When it comes to a shepherd, no doubt many dog lovers know what kind of dog we are talking about. However, did you know that there are quite a few varieties of a shepherd? The Australian Shepherd is one of the varieties and, as you might not expect, does not come from Australia. No, this variety originates from America and they have chosen this name there.
Many shepherd owners agree; raising a shepherd requires knowledge and discipline. This certainly applies to raising an Australian Shepherd. This breed is simply not too easy to raise and has the necessary points of attention. However, if you know how to raise your Shepherd correctly, you will enjoy a very close relationship for years to come. The average Australian Shepherd lives to about 13 years old.
In general, most herders are quite large. Does that also apply to the Australian Shepherd? Well, a male can reach a maximum height at the withers of 60 centimeters, while a female can reach a maximum height of 53 centimeters. These are decent dimensions, especially when looking at the rest of the physique. They not only have a relatively high body, but also a relatively long body. All in all, body measurements are definitely a point to consider.
The Aussie, as this breed is also called, has quite a roguish head. This is mainly due to the ears, which are slightly worn on the side. Nevertheless, in most cases it carries its ears up; these ears can be quite large and play an incredibly important role for an Australian Shepherd. They are able to hear incredibly well and adjust their behavior accordingly. The muzzle also stands out at the head; this muzzle is relatively long and often has several colors.
This breed’s eyes are quite striking too. When you make eye contact with an Australian Shepherd, you really feel that someone is looking at you. They can look at you intently with their brown or blue eyes. Because the eyes have an almond shape, they stand out quite well.
An Australian Shepherd’s head flows seamlessly into a broad and powerful neck. This neck in turn turns into a straight back. The sternum of this breed is carried slightly forward and the legs are of medium length. A relatively short tail can be found at the end of the back. It is generally accepted that the tail of an Australian Shepherd should not be longer than 10 centimeters. The tail is rather hairy, but that is certainly true for the rest of the body.
The tail and collar of an Australian Shepherd are particularly hairy. In these places, the coat is quite thick and the dog can therefore have a somewhat wild appearance. The color of this breed can vary considerably: the standard colors are actually black, blue merle, and red merle. In real life, you often see that an Australian Shepherd has multiple colors. The colors are combined with each other and that is clearly visible at the legs and in the head.
At the beginning of this article, you could read that not every owner is suitable for raising an Australian Shepherd. What is the reason for that? Among other things, they are the special work ethic and perseverance of this breed. They prefer to work or run around outside all day. They also love to perform all kinds of dog sports; think of flyball, shepherd tests, obedience tests, and agility sports.
Besides their work ethic, they are also a very affectionate dog. They prefer to be with you all day and preferably lie next to you. This variety is therefore not the most suitable option for people with an office job. You simply need to pay a lot of attention to an Australian Shepherd, as they love human attention.
An Australian Shepherd is described as one of the most intelligent dogs. This intelligence emerges, for example, in agility tests or obedience tests. If you don’t take advantage of this intelligence, the Australian Shepherd is going to use its cleverness against you. They are then undoubtedly too quick and outsmarting you. However, you can also use this intelligence to your advantage. They love to do chores or to play certain games with you. All in all, an Australian Shepherd is a very smart, sweet, and inquisitive dog. At the same time, they display certain behaviors that you absolutely must take into account.
When you see an Australian Shepherd walking around on the street, you will undoubtedly notice the thick coat. As mentioned, this coat is quite thick, especially at the collar and at the tail. It is therefore important to take good care of this coat and keep it clean. You do this by brushing the coat several times a week with the best brush for Australian Shepherds. Has your dog played outside a lot? Then it can also help to put a damp cloth over its head, for example. That way you prevent dirt and bacteria from settling in the thick coat.
Twice a year an Australian Shepherd molts. At that time it is best to keep the vacuum cleaner with you at all times since you will encounter hairs all over your house. For the rest, this breed has few specific grooming requirements. All you need to focus on is basic care. Think of clipping the nails, brushing the teeth, and keeping the head clean.
The advice is to observe your dog regularly. Certain eye disorders and hip dysplasia are common in this breed. By hip dysplasia, we mean above-average wear and tear of certain joints. Because these joints wear out so quickly, the Australian Shepherd experiences a lot of pain. If there is this condition, you will undoubtedly notice it immediately from their (limping) walk. Make sure you are on your toes and consult your vet if necessary.
Is raising an Australian Shepherd very difficult? No. Do you have to take certain character traits into account? Yes, absolutely. As mentioned, it is a dog that requires a lot of attention. This actually already starts during upbringing. You have to give a lot of attention to the upbringing, you have to be constantly busy with them and you have to constantly look for an activity for them. If you leave them in their crate frequently during the first months, you will automatically create a problem for yourself.
It is, therefore, important to let them know their place during the upbringing. Make sure you have a specific task for them and make sure you have them with you often. If you have an office job, this is most likely not the most suitable dog. If you nevertheless choose to take an Australian Shepherd into your home, you have to take into account their continuous urge for attention and their intelligence. This intelligence is also central to upbringing since they can undoubtedly outsmart you. So make sure that your Australian Shepherd can use their intelligence during the education.
Throughout the past, an Australian Shepherd has good stamina and an eager disposition. Moreover, they are used to a lot of attention and life around them, which makes it wise to give them that attention even now. Do you know how to do that? Then you get to enjoy one of the smartest dog breeds with an incredibly sweet and loyal character.