This is a robust, medium-sized, well-balanced dog. There is a large variation in breed size and they range in weight from between thirty-five to seventy-five pounds and stand anywhere from seventeen to twenty-three inches at the withers. Their height is slightly shorter than their length, with front legs straight and strong. Some of the eight main Australian shepherd colors include:
Blue merle – gray and black with a white patchwork – best known breed coloring
Red – sometimes with white legs, chest, or collar
Black – sometimes with white legs, chest or collar
Red merle – beige and liver red with white patchwork
If the Australian shepherds have copper points on their legs, cheeks, and/or eyebrows, this creates four more color combinations. Their almond shaped eye color varies from blue, brown, amber, hazel, green, or even two different colors of eyes on a dog.
Temperament of an Australian Shepherd
The Australian shepherd is a responsive, loving, energetic dog that is independent, confident and likes to work and have a job to do. These affectionate, loyal, courageous dogs make wonderful companions for active children but because they are herd dogs by nature, may try to herd the children by nipping at their heels. Australian shepherds are highly intelligent dogs and easy to train but aggressive when working with sheep and other livestock. Naturally wary of strangers, it is best to start socializing the Australian shepherd at a young age.
Grooming & Shedding of an Australian Shepherd
The coat of the Australian shepherd is normally very simple and easy to groom. Using a brush with firm bristles, brush the dogs’ coat twice a week or more if necessary and always check for burrs. They consider an Australian shepherd an average shedder. Only bath the dog when needed.
History of the Australian Shepherd
They developed the Australian shepherd in the United States for use as a herding dog and not Australia as the name implies. Some claim that the Australian shepherds name comes from the fact that the dogs ancestors came to America via Australia. Many generations of selective breeding focusing on different aspects of the Australian shepherd modified it, so it could function effectively as a stock dog in western America. Along with remaining obedient, it needed to be independent, flexible, intelligent, and have endurance, energy, athleticism and speed while handling sever weather conditions. The Australian shepherds became popular in the 1950’s as rodeo dogs. It was not until 1993 that the American Kennel Club recognized this breed of dog.
Health Issues with an Australian Shepherd
Major Concerns: Collie eye anomaly (CEA), cataracts, deaf/blindness in merle colorations
Minor Concerns: hip dysplasia, nasal solar dermatitis, Pelger – Huet syndrome, iris coloboma