Facts About the Australian Shepherd

What is the Australian Shepherd temperament? Australian Shepherds are loyal, dependable and easygoing. When it comes to play, they never really outgrow the puppy stage. But they have a gentle nature that prevents their play from getting rough. They also love work: Give them a job and they’ll do it with energy to spare.

Two Australian Shepherds running.
Two Australian Shepherds running. Photography ©chris-mueller | Getty Images.

Proud parent of an Australian Shepherd who’s looking to learn more or thinking about getting an Australian Shepherd? Learn the facts about this breed here:

Quick Facts About the Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherd jumping after frisbee.
Australian Shepherds are perfect for outdoorsy types. Photography ©Anna-av | Getty Images.
  • Weight: 50 – 65 pounds | male
    40 – 55 pounds | female
  • Height: 20 – 23 inches | male
    18 – 21 inches | female

Australian Shepherds are vigorous, well-proportioned and rustic dogs — a little longer than tall. Their slightly domed heads and medium-length muzzles are about the same length, with almond-shaped eyes that can be blue, brown or amber. Their ears are triangular and set high, their chests are deep and their tails are straight and naturally short. They have a weather-resistant coat with a moderate texture, creating a little bit of a mane. Their hair is short and soft around the head, ears and front legs. Australian Shepherds can be found in black, blue merle, red merle, solid-red or red with white and/or tan markings. Overall, Australian Shepherds have strong, square, balanced frames.

Australian Shepherd Traits

  • Easygoing
  • Playful and puppy-like
  • Bold and loyal
  • Protective
  • Intelligent
  • Easy to train

Who Gets Along With Australian Shepherds?

  • Singles
  • Ranchers
  • Outdoorsy types
  • Families

What Are Australian Shepherds Like to Live With?

What is the Australian Shepherd temperament like? Australian Shepherds are loyal, dependable, easygoing companions. When it comes to their love of play, they never really outgrow the puppy stage. For this reason they are excellent with children — and the more active, the better. But they have a gentle nature that prevents their play from ever getting rough. They are also eager to work: Give them a job and they’ll get it done with loads of energy to spare.

Australian Shepherds can be a little standoffish at first. Given time, however, they will become comfortable with new people and come out of their shells. They have excellent guarding instincts and a strong sense of loyalty to their families. Australian Shepherds will bark when strangers approach the house, and they’ll sometimes run a few laps around the house for good measure.

What to Know About Australian Shepherds:

Like most herding breeds, Australian Shepherds have a strong work ethic. They love having a job to do. Left alone indoors for too long, they can go a little batty. For this reason, they are not really suited for apartments. Take them out to work in the field or for a long run in the woods — the activity and mental stimulation will result in a very happy Australian Shepherd.

Some Australian Shepherds retain strong working-dog genes. This makes them more eager to be in the field and less eager to hang out with the family. These dogs are more inclined to herd people and nip at heels to keep everyone moving, but with proper training these quirks can be worked out.

A healthy Australian Shepherd can live as long as 15 years. Common health issues include hip dysplasia, cataracts and hypothyroidism. Australian Shepherds don’t shed excessively and only need occasional brushing.

Australian Shepherd History

The Australian Shepherd we know today was developed mainly in the U.S. In fact, this breed has no real connection to Australia. Originating in the Basque region between Spain and France as a working dog and sheepherder, the breed drew the name “Australian Shepherd” because many of the Basque shepherds came from Australia. Australian Shepherds became more popular in the mid-twentieth century, favorites of ranchers and cowboys for their unique herding talents, but did not enter the AKC Stud Book until 1991.

Thumbnail: Photography ©chris-mueller | Getty Images.

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12 thoughts on “Facts About the Australian Shepherd”

  1. Pingback: Facts About the Australian Shepherd – dogcaz.com

  2. I have a 20 month old Blue Merle Aussie. It has been quite a challenging time since about 6months. We had formal training with what I thought was an experienced herding trainer, instead my pup who was reactive to other dogs in the group, was gaited around his perimeter of training then sheets were placed on the gates so he would not see the dogs around him. What did I know I figured they were the experts. Well this made his behavior towards other dogs worse, while I was able to walk prior to training now I can’t. I’ve been dragged, knocked down, bruised. Then there’s potty training tried everything and accidents continued in the house way into 19 months of age. Fast forward now to 20 months. I feel he is just starting to come around. Persistence, hope and positive reinforcement. Getting into this breed I did not have enough information, my fault I did not do my research properly. Then I relied on the wrong training. I’m hoping now that he is starting to mature a bit and I can get him the one on one personal training and have him walking with me on my weekend hikes. They are a very challenging breed but affectionate, loving and super loyal. I know with time he will be everything I hoped. I will not give up on him.

  3. brittany sanders

    could you add a little more info on the bad quality’s because the good isn’t the only thing people need to know but the other information was very useful!

  4. brittany sanders

    could you add a little more info on the bad quality’s because the good isn’t the only thing people need to know but the other information was very useful.

    1. I owned an Aussie and he was the best dog I have ever had the privilege of having. He was loving but because he was a little over protective I sometimes had to watch him with workmen that came to the house. He sometimes would sense they were scared of him and he would try to nip them, but was never overly aggressive. The ones who were not afraid never had that problem.
      His worst trait though was trying to chase cars when I took him for a walk.
      Even though he was trained, I never got that out of him. However, if you want a truly remarkable and affectionate dog, an Aussie is for you. The only caveat is that any dog should have both puppy socializing and then proper training and you will have a friend for life.. How I miss him.

      1. I have had 2 Aussies and they are awesome, never had any problems with them. My son wanted a dog so he looked and got an Aussie. My wife and I have 3 dautsunds and they are great together. He seems to take and put more protection on our older dog which she doesn’t seem to have a problem with that. I think it is awesome to have another Aussie around again.

  5. Pingback: Bella! – NCS Pups

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