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Breed origin: Pyrenees Mountains (between France and Spain)
Original purpose: Herding cattle, sheep, and other livestock.
AKC recognized: 1991
AKC group: Herding
Height: males 20 to 23 inches;
females 18 to 21 inches
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Blue merle, black, red merle, red - all with or without white markings and/or tan (copper) points. A special note about the merle gene: Two merle dogs should generally not be bred together. Such a mating will often result in one or more puppies that end up with two copies of the dominant merle gene. Those puppies are called homozygous merles and are often mostly white and can be deaf and/or blind. Sometimes an educated breeder may knowingly breed two merle dogs because of other desirable traits in those dogs, and euthanize any mostly white puppies. Beware of any breeder who tries to sell you a "rare" white Aussie without disclosing the potential health defects.
11 to 13 years.
Australian Shepherds are intelligent, active, adaptable, animated, good natured, attentive, agile, and loyal. They can be somewhat reserved with strangers, but want to always be near their families. An energetic breed with strong herding and guarding instincts, the Aussie requires daily vigorous exercise and a sense of purpose to be truly content. They are still widely used for herding livestock and working as an all-purpose farm and ranch dog. Because of their intelligence and versatility, Aussies also excel in canine sports such as agility, obedience and herding. They are easy to train, easy to housebreak, and eager to please, making them great family dogs provided that they are given an outlet for their high energy levels.
Good with children?
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OK for inexperienced owners?
OK in apartments?
Possible but only if you can provide adequate exercise (at least 3 walks a day).
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Easy to train?
Good jogging partner?
Suitable canine sports/activities:
agility, obedience, herding, flyball, disc, search and rescue, therapy, service or guide dog (for the blind, deaf or disabled)
Australian Shepherds have very high energy and require vigorous exercise daily.
The Australian Shepherd's thick coat requires weekly brushing.
Known health problems:
Hip dysplasia, a number of genetic eye diseases which impair vision in varying degrees or cause complete blindness, epilepsy, thyroid dysfunction, heart disease, elbow dysplasia, allergies, pancreatic problems.
Additional photos of Australian Shepherd
Recommended books for further reading:Show more books
Other websites for additional information:
American Kennel Club breed page
United States Australian Shepherd Association
Wikipedia breed information page
United States Australian Shepherd Association Rescue