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The Australian Shepherd belongs to the pastoral group or the herding dog breed. It is bred to herd sheep, compete in the show ring and serve as a companion dog. It is of medium size that weighs 40 to 60 pounds and stands 18 to 32 centimetres. This dog breed has an eager-to-please personality and as a result is easy to train. Aussies are bred to work and must be given exercises or activities to keep them busy. The Australian Shepherd has a lifespan of 13 to 15 years.
Are you looking for more information about the Australian Shepherd? Read on below.
The origin of the Australian Shepherd is quite unclear maybe because of its confusing name. Albeit its name, the breed is actually believed to have been bred in the USA. While others claim that it has Basque origins in Spain who went to America via Australia, scientific evidence proves otherwise. The breed has lineage from the Bering Land Bridge grown to herd livestock in the 19th and 20th century. It was intended for ranchers, farmers and cowboys. Theories suggest that it may have descended from shepherd and collie dogs imported from Australia in the 1940s.
The Aussie is a medium-sized muscular working dog with high endurance and stamina. It stands 18 to 32 centimetres at the withers and weighs 40 to 60 pounds. It has a strong neck, triangular medium ears and strong jaws.
It has a medium-length water-resistant coat to withstand rain and snow. Aussies in cold climates have heavier coats than those in warmer areas. The hair can be straight or wavy with moderate feathering, which is generally low-maintenance. The standard colours are black, red, blue merle, and red merle, with or without white without tan markings. The colours should be dominant and rich, and white should not overpower in the head. Shedding is year-round but becomes heavier in the spring. Weekly brushing is needed to remove dry hair and matts. Baths are only necessary a few times a year especially if it is regularly brushed.
Other than taking care of the coat, be sure to regularly trim nails, clean ears and check for ticks or fleas as well. One overlooked aspect of dog ownership is maintaining good oral hygiene. Take care of your dog’s teeth and gums to prevent disease and bad breath by brushing them at least twice or three times a week.
The Australian Shepherd is intelligent, loyal, alert, and energetic. Its flexible and agile body allows it to easily change its speed and direction. It has a balanced disposition towards strangers. It can be aloof but never shy or hostile. Since it has been developed to guard farms and ranches, it has guarding behaviours and tends to bark when it is suspicious.
The Aussie is a fast learner that enjoys playing. This is why it is inclined to amuse itself with games and activities. Trainings become enjoyable when its mind is at work so giving its job is best. Putting its amazing stamina to work through exercise also avoids destructive behaviour. If you are a busy person in a matchbox apartment in the city, this dog is not for you. It would thrive in a spacious urban area. It also requires a lot of attention and can be clingy. As with other shepherd dogs, it has a tendency to nip and chase kids. This should also be a part of its training.
Breeds may be predisposed to have certain characteristics in terms of temperament and intelligence. However, like humans, each dog is unique. Factors like genetics, environment and socialisation play a role in developing its personality and abilities.
A typical serving for an Australian Shepherd adult is 1.5 to 2.5 cups of excellent quality dry dog food per day. There are various considerations in feeding your dog depending on its age, size, build, activity level, and metabolism. A breed with high energy needs means high nutrient requirements. While it is true that breeds have basic nutritional needs, remember your dog is a unique being with distinctive needs.
Aussies, known as highly active dogs, require more protein than carbohydrates to be able to support their energy requirements. Protein is an important component that helps build muscles.
Typical calorie needs of adult Australian Shepherds per day:
As previously mentioned, Aussies need a lot of protein so their food should mainly be composed of meat. Whether commercial or homemade dog food, chicken and turkey, including liver, are great choices. Other sources of protein are eggs, lentils, peas, and chickpeas. Omega-3 fatty acids from salmon, herring and other sources are also recommended to maintain a shiny coat.
The average lifespan of the Australian Shepherd is 13-15 years. It is generally healthy but prone to certain medical conditions. These include Detached Retina, Hip and Elbow Dsyplasia, Hypothyroidism, Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD), Persistent Pupillary Membranes (PPM), Nasal Solar Dermatitis. They also tend to develop forms of cancer, deafness, cataracts, Epilepsy, Distichiasis, and Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA).
Since the Aussie is highly energetic, it requires at least two hours of exercise and play in open areas a day. Aside from this, it should be engaged in physical and mental activities such as practicing tricks and doing tasks.
If you are looking to own an Australian Shepherd dog anytime soon, you have to prepare for financial adjustments. For example, buying an Australian Shepherd puppy will cost anywhere from £500 to £900. It will cost more if you buy from a reputable breeder. Then the next thing to consider is food. Premium quality dog food for an Aussie will be around £40 to £60 a month. This does not include the treats.
Insuring an Aussie will prove a bit costly depending on the type of pet insurance you will avail. For a basic cover, prepare to spend over £20 a month, while it will cost about £45 for a lifetime policy cover. Costs to cover veterinary consultations and initial vaccinations is another thing, which will quickly set you back £1,000 a year, including boosters and the cost to neuter. It is estimated that an Aussie dog owner will roughly spend a total of £90 to £120 a month to care for this dog breed.
Are you sure the Australian Shepherd is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.Dog Breed Selector Quiz
Still not convinced if the Australian Shepherd is a suitable dog for you? Take our quick Pet Finder to find more dog breed choices.
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