Breed Name: Australian Shepherd
Country of Origin: Contrary to the implication in the name the Australian Shepherd developed in western America.
Males 20 – 23 inches Females 18 – 21 inches
Males 50 – 65 lbs Females 40 – 55 lbs
These dogs were bred to handle stock and are therefore highly intelligent. They are also very loyal, tireless, and a very good general purpose dogs. They are very obedient and are almost maintenance free except that they require a lot of exercise; something like 2 to 3 hrs a day.
Australian Shepherds have no specific ancestry and therefore come in a number of colors and markings. In fact you even get tri-coloured dogs and Merle colored ones. The Merle colors are the ones that look like a dog that has had camouflage painting done on it and looks very ghost like. This coloring is very common in the Australian Shepherd and since the Merle coloring is associated with Australia this is how they got their name. In fact you get Merle colored dogs that have different colored eyes in the same dog and sometimes two colors in the same eye.
The Australian shepherd was developed by sheepherders in North America in the early 1800s when the continent was being colonized. Although there were a number of European stock dogs that were quite good, they were not suited to the climate and so a number of different breeds, including native breeds were crossed to get the dog that we know today. In fact since they were bred by sheepherders who were more interested in working dogs they were bred with ability in mind rather than conformity to any standard. This is why even now the Aussie as it is popularly called is a very good all purpose dog. They are intelligent enough that they can replace a human being when dealing with stock and were made more aggressive than their European counterparts because there were more predators around.
The Aussie makes a very good dog in rural surroundings because there is really no downside to having them. They work, they guard, they play, they take care of the children and do anything that you would want from another person. The only downside is that they need a lot of exercise and are therefore not suited as house pets. Another thing to be kept in mind is that the gene that gives the Merle colouring is associated with physical defects and crossing two Merle dogs will give you a high probability of blind or deaf dogs.
Poochieheaven carries Australian Shepherd dog toys and Australian shepherd dog beds.