Traits & Training You Can Expect with an Australian Shepherd
The Australian Shepherd is a herding breed that was actually developed in the United States and not in Australia. It is also not the same as an Australian Cattle Dog (or Heeler), the two are different breeds with different traits, although they are both herding breeds and naturally very intelligent.
The Australian Shepherd is generally an affectionate, loving dog that is smart, lively yet also a family dog that thrives around people. They are considered a good dog for city life as well as for rural owners, but they will need considerable exercise in the city if they don’t have room to run.
Traits to Consider
The physical traits of the Australian Shepherd make it a beautiful dog, but one that does have some maintenance requirements. They can be heavy shedders in the spring and fall and their longer, double layer coat will need routine grooming. They can range in size from about 30 to 60 pounds and stand from 18 to 23 inches at the withers, with males being larger.
They come in a range of wonderful colors including red and white, black, blue merle, red merle and combinations of these colors. These dogs can have blue or brown eyes, and sometimes one of each.
It is also interesting to note that some puppies are born with beautiful plumed tails that are carried high and curled up and over the back. Some puppies can also be born with just a very short tail while some are a bit longer but still not a full tail.
Personality traits with the Australian Shepherd are easy to see in the bright, sparkling eyes and the wagging tail. They love their family and may be naturally protective. They can also be prone to trying to herd people and other animals, which is more instinctual in some lines than others.
They do need regular exercise, similar in many ways to the Border Collie. They are good with other dogs if socialized early, making them a great dog for agility, Flyball and games of fetch or chase.
Tips for Training
The Australian Shepherd is a very quick learner. He or she will naturally problem solve issues and can be taught complex tricks with relative ease by an experienced owner.
They thrive on positive training methods and strive to please their owners. However, they will quickly learn if they can get away with not following commands given by certain members of the household. They can be independent and need to be provided with early training to develop a strong bond with their owner and a foundation for later advanced training.
They are also dogs that can be easily bored with routines so need to have new things to learn and do. They are great companion dogs and like nothing better to be with people, which makes them an ideal dog for many families, particularly those with active children and a busy household.