Australian Shepherd (aussie)
The Australian Shepherd has an amazing beauty. Her expressive look will drive even an avid cat lover crazy.
- Brief information
- Breed characteristics
- History of the Australian Shepherd breed
- Aussi's appearance
- Character of the Australian Shepherd
- Education and training
- Care and maintenance
- Health and diseases of the Australian Shepherd
- How to choose a puppy
- How much does an Australian Shepherd dog cost
- Breed name: Australian Shepherd (aussie)
- Country of Origin: USA
- Weight: males 25-30 kg, females 18-25 kg
- Height (height at the withers): males 51-58 cm, females 46-53 cm
- Life expectancy: 13 – 15 years
- Despite the "talking" name of the breed, the USA is considered the homeland of Australians.
- Dogs are easily trained and for this reason are often used for service or as guides.
- Aussies are known for their friendliness, which allows them to easily get along with other animals.
- The good-natured appearance of shepherds does not detract from their ability to give a decent rebuff to the offender.
- Representatives of this breed need 60-minute physical exercises every day.
- Australian Shepherds are not the best option for keeping in an apartment, but frequent walks more than compensate for this.
- These animals are hyper-responsible and can look after a child, cat or hamster for several hours.
- An inexperienced owner will not be able to suppress the dominant character of the pet.
- Aussi need careful care (especially for wool).
The Australian Shepherd is a harmonious combination of comely appearance and flexible intelligence. These dogs are known all over the world as reliable and loyal companions who will cheer you up with their funny antics. For Aussi, there is no better entertainment than an active walk with the owner in the city park. Animals sincerely enjoy the company of their family and do not like to be alone for a long time. This charming shaggy man will show you by his example what inexhaustible optimism and the ability to have fun all day long means!
History of the Australian Shepherd breed
Despite the fact that more than half a century has been devoted to the study of the Australian Shepherd, experts still have not come to a consensus on the question of its origin. It is believed that the breed was bred in the USA, but the history of the appearance of the aussie still goes back to Australia and is associated with the name of Eliza Forlong – the ancestor of merino breeding and the production of high-quality wool on the southern continent.
In the thirties of the XIX century, she and her family settled near Campbell Town, a small town in the east of Tasmania (Australia), where she emigrated from Scotland with her husband and two sons. Here the family founded the Winton farm, where they began to breed sheep bought in Germany and brought with them. Josef Pabts was hired as a flock keeper, who followed the Forlongs along with his tiger herding dogs, which are now called old German Shepherds. This is a confirmed version of how the progenitors of Aussi got into the "Country upside down".
According to another theory, the ancestor of the Shepherd is the Australian coolie, which is most similar to the modern Aussie. Farmers and breeders attempted to breed the perfect four-legged shepherd, for which they crossed an Australian kelpie and a cattle dog. In addition, tigers and border collies took part in the creation of the breed . As a result of the selection, which exceeded all expectations, the ideal version of the shepherd dog was obtained. The animal had strength and endurance, was able to independently assess the situation during its work and make a decision without waiting for the instructions of the owner. One of the important positive qualities of Aussi was the lack of aggression towards livestock.
At the end of the XIX century, the intensive development of the American wool market began. The main emphasis was placed on Australian sheep, which were brought by ships from Australia. Together with them, a shepherd breed of dogs was brought, which impressed local cattle breeders with its abilities. These gifted animals rapidly gained popularity in the western states, where sheep farming was most developed.
America is the birthplace of the Australian Shepherd. The first officially registered breeder is Juanita Eli, who exported merinos from Australia. Together with one batch of sheep, a shepherd and a bluish-colored dog arrived. It was the first Australian shepherd dog acquired by Juanita Eli, who made a huge contribution to the further development of the breed.
Australian Shepherds owe the increase in their popularity among the population to Jay Sisler, the owner of a ranch in Idaho. The man was an avid participant in rodeo competitions. There were usually shows in between. Jay Sisler entertained the audience by performing performances in which his Australian shepherds – Queenie, Stubby and Shorty – participated, which were admired by viewers not only in the USA, but also in Canada. Walt Disney has invited furry artists to participate in the filming of two films. All this greatly contributed to the popularization of the Aussi breed, since many wanted to get such a smart and cute four-legged friend.
