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The Australian Shepherd, also called Aussie, is a popular breed of dog that originated in Australia. The breed belongs to the Herding family which is remarkable for the ability of its dog breed members to control the movement of other animals. Like any other herding breed, Aussies have been bred for the purpose of herding sheep. They are well-rounded farm dogs. Medium-sized, they are rustic dogs with fairly textured coats. Their weather resistant, medium-length hair may range from straight to wavy. It may come in different colors such as red merle or liver, blue merle, black, solid red with or with no white markings and/or tan points.
Height and Weight
The male members of the Australian Shepherd breed usually stand a height of 20 to 23 in at the withers, and weigh 50 to 65 lbs. Bitches, on the other hand, are rather smaller with a height of 18 to 21 in and a weight of 40 to 55 lbs.
Aussies are easy-going and playful dogs. They are courageous and they typically make excellent watchdogs. The breed is known to relate well with children, though can be rather suspicious with strangers. They are devoted, loyal, affectionate, and protective. Aussies are also extremely lively, agile, and very attentive with eagerness to please. The breed is very intelligent and quick to learn. Though quite aggressive when at work especially with livestock, Aussies are commonly gentle with their human friends. Nonetheless, they have the propensity to become anxious and destructive when they are not led by a true pack leader or given ample mental and physical stimulation.
This athletic herding breed requires minimal coat care. Depending on hair-length, some Aussies need more grooming attention as compared to others. The breed tends to shed heavily at least a couple of times a year, so during these time periods, Aussies have to be brushed and groomed frequently.
Australian Shepherds are generally prone to a few dog health conditions. These include eye problems such as cataracts and glaucoma, spinal defects, skin allergies, and cancer. Because of Merle coloration, the breed is likely to suffer from deafness and blindness. With care, proper nutrition, and exercise, Aussies can live for as long as 12 to 15 years.
Most Australian Shepherds do not do well in apartment-living. Keeping them cooped up can lead them to make mess of your dwelling. They are relatively active indoors, and tend to do best with a secure, large yard space to play and run. In addition, Aussies are energetic dogs that require a lot of vigorous exercise. Taking them on a daily, brisk, long walks, jogs, or runs is very necessary to keep them in shape both mentally and physically.