Australian Shepherd Breed Information

Brief History, Characteristics, and Temperament

Australian Shepherds are the descendants of the Pyrenean Shepherds crossed with other breeds like Collies and Border Collies. The beginning of their story starts in the Pyrenees Mountains between France and Spain. It was there that the Pyrenean Shepherds lived and herded sheep alongside a people known as the Basques. The Basques were world renown shepherds that moved from France and Spain to Australia in the early 1800s for new land to raise their livestock on. With the new land came new obstacles for their Pyrenean Shepherds, and rightly so, the Basque wanted to refine their herding capabilities. They did this by perfecting crosses between the more agile and swifter breeds that came to Australia with the British. Eventually, the Basque migrated to the Americas and the Australian Shepherd was further established in the western and northwestern regions (e.g., California, Nevada, Montana, Wyoming, Oregon, etc.) of the United States.

From there they came and by mistake were named!

The Australian Shepherds were eventually given their name in America by ranchers out west in the 1940s. This was because the Basque people had moved to America from Australia, and it was assumed that the breed originated in Australia. Since then, Aussies have been improved upon and are now one of the top preferred breeds in America!

A man in a field herding sheep with and Australian Shepherd
A Sheep Farmer and his Australian Shepherd 

The farmer and cowboy’s choice when it comes to stock dogs!

A horse standing next to a cowboy that is petting a dog
A Cowboy and his Australian Shepherd

Founded on the Pyrenean Shepherd, the Australian Shepherd naturally takes to livestock guardianship and herding work blends. They have a natural herding instinct and will display this behavior when a situation arises, and something can be herded. The breed is known for being a very intelligent working (stock) dog, that has higher levels of endurance and stamina. Australian Shepherds no doubt make great working stock dogs and family pets, but they also make great search and rescue dogs, service dogs, and therapy dogs.

The temperament or personality traits of Australian Shepherds are both responsive and animated. They are loyal companions with a built-in, want to please attitude. They are highly intelligent and maintain good eye contact. They are very active and need something to do. If they are unattended or have little to do, then they can have a little bit of wit and trickery tucked away for a rainy day. However, if you live an active lifestyle, have a family with kids, or need a good working stock dog then an Aussie might be what you are looking for!

The specification standards for the Australian Shepherd (Aussie)

The male should fall in the range height of 20’’ to 23’’ at the shoulder and a range weight of 50 to 65lb. The standards for the female are a range height of 18’’ to 21’’ and a range weight of 40 to 55lb.

The four acceptable main coat colors are black, red, blue merle, and red merle. The only acceptable marking color is white, and the only acceptable point color is copper (tan). These combinations of different colors, markings, and points can be represented in bi-color, tri-color, and merle coat patterns.

The typical coat of an Aussie is considered to have a medium thickness, slightly coarse texture, and a medium length. A healthy Aussie coat does not require a great deal of maintenance. Compared to other breeds, Aussies are on the low maintenance side of grooming.

The eyes can be the solid colors of amber, blue, brown, or a combination of these. Some Aussie’s eyes may have traces or flecks of these colors and some may be marbled. Tails can be naturally long, docked, or naturally bobbed.

These intelligent and fun-loving canines are a part of the herding group, which is why they are also known as “working stock dogs” due to their abilities in herding. Their average life span ranges from 12 to 16 years of age.

What we say at Arkland Aussies

As farmers first, we believe in the breed! The Australian Shepherd is the most intelligent and versatile of all dog breeds. They can truly do everything that has been previously mentioned, and they are even more than all of that at the same time. They are truly a special breed because they have something to contribute wherever they are wanted and/or needed.

A dog standing by a pond
A black tri-color coat Australian Shepherd 

Our Dams and Sires are family farm-raised and trained as working stock dogs. 

What does this mean? This means we know our breed on multiple levels and we aim to produce the best in temperament, working behavior, and breed standards. We know our Aussies and we know they have great personalities and behaviors around children and strangers. However, they are also protective over their owners, and always keep a watchful eye. They love to cuddle, they love to work, and they aim to please. They play just as hard as the work. They love the water, walks, runs, jogging, hiking, playing frisbee, and fetching too!

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