Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Breed Profile: Australian Shepard

The origin of the Australian Shepard is not Australia.  Some say the breed was developed in the United States, some say Spain.  What we do know, is that the Australian Shepard's instincts for herding and guarding were used to develop the breed for use as an overall farm worker.  Today the Aussie still works on the farm.

The Australian Shepard's work ethic also translates to talented fly ball competitors, rally and obedience champions, as well as eager companions for assorted activities.  The Aussie needs physical exercise and mental challenge, thus is best suited for an owner who would rather participate in Dog Dancing, than sit and watch Dancing with the Stars.   

The Aussie is medium sized, weight in the 45-60 pound range, height 18-23 inches at the shoulder.   The coat consists of a thick undercoat and a silky outer coat.  Shedding occurs heavily in spring and fall, and quite a bit all year.   That pretty waterproof coat comes in assorted colors: Blue or Red Merle (dark blotches over a lighter background of the same color), Black, Red, Black and Tan (the main colors are  accompanied by white trim on the face, legs and chest).

The Australian Shepherd has no tail.  Usually they're born bobbed, though some rouge Aussies are born with a tail which is usually docked in puppyhood.  Being tailless does not mean you can't tell when an Aussie is pleased to see you.  He makes that clear by wagging his entire hind end.

Like most breeds with guarding instincts, Aussies are loyal to their family and leery of strangers.   

The Aussie Manifesto

-I'm not hyper;  I simply have stamina to spare.
-It's not so much that I can outwit you, I just have a nimble mind.
-Sometimes I can't resist herding things.  This means adults, children, assorted pets, and sometimes even toys, run the risk of being rounded up. 

Next Breed Profile:  Scottish Deerhound!

The Essential Australian Shepherd by Wiley Publishing
Dog Fancy Magazine, January 2010
some nice pics

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