Australian Shepherd : 10 Most Common Questions
If you are looking for a smart, active, and loyal dog, one that loves the outdoors and is willing to please, then the Australian Shepherd might be the right breed. Initially bred for herding sheep, the Aussie, its other name, is still used in this capacity, as well as canine sports and family pets.
For some reason, not much is known by potential dog buyers regarding the Australian Shepherd so we wanted to address a few of the more common questions.
- 1. Does the Australian Shepherd come in different colors?
- 2. I’ve heard that this breed has strange eye color – is that true?
- 3. Are Australian Shepherds good at canine sports?
- 4. What is a Miniature Australian Shepherd?
- 5. What is the history of the Australian Shepherd?
- 6. Someone told me that an Aussie can smile – is that possible?
- 7. Why is the tail of the Australian Shepherd docked or bobbed?
- 8. Are Australian Shepherds good with children?
- 9. Is the Aussie difficult to groom?
- 10. I have a cat and my husband is interested in getting an Australian Shepherd – is this a good choice?
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1. Does the Australian Shepherd come in different colors?
The answer is yes. In fact, you will find four distinct and common colors for this breed. For instance, there is blue merle, black-tri, red merle, and red-tri.
However, in addition to the mentioned color combinations, this breed can also be found in solid red and black, with or without white or tan, or both points. While slight white on this breed is acceptable, too much is considered a major flaw.
2. I’ve heard that this breed has strange eye color – is that true?
This is true although some people would say the Aussie’s eyes are beautiful. In fact, the breed was originally called “ghost eye dog” because of the incredible variations. For instance, the Aussie commonly has brown, blue, amber, green, or hazel eyes.
However, this breed is also known for having eyes of different colors, as well as bi-colored eyes, which could be half one color and half another color. For the American Kennel Club, any color or color combination is fine, as long as the eyes are healthy.
3. Are Australian Shepherds good at canine sports?
Absolutely, and they love playing, both for fun and competitively. For example, sports such as Field Trials, Flyball, Disc Dog, Mushing, Scootering, and Weight Pulling are just a few considerations.
4. What is a Miniature Australian Shepherd?
Similar to the standard size breed, the miniature version is simply a smaller, more compact version. This particular breed is usually between 14 and 18 inches tall at the withers, and weighs just 20 to 40 pounds whereas a standard Australian Shepherd is around 65 to 85 pounds.
Because of the adorable face, agility, and trainability, the miniature version has become quite popular.
5. What is the history of the Australian Shepherd?
Interestingly, the exact origin of the Australian is vague although it is believed this breed came from the Pyrenees, located between France and Spain.
Originally, European settlers used this breed of dog for herding sheet but over time, the Australian Shepherd became popular for a number of other things such as rodeo performers.
6. Someone told me that an Aussie can smile – is that possible?
Yes and in fact, most dogs smile but the Australian Shepherd has something very, unique. In fact, most people think the Aussie is showing his teeth as if angry when in fact he is merely smiling. When the breed smiles, all the teeth can be seen, which is typically followed by a strange snorting noise.
7. Why is the tail of the Australian Shepherd docked or bobbed?
Since this dog is a herding dog, he is constantly in the brush, ditches, going through weeds, and so on. A long tail would only become a hindrance to the dog’s herding job by collecting burrs.
At that point, the burrs can dig into the skin, causing irritation and possible infection. By docking or bobbing the tail, this problem is eliminated, making the dog more agile.
8. Are Australian Shepherds good with children?
Most are, although the dog should have been well socialized as a puppy. The key with the Aussie is to make sure the child also understands his or her boundaries. In other words, while this breed is patient and loyal, it also does not like to have its ears or tail pulled on.
9. Is the Aussie difficult to groom?
Although the Aussie does have thick, relatively long hair, it is actually not difficult to groom. Keep in mind that this breed does shed but with daily brushing and a monthly bath, your dog will stay clean. Of course, if he goes outside to play for long periods each day, you may need to increase the frequency of baths.
10. I have a cat and my husband is interested in getting an Australian Shepherd – is this a good choice?
Well, it could be but then again, it might not be. In most cases, the Australian Shepherd does better when raised with a cat. While there is a chance the two could become friends, especially if both are young, bringing a mature Aussie into the home with a cat is probably asking for trouble.
Read More About
- Australian Shepherd Breed Information
- Australian Shepherd Training Guide
- Owning an Australian Shepherd : Breeder Recommendations
- Australian Shepherd Health Guide