The Australian Shepherd breed actually originated in the United States and were bred as herding dogs – a role many still perform today.
They make wonderful family companions, but are highly intelligent and have loads of energy, which needs an outlet, so are best kept active and love nothing more than a job to do. Much like their close relation, the Border Collie.
They develop very close bonds with their owners and human family, are easy going with other dogs and pets, and good with children.
Australian Shepherds are a very trainable breed, and are eager to learn, so I would suggest channeling this into dog sports such as herding and obedience and other activities that keep their brains and bodies moving. Check out our Border Collie breed profile for more information about training an Aussie Shepherd as it is very much the same.
They come in a range of colours, as you can see here and their eye colours vary too, this is called heterochromia, with some having two different coloured eyes or even two colours in one eye!
While they can range from being reserved to very outgoing, Aussies love human company so you need to spend lots of time with them.
Like all working dogs they need plenty of daily exercise, and able to run and engage in games that helps fulfill their need for a job. If you don’t, you will end up with a bored or anxious dog that barks, chews, digs and other destructive behaviour.
Australian Shepherds are generally healthy but depending on their lineage, they can be prone to hip dysplasia, thyroid disease, and numerous eye problems including cataracts, distichiasis (extra eyelashes), progressive retinal atrophy, iris coloboma and collie eye anomaly, so do get your puppies eyes examined early by a veterinary ophthalmologist!
They can also suffer from multiple drug sensitivity, whilst uncommon, it can be fatal. Affected dogs are hypersensitive to commonly prescribed veterinary drugs (including heartworm), but there is a DNA test for the condition.
They can also suffer from epilepsy, and congenital deafness.
That’s why it is important to always do your research about any breed you are considering and get pet insurance too!
To get a quote from HIF Pet insurance to cover your new puppy or older dog for illness or injury visit their website.
Terms and conditions, waiting periods and exclusions apply. You should read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) available at hif.com.au/pet before deciding if this product is appropriate for you. HIF Pet is issued by The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd AFSL No: 241436 and promoted by HIF Insurance Australia Pty Ltd as an Authorised Representative No.250504 of Petsure (Australia) Pty Ltd AFSL 420183.
About the Author: Lara Shannon is a NDTF certified dog behaviourist and trainer, Executive Producer and Host of Pooches at Play on Channel 10 and editor of Poochesatplay.com. Lara also runs her own dog training and boarding business in Melbourne’s Bayside area and is the Author of Eat, Play, Love Your Dog.