Last Updated on August 7, 2021
The Australian Shepherd, or Aussie, is an incredibly popular breed and due to its high intelligence and unlimited energy these dogs are great pets and loyal companions.
Are you thinking about adding this fabulous Australian Shepherd dog to your family? There are many interesting things that you probably didn’t know about Aussies. Now, it’s time to learn more about these amazing dogs. Keep on reading to find out more interesting information about the breed.
1. The appearance of an Aussie
The Australian Shepherds are medium-sized dogs. The dogs are about 18 – 23 inches in height and weigh 18 – 27 kg. Males are usually taller and heavier that females. These beautiful dogs have a double coat that is straight or slightly wavy. Their coat is not long. However, it is dense and weather-resistant. The coat may come in a variety of colours:
- blue merle
- red merle
- Black with copper points
- Red with or without copper points
According to the breed standards, the Australian Shepherd may have some markings on the face, chest and tail. The dogs have strikingly beautiful blue eyes. But some dogs may have eyes of different colours. Most Aussies are born with short tails.
2. The personality of the Australian Shepherd
Australian Shepherds are very smart and active. They require lots of mental and physical stimulation daily. As herding animals, they love having a job and a purpose. A dog that does not have this need fulfilled will often become destructive.
As you already know, Aussies are highly intelligent dogs. That’s why they are capable of creating their own activities when they get bored. The Australian Shepherds can start herding your kids or chasing cars. These dogs are not couch potatoes who get pleasure and satisfaction from sedentary lifestyle. They constantly want to be engaged in very interesting and exciting activities. Otherwise, they quickly turn to destructive behaviour.
Those people who love the Australian Shepherds say that it’s really hard to find a dog with a better character. Aussies are very loyal to their owners. These loving and caring dogs become devoted companions.
The Australian Shepherds can’t feel happy without human interaction. So, you should keep in mind that your Aussie can’t be left alone to play in the backyard just like any other breed. The Aussie will start barking attracting your attention.
3. Training means a lot for the Australian Shepherd
Australian Shepherds are excellent working dogs. They need at least two or even three hours of exercise a day. Effective training helps keep their minds busy all the time. The Australian Shepherds were bred to withstand harsh weather conditions. They can be used for herding such animals as:
Training must be an integral part of your Australian Shepherd’s life. Due to regular exercise your dog will feel happy and stay healthy.
Despite the fact that Aussies possess a wide variety of fantastic qualities, they can’t learn new things on their own. They definitely need your help. The Australian Shepherds are easy to train. However, you should be patient and have enough time to work with your dog. In this case, the training process will be smooth and effective.
Now you know that physical exercises are of great importance to your Aussie dog. Mental stimulation is extremely important as well. The Australian Shepherds are problem-solvers. So, they definitely like to be challenged with intellectual exercises. Such exercises will help keep your dog’s mind sharp. So, in order to stimulate your Aussie’s brain, you should
- Play interactive games with your dog
- Work on new tricks
- Run errands with your Aussie
- Give your dog new toys
It’s also worth mentioning that there can’t be too much work or activity for your Australian Shepherd. They can handle more that you may even think of.
4. What it’s like to live with one
Aussies often display dominant behaviour. When the puppy appears in your home, show that you are the boss. Teach the puppy to obey you. Otherwise, your dog will try to become a leader. As a result, dangerous situations may occur. If you are planning to bring the Australian Shepherd home, be ready to spend much time with your puppy.
These dogs need a lot of attention. They want to be around you all the time. Plus, the Australian Shepherds have protective nature. They are always overprotective of their owners and other family members. The Aussies do not like strangers very much. They feel nervous about them. So, you should be really careful when introducing new people to your dog.
Living with an Australian Shepherd will not be hard if you establish a routine. It’s well-known that Aussies need consistency in everything. And when you establish a routine, your dog will get used to it within a short period of time.
The dog will know when you usually get back home from work, when it’s time to eat, exercise and go to bed. The Australian Shepherds really like when all these things happen at the same time. Remember that it can be very confusing for a dog when you deviate from a daily routine.
It’s also extremely important to mention that you should never punish your Aussie. You have to discipline the dog. Punishment will just scare the Australian Shepherd away and make it aggressive. The Aussies are very smart. They usually realize the results of their actions. Give your dog a treat or rub his belly when it is doing something right. But when the dog is doing something wrong, give no reward. The Aussie will quickly realize that this type of behaviour is not acceptable.
Aussies have a double coat that sheds all year round. That’s why your dog will need regular brushing. Some dog owners believe that shaving can reduce shedding significantly. If you shave your Aussie, it will still shed, but smaller hairs. Moreover, shaving may prevent your Aussie hair from growing back normally. And most importantly, shaving can remove the coat ability to protect your Aussie from heat and cold.
5. The best food to keep them healthy
The Australian Shepherds are high-energy dogs. They should consume food rich in nutrients in order to stay healthy.
The diet of your dog may include:
- Dry food
- Frozen food
- Canned food
Dry food is a top pick for most dog owners because it is easy to store and keeps your dog’s teeth clean. Frozen food is another good option and is generally a combination of raw meat and vegetables.
Canned food is another option that you have when it comes to feeding your dog. In fact, feeding your Aussie with canned food only is not recommended, because in this case the dog will need help with teeth and gums.
If you are a first-time Aussie owner, keep in mind that a healthy dog diet should contain protein, fat as well as the essential minerals and vitamins. Protein is extremely important for your dog’s proper growth and development. Fat provides your Aussie with the necessary amount of energy. Due to the fact that the Australian Shepherds are high-energy dogs, they need food with a higher fat content in comparison with the other dog breeds. Your Australian Shepherd can consume minerals and vitamins from healthy carbohydrates.
Make sure that you feed your Aussie with high-quality food only. Do not forget that it can be hard for your Aussie to digest plant food. So, make sure that the carbohydrates your dog consumes are highly digestible and nutritious. Feel free to add fresh fruits, starchy vegetables and whole grains to your dog’s diet.
6. Why early socialisation is important for your Australian Shepherd
Early socialisation helps your Aussie behave well not just with humans, but with other animals as well. No doubt, you want to raise a calm, well-behaved and even-tempered dog. In order to achieve the best results, you should start socialising the Aussie as early as possible.
The Australian Shepherds have a unique character. They adore their owners and try to please them all the time. But they will not tolerate bad attitude from the owner. Avoid shouting or physically punishing the Aussie. Remember that the calmer you are, the quicker you will achieve positive results with your dog.
Introduce your puppy to new smells, sounds and sights gradually. Give the Aussie enough time to get used to different situations.
7. Your Aussie may suffer from separation anxiety
The Australian Shepherds are very attached to their owners. That’s why they are likely to feel distressed if separated from them. You shouldn’t leave your dog alone for a long period of time especially if your Aussie is not engaged in any interesting activity. Otherwise, separation anxiety is inevitable.
Separation anxiety can be manifested in a wide variety of ways. They include:
- Whining and barking
- Destruction of the owner’s possessions
- Lack of appetite, drooling, panting
- Defecating or urinating indoors
- Causing self-injury
These are serious symptoms that require immediate attention. Play with your dog and do your best to provide the Aussie with mental and physical stimulation. It will help relieve the symptoms of stress and anxiety.
Some owners choose to put the Australian Shepherd into a crate while they are away. They hope that the dog is going to feel safe in their own space. However, it’s not always like that. Some dogs become even more frustrated and scared when they have to spend time in a crate.
If all the tricks you have used do not alleviate the symptoms of anxiety in your Aussie, find a professional who can help your dog get back on track and become happy again.