The Australian Shepherd is a dog breed that despite its name originated from the United States and not from the continent of Australia. This breed of dogs have medium length coat that varies in colour may even be blue or red with white or tan markings.
As stated despite its name, the Australian Shepherd is an American breed and was originally developed to help herd livestock for ranchers in the Western United States and is not listed in Australia as a native breed. However, there are other varying reports on the origin of the Australian Shepherd and there are numerous theories on what breeds are the ancestors and were used to develop the breed.
However, there is a reason why the breed is labelled as the Australian Shepherd this is because of their association with the Basque shepherd that was introduced into the United States from Australia. Click here for more information on the Basque shepherd breed.
The breed became very popular after World War II because of the growing popularity of Western movies and tv series alongside rodeos and horse shows the audiences were intrigued by the athletic and energetic dogs they saw alongside cowboys. It is considered the cowboy’s herding dog of choice because of its tireless work ethic, ease of training, and intelligence.
Despite its boom in popularity after World War II, it was only in the 1990s that the American Kennel Club recognized the Australian Shepherd and in 2012 the miniature Australian Shepherd was recognized.
The Australian Shepherd is hard-working and intelligent who excels in environments where his athleticism and brains are put to good use. This mainly because the breed was developed specifically for the task of herding livestock.
Because of this the breed is can easily get along with other animals and pets but are very protective of family and territorial but is not considered to be an aggressive breed. This link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herding provides more information on herding.
The Australian Shepherd can be dominant even as to their owners if the owner is timid and unassertive, that is why it is not recommended that you get an Australian Shepherd if you are new to having a dog as a pet or are timid in nature as an owner.
Next, the Australian Shepherd is very active and energetic that needs to be given tasks otherwise they would need other activities to spend all that stored up energy on. This breed is not for everyone especially those that do not have the time to spend time doing outdoor or physical activities with their dog.
This breed needs a lot of exercises a simple walk around the corner won’t be enough in most instances and the unfortunate consequence of this is that an Australian Shepherd will become bored and can be destructive and take it upon himself how to spend all that energy.
This is also a good breed for those that want to participate in dog competitions and obedience sports. The Australian Shepherd’s obedience, intelligence, and natural agility, and athleticism are great for those that are looking to win or just simply have fun participating in dog sports.
This should be for those looking for a companion with a great work ethic and who is easy to train.
Like all other members of the family and those beloved to you, you must take care of their health and take good care of them as much as possible. Australian Shepherds are considered generally a healthy breed and the australian shepherd lifespan is about 12-15 years.
However, there are health concerns with the Australian Shepherd, while not all will suffer or get all of the diseases that the breed is prone to, it is important to be aware of them and be informed of what could be making your dog sick.
Australian Shepherds are reported to have different bone and joint problems such as Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia. While this can be a very serious condition, this can be diagnosed and treated to prevent pain and you will be able to take care of your dog.
Both Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia are heritable conditions and are common to large dog breeds. Hip Dysplasia can be with or without signs, but your dog might exhibit pain in one or both of its rear legs.
Elbow Dysplasia on the other hand affects the bones that make up a dog’s elbow, it is believed to be caused by the varying growth rate of the three bones and can be painful for the dog. Elbow Dysplasia can be corrected by surgery. Because the conditions are hereditary, it is recommended not to breed dogs with dysplasia as their offspring can also suffer the same condition.
The Australian Shepherd can also suffer from epilepsy which is a disorder that causes seizures because of the brains’ reaction to several conditions such as trauma, other conditions such as organ failure or it was inherited by the dog. In Australian Shepherds, the condition is often hereditary. While there is no cure for epilepsy, medicine can help treat the seizures and keep them under control.
Cataracts can also be a problem for the Australian Shepherd especially for those that are old. Cataracts cause the lenses of the eye to become opaque and can make the eye look cloudy when examined. Fortunately, surgery is an option to remove cataracts.
To conclude, the Australian Shepherd, the cow-boy’s companion, is a great pet for those looking for an easy to train, intelligent, friendly, and agile pet that look forward to having physical activities with their companion but despite their inherent energy and strength, like all pets, they the love and care of their owners.