The history of the breed's development is also connected with three generations of American farmers – Hartnagles. While breeding sheep, they were also looking for a suitable helper among herding dogs. Their choice fell on the Australian Shepherd, who impressed with his working qualities. By the way, two puppies – Badger and Goody, acquired from Juanita Eli, were "nephews" of Queenie, Jay Sisler's famous dog. Goody gave rise to such famous lines as Wood and Flintridge. Hartnagles, along with Juanita Eli and Jay Sisler, are next on the list of famous breeders of Australian shepherds.
Finally, Australian Shepherds acquired their current appearance relatively recently – in the first half of the XX century. In 1957, a shepherd named Panda appeared on the list of the National Registry of Shepherd Dogs on official rights. This was the first significant recognition of the Aussie as an independent breed. In 1962, the registration of the American Club of Australian Shepherds took place, although in fact it existed five years before that. In 1970, the first nurseries were organized – Maywood and Las Rocosa, and soon their number already reached twenty-six. The breed standard was first registered only in 1977. According to the official version, which has been repeatedly questioned by experts, the Australian Shepherd was bred as a result of crossing the Pyrenean Shepherd, Bernese mountain dog and collie .
Video: Australian Shepherd
The Australian Shepherd belongs to medium breeds with gender differences in the size of individuals. The height of males ranges from 52-58 cm, in females usually does not exceed 46-53 cm. The dog's weight can vary from 18 to 30 kg.
The body is somewhat elongated in length, but the overall dimensions remain balanced, so that the dog does not look squat. In comparison with males, bitches look more elegant and graceful, but without a hint of thin-boned.
Head and skull
The head is quite large, but at the same time it seems neat and light. It is proportional to the body, with a slight rounding of the skull. The forehead is slightly rounded or flat. In the occipital region, the presence of a small bump is acceptable. The curve separating the forehead and nose is quite pronounced. The line of the skull arch is parallel to the bridge of the nose.
The cone-shaped muzzle of the aussi tapers from the base to the back of the nose. The length is average, corresponding to the length of the posterior cranial part (or slightly shorter). The nose lobe is pigmented depending on the main color. Black color is found in marble-blue and black dogs, brown – in marble-red and red. At the same time, the marble base color allows small pink inclusions, provided that their total area does not exceed 25% of the entire nose lobe in dogs from one year and older.
Medium-length ears have a triangular shape with barely rounded tips. Most often, a high location is noted (but not too far away), but a lateral one is also acceptable if the following condition is met: the tip of the ear is "broken" and looks forward. The ears are semi-erect, at the moment of alertness they rise. Standing or completely hanging ears are considered a serious disadvantage. They are not stopped.
Aussi's look is very expressive and intelligent. They will carefully examine a stranger, but a certain wariness in their gaze is almost always accompanied by friendliness. The eyes have an almond-shaped incision, set moderately obliquely, not too deep, but not convex. There are different colors of the iris: amber, blue, greenish, brown. There may be some marbling in its coloring with inclusions of various colors. There are even individuals with different eye colors, which is not a disqualifying disadvantage. Dogs of black and marble-blue color, as a rule, have a black outline around the eyes. The red and marble-red "edging" is brown.
Jaws and teeth
Aussi's jaws are strong, scissor bite (tick-like is also acceptable). Overshot and undershot of more than 3 mm are considered disqualifying disadvantages. The teeth are strong, white, presented with a full set. The complete formula has 42 teeth, of which 20 are located on the upper jaw, and 22 on the lower. All teeth must be available, but the absence of some due to injury will not be penalized by a decrease in the rating at exhibitions.
The neck of the Australian Shepherd Dog is of moderate length, has a slight bend on the back of the neck. Strong, muscular, well set on the shoulders.
Strong body has developed muscles. The back is wide, in the natural stance of the dog has a straight top line from the withers to the pelvis, passing further into a slightly sloping croup. The front part of the case is equal in width to the rear. Moderately deep breasts are characterized by pronounced relief. Its lower point reaches the level of the elbow joint. The long ribs have a regular oval shape. The abdomen is tucked up, with a moderate curve line from the chest to the groin.
The Australian Shepherd has three possible tail lengths: long, naturally short up to 10 cm long (when a puppy is born with an already short tail) and cropped. When cupping the tail (unless prohibited by the laws of the country) of an adult, it should also not exceed 10 cm.
Aussi's flat shoulder blades are distinguished by their close location to the withers. Their angle of inclination is 45 degrees. The humerus bone in its length corresponds to the scapula and is located at right angles to its axis. Strong paws in the shape of the cross section are more like an oval than a circle. The elbow joint occupies a median position between the ground and the withers of the animal. The forearms are perpendicular to the surface on which the dog is moving. Pasterns of medium length are slightly inclined. The fifth (dewclaws) fingers are removed at the request of the owner. Oval feet end with curved and compactly assembled fingers. The pads of the paws are elastic, with thick skin.
The angle between the femur and the pelvic axis forms a perpendicular. The knee joints are clearly pronounced, and in the area of the hocks the limbs are moderately curved. If you look at the Australian Shepherd from behind, its shins will be perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other. They turn into short metatarsals. Normally, there are no rear thumbs. Oval feet are compact, have curved toes that end in thick and elastic pads.
Manner of movement
Aussi's movements are smooth; they differ in speed, ease and freedom. Despite the sweep, her step is well balanced. Both pairs of limbs move parallel to the central axis of the body. The dog's paws approach the projection of its center of gravity when the animal accelerates its pace. The back line remains straight while running. The Australian Shepherd dog, which has extraordinary agility, has the ability to quickly change the direction and manner of movement.
The coat of the Australian Shepherd is stiff, of medium length and moderate density. It can be straight or slightly wavy. The coat consists of a longer outer coat and a short soft undercoat, which is completely replaced twice a year. Its density is directly dependent on climate conditions: the cooler it is, the higher the density of the undercoat. In the periods between the change of the undercoat, moderate molting is observed.
The head, ears, anterior parts of the forelimbs, as well as areas under the hocks are covered with short and smooth hair. On the posterior surfaces of the forelimbs and on the buttocks, the hairline forms so–called feathers - longer in the area of the hind limbs. Shepherd dogs have a moderately developed mane and collar, which are more pronounced in males.
Despite the fact that there are individuals with a variety of colors among Australian shepherds, and the breed itself is famous for their uniqueness, only four types of color are recognized as the official standard: black, marble-blue (aussi is most often associated with it), red and marble-red. In all cases, the presence of white areas is acceptable, but without frills. Pay attention to the fact that the eyes should be framed in color. As it grows older, the coat darkens a little.
There are also sable, graphite, golden and tiger colors, but they are not officially recognized.
Almost any deviations from the above-described standard can be considered breed defects. The most serious and common disadvantages include:
- hanging or fully erect ears;
- atypical wool cover.
Disqualifying vices are as follows:
- behavioral deviations manifested by timidity or excessive aggression;
- deviations in the bite in the form of an undershot or overbite of more than 3 mm (incisor incisors not closing due to their shortness is not regarded as an incorrect bite);
- incomplete dental formula (their loss as a result of injury is not taken into account);
- white points on the back in the space between the base of the tail and the withers, as well as on the side surfaces between the limbs;
- undescended testicles in the scrotum (cryptorchidism).
Photo of an adult Australian Shepherd
Character of the Australian Shepherd
Cheerful, affectionate, quick–witted and agile - this is how any Australian Shepherd can be described. By the way, this is one of the few breeds whose representatives, in a good mood, are able to "smile" in all 42 teeth and wag their backs at the same time. By their nature, these are natural shepherds who are called to monitor the herd and return stray animals in time. This trait can also be noticed when walking with a pet: he will constantly make sure that no one falls behind the company, and gather everyone together. Despite the constant desire to carry out the commands of the owner, the dog can make independent decisions in an emergency situation.
Aussi are very friendly and easily find a common language with their relatives during walks, as well as with other pets – be it a cat or a hamster, a cow or a domestic goose. It seems that the words from the famous song: "He does not bark, does not bite, does not rush at passers–by" are written about Aussi. The dog behaves perfectly at exhibitions among the barking brethren, on the street and at home. The Australian Shepherd Dog is never bullied first, but in case of unfriendly behavior of relatives, as well as when threatening the owner or family members, it will always be able to give a worthy rebuff. To do this, the animal has everything: both developed muscles and strong teeth.
