Australian Shepherd

Also known as: Aussie, Little blue dog
  • Australian Shepherd
  • Australian shepherd

General description

Australian Shepherds love to interact and play outdoors. This breed is not very suitable to inexperienced owners or solitude. Aussies can tolerate both cold and hot climates with grace. A type of dog that displays great affection towards family and children, and it's well behaved around strangers when properly trained. The Australian Shepherd doesn't shed much and has a solid health. Moderately strong and gifted with high level of energy. Aussies need daily exercise and maintenance costs are within average for a dog its size.

Australian Shepherd in short

Aspect and attributes

Characteristics accepts by FCI:

  • Colors: red, white, black, blue, merle
  • Hair: straight, short, long
  • Coats: double color

The Australian Shepherd sits in the average as it regards size. This breed has a fairly compact head with dry features and perfectly proportioned to the rest of the body. This aspect stands out due to the decent size of an Aussie's neck which doesn't really feature any difference when compared to the general robustness of the body. The muscular build structure in the Australian Shepherd is quite average just as the bone structure which displays particularly in the area of the legs which are quite built up and powerful.

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Costs and maintenance

Maintenance costs for the Australian Shepherd are within the ideal average. This breed is generally very healthy throughout its life span. A benefit to limit regular checkups with a bit more freedom for owners. A little more care should be given to the Aussie's coat which can get dirty during outdoor activities. A regular grooming appointment is necessary in this case. The Australian Shepherd can be quite demanding with food and should follow a balanced diet, with no excess.

Maintenance cost within average

Characteristics Summary


Suitability to apartment life

There is no chance of an Australian Shepherd enjoying the home environment in absolute calm and tameness. This breed is pure dynamite and it doesn't know how to spend the day in a lazy and submissive state. Australian Shepherd owners must always take this trait into account and therefore ensure their pet has access to a backyard or public park in the vicinity of the house. A prerogative that cannot be dismissed in order to have a happy Aussie.

Extremely low level of adjustment to apartment life

Tolerance for solitude

Australian Shepherds will generally spend their time initiating some kind of interaction with their owner. In this regard, we can clearly exclude any inclination of an Aussie to be on its own. This is a sort of disposition that completely lacks in the Australian Shepherd and can become a real danger to this breed's mental and physical health. For this reason and to avoid having a destructive pet in the apartment, it is essential to avoid leaving your Aussie on its own for too long during the day.

Very low tolerance to solitude

Suitable as first pet

The high level of interactive skills in the Australian Shepherd can represent a concern for inexperienced owners. This type of dog requires ongoing special care, the lack of which together with an adequate training method apt at softening the sharpest features of its nature, may contribute in raising an Aussie with some discomfort. This is why the Australian Shepherd is not recommended as first pet. Some of the unique traits in an Aussie require a firm handler starting at a young age.

Australian Shepherds are not quite suitable as first pets


The Australian Shepherd is accustomed to interact in fairly noisy environments where there is a constant exchange with the owner and other living beings sharing the spaces (just think about the flock of sheep that needs to be controlled). This aspect has strengthened the temperament of the Australian Shepherd which must be "polished" during training through firm but not excessive techniques. Otherwise, your Aussie dog may develop fear or extreme shyness during the interaction with humans and other animals.

A very tolerant temperament

Tolerance for cold temperatures

As it is used to live outdoors, the Australian Shepherd can withstand fairly low temperatures. This is a breed raised in a fairly extreme environment which improved its strength without taking away any of the Aussie's ability to interact with the owners under certain circumstances. The custom of living outside facilitates the interaction even in rather cold temperatures, in light of the fact that Aussies absolutely require their daily exercise.

High level of tolerance in very cold climates

Tolerance for high temperatures

A dog like the Australian Shepherd is capable of moving with ease and clarity in vary environments and multiple weather conditions. Heat is not particularly confronting and the Aussie's ability to communicate through a high level of interaction remains undoubted even in very high temperatures. Another benefit that proves how the Australian Shepherd can take on the role for passion or work even in prohibitive environments.

High tolerance for hot temperatures

Friendliness and sociability

Affection towards family

This type of dog displays affection and loyalty to its family. This trait originates in the past of the Australian Shepherd. A dog breed that has always been used to living with people for working purposes. A role that Aussies can make theirs and which is characterized by the satisfaction that this breed displays during the interaction with the owner or family members. Another reason supporting the low suitability of an Australian Shepherd to being left alone.

Absolute affection towards the family

Friendly towards children

Except some behaviors that may produce counterproductive consequences, such as the overly energetic interaction of the Australian Shepherd with children, this is a breed that will self-sacrifice in order to strengthen the loyalty towards all family members and kids in particular who will get closer to their Aussie pet because of its familiar hyperactivity. Australian Shepherd owners will need to closely monitor playtime between their dog and children.

Very friendly towards children

Relationship with strangers

Given the Australian Shepherd is an experienced sheep dog it is capable of developing and applying its senses to tasks that may involve guarding the household environment and external perimeter. This breed can complete the task with flying colors. This skill should be guided so that your Aussie understands the appropriate context for this kind of interaction, especially if we want to limit any issues during public events or certain moments of the day.

Tolerant towards strangers

Friendliness towards other dogs

As almost any other breed capable of displaying excellent levels of interaction, Australian Shepherds can also engage in perfectly social relationships through the habit of socialization that the owner can offer. It is essential that an Australian Shepherd is exposed to this type of activity as a young puppy so to avoid unwanted behaviors such as fear of other dogs or unexpected aggression.

