Last Updated on August 4, 2021
The Australian Shepherds are smart, curious and hard-working dogs that will make you feel happy. Here are 5 facts about Australian Shepherd dogs.
So, to start our top 5 facts about Australian Shepherd dogs, the Australian Shepherd, Aussie for short, is an incredibly popular breed and has been for years. Their brains and looks have been captivating people for ages, while their docile temperament makes the Aussie the perfect companion.
If you, like many, have fallen in love with the Australian Shepherd, here are some fun facts you probably didn’t know about them:
1. They are originally from Europe
Many people believe Australian Shepherds originated in Australia because of the name. That is not the case. In fact, these beautiful and highly intelligent dogs are not registered as a native Australian breed. The breed originated in Spain and when a group of Basques immigrated to Australia in the 1800’s, they brought their herding dogs with them. Those dogs were known as little blue dogs with bob tails. These herding dogs were the foundation for creating the Australian Shepherd breed we know today.
But it was only when, much later, they were brought to California, that they received the denomination of Australian Shepherd. It’s interesting to know that the American ranchers successfully bred the Australian Shepherds for herding purposes.
The Aussies are very strong dogs who feel comfortable in different types of terrain. That’s why, these fabulous dogs do amazingly well in high plains where the ranchers pastured the flocks of sheep.
Some Aussie enthusiasts believe that they come from the British herding dogs, Collies, which were often merle, tricolour as well as black with tan or white patches. And these coat patterns are known to be typical for the Australian Shepherds.
These sweet-natured dogs have gained huge popularity due to their exceptional trainability. In 1991, the breed was first recognized by the American Kennel Club.
2. They can be very shy
The Aussies are adorable working dogs, incredibly loyal to their owners. With energy to spare, they are always down to games, chases or any task that requires physical or intellectual ability. When it comes to strangers, however, the Australian Shepherd can be very reserved. Although never hostile, don’t expect them to be the life of the party in a group of strangers.
Due to the fact that the Aussies can be very shy and apprehensive, you should start socialising your puppy as soon as possible. Ideally, you should begin working with your puppy the moment you bring it home. Keep in mind that early socialisation is vital to your Australian Shepherd puppy.
The Aussies need human contact all the time. So, try to expose your dog to different people and situations on a regular basis. Obviously, you will not be happy with the dog that is scared of everything and everyone around.
Teach your Aussie how to function successfully in society. Help your puppy to get all the necessary skills to be friendly with other dogs, cats, and of course, people. It’s worth mentioning that the puppies learn from their positive experience.
Despite the fact that dogs do not understand the human language, you still can teach your Aussie what the words mean by constantly repeating those words. The Australian Shepherds are really smart. So, the training process will not be very hard.
Make sure that your Aussie is not fearful of people. In fact, being shy and fearful are two different things. And being afraid of people is not acceptable for the Australian Shepherds. Fearful dogs can start biting your visitors. That’s definitely not what you need.
If you are planning to use your Australian Shepherd for herding, it would be great if you find enough time to visit a farm with your puppy. Introduce your dog to goats, horses, cattle, sheep and ducks. Let your puppy play with other puppies. However, make sure that those puppies are healthy and vaccinated.
Take your Aussie to the park. Remember that the more people your puppy meets, the less fearful it will be in the future.
It is also a great idea to introduce the Australian Shepherd to different surfaces including linoleum, concrete, gravel and even grass. Plus, let your puppy hear music, the sound of the vacuum cleaner, lawnmowers, motorcycles, baby screaming and other loud noises. There is no doubt about the fact that all these tips will help your raise your Australian Shepherd puppy to be a confident, brave and friendly dog.
3. Heterochromia is a very common trait
Australian Shepherds have many different eye colours recognised in the breed standard. However, they are also prone to Heterochromia, which is having two different eye colours. This is a fairly common trait in Australian Shepherds, coming from their ancestors, and really enhances their unique look.
The Australian Shepherds may have any combination of blue, hazel, brown, amber and even green eyes. Your Aussie may inherit heterochromia from its parents. It’s interesting to know that the parent dogs do not need to have the different coloured eyes themselves. It’s enough for the dogs to carry the gene that can be passed on to the puppies.
Some breeders want to produce the Aussie puppies with heterochromia. It fact, it’s possible, but still very unlikely. In order to achieve that purpose, the breeder has to make sure that a mother and father dogs possess the gene. Otherwise, the result of the breeding will be unpredictable. In this case, the only thing the breeder can do is to play the guessing game.
Dog breeding is a time-consuming and expensive process. Think well if you are ready to spend time and money even if the results are not guaranteed. Plus, keep in mind that you should never let two Aussies with heterochromia have puppies together. In this case, the puppies are likely to develop some serious diseases including blindness and deafness.
4. They make wonderful service dogs
With sharp minds, eagerness to please and a great disposition for work, the Australian Shepherds are great options for service dogs. Not only are they easy to train, but they bond well with their trainers. Giving them an important job will make your Aussie very happy.
The Australian Shepherds are perfect dogs with adorable personalities. They can provide their owners with love, care and comfort. The Aussies are highly intelligent. It helps them learn a lot of new information without any difficulty. So, the Australian Shepherds make excellent service dogs due to their loyalty, great temperament, unique intelligence, strength and energy. But what tasks do service dogs perform?
The service dogs are usually trained to help people with physical or mental disabilities. A service dog can guide a blind person, pull a wheelchair or alert deaf people. A service dog can also remind people with mental disorders to take the prescribed medications.
Service dogs play an extremely important role in the lives of so many people. The Australian Shepherds are very talented. They can be trained to become guide dogs, hearing dogs, mobility assistance dogs, autism service dogs, diabetic alert dogs. The Aussie can also make a brilliant psychiatric service dog and effectively help people suffering from depression, anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
5. They can get destructive when bored
Australian Shepherds need constant exercise and distractions to keep them happy and relaxed. They love to run around in the outdoors and are more than pleased to help people with their work. But without the proper stimulation, Aussies will get stressed out and bored. When that happens, they need to spend their energy somehow — and that will eventually involve excessive barking and destructive behaviour around the house.
In order to prevent this type of behaviour, make sure that your Aussie is busy all the time and gets enough mental stimulation. Daily walks are absolutely indispensable for your dog. Hiking is great for high-energy dogs. Your Australian Shepherd will definitely like spending some time with you and exploring new places.
You can also entertain the Aussie by using food puzzles. These puzzles will keep your Aussie busy for a while bringing the dog a lot of pleasure and satisfaction.
Trick training can be rewarding as well. Start with simple tricks and gradually move to more difficult ones. You will be surprised how quickly your Aussie can learn. You may also think about choosing the most exciting and interesting canine sport for your Australian Shepherd. You can sharpen your Aussie’s mind and dexterity by getting your pet to Dock Diving, Frisbee, Flyball, agility training, Treibball or any other activity.
And last but not the least, give your Aussie a job. In fact, it doesn’t matter what kind of job the Australian Shepherd will get. The most important thing is to keep the dog busy. And when the Aussie is doing an interesting job, it has no desire to damage or destroy things in your home.