The Australian Shepherd (or "Aussie" for short) is a herding dog that was first bred (despite its name) in the United States during the 1800's. Aussies are popular in their native California, and are becoming quite popular globally.
The Australian Shepherd can stand between 18 and 23 inches (46 to 58 cm) at the withers and weigh between 35 and 70 pounds (16 to 32 kg). For show dogs, females must fall in the smaller range and males in the larger range.
The Aussie's coat may appear in one of several different primary colors - blue merle, red merle, red, or black. All may have white markings and/or copper points. Dogs with tan and white along with the primary color are usually called tricolor.
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Temperament: The Aussie is intelligent, learns quickly, and loves to play. It is usually a sweet and affectionate dog who is faithful to its owners and is good with children, although its overwhelming herding instinct can be dangerous if it tries chasing cars. It may nip at hands or heels in a herding attempt, which can be falsely interpreted as aggression.
Care: Socialize your puppy at a young age to be with children, strangers and other animals. Australian Shepherds have a tendency to be guarded with strangers, and are very protective of their home. Exercise or run your Australian shepherd at least once a day. The Australian shepherd is a working dog and is abounding in energy. It needs a vigorous workout to prevent the formation of negative habits (chewing and digging). An Australian Shepherd's life expectancy is 12 years or more.
Training: Like many herding breeds, the Australian Shepherd has considerable energy and drive and likes having a job to do. Dog sports such as frisbee and dog agility come naturally to an Aussie.