History: Australian Shepherds were originated in the United States in the 1840’s by farmers and ranchers. They bred to be an all-purpose farm dog, herding dog, and performance dog. It is believed that Australian Shepherds are ancestors of Collies and Shepherd-type dogs that were imported from Australia. Today they are still used widely for working and herding purposes, but are loved by families as companions as well.
Temperament: Australian Shepherds are highly intelligent and have a strong work drive. The can and will take the dominant role in the household if you allow them to. This breed may not be the best choice for a first time dog owner who is not firm and confident in their leadership abilities with dogs. They are loyal to their family members but are often wary of strangers. In order to have a well-rounded dog, early socialization and obedience training is recommended. They have a strong prey drive and are known to have their herding instincts kick in around children and other dogs. Starting training young to be able to correct for this behavior is ideal.
Health/Grooming: Australian Shepherds have a medium-length coat that is water-resistant. This breed sheds year round and the shedding is heavier during the spring as they lose their winter coat. They will need to be brushed weekly and sometimes more during the shedding season in order to keep up with the coat and prevent matting. If you keep up with the brushing, they should only need a bath when necessary. Some health issues that this breed is more prone to include hip and elbow dysplasia, Collie Eye Anomaly, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, deafness, Osteochondrosis Dissecans, and Persistent Pupillary Membranes. Make sure the breeders’ dogs are CERF certified to prove that the eyes have been tested to be normal.