It an Aussie the right dog for you?
Australian Shepherds, also known as “Aussies,” are a highly versatile and intelligent breed of dog known for their herding and working abilities, as well as their lively and energetic personalities. These lively and hardworking dogs have a rich history and have been used for herding, as service animals, and as beloved family pets. In this article, we will share 12 interesting facts about Australian Shepherds, including their origins, physical characteristics, and unique personality traits. Whether you’re an Australian Shepherd owner or simply a fan of this beloved breed, these facts will give you a deeper understanding and appreciation for the Australian Shepherds and its special place in the world of dogs.
The Australian Shepherd was Originally
developed in the Basque region between Spain and France where it was known as the Basque shepherd. Its ancestors were most likely dogs native to the Pyrenees Mountains. The French monks who bred them probably brought a few with them when they settled in Australia, hence the name “Australian” shepherd.
The Modern Australian Shepherd
was not recognized until the formation of the Australian Shepherd Club of America in 1957. The official breed standard was not written until 1977 and the AKC did not recognize the breed until 1993. All fairly recent among many dog breeds.
What about the Miniature Australian Shepherd?
The Miniature Australian Shepherd is called the Miniature American Shepherd by the AKC and was recognized in 2016. They are up to 18 inches tall and weigh 40 pounds or less. As some breeders have not joined with the Miniature American Shepherd Club of the USA – the breed may also be known as Miniature Australian Shepherd, the Miniature American Shepherd and even the North American Shepherd. Do your homework!
In Landmark Research on Modern Dog Breed
development, the Australian Shepherd has been shown to share the most DNA with an ancestor of the following breeds:
The Many Names of Australian Shepherds
They have been known as Bob-Tails, Pastor Dogs, New Mexican Shepherds, Blue Heelers, California Shepherds, and Spanish Shepherds. Even their final name-Australian Shepherd-is a bit of a misnomer as the breed was developed in the Western United States!
The Australian Shepherd is a Medium Sized
breed, generally weighing 50-65 pounds and reaching a height of up to 23 inches. According to the AKC, breed standard coat colors are “Blue merle, black, red merle, red-all with or without white markings and/or tan (copper)
points, with no order of preference.“
Growing Up Australian Shepherd
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In the Landmark Book
entitled “The Intelligence of Dogs” written by Professor Stanley Coren, the Australian Shepherd was ranked 42nd out of 138 dog breeds in working/obedience intelligence. Essentially, this means they will learn and obey new commands after 15-25 repetitions. In contrast, the brightest dogs will lean the same command in fewer than 5 repetitions and the least intelligent will require 80-100 repetitions.
The AKC Conducts Dog Racing Trials
each December in Orlando, FL. called the FastCAT. This is a 100 yard race where dogs run individually chasing a lure. The average time for Australian Shepherds was a little over 24 mph. The fastest recorded time was by a female dog named Stargate’s Lady Liadrin at 30.36 mph!
The CBARQ Dog Temperament Research
study, conducted at the University of Pennsylvania, is a large study of over 300 dog breeds and 60,000 individual dogs. In this study, the Aussie ranked 22nd out of 124 dog breeds for attention seeking behaviors. This is a breed that craves attention from their owner and may tend to get jealous when attention is given to other dogs/people.
In this Same Research
the Aussie also ranks 9th out of 124 breeds in trainability. Essentially, this means they are generally eager and willing to learn new commands and obey them quickly without distraction.
The Aussie was Bred to Herd Livestock
and as such, they may also try to herd children and other pets. This is a highly energetic and intelligent breed that needs daily exercise and a “job” to do. They generally excel at agility sports. The AKC Agility Course Test Program is a good place to start if you want to get your dog involved.
While the Australian Shepherd is Generally a Healthy
breed, with an average lifespan of 12-15 years, there are certain health conditions that effect them:
MDR1-related drug sensitivity