Breed characteristics and care for the Australian Shepherd (Aussie).

Australian shepherd standing indoors in profile

The Australian shepherd is a medium-size herding dog that originated in the United States with medium-length fur and an agile, athletic build. The breed's ancestors came to the U.S. from Europe by way of Australia, hence its name. This shepherd-like dog is exceptionally smart, devoted, and diligent. High-energy owners who want a companion dog will love this breed. In addition, it excels at herding, dog sports, search and rescue, and service dog work.

Breed Overview


Height: 18 to 21 inches (female), 20 to 23 inches (male)

Weight: 40 to 55 pounds (female), 50 to 65 pounds (male)

Coat: Medium double coat

Coat Color: Blue merle, red merle, black, or red; all colors may have white markings and/or tan (copper) points

Life Span: 12 to 15 years

Temperament: Intelligent, active, energetic

Hypoallergenic: No

Origin: United States


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Characteristics of the Australian Shepherd

The Australian shepherd is a medium-sized herding dog with medium-length hair and an athletic, nimble body that was developed in the United States. The breed's progenitors arrived in the United States from Europe via Australia, therefore the name. This shepherd-like dog is exceptionally smart, devoted, and diligent. It makes an excellent companion dog for high-energy owners. In addition, it excels at herding, dog sports, search and rescue, and service dog work.

Affection Level Medium
Friendliness Medium
Kid-Friendly High
Pet-Friendly Medium
Exercise Needs High
Playfulness High
Energy Level High
Trainability High
Intelligence High
Tendency to Bark Medium
Amount of Shedding Medium

History of the Australian Shepherd

The Australian shepherd is a medium-sized, American-bred herding dog with medium-length hair and an athletic, nimble frame. Originating in Australia, the breed's forefathers arrived in the United States from Europe. This shepherd-like dog is exceptionally smart, devoted, and diligent. For owners with lots of energy, it makes a great companion dog. Additionally skilled at herding, dog sports, search and rescue, and working as a service dog.

In the US, the Australian shepherd breed was developed. However, it is descended from European herding dogs that were native to the Pyrenees. In the 1800s, some of the indigenous Basque people took their dogs from this region and traveled to Australia, hoping to find more cattle land.

The American Kennel Club first recognized the Australian shepherd breed in 1991. The AKC later recognized the miniature American shepherd, a smaller version of the Aussie, in 2015.

Australian Shepherd Care

For the appropriate household, the Aussie may be a fantastic companion. As long as they are able to give the right instruction and exercise, it usually adapts well to various types of active homes. Aussies require routine grooming as well.


Even more so than other dogs, constant exercise is definitely necessary for your Aussie. If given insufficient mental and physical stimulus, this clever and energetic dog breed may grow bored, irritable, and hyperactive. Aussies need at least one to two hours per day of moderately demanding exercise, such as jogging, playing fetch, or agility training. Toy puzzles can also assist to keep kids intellectually active.

Australian shepherds have a tendency to chase (i.e., herd) moving objects, including people on the street, bicycles, other animals, and even vehicles, therefore always walk them on a leash. When in the yard, Aussies also require a sturdy, safe fence rather than an electronic one because the latter won't always curb their drive to pursue and herd.


The Australian Shepherd sheds all year long and has a thick, medium-length double coat. Therefore, regular grooming is essential to get rid of stray fur and stop tangles and matting. At least once or twice a week, brush your teeth. Additionally, Australians often lose their heavier winter clothing in the spring. To keep up with all the loose fur at this period, you'll probably need to brush more regularly. However, the coat is quite weather-resistant and typically just requires a brief bath. Additionally, for healthy and pleasant paws, it's crucial to periodically trim your dog's nails, wash your dog's teeth, and clean the ears.


Due to their high level of intellect, Australians are often open to instruction and pick things up fast. Aussies also have a reputation for being quite docile when trained properly and consistently. When the dogs are pups, you may begin teaching them with socialization to various people and situations as well as fundamental commands like sit and stay. Australians tend to be reserved with new people and might become shy or defensive, thus proper socialization is crucial.

Keep in mind that this breed is work-focused. Most Australians find that having a "work" makes them happy, and training for various activities might be that employment. Participating in dog sports, assistance/service, search-and-rescue, or with your Aussie can help you and your dog develop a stronger relationship and help your dog become more obedient.

Common Health Problems

Aussies are a generally healthy dog breed, but they are prone to a few health conditions, including:

Diet and Nutrition

A nutritionally balanced dog food should be given twice daily to an Australian shepherd. The amount will vary according on the size, degree of exercise, age, and other characteristics of your dog. Consult your veterinarian about your dog's nutritional requirements to obtain the best advice, and keep a close eye on your dog's weight. Additionally, make sure your Aussie has access to fresh water at all times, particularly during hot weather and periods of vigorous exercise.

Where to Adopt or Buy an Australian Shepherd

For Australian shepherds, check your neighborhood animal shelter and breed-specific rescue organizations. People frequently give up their dogs for adoption after realizing they cannot handle the strong activity and intellect of the Australian shepherd. So, while thinking about this breed, be honest with yourself about how much time and effort you can commit. Australian pups typically cost between $1,000 and $2,000 from breeders, however prices can vary greatly. Rescue organizations and adult dogs frequently cost less money.

Some groups that can help connect you with an Australian shepherd include:

  • The Australian Shepherd Club of America
  • Aussie Rescue & Placement Helpline
  • New Spirit 4 Aussie Rescue
  • United States Australian Shepherd Association

Australian Shepherd Overview

  • Affectionate and loyal

  • Trainable and eager to please

  • Excels at "jobs" and athletic endeavors

  • Boundless energy that must be channeled through training

  • Can become destructive without enough mental and physical stimulation

  • Can be wary of strangers

More Dog Breeds and Further Research

Do your homework beforehand if you intend to be the proud owner of an Australian shepherd. For further information, consult your veterinarian, other Aussie owners, reliable breeders, and rescue organizations.

If you’re interested in similar breeds, check out:

There's a whole world of potential out there—with a little research, you can find the right one to bring home!

  • Are Australian shepherds good family dogs?

    Australian shepherds can be good for active families. They generally are good around kids. But their herding instinct might cause them to nip at children, especially when they're being rambunctious.

  • What were Australian shepherds bred for?

    Australian shepherds were bred to herd livestock. However, they can excel at other dog sports and jobs as well.

  • Are Australian shepherds good apartment dogs?

    Aussies typically aren't good apartment dogs due to their high activity level. They will need lots of daily activity where they can physically exert themselves if you live in a small space.


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