Australian Shepherd

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Fast Facts

AKC Group:Herding Group
UKC Group:Herding
Use today:Herding trials, Sheep herding
Life Span:14 to 16 years
Color:The only acceptable body colors are solid red, solid black, blue merle and red merle, with or without white and/or tan markings.
Coat:Double-coated
Grooming:Brush weekly, daily during the spring shedding season. Groom as needed.
Size:Medium Dog Breed
Height:AKC standard, males 20 to 23 inches; females, 18 to 21 inches.
Weight:Males, 45 to 65 pounds; females, 35 to 55 pounds.

Historians debate the Australian Shepherd's breed origin. Some argue an Australian origin; some accept a Basque heritage; some a Spanish origin. There's probably a little truth in each theory. The breed has been well known in the livestock industry in the United States for more than a century. Regardless of its origin, the Australian Shepherd is a much-loved breed in the United States. It's a working dog, capable of controlling livestock. The Australian Shepherd is either born with a natural bobtail or has its tail docked while still a pup. The medium-length coat comes in black, red, blue merle or red merle, all with or without white or tan markings. The coat sheds heavily, but weekly brushing helps keep it mat-free and under control. As you can imagine from their heritage, Australian Shepherds like activity and should be exercised and played with several times daily. Aussies make wonderful pets if their exercise needs are met. They are good with children and make excellent watchdogs. These smart dogs can learn just about anything, so begin training early. (Editor's Note: According to a United States Australian Shepherd Association Inc. statement, the AKC-affiliated club does not support the purposeful breeding of miniature Australian Shepherds.)

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