Though the name suggests something different, the Australian Shepherd is believed to have had its beginnings in Spain and Andorra, where it worked with Basque shepherds. Basque shepherds then moved to Australia and brought their dogs along. Later, when Australian sheep were imported into the Western United States, the dogs, renamed Australian Shepherds, made the trip. The breed, as we know it today, was developed in the United States and recognized by the AKC in 1991.
Australian Shepherds (also known as Aussies) are animated, lively, athletic and intelligent. They thrive with several hours of exercise every day. Pet parents should be prepared to live an active lifestyle with this breed. Like the Border Collie, the Australian Shepherd benefits from and excels at canine sports like disc, agility and herding. They can jump extremely high, catch, run extremely fast, herd and work at a distance. Kowboy Fred, pictured below, thrilled the crowds with his athleticism in our Talent Hounds showcase.
Australian Shepherds are highly trainable, superior work dogs and are suitable for a variety of roles including search and rescue, guide dogs, herding dogs and more.
Australian Shepherds are very friendly, gregarious and loving, but can be shy with strangers. Full of devotion, Aussies may become very attached to their pet parents and are known as “velcro dogs.”
Their moderate to thick coats come in black, red, and merle, with or without white and tan markings, and require regular brushing.