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Australian Shepherd

 (other names: Aussies)

Australian Shepherd
origin:United States of America
date origin:20th century
life expectancy:12 to 15 years
classification:Working Group
height:40 to 58 cm
weight:16 to 32 kg
exercise: Demandingtraining: Easyclimate: Coldin/out: Indoorgrooming: Needs groomingfeeding: Mediumsize: Large
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History [ edit ]

The Australian Shepherd is a herding dog originated from the United States and not, as his name could lead us to believe, from Australia. The Aussie, as it´s also known, is descendent from dogs that came from Australia, but brought there from the Basque Region of Spain, during colonial times. The development of the breed was made in the United States and the Australian Shepherd as we know it today was established as a herding dog in the nineteenth century.

The breed was only recently recognized by the AKC, because breeders considered that this organization puts more emphasis on conformation then in the performance of the dog. Hence, the principal organization of Australian Breeders, the ASCA, refused to join the AKC. But not all the breeders were on the same page and a group of them formed another organization, the United States Australian Shepherd Association, that joined the AKC in 1993. 
editing: History [ close ]
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General appearance [ edit ]

Often compared to the Border Collie, the Asutralian Shepherd is a herding dog with intelligence, agility and stamina. This medium to large dog reaches 58 cm and weights no more than 32 kg.

The coat of the Ausiess is unique: medium texture with medium length hairs that range from straight to wavy form a good raincoat that protects them from the harsh weather conditions. But what makes this coat distinctive is the colors and patters: blue merle, black and red merle - with or without white markings and/or tan - are the colors permitted by the standard. White body splashes are cause for disqualification.

The Australian Shepherd is taller than long and has a muscular body, solid built. The tail is naturally docked but there are individuals in which the tail must be clipped.
The ears are medium sized, triangular in shape, and high-set. The breed has a wide variation in eye color. The almond-shape eyes can be amber, blue, brown, or any mix of the three all commonplace.  
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Temperament [ edit ]

The Australian Shepherd is a workaholic. It needs a job to do, or else he gets frustrated and starts to herd people around him. Aussies are intelligent and loving towards his family, he has been described as a sticky, since he tries to spend all the time with his family. However, he needs to be socialized since early days.

These dogs are easy to train, but they need attention and affection. They are good guard dogs, as well as watchdogs, since they tend to bark, but not excessively, using their peculiar voice and are wary of strangers.

The Australian Shepherd love to play and are very active. Therefore, they need a large yard to run and explore. This breed tends to be easily bored and it needs activity. Although the Aussies live well in a city environment if well exercised, they are happier in the country. But this doens´t mean that he can live outdoor. The Aussies appreciate human company and its best for them to live inside the house.
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Health [ edit ]

With a fairly long lifespan, 12 to 15 years, the Aussies are a healthy breed. Special attention must be paid to eye conditions, since the merle gene, responsible for his beautiful color, can also be responsible for some eye related problems, from cataracts to blindness. Canine hip dysplasia and hypothyroidism can also occur.

The coat doens´t need too much attention since the grooming is easy. However it does shed considerably.  
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