Lifespan: 13-16 years
Size: medium, knee high
Weight: 40-55 pounds
Build: Sturdy & square
Hair: medium-long, double coat
Unique traits: bobtail, colorful
Energy: high, needs a job
Personality: velcro, social
Know your breed before you commit:
Many people see fluffy Aussie puppies or the gorgeous adult merles and don’t research the breed before bringing one home. Aussies have been bred since the 1800s to be herding dogs. They can herd huge cattle 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for many many years if needed. This correlates to a LOT of energy and a significant intelligence. This breed, like many herders, needs “a job” – something to stimulate them. This is why they excel at a multitude of activities. Whether is watching after a flock of sheep, or your flock of kids, the Aussie will find a job to do. And if you don’t offer them something to do, they can often become destructive or even aggressive when they find their own creative “jobs”.
Why are they called Aussie?
Interestingly, Australian Shepherds are an American breed, originating right here in the USA during the land rushes of the late 1800s. The breed likely got it’s international moniker due to the use of Basque Shepherds or German Koolies that came to the western United States from Australia at that time. From there, the dogs were bred with many local collies, shepherds, and other farm dogs with settlers from across the globe to become the breed they are today.
The breed we now think of as the Australian Shepherd wasn’t recognized until 1957 with the formation of the Australian Shepherd Club of America (ASCA). At that time the National Stock Dog Registry (NSDR) served as the official breed registry until the ASCA took over in the 1970s. The Australian Shepherd breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in the early 1990s.
Since then, the breed has been prized for it’s hearty build and generally minimal health issues, even temperament and loving nature. With it’s popularity, and the integration to suburban/city families, breeders have begun to change the physical attributes to fit into the smaller living conditions, creating the Mini Aussie (aka Mini American Shepherd).