Australian Shepherd Dog

Updated: Jul 3, 2018

Other Names : Aussies Country of Origin : United States of America Dog Group : Working Dog


The Australian Shepherd is not Australian! The breed actually developed in the United States and its progenitors came from the Basque region of the Pyrenees, between Spain and France. It is believed that Basque shepherds brought over small ‘blue’ dogs to work in the U.S. The sheep that were worked were imported from Australia. Another theory has it that the dogs immigrated first to Australia and then to the U.S. Regardless, the actual breed was refined and established as The Australian Shepherd in the United States. Of course, it had several other names before deciding on the somewhat misleading title. Spanish Shepherd, was one name tried out, Pastor Dogs, Bob-tails, Blues, Heelers, New Mexican Sheepdog and Californian Sheepdog, have all been applied to the Australian Shepherd. Arriving in the Southwestern United States in the late 1800s – early 1900s, the dogs were, at first, allowed to interbreed with other shepherd dogs. The emphasis was on the dog’s ability to work, not its appearance. An Australian Shepherd dog club originated in the U.S. in 1957 but it wasn’t until 1976 that the breed standard was written and American Kennel Club recognition did not occur until 1992.


These medium sized dogs are slightly longer than they are tall. They are solid and muscular. They are often compared to the Border Collie. Their gait demonstrates the agility and stamina that a sheepdog would need.

Feeding & Ownership

This breed does like its food and can become overweight if it does not get enough exercise.


It is recommended that you socialize Aussies early, as they can be a bit shy with strangers. It is also good for them to get used to children, other dogs and pets at an early age if one wants relations to go smoothly. The herding instinct is very strong in this breed and they must be taught that not all children take kindly to being herded. It is probably best to keep Aussies in a well-fenced yard and on leads when out for a walk as they may otherwise feel compelled to herd traffic, which can be fatal. This is a one person or family dog so they do make good protectors. They are very vocal and have a peculiar bark-howl combination that can be utilised in their guarding capacity. This is not the best breed for novice dog owners.


Aussies do shed and it is advisable to comb with a coarse, double toothed comb during moulting season.


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