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Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherd


In the 19th century, Californian ranchers needed a tough herding dog that could work in the hot climate. Among the initial breeding stock were dogs from Australia and New Zealand, and dogs originally from the Basque region of Spain that arrived with merino sheep, hence its misleading name. Despite its name, the Australian Shepherd is not Australian at all, but was created and developed entirely in the United States and, until recently, was relatively unknown outside its native land.


The Australian Shepherd is a true herder, an excellent working dog, bred from old herding breeds. The nomenclature “Australian” is deceiving, since the breed is “Made in America” and preferred to type in the USA.

The Australian Shepherd is well known and in demand on American farms and ranches. Aussies have been a fixture around stables and with horse people for many years as well. North West Indian tribes hand down tales of “ghost-eyed” dogs, an apt description for the breed with its blue eyes. Despite the fact that they have been in America for more than a century, they have not solicited attention as a show dog and are only recently entering that arena.

People who wish to have a doormat dog are instructed to consider a stuffed animal or brick instead of the Australian Shepherd. The breed is intelligent, active and protective, a combination of qualities which require a dominant owner who is willing to take the time to turn these tendencies into attributes. Those “Hot blooded” specimens are the choice for active work and families.

More laid back Aussies suit the family looking only for a companion. Aussies not only have become entertainers but have attained success in tracking, narcotics detection, search and rescue and as hearing dogs for the deaf.

They love all physical activity. The breeds proponents feel there is no other dog like the Aussie and it has been known for a stockman to say that he only keeps his sheep as an excuse for raising his Aussie.

More information on the Australian Shepherd

More handy Australian Shepherd links.

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