Australian Shepherds are just adorable. Not only are they smart, but they are cute, and cuddly as well! But, did you know they are not really Australian? No? Well, here is more about that and much more.
Usually, we think that the breed’s name indicates the breed’s origin. Well, it seems like that is not always true. There is quite some confusion when it comes to their name.
Australian Shepherds actually originated in the Basque region of Spain. That is why they are sometimes, but very rarely, called Spanish Shepherds.
What is the deal with the name then?
See, the Basque people carried the breed over to Australia. That is where Americans spotted the breed, brought and bred it in America. Americans loved the Australian Shepherds because they were excellent herding dogs. Not only that, they were excellent rodeo dogs – and, perhaps one of few breeds that could herd bulls. AKC recognized and added Australian Shepherds on the list in 1991.
Their breed was even perfected in America! The focus went into making them alert, intelligent, agile, and adaptable to different terrains.
One thing we can all agree upon – Australian Shepherds are extremely picturesque. They have to thank The Scotch collie, Border collie, English shepherd, and probably Australian koolie for those iconic looks.
Their coats can be black, red merle, red tricolor, merle, red, black tricolor, blue merle. Sometimes, they will also have copper markings on their coats.
Their dreamy eyes are usually pale blue. Oftentimes, Australian Shepherds will have heterochromia – two differently colored eyes. But, that does not only mean that their eyes can be a combination of brown, blue, hazel, amber, or green! Their eyes can have a variation in color within the same eye as well.
What is maybe more interesting is that it is their eyes that made Native Americans think they were sacred. The explanation? Their pale blue eyes reminded them of ghosts, which is why they believed they were sacred.
Finally, we must mention their tail. Their tail is usually short – or what some people would refer to as bob-tail. There is actually an explanation as to why it is short: Their breeders made them short so that they would perform better while herding, and be more safe while performing their duty.
Yes, their intelligence and energy was mostly used for herding, and rodeo. But, because they can perform any trick and do almost any task you give them – this breed is also perfect for Seeing Eye dogs, hearing dogs, drug sniffing dogs, and search and rescue dogs.
See, they are very versatile!
Yes, indeed ladies and gentlemen. Australian Shepherds have long coats. They can be long. They can be curly. But, one thing is for certain – their coat sheds a lot. This breed does not shed only twice a year as some might think, and their hairs will end up everywhere.
In order to mitigate this, you will need to provide your dog with a bit more grooming. Brush them at least once a day to help with all the loose hair and flyaways.
If you already own an Australian Shepherd you might have noticed that they follow you everywhere you go. You are not imagining it, they are. That is how they display their love and their loyalty – pretty great character traits if you ask us.
Australian Shepherds are not the most sociable of dogs when it comes to other dogs and strangers. They love their family members, though. However, that is not to say that this is a problematic trait. It only indicates that you should socialize them with other dogs as soon as possible, so that they feel safe. This should also be done in order to mitigate their natural herding instinct to nip and chase other dogs. Also, it would be a great idea to expose them to different people and situations as well.
All working dog breeds demand exercise. The Australian Shepherd is no exception. They demand serious exercise and mental stimulation. If you do not give them at least 30 minutes of such activities daily, then they might become destructive and misbehave. In other words, if you do not make up a job for them, at least for a while, they’ll think it up on their own (and you, most likely, won’t like what they come up with.).
Again, Australian Shepherds are herding dogs. So, it is only natural that they have a natural instinct to bark. This can be taken care of with proper training.
While you may be thinking that this Australian Shepherd became famous due to its contribution with the army or the police, that is not the case. This Shepherd became famous because of its talent with frisbee catching. But that is not all, Hyper Hank performed his frisbee routine with his owner in many contests. He even did the pre-show of Super Bowl XII, and spent time with the Carters at the White House.
If you are worried about the amount of exercise and training an Australian Shepherd would need, then miniature Australian Shepherds might just be the right thing for you! They are smaller, and thus demand way less exercise.
The breed became really popular after World War I. That is also the time when there was a boom of movies that featured western horseback riding. One such movie is “Stub: The Best Cow Dog In The West”. It was made by none other than Disney. And, can you guess who the stars of the show were? Well, three Australian Shepherds of course! Their names were Stub, Queeny and Shorty. So, if you are a big fan of the breed – we recommend you watch it.
Those were our 11 most interesting Australian Shepherd facts. We hope you found them as entertaining as we did. And, remember – always treat your intelligent picturesque fur-ball with love and care.
Are you a dog facts junkie? If so, you’ll love some of our other dog fact articles: