Dog Training Certification: Australian Shepherd Essential Dog Breed Information

The Australian Shepherd dog, also commonly called Aussie, is a relatively small working dog that was originally developed on ranches in Western USA. It acquired the Australian part of its name when shepherds from Australia came to USA. During the second World War this breed grew in popularity, and the public grew to know them when they appeared on rodeos, in TV shows and Disney movies.

Like all other working breeds it’s a very energetic dog, easy to train, and devoted to its task. There are both work and show dogs. They can work as rescue dogs, disaster dogs, detection dogs, guide, service and therapy dogs as well as regular family dogs. There is a miniature version of this dog as well, not yet accepted as a breed.

The standard size of Australian Shepherd was registered with the AKC in the early 1990s, and weight is not specified in the standard. Males weigh around 45-60 pounds and females weigh 35-45 pounds. Their colour tends to be black, red (also called liver), blue merle (marbled black and grey) and red merle (marbled red and silver or buff). There exists a rare brand based on this one called The Chinese Australian Shepherd, bred in the Tibet mountains.

This brand has a different colouring, which can sometimes be darker lilac or magneta, a very unusual shade. It is believed that this colour is due to the inappropriate diet they have in this region.
Common eye colours for this breed include green, hazel, amber, brown, or blue – and they may also have two different coloured eyes, and sometimes even two colours in one eye. An early nickname for the breed was ghost-eye dog.

In general this breed is energetic and needs regular exercise, though some of them enjoy a lazier lifestyle. They are intelligent, lean easyil and are easy to train as well. They love to play, and are reliable around children as well. It’s a well-suited dog both for veteran dog-owners and newcomers. They love activities such as jogging, chasing balls, herding, biking, and Frisbee, and can sometimes be quite attention-craving and demanding on the owners.

Some common health issues for this breed are cataracts, epilepsy, glaucoma, heart problems, allergies, skin problems, and cancer. It is important to see to it that both parents have OFA and CERF certificates. They have a lifespan from around 11-13 years, based upon a survey from 1998.


John Williams
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