Breed Center Stage – Australian Shepherd

A hard working, active and extremely smart breed, the Australian Shepherd or “Aussie” as they are affectionately known, is a popular breed for active individuals and families alike.

Despite their name, this breed was actually developed on working ranches in the American West in the 19th century and there is disagreement on this dog’s exact origin prior to its arrival in North America. 

Aussies are great dogs but they are not for everyone. The Australian Shepherd is just that…a shepherd, and will attempt to herd anything in sight, including children, other dogs and birds. If you like an easy going, sedentary lifestyle, you may find the Aussie to be too much!

A medium sized dog, the Australian shepherd stands between 20 to 23 inches at the shoulder for males and 18 to 21 inches for females. Adult males weigh between 50 to 65 pounds and females between 40 to 55 pounds. Both males and females display a variety of coat colors and patterns, including the merle, a strikingly beautiful mottled pattern with contrasting blue or red shades.

These loving dogs do best when they have plenty of human companionship and are laughingly referred to as “Velcro dogs” because of their tendency to stick to their owners. They will also often form an intense bond with one or more human companions.

Aussies are very, very smart. So smart in fact that they will play tricks on anyone who is unsuspecting, especially the novice owner. But for many Australian Shepherd lovers, this is part of their considerable charm. 

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By Ellen Britt

Dr. Ellen Britt has loved dogs since she was a child. She is particularly fond of the Northern breeds, especially Alaskan Malamutes. Ellen worked as a PA in Emergency and Occupational Medicine for two decades and holds a doctorate (Ed.D.) in biology.

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