Aussi just loves children and will become their tireless companion for outdoor games. The dog will be happy to accompany the owner while jogging or cycling, will take an active part in various competitions or hiking trips. For representatives of this breed, it is unbearable to sit all day in a confined space. Motor activity is simply necessary for them to maintain muscle mass, well-being and mood.
Education and training
Being naturally born guards, Aussies can sometimes show excessive aggression when defending their territory with improper upbringing. Special attention should be paid to this point. Since Australian Shepherds are very friendly by nature, aggression, as well as cowardice, refers to behavioral deviations.
From the very first days of the puppy's appearance in the house, it is necessary to explain to him the elementary rules of behavior and allocate the territory, which will help the baby adapt to a new place faster. It is important that the dog knows who its owner is. Otherwise, the animal will strive to occupy a dominant position in the house.
The Australian Shepherd is very smart and talented, easy to train and trainable. It is believed that she is able to execute commands after 30-40 repetitions. Of course, it is worth starting at home from the first days of the puppy's appearance, learning simple commands that will ensure its safety during walks: "Fu!", "Nearby!", "To me!". Pet motivation is an important point in training, so always encourage the baby in case of correct execution of commands. Aussies are goodies, so you don't have to think long about how best to do it.
After the execution of elementary commands is worked out at home, you should move on to classes on the street in order to learn new and consolidate acquired skills with distractions. It should be remembered that before starting training, it is recommended to give the dog a little walk and do all his "business" so that nothing distracts the animal afterwards. The incentive-motivational approach should become a fundamental method in learning teams. You can not be rude to your pet or punish him: this can make the dog timid and timid. The help of a cynologist instructor allows you to quickly consolidate the course of general training. Often, the Australian Shepherd dog has several classes.
Care and maintenance
The Australian Shepherd is not the kind of dog that likes to lie quietly on the couch. Being very active animals, aussies need long walks – at least 2-3 hours a day. In summer, in the heat, it is better to reduce them or use a cooler time of day for this – morning and evening. Of course, if there is a country house, this is not a problem: the shepherd will find something to occupy himself on the site. Owners of a city apartment, however, will have to devote a significant part of their time to the dog, walking the pet. Aussie is happy to run after a stick, a ball, plastic discs or an obstacle course.
Of course, do not forget about dog training during walks: the Australian Shepherd will be happy to follow the owner's commands. During such classes, monitor the behavior of the pet. A workaholic by nature, the Australian is ready to work until he literally falls from fatigue, which, of course, is undesirable to allow.
When keeping an Australian Shepherd dog in an apartment, it is necessary to allocate it a separate place away from drafts and heating devices, equipping it with a couch. The dog must be aware that this is its territory. Buy your pet some toys with which he will be happy to frolic. Put a drinking bowl next to it and make sure that there is always clean water in it. The room in which the dog is kept should be periodically ventilated. The air must be fresh and sufficiently moist, otherwise the wool will constantly shed.
Aussi feels great in a city apartment, provided that they walk with her for a long time and play active games. If you lock an animal in an apartment, he may have problems with behavior in the form of moping, barking for no reason or drinking, and the unspent energy will result in gnawed shoes and furniture. In a private house, a pet can be kept in an aviary, but this is undesirable, since aussi needs the attention of the owner and constant communication with him. Otherwise, you can get an aggressive or, conversely, timid animal. It is categorically not recommended to keep representatives of this breed on a chain.
The Australian Shepherd – the owner of a semi-long coat with a thick undercoat – needs combing 2-3 times a week, and during the molting period – daily. In the absence of this procedure, the development of dermatitis, the formation of tangles or the appearance of skin parasites is possible. Combing the wool is best with a metal brush with large sparse teeth and a fluff or a special furminator. Bathing a dog is recommended no more than once every two months, using special pet shampoos.
