Australian Shepherd

Herding Group

Two Australian Shepherd dogs in front of a white background

Height at Shoulders

Females 18-21 in, Males 20-23 in

Weight

Females 35-55 lbs, Males 55-70 lbs

Life Expectancy

12-15 yrs

History

The Australian Shepherd's name is a bit misleading considering it originated in California. The "Aussie"'s ancestor, the Pyrenean Shepherd, was a popular herding dog amongst the Basques, a group of indigenous people from the borderlands between France and Spain. In the early 1800's, as Anglo-Australians were making their way into the interior, many Basques sailed east to Australia to herd sheep there. They bred their shepherds with collies and border collies to improve the breed. Eventually, many of them left for California where Californians mistook their dogs for being Australian (hence the misnomer). The breed was fine-tuned on the West Coast, establishing the breed we know today.

Breed Characteristics

While not all Australian Shepherds will display the exact characteristics typical of the breed, most share a personality and temperament can be generalized by the characteristic rankings below. 

Intelligence

Affection Towards Family

Friendliness Towards Strangers

Friendliness Towards Other Dogs

Exercise Needs

★★★★★

★★★★★

★★★☆☆

★★★★★

★★★★★

Energy Level

Sensitivity

Noise Level

Prey Drive

Shedding

★☆

★☆

★★★☆☆

Intelligence

★★★★★


Affection Towards Family

★★★★★


Friendliness Towards Strangers

★★★☆☆


Friendliness Towards Other Dogs

★★★★★


Exercise Needs

★★★★★


Energy Level


Sensitivity

★★★★★


Noise Level

★☆


Prey Drive

★☆


Shedding

★☆

Common Traits

Active, playful, and versatile

Tend to try to herd animals and people (especially children)

Very intelligent and have been known to try to dominate or trick their caretaker

Very high energy and do best when they have a job to perform- otherwise, they may become destructive and loud

Protective of household and will alert bark if they hear or see anything out of the ordinary