Blue merle Australian ShepherdRed merle and white AussieAussies can be friendly and affectionate.
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Australian Shepherd

The Australian Shepherd is a working dog that was developed—despite its name—in the United States in the 19th century. The dog, commonly known as an Aussie, is popular in its native California and is growing in popularity in countries across the world. more...

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Like many working breeds, the Aussie has considerable energy and drive and usually needs a job to do. It often excels at dog sports such as frisbee and dog agility.

Appearance

The coat comes in several colors—blue merle, red merle, solid red, or solid black; all can occur with or without white markings, tan (copper) points, or both. Dogs with tan and white along with the primary color are usually called tricolor.

The breed's general appearance also varies greatly depending on the particular line's emphasis. As with many working breeds that are also shown in the ring, there are differences of opinion among breeders over what makes an ideal Australian Shepherd.

Reflecting the great variation that still exists in the breed, an Aussie can stand between 18 and 23 inches (46 to 58 cm) at the withers and weigh between 35 and 70 pounds (16 to 32 kg). For show dogs, females should fall in the lower heights and males in the higher ranges.

A hallmark of the breed is a short bobbed or docked tail in countries where docking is permitted. Some Aussies are born with naturally short bobbed tails, others with full long tails, and others with natural partial bobs, where the tail is midlength and appears stubby. Most breeders dock the tails when the puppies are born.

Temperament

Because of the dog's origins, this breed is not for everyone. It is an energetic dog that requires exercise and needs a job to do, whether it is learning and practicing tricks, competing in dog agility, or any other physically and mentally involving activity. It needs to run, full out, regularly. It is usually a sweet and affectionate dog who is faithful to its owners and is good with children, although its overwhelming instinct to work may subvert its ability to function as a family dog, including chasing and nipping at running children to herd them if not properly trained. Its protective instinct and behaviors can be frightening to children, strangers, and small animals. It was bred to guard stock and can be sometimes annoying with its inclination to bark warnings about neighborhood activity, but it is not generally an obsessively barking dog. It is intelligent, learns quickly, and loves to play. This means that a bored, neglected, unexercised Aussie will invent its own games, activities, and jobs, which to a busy owner might appear to be hyperactivity in the house around fragile furnishings or involve the destruction of yard and property.

History

The Australian Shepherd's history is vague, as is the origin of its misleading name. Most of the breed's antecedents most likely originated in the Basque region near the Pyrenees Mountains between Spain and France.

Read more at Wikipedia.org


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