The Australian Shepherd: thinking about getting an Australian Shepherd?
Australian Shepherds are quizzical, energetic dogs and love to keep busy at all times. They come in a variety of sizes and colours and can make for very loyal, gentle pets.
Place of origin: Western USA (despite the name!)
How big do Australian Shepherds get? 46 – 58cm
How heavy are Australian Shepherds? 16 – 32kg
Life Expectancy: 13 – 15 years
Colour: Merle, Red Merle, Red tricolour, Black, Black tricolour, Blue Merle, Red
Please note: A dog’s exercise, training/stimulation and grooming requirements can depend on several factors such as age and health. The same goes for ongoing costs of ownership. For advice on one specific dog, we always advise chatting with a vet.
How much exercise does an Australian Shepherd need?
Originally developed to herd sheep, it’s safe to say that Australian Shepherds are athletic dogs with lots and lots of energy.
They’ll need plenty of exercise to stay happy and healthy; this can include walks and games such as Fetch and Frisbee. It’s not unheard of for Australian Shepherds (Aussies for short) to accompany their owners on jogs or even bike rides.
When not out walking, your Aussie will appreciate a vast living space to roam around in.
Training: how to train an Australian Shepherd
Australian Shepherds are highly intelligent and respond well to training. Aussies thrive when they’re stimulated and can display negative behaviours such as barking and digging when they get bored. They are best suited to experienced owners that relish the idea of teaching their pet tricks and spending lots of time with them.
As natural herders, Australian Shepherds may attempt to lead or herd children or other pets. It’s important for owners to train this behaviour out of them using positive reinforcement.
Aussies traditionally have medium-length fur, longer below their bellies and at the backs of their legs. They shed fur all year and will need to be brushed thoroughly at least once a week. Aussies’ fur can become tangled or matted. You can avoid this by taking care to brush sensitive areas (behind the ears) and using a dog hair conditioner to help you.
Australian Shepherds are devoted, loyal and gentle dogs. Most are reserved with strangers, but they do love people and thrive on the company of their families. They get along with other dogs but will often try to herd them – a behaviour which is often unpopular with cats.
Aussies are well suited to families with older children who know how to handle them correctly. They’ll also need a sizeable living space to carry out their natural behaviour.
When you’re considering the lifetime cost of owning a dog, remember to take into account:
- Breed-specific food
- Veterinary care
- Pet insurance
- Kennels or dog sitters
- Grooming costs
- Toys and equipment
- Preventative healthcare
The cost of food and veterinary treatments can vary dramatically according to lifestyle factors such as age, general health and other external incidents. As a rough guide, allow between £80 and £120 a month to cover the ongoing costs of owning an Australian Shepherd. Our vets have drawn up this handy guide to save dog owners money.
Need more info?
For more info on finding the best dog breed for you and your lifestyle, have a chat with your vet.