The dog's claws are worn off naturally, but if she often walks on grass or soft ground, this does not happen. So, using a special claw cutter, they are trimmed twice a month, because long claws negatively affect gait and cause a feeling of discomfort in the paws. At the same time, it is necessary to try not to damage the pulp in which the nerve and blood vessels are located. If this happens, the wound should be treated with an antiseptic solution or iodine.
It is necessary to monitor the health of aussi teeth with the help of special tools and devices – brushes, pastes, artificial bones to remove plaque. In advanced cases, you may need a scaler – a dental spatula to remove stones. Before and after the procedure, it is necessary to disinfect the instrument and the oral cavity with a solution of peroxide or furacilin.
One of the conditions for the proper maintenance of a pet is rubbing the eyes using special medical solutions, ordinary tea tea or chamomile decoction. The dog's ears should be wiped 1-2 times a week, using ear sticks and cotton pads. To remove excess sulfur, you can drip a 3% peroxide solution into the ear canal and then give the pet plenty to shake his head. Decoctions of various herbs are used to wipe the auricles with cotton pads.
Aussi are very unpretentious in food. They can be fed both natural food and various feeds. Porridge (rice, oatmeal, buckwheat) and meat (chicken, turkey, beef and lean fish) are suitable for an adult pet. It is advisable for a puppy to add cottage cheese mixed with kefir, as well as quail eggs to the diet. If necessary, milk should start with small amounts. Australian Shepherds are happy to eat both raw and boiled vegetables and fruits: apples, carrots, zucchini, pumpkin, turnips. In winter, the diet of the Australian Shepherd needs to be enriched with vegetable and animal fats, which will allow you to better tolerate the cold.
If you decide to use dry food, you should choose premium products. Try to buy one that contains less protein.
It is strictly forbidden to give the dog the following products:
- raw eggs (except quail eggs);
- carbonated and alcoholic beverages, coffee;
- fried food and "food from the table";
- small tubular bones;
- fruits with pits;
- raw river fish;
- candy and chocolate;
- raw meat and bones;
- mushrooms and nuts;
- fatty meat;
- citrus fruits.
Health and diseases of the Australian Shepherd
Aussi with proper care, proper nutrition and sufficient physical activity are distinguished by good health. To prevent diseases such as rabies, carnivorous plague, Lyme disease and others, it is necessary to vaccinate in a timely manner according to the vaccination schedule.
Like many representatives of herding breeds, Australian Shepherds are at risk of developing juvenile cataracts. Among the most common diseases inherent in this breed are:
- autoimmune diseases (thyroiditis, allergies);
- hip dysplasia;
- optic nerve dystrophy;
- oncological diseases;
Individuals of the Merle color are predisposed to problems with the organs of vision and hearing. This is due to a recessive gene responsible for marble color, hearing and vision. In an effort to avoid such a genetic combination and a multiple increase in the risk of developing the diseases mentioned above (up to complete deafness and blindness), it is prohibited to cross two Merle dogs.
How to choose a puppy
Before buying an Australian Shepherd puppy, visit the exhibitions of this breed, talk with the owners to determine whether such a dog is suitable for you in temperament and activity. If you have made a final decision, it is advisable to visit several nurseries. Having decided on the breeder, find out what examinations were carried out on the male and female. It is necessary to conclude that there is no pathology of the visual organs (retinal atrophy, cataracts) and the musculoskeletal system (hip and elbow dysplasia).
Only then proceed to the selection of the future pet. A healthy puppy, similar to a plush toy, will be curious without feeling timid. Clean wool should not have tangles or bald spots. Examine the abdomen (rashes should not be present on the skin), make sure there are no hernial protrusions. The nose should be moist and cool. Give the puppy a walk to make sure there is no clubfoot. If everything suits you, it remains only to agree on the price.
Photos of Australian Shepherd puppies
How much does an Australian Shepherd dog cost
The Australian Shepherd is quite rare: only about fifty individuals have been registered. The parents of almost all of these dogs are representatives of champions among the breed, possessing exceptional working qualities. If you decide to buy such aussi puppy in the kennel, get ready for the fact that it will cost a lot – from $800 to thousand dollars. However, if you are not going to take part in exhibitions or breed dogs, then you can save on the purchase by purchasing a puppy with disqualifying defects (usually it concerns the color). In any case, you will get a cute and intelligent four-legged friend.