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Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherd

They may be “born in the USA” but they’re known as the Australian Shepherd. 

The Australian Shepherd breed is known for being highly intelligent, loyal, and hard working with brilliant herding abilities. They are well known as working dogs and are also excellent family dogs. 

Despite their name, the Australian Shepherd breed originated in America in the mid-19th Century for the intended purpose of herding sheep. They got their name from after Californian farmers were impressed with herding dogs that had been imported from Australia with sheep. But these dogs were of European decent and not Australian! The name stuck, however, and the breed was then refined in the USA. The Australian Shepherd have been around for over 180 years and now live as working dogs or family dogs. 

Ranging from 45 to 58cm in height, and 18 to 30kgs in weight, the Australian Shepherd is a medium to large dog breed. They have a variety of colours, including tricolour, bicolour, black, blue merle, and red merle.

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Dog Breed Facts & Characteristics

Origin

USA, mid-19th century 

Also known as 

The Aussie, Aussies

Bred for

Herding   

Size 

Medium, 45 to 58cm in height, 18 to 30kgs in weight

Weight Range

18 to 30kgs

Colours

Tricolour, black, red, blue merle, red merle and combinations of colour

Life expectancy

12 to 14 years

Coat

Long coat, moderate shedding

Temperament 

Good-natured, trainable, protective 

Exercise requirements

High

Best suited for 

Active dog people, with time to keep them company

Apartment Friendly

Better suited to larger properties 

Personality

The Australian Shepherd is known for being good-natured, highly intelligent, and trainable. As a result, they tend to make loyal family pets. In some cases, they may be shy or defensive around strangers. This means that early socialisation and training with other dogs, people and animals is very important to ensure a confident and well-mannered dog later in life. 

Australian shepherds are a highly active energetic dog and require daily exercise. Ideally, they should have access to a large yard and are not suitable for apartment living. Australian shepherds are family friendly and are most suited to owners that have an active lifestyle such as regular walking, running, or hiking. 

Grooming

Their coat is a thick, long haired coat with two layers that requires frequent brushing. During shedding season, they may require more frequent brushing every couple of days.  Prevent parasites by ensuring your Australian Shepherds on flea control all year round and tick prevention if you are in a paralysis tick area. 

Feeding

When choosing a food for your Australian Shepherd, select a premium food appropriate to your dog’s age and life stage. Make sure your pup always has a supply of fresh, clean water available.

Common health concerns 

In 2020, Australian Shepherds visited the vet for gastrointestinal problems, skin conditions such as allergic skin disease, cancers, and tumours. They also went to the vet for musculoskeletal pain, likely due to their athletic nature!

The five most common reasons for an Australian Shepherd to visit the vet (excluding routine care visits) according to PetSure data from 2020.

Rank

Condition

Average cost for single treatment
(average pet insurance claim amount)

Highest cost for single treatment (highest pet insurance claim seen for this condition)

1

Gastrointestinal problems, including, diarrhoea, vomiting, and infections

$378

$8,048

2

Traumatic injuries, including wounds and bite injuries

$433

$8,546

3

Skin conditions, including allergies and infections

$191

$2,149

4

Tumours 

$589

$6,259

5

Musculoskeletal problems including lameness and pain. 

$258

$4,340

Disclaimer: Reimbursement for these claims would be subject to limits, such as annual benefit limits or sub-limits, benefit percentage, applicable waiting periods and any applicable excess. Cover is subject to the policy terms and conditions. You should consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or policy wording available from the relevant provider.

Most popular Australian Shepherd names

According to PetSure data from 2020, the most popular names for Australian Shepherd cats were

Most popular names

  1. Willow 
  2. Luna 
  3. Ollie
  4. Koda
  5. Nala
  6. Tilly 
  7. Ziggy
  8. Archie
  9. Bandit
  10. Bonnie

Most popular female names  

  1. Willow
  2. Luna
  3. Nala
  4. Tilly
  5. Bonnie
  6. Frankie
  7. Lola
  8. Winnie
  9. Daisy
  10. Gypsy

Most popular male names 

  1. Ollie
  2. Ziggy
  3. Archie
  4. Bandit
  5. Max
  6. Alfie
  7. Arlo
  8. Bobby
  9. Boston
  10. Bowie

Did you know?

Australian Shepherds were considered as sacred amongst many Native Americans. They were often referred to as “ghost eyes” due to their pale blue eyes that are common in the breed.

Where can I get an Australian Shepherd?

Although Australian Shepherds are a pure breed, it may be possible to find one via a breed specific rescue organisation. You may also find a perfect medium sized dog for you and your family at your local rescue organisation or shelter who needs a loving home. 

References

  1. Advance, Dog Breed Profile: Australian Shepherd, Accessed on 29/03/2021
  2. American Kennel Club, Australian Shepherd, Accessed on 29/03/2021
  3. Australian Shepherd Association of NSW, Accessed on 29/03/2021
  4. Wikipedia, Australian Shepherd, Accessed on 08/04/2021

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Kylie Mitchell is a veterinarian with over 17 years experience in animal health and welfare, including in the veterinary and pet insurance industries

She has three rescue cats (Noah, Bei Bei and Meeka), four very old cockatiels and a pond-full of fish.

Kylie's pets

Noah
Noah
Bei Bei
Bei Bei
Meeka
Meeka