Australian Shepherd Breeders
Australian Shepherd Puppies
Australian Shepherd Dog Clubs
Australian Shepherd Mature Dogs
Group: Working Dog
Size: Medium - Males up to 58.5cm and females 53.5cm
The Australian Shepherd is rather a misnomer as the breed is believed by many to have developed in the USA. Eighteenth century American ranchers considered the Australian Shepherd such a good worker that they assumed it came from Australia, renowned for developing other classic working dog breeds.
The Australian Shepherd is thought by many to be the result of several herding breeds introduced into the USA In the 1800s by the Basques. The Bergers des Pyrenees was one of these and other likely candidates are the Border Collie, the Collie and the Smithfield. The Basques may have brought the dog to Australia at the same time, but in the country after which it was named the breed was largely unheard of until it was officially recognised in Australia in 1994.
Despite the mystery, Australian Shepherds were received enthusiastically by American sheep men and recently entered the US show ring. America's Australian Shepherd club was created in 1957 and an international association was formed nine years later. American Indians call the breed "ghost-eyes" and hold it in reverence because of its unusual eye colouring. Over the years people have employed the Australian Shepherd as search and rescue dogs, narcotics detectors and herders.
Well balanced, slightly longer than tall, of medium size and bone, the Australian Shepherd is alert and fit. The Australian Shepherd head is clean cut, strong and dry, while the back is straight and the chest deep but not broad. The Australian Shepherd coat is of medium texture, straight to wavy and of medium length. There is a moderate mane and frill, more pronounced in dogs than bitches. Several colours are available: blue merle, black, red merle and red, all with or without white markings and/or tan (copper) points. Movement is important in working breeds and the Australian Shepherd has a smooth, free and easy gait. It exhibits great agility with a well balanced, ground covering stride.
The Australian Shepherd is an intelligent breed which is keen to please, whether at work or play. It has an even disposition and good nature. Like many herding dogs, the Australian Shepherd can be reserved when first meeting a stranger. A loyal companion with the stamina to work all day, the Australian Shepherd has strong herding instincts.
Care and Grooming
The Australian Shepherd breed requires plenty of exercise, both physical and mental.