Aussies are a high-spirited, high energy breed. The company of another dog may invite a good romp, but if not, it is up to the owner to provide an adequate avenue for sufficient exercise and play.
What is an Australian Shepherd?
The Australian Shepherd is truly a champion of versatility. With an intense desire to please and do the job right, the Aussie excels at any task given – obedience, service dog, agility, conformation, herding, but most important best friend. The Aussie is of medium size, high intelligence, willingness to obey, athletic, and can make an ideal canine companion in the right environment. The ideal Aussie ranges in size from 18 to 23 inches in height and 35 to 70 pounds. Females generally are smaller (18 to 21 inches) and males (20 to 23 inches). Males and females should appear masculine and feminine respectively. The Aussie carries a moderately long double coat and comes in four colors black, blue merle, red, and red merle with or without white and copper trim.
Australian Shepherds are very devoted to their people and when not working or exercising, should be inside with their owners. This means a fuzzy shadow following you everywhere you go. For some (like myself) I find this to be quite enjoyable. However, because of his strong working instincts, he can also make a poor pet. Aussies need a job to do…a sense of being needed. If an Aussie does not have an outlet for exercising his mind and a means of using up excess energy, he will find something to do on his own. That includes digging up the yard, herding the family cats or barking at the neighbors – negative problems that could be prevented. ALL Aussies require training….Aussies are smart enough to get into trouble if they are not taught the household rules.
Currently, there are two breed standards recognized for Aussies, the Australian Shepherd Club of America (ASCA) and the American Kennel Club (AKC). The ASCA standard was adopted in 1977 followed by breed acceptance by AKC in 1993. Please see Australian Shepherd standards linked below...
Before Rushing out and getting an Australian Shepherd, there are some questions you may still need to ask yourself. First, do you really need a dog? The decision to add a dog(s) to your family requires a fourteen to sixteen year commitment on your part to love and care for this animal. You will need to make sure you have the time, energy, affection, ability and finances to care for his/her needs. If the answer is still yes, please do your homework and find a reputable breeder who is willing to be open and honest with you....and welcome to the Aussie family!!!
Concerns about Health Issues
There are several potential health concerns in Aussie lines, like all breeds Australian Shepherds are susceptible to inherited and non-inherited health problems. When considering purchasing any dog, working with a reputable breeder helps increase your chances of having a dog that is healthy of body and mind.
Epilepsy is an inherited trait and is a major concern in Aussies. Not all seizures directly relate to epilepsy, but there is no way to test for the gene that cause genetic epilepsy. Ask your breeder what pedigree research has been done and what are the chances of genetic health problems in the litter being produced. For more information about genetic health concerns, please see the attached links.
There are other health concerns in Aussies - cataracts, hip and elbow dysplasia, autoimmune disease....this does not mean that every Aussies has problems, there are many healthy dogs.
Aussies Health Links: