Breeds

The Earth Shattering Truth About Australian Shepherds

We’re going to cut to the chase here, and not make you wade through the whole article to answer the mystery of that headline. Here it is: Australian Shepherds aren’t really Australian. I know right! Crazy.

Like, we’re still here for them though. With their looks, brains, and high energy they’re kind of like the inner-city cousin of the border collie. While both are traditionally farm dogs, Aussie shepherds have become popular and fashionable among a more urban set. 

Their popularity stretched back to the 60s and 70s when Disney started casting them in several films. You can see why, their star power is undeniable.

History of the Australian Shepherds

Not only are Aussie Shepherd’s not Australian, they’re actually originally from the United States. Bonus fact: Local icon Nicole Kidman was also born in the States. We don’t know what to believe in anymore. 

Their North American roots stretch back to the 19th century, and they’re thought to be descendants of Spanish herding dogs that originated in the Basque region of Spain and France. Those European dogs were brought to the US with herds of Merino sheep. Unfortunately, how they picked up their Down Under name is lost to history. Maybe their charm and intelligence just reminded people so much of Australians.

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 Shepherds

  • Sporty: They’re an amazing buddy for an active lifestyle.
  • Family-friendly: School-aged children will get on great with them.
  • Smart: Like many farm dogs, they’re easy to train and really enjoy it.
  • Agile: Ditto other farm dogs, their herding past means they’re quick and coordinated.
  • Beautiful: Hey, looks don’t matter, but their hair is amazing.
  • Protective: 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
  • .Healthy: Unlike many breeds, they have few serious genetic health defects, although they need regular eye screenings.

What You Might Find “Challenging”

  • Restless: Again, they’re farm dogs, so will go stir crazy without daily long walks and an active lifestyle. If you don’t give them a job, they’ll make one for themselves. If they get bored, they can bark a lot. This can be tough for first time pet parents to control if not dedicated with training and activity.
  • Hairy: Yes, we love that coat, and unlike some other hairy breeds it only needs brushing once a week. But good luck keeping your couch clean when it comes to malting season.
  • Powerful instincts: Unless exposed and trained to play well with children early, they may try and herd them. Old habits die hard.

While some 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 loving partner in crime if your lifestyle suits.

To learn more about the dogs you love, check out our other dog breed profiles.

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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.