Very friendly towards other dogs

Care and health

Coat care and shedding

The coat of the Australian Shepherd is very strong but also quite long. In order to achieve a more efficient performance, owners must take regular care of their pet's fur. It's a good idea to check the state of your Aussie's coat on a weekly basis and asses the need of treatment or grooming. However, shedding amongst Australian Shepherds falls perfectly within average for a breed with certain traits.

Moulting within average

Salivation and drooling restraint level

Depending on the environment in which it engages, the Australian Shepherd ability to contain drooling is more or less efficient. When your Aussie is working in fairly humid surroundings, it may struggle not to drool. This specific situation can be addressed by ensuring your Aussie has a chance to refresh when needed. There are no other relevant situations to note, if we exclude the "physiological" ones such as before any meal or an overly excited state which however could be linked to this breed's daily activity.

Drooling restraint within average

Easiness to clean

Maintaining a clean Australian Shepherd can sometime be a challenging task. A dog featuring this type of coat can require special care. For this reason, Aussie owners should focus on daily inspections of their pet's most delicate spots like the mouth and tail or paws, which can accumulate a fair amount of dirt during the Australian Shepherd's daily routine.

Some attention to the Australian Shepherd's general cleanliness

Health and diseases

Australian Shepherds are gifted with quite a robust general health state throughout their entire life. Aussies were strengthen by their ability to live in rather extreme environments whilst still performing a large number of demanding tasks. In some occasions, Aussies may be subject to conditions like deafness in one or both ears, and diseases such as dysplasia and cataract. General and regular health checkups should never be neglected as can provide reassurance on your pet's general health state.

Average degree of health and standard illnesses for the Australian Shepherd

Tendency to gain weight

The great athletic drive of the Australian Shepherd is a guarantee against weight gain in this breed. This feature is facilitated by the resistance displayed by the Aussie when engaged in daily activity. An advantage that originates in this breed's muscular structure which is well balanced and capable of providing high levels of reactivity in the movements. Aussie owners can't forget the daily (and not periodic) requirements of this type of dog.

The Australian Shepherd has a tendency to keep in shape

Learning skills

Intelligence and training

Australian Shepherds prove their intelligence through the countless activities it performs and in the their quality. The image of such an intelligent breed is not limited to the skills of being responsible in certain contexts and situations but in the ability of the Aussie to develop smart interactive protocols during everyday work. The Australian Shepherd is perfectly capable of monitoring the entire flock of sheep however it can also seamlessly cooperate with the owner in its daily tasks. An engaging and stimulating breed from the start of training.

Great intelligence during training

Loyalty and inclination to escape

The Australian Shepherd is little inclined to run away. A feature that develops thanks to this breed's habit to share its own territory with the owner and other family members. The Australian Shepherd is not easily distracted by external situations although to achieve this result an experienced owner is necessary, particularly in the initial phases of training. Anyway, Aussies are capable of remaining loyal to their family their entire life.

The Australian Shepherd is very loyal and little inclined to escape

Inclination to bite

This breed is not so inclined to develop such a reaction which should always be considered based on the environment. Australian Shepherds may resort to biting when they sense a threat to their family's safety or to protect a sheep within the flock. This is where an Aussie is perfectly capable of differentiating situations where biting is necessary from others where it is just playing with the owner or people that are part of the family circle. An early socialization of your Australian Shepherd can function as a further advantage in this regard.

Great self-control in relation to biting

Hunt drive

As far as chasing a prey, the Australian Shepherd may be inclined to engage in such activity under certain circumstance such as when running after a smaller size animal. In said situations, a sturdy leash will be sufficient to restrain this dog's strong athletic drive. Regardless, this reaction in the Aussie can be tamed by experienced owners through training beginning in the first years of its life.

Strong hunting drive

Inclination to bark or howl

The Australian Shepherd will bark or howl in specific situations. It may be useful to know that this breed can serve as an efficient guard dog within the home environment. This is where suspicious movements in the surroundings may trigger your Aussie to recall your attention by barking or howling. The Australian Shepherd is not thoughtless in this regard and adequate training can help limit any exception.

The Australian Shepherd barks very little and only when required

Exercise requirements

Energy level

As the Aussie was raised to carry out strenuous tasks it is capable of guaranteeing high energy levels with intelligence based on what action this type of dog is asked to perform. Such high energy levels must be a reminder to owners who don't intend to use their pet for specific tasks that the Australian Shepherd needs daily physical exercise based on entertainment and constructive activities which will then improve this breed's strong intelligence. No repetitive tasks for your Australian Shepherd.

Extreme high degree of energy


Maximum strength for the Aussie. This type of dog can develop more than one issue when its interactive skills are limited to the household environment. It is therefore essential to keep your Aussie pet away from delicate objects or young children or simply monitor the interaction that this dog develops with them. In this regard, even a simple walk in public could become a potential concern with your Australian Shepherd. You must use a resistant leash for the safety of your Australian Shepherd and people that may not be typical dog lovers.

A fairly tame and not too strong breed

Exercise requirements

The need to exercise for the Australian Shepherd must be met on a daily basis and possibly in more sessions. A breed such as the Australian Shepherd needs to let out stress that may be build during a few hours spent in the house with the owner where it needs to restrain its own interactive skills. A routine including 30 to 60 minutes of exercise each day is essential to allow your Aussie dog to keep fit and train its intelligence in activities that shouldn't be repetitive.

Need for daily exercise

Tendency to play

This trait makes the Australian Shepherd one of the favorite breeds for those looking to own a dog that can learn and interact in new activities. An Aussie's inclination to play is typical of the breed as it aims at developing always new activities. This breed is challenged by the owner's skills at developing new activities and needs to provide further stimulus so that these actions don't become boring and therefore limiting for its own intellectual development.

Absolute playful drive

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