Breed of the Week: Australian Shepherd

The breed that isn’t even Australian! Australian Shepherds are smart, and energetic heartbreakers that often get compared to their similarly shaped companions in the Border Collie.

These days though, you’re more likely to find Australian Shepherds in your inner-city office than rounding up sheep on a farm.

You’ll be amazed at how many Aussie Shepherds you see on your next visit to New York – this breed is definitely having a moment over there. It’s not out of character either. They had a popularity boost in the 60s and 70s when Disney started using them in many of their movies.

Let’s look at the Australian Shepherd breed profile:


With the Aussie Shepherd’s origins coming from the US in the 19th century, no-one really knows why the breed is named after Australia.

The most trusted theory for the Aussie’s history is that their ancestors may have been Spanish herding dogs that originated in the Basque region of Spain and France and were brought to the United States with herds of Merino sheep during the early colonial days.

Weight: 20-30kg

Colour: Black, red, blue merle, red merle with or without white and tan markings.

Life Expectancy: 12-14 years

Australian Shepherd with ball

What you’ll love about Australian Shepherd’s

  • An amazing buddy for an active lifestyle.
  • Family-friendly if you have school aged children.
  • Aussie Shepherds are easy to train. They might even be smarter than you!
  • Very talented at agility, flyball and herding tests.
  • Beautiful long fur that only requires brushing once a week.
  • They have an alert and caring nature. Don’t expect them to warm to strangers right away but once you’re in, you’re in.
  • No common serious genetic health defects, although they need regular eye screenings.

Drawbacks of Australian Shepherds

  • Will go stir crazy without daily long walks and an active life. If you don’t give them a job, they’ll make one for themselves and can bark a lot.
  • Good luck keeping your couch clean when it comes to malting season.
  • Unless exposed and trained to play well with children early, they may try and herd them due to that strong herding instinct.
  • Can be tough for first time pet parents to control if not dedicated with training and activity.

While many Australian Shepherd breed profiles report that these beautiful dogs require a single-dog household, many happy multi-dog families in the Australian Shepherd group on Facebook report otherwise.

Don’t let their smart personalities and cautious nature deter you – Australian Shepherds can be your loving partner in crime if your lifestyle suits.

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Written by Mike Halligan
Mike is a huuuuuuge dog lover and the Co-Founder of Scratch. He's spent his life surrounded by Collies and Cocker Spaniels. You can find him sipping coffee in Melbourne and pointing out Bernese Mountain Dogs to his girlfriend, in hope that she'll finally let them get one.