Tip of the Month

6/13/2012 Breed Spotlight: Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherd - Breed Spotlight

Characteristics

The Australian Shepherd is a medium sized dog, recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) as part of the herding group. Weight varies from dog to dog but Australian Shepherds are generally 40 to 60 pounds with height ranging from 20 to 23 inches. Bred to be active, adaptable, and very agile, the “Aussie” will require lots of exercise and mental stimulation. Aussies are also known to be highly intelligent and willing to please their owners.

Coloring of the Australian Shepherd varies greatly. It is common to see merle marking of different shades or solid red. Australian Shepherds shed so it would be best to brush them occasionally (at least once a week).

Training Tip

Being part of the herding group the “Aussie” will need more exercise than a short daily walk. If you are working with or own an Aussie, it would be best to enroll your dog in a stimulating training class that can vary from basic obedience classes to herding trails, dog agility classes, or flyball. If the Aussie does not get enough quality exercise and mental stimulation, it could lead to behavior problems such as destruction of home items or guarding general objects.

The Aussie is known to be willing to please their owners. This makes training more rewarding for the dog and owner. Strong leadership should be implemented by the owner so the dog does not naturally assume the leader role.

As Pets

Australian Shepherds are very alert and loyal family companions. Their strong loyalty to their family or pack can cause suspicion of strangers or unacquainted animals. Make sure to socialize your Aussie as much as possible from an early age to adulthood. They love to play so they do very well in family homes with children. Consultations with a dog trainer or attending dog training classes will help to curb their natural tendency to herd the children.

Aussies can make great watchdogs as they are usually naturally protective of their pack. You can expect them to let you know when someone may be at the door! Due to the Aussie’s high energy levels, they are not suggested for small apartment owners. Aussies are not the type of pet who will typically lay around on a daily basis. They can do very well on a farm or anywhere with land and plenty of space to run. This breed is perfect for the active pet owner!

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