – Hawaii HI – Idaho ID – Illinois IL – Indiana IN – Iowa IA – Kansas KS – Kentucky KY – Louisiana LA – Maine ME – Maryland MD – Massachusetts MA – Michigan MI – Minnesota MN – Mississippi MS – Missouri MO – Montana MT – Nebraska NE – Nevada NV – New Hampshire NH – New Jersey NJ – New Mexico NM – New York NY – North Carolina NC – North Dakota ND – Ohio OH – Oklahoma OK – Oregon OR – Pennsylvania PA – Rhode Island RI – South Carolina SC – South Dakota SD – Tennessee TN – Texas TX – Utah UT – Vermont VT – Virginia VA – Washington WA – Washington, D.C. – West Virginia WV – Wisconsin WI – Wyoming WY – Hawaii HI.