What is an Australian Shepherd?

The Australian Shepherd is a very active and agile working dog that never fails to deliver on its tasks as a farm and ranch dog. Also called “Aussies”, they are typical participants in agility, herding, and obedience events of the American Kennel Club. The Aussie is one hardworking dog, whose purpose in life is to keep on moving and moving. It’s also noted for its impeccable intelligence and reliability. You can definitely domesticate this dog but unlike most dogs, they’re not really bred to be extremely pampered pets. In fact, they need to be doing something all the time. Otherwise, they become really destructive.

The AKC has 7 groups for dog breeds: hound, herding, non-sporting, sporting, toy, terrier, and working. The Australian Shepherd belongs to the herding group, which is the most recent classification created by AKC. It doesn’t come as a surprise that many breeds in the herding group formerly belonged to the working group. The working group and the herding group are somehow similar because they excel in helping humans with many tasks. But the herding group has a special characteristic – it has the ability to control and lead other animals. They nip at the heels of animals that are twice as big as they are to drive them. The amazing thing about the herding group is that they can control without being harsh. Herding dogs like the Australian shepherds make very great companions, even for children. They’re also very intelligent and fare well during training and competitions.

Many dog lovers consider the Australian Shepherd as their favorite breed yet each of them are quick to admit that not all dog lovers deserve to keep an Aussie under their wing. Although they are very intelligent, Australian Shepherds tend to be dominant and pushy. This is really natural for this breed since they were created to herd animals. They will really try to assert leadership in a pack.

Australian Shepherds also have an almost unquenchable thirst for physical and mental activity. Experienced owners of Australian Shepherds always subject their pooches to obedience training because Australian Shepherds actually enjoy the process.

In relation to physical and mental alertness, Australian Shepherds never seem to run out of energy. Hence, the requirement for vigorous exercise. You can never confine the Australian Shepherd in a small space. Dog lovers that live in apartments and condominiums should forego getting Australian Shepherds, unless they are willing to take out the dogs to vast spaces for long periods on a daily basis. They love to play and run around so they certainly need constant stimulation.

Lovers of the Australian Shepherds say that the Australian Shepherds are:

  • Easy-going
  • Playful
  • Energetic
  • Intelligent
  • Easy-to-Train
  • Athletic
  • Dominant
  • Gentle
  • Loyal
  • Affectionate
  • Attentive.

A Short History

The Australian Shepherd is really not from Australia. It was just dubbed as such because it is associated with shepherds from Australia who went to the United States in the 1800s. These Australian Shepherds dos not have a clear history but most dog experts speculate that the breed came from the region in the Pyrenese Mountains between Spain and France.

The Australian Shepherds rose to popularity after the Second World War, thanks to their appearances on television programs as valuable assets in farms and ranches. The Aussies are recognized for their adaptability, stamina, and versatility. They are practically considered to be an all-around dog. The Australian Shepherds even became part of the herding group in 1993.

Keeping a Happy Australian Shepherd

Being a hardworking herding dog, Australian Shepherds will surely benefit its owner in a lot of ways. However, the Australian Shepherds abilities will only shine if they are trained well and given a lot of activities. Owners with no time and resources to spare for training and outdoor activities should not even think of getting Australian Shepherds. Early on in its childhood, you have to establish dominance with this dog. They have strong leadership skill so the dog has to know that you are the boss of him. This should be a foundation for efficient training. Training should start as early as possible. Obedience training is a must but don’t just limit it to simple obedience training. Give your dog a lot to do and think about enrolling it in agility and herding classes. This will be very rewarding for you and the dog because Australian Shepherds are known to be very eager to please. Simply put, they love to show off.

Socialize it with humans and other animals as much as possible. The Australian Shepherd is a social animal. If left to its own devices, it may wreck havoc in your home. Have it mingle with other animals in order to tame aggressiveness. Reassure it with love and affection so it grows to be a self-assured dog that it is supposed to be.

 

Basic Australian Shepherd Care

Australian Shepherds are a good breed if you want a herding or working dog to help you in your work, or if you simply want to have a good companion with you. As with other breeds, these dogs will need to be shown proper care and attention so that they will be happy and well-adjusted. This article gives advice in basic Australian shepherd care so you can take good care of your dog.

Diet

One of the most important parts of basic Australian shepherd care is the diet. Make sure to feed your pet high-grade dog food. While this may cost a bit more, this will ensure that your dog will get all of the essential nutrients he or she needs. Be sure to check the ingredients to see what goes into the food. Crude protein should not be less than 30% and crude fat not less than 20%. Puppies have different nutritional requirements compared to adult dogs, so be sure to change the diet accordingly. If you have several Australian shepherds at home, make sure that each dog has his or her own water dish and food dish.

Health

Once you get your Australian shepherd, make sure that you bring him or her to the vet for vaccinations and deworming. Bringing the dog to the vet is also important to get your pet checked for any diseases, such as cataracts or hip dysplasia. Be sure to bring your dog to the vet yearly as well for check-ups and booster shots.

Socialization

It’s important for you to socialize your dog as early as possible so that he or she will become comfortable around people. Dogs that haven’t been socialized are more fearful or aggressive towards individuals that they’re not familiar with, so make sure that you introduce your Australian shepherd to new situations and people to make him or her used to these.

Training

Australian shepherds will need to be trained, as they can grow to be very powerful dogs that can do a lot of damage. What’s more, Australian shepherds have strong guarding and herding instincts which can cause trouble if left alone. The good news is that Australian shepherds are quite smart, so it won’t be that difficult to train them. Crate training is an effective method to potty train them. You will also need to train your Australian shepherd when it comes to furniture (especially if he or she is an indoor dog), any forbidden areas in the house, and acting around guests.

When training your Australian shepherd, make sure that you establish that you’re the leader between the two of you, otherwise, he or she will disregard your commands. Be firm but patient when it comes to training your new canine friend.

Playtime

Australian shepherds have a lot of energy, so they will need to be exercised regularly so that they don’t end up being restless or bored. Don’t just take your dogs to walks. These dogs love running, so make sure that you give them the exercise and freedom that they need. Their liveliness doesn’t make them good apartment dogs or city dogs, not unless they can be brought to open areas where they can play.

Australian shepherds may not be high-maintenance dogs, but this doesn’t mean that they don’t have any needs. Keep these tips in basic Australian shepherd care in mind so that you will be able to take care of your canine friends without any problems.