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The Australian Shepherd: What You Will Need To Know As An Owner

Australian Shepherd Dog Breed

These mottled moppets, true American-bred pups, are clever pets whose energy is always a challenge to their humans but rewarding to raise. Newcomers to the Australian Shepherd, or “Aussie,” may find themselves hoodwinked by a bored dog as this particular breed is energetic and clever. These playful pets are wonderful companions for any dog lover that is ready to devote the time and energy to match your pet’s personality.

History of the Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherd in a field of flowers

Despite their name, the Australian Shepherd originated in the Western United States during the Gold Rush of the 1840s. It’s thought that these energetic puppers might have some history among European and Australian herding collies, but the dogs you know today were bred in California. These special pups are thought to be named for two reasons. The first is their coloring, called “blue merle,” which is closely linked to the Australian herding dogs they are thought to be descended from. The second comes from kennel clubs, which raised many dogs under the name “collie.” This distinction led to the Aussie being given the name “shepherd,” meant to be specific to these special-bred pets. While all of this is theoretically true, the only certain origin of these gorgeous puppers is their appearance in California. Regardless of where their ancestors came from, these playful pets have become one of America's favorites to dog lovers everywhere and are beloved for their energetic personalities and athletic abilities.

Common Health Information

Chocolate Australian shepherd standing in grass and flowers next to a tree

While the Australian Shepherd is an active, athletic, and energetic dog, these puppers have afew health issues that can crop up. It’s important for their humans to know what might developin their companions so that they can keep a keen eye on their health. The Aussie Shepherds,however, are one of the most genetically healthy pups out there, so new owners need to just beaware of a few things before taking one of these furry friends home. Issues such as cataracts,hip/elbow dysplasia, autoimmune disease are pains all dogs can suffer, but the Aussie isparticularly vulnerable to these. Making sure your pup gets an eye, hip, and thyroid evaluationfrom a veterinarian right after bringing them home can make a big difference in their happiness and well-being. There are also supplements that can help keep these problematic health issues at bay such as coconut oil, Salmon oil, or CBD oil.

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Grooming Instructions

3 different colored Australian shepherds playing in the snow

The Australian Shepherd is one of the many “double coated” breeds, with a long outer coat and a short undercoat that insulates their body. This undercoat is where your pup is likely to shed, and it’s important to brush them regularly. Keeping their coat brushed will get rid of the extra hair and keep both of your fluffy friend’s layers from matting up. Shaving their fur is also something many dog lovers do, but with the Australian Shepherd, this has been heavily debated. Rural dogs are often shaved, as they spend more time outdoors and the heat can be hard on the poor pups. Others have argued that you should never shave your pupper, as the fur might not grow back properly and can cause discomfort. It’s important to take the most comfortable option for your dog so that they’re happy puppers!


Light Colored Australian Shepherd panting on a sunny day

While it may require some training and correction, these pups are highly active and perfect for families. Their bright eyes and sharp minds make for excellent companions, whether you’re looking for a family or a single person. These herd dogs are nippers, so keep an eye out for ankle-biting and remember that their natural tendencies can be channeled into more productive activities for your family. Their tendency to corral can be transferred to children, other pets and even their human. Channeling that energy into games, animal service, or tasks can alleviate the nipping and give your fluffy companion a sense of belonging and purpose. Strong-willed and smart, these pets are difficult to train but strong and capable pups if their owner puts the effort. Household tasks, games, and service work are excellent avenues for their high energy and sharp minds.

Energy Level

Blue eyed red Australian shepherd standing on a log in grass

These pups are bursting with energy and excitement. Playful, hyperactive, and perfect for the active dog lover, these furry companions are always ready for a walk or a game of fetch. Herders by nature, their ability to keep up with even the most energetic of their humans makes for a fun but challenging pet. Know to be tireless, these puppers can be exhausting for an unsuspecting new dog lover. With patience and training, however, they can grow with their human. They’ll need at least an hour of exercise per day, preferably a high energy walk or a game of catch with a frisbee or ball, and they’ll wear out their humans and virtually any other dog they play with. Australian Shepherds are one of the smartest dog breeds out there, and if your pet gets bored it’ll become rambunctious and destructive. A good daily routine will include not just walks, but activities such as obedience or trick training This can seem intimidating, but all you need to do is make sure they get their exercise and they’ll be a happy pup!


Australian Shepherd puppy in tall grass

These fun-loving puppers have a big appetite, and if they aren’t fed correctly they can put on weight quickly. These hungry dogs should weigh in between 40-45 lbs to keep their healthy and ideal weight. Picking the right food and amounts can keep them happy and active throughout your life with your companion. It’s important to consider their age, as older dogs need less food as they slow down. Australian Shepherds, however, can remain active well into their winter years and your pup may still need a full diet. Be sure to consult with your veterinarian to determine the right amount for your special friend.

Active, fun-loving, and loyal, the Aussie Shepherd is one of the most popular breeds of dog for a good reason. Their playful personalities, happy attitudes, and clever minds make for excellent pets so long as their humans are up to the task of training. Difficult, but worth it, these puppers are perfect for anyone willing to devote the time to make them perfect partners for life.

Meet The Author 

Grant Withers

Canine Specialist & Writer

Grant is an award-winning writer for SitStay with a passion for pets and especially dogs! Grant loves writing about furry little goofballs and aims to educate pet parents about anything and everything regarding their dogs.

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