The Australian Shepherd is a natural herder and makes an excellent companion, especially when their intelligence and energy are put to good use in activities like dog sports or advanced obedience. Despite their name, Australian Shepherds did not originate in Australia, but rather in the United States. Often compared to the Border Collie, Australian Shepherds have a lot of similar qualities when it comes to their hard-working and intelligent personality. Their intelligence allows for them to serve in various canine careers such as a guide dog, hearing dog, assistance dog, and rescue dog. This breed is also known for its looks, with a soft medium coat – ranging from black, blue merle and red merle – and beautiful eyes that can be brown, yellow, blue, green, or amber. Interestingly, they can at times have two different coloured eyes, or even a “split eye” which means that one half is a different colour than the other.
Lifestyle and Living Environment
Australian Shepherds can adapt to any living environment as long as they receive ample amounts of mental and physical exercise. When they are indoors, consider providing them with puzzle toys to keep them busy. Herding dogs like these are known to bark and nip, which is why early socialisation is necessary to train them to behave around family and visitors. They also will need to learn that a cat or a neighbour pulling into their driveway next door is nothing out of the ordinary.
Common Health Issues
Australian Shepherds are prone to: Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Epilepsy, Deafness, Osteochondrosis Dissecans, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Cataracts, Distichiasis, Collie Eye Anomaly, Persistent Pupillary Membranes, Hypothyroidism, Allergies, Drug Sensitivity, Cancer, Nasal Solar Dermatitis, Detached Retina.