Despite its name, the Australian Shepherd dog breed originated in the western United States, not Australia, during the Gold Rush in the 1840s. Developed initially to herd animals, they remain a working dogs at heart.

australian shepherd originated in america not australia
Playing fetch with a ball – image by Christina Keeler from pexels

As they are known, the Aussie is happiest while they are working. They can make fantastic family companions if you put their intelligence and enthusiasm toward dog sports or activities.

The Aussie is a no-nonsense dog. He is intelligent, hard-working, and versatile.

Although it doesn’t hurt, you don’t have to raise a flock of sheep if you live with an Aussie, but you do need to keep him occupied.

Table of Contents

History Of The Australian Shepherd Dog

This breed was developed in America, despite its name. Australian Shepherds were first bred to herd livestock for ranchers and farmers in the western United States. Moreso, some of them still do so today.

The breeds combined to create the Australian Shepherd are the subject of numerous theories. The name “Aussie” comes from the fact that in the 1840s, shipments of sheep from Australia brought collie and shepherd-type dogs with them.

Breeders worked to improve the dogs’ herding skills and produce an adaptable, diligent, and intelligent canine.

In the years following World War II, the breed experienced a surge in popularity that coincided with a resurgence in Western-style equestrian riding.

Audiences of western films or television shows and attendees at rodeos or horse events were astounded by the athletic canines they observed working alongside the cowboys.

The attractive, active, and witty Australian Shepherd is still there today, similarly serving farmers and ranchers in the old West. Several people adore and like this dog as a herding dog, family friend, and guardian.

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Overview Of The Australian Shepherd Dog

the australian shepherd dog breed
Australian Shepherd dog standing next to a lake – image by Christina Keeler from pexels
Breed Group Herding dogs
Weight 16 – 32 kg
Height 46 – 58 cm
Coat Double coat
Coat colour Merle, black, red merle, blue merle, red tricolour, black tricolour
Shedding Medium to high shedders
Lifespan 13 – 15 years
Temperament Intelligent, affectionate, protective, active
Trainability Easy to train


Health Issues Prevalent Among The Aussie

Hip Dysplasia

The condition causes the femur to not fit tightly into the pelvic socket of the hip joint in this heritable disease. Hip dysplasia may or may not show any clinical symptoms.

On one or both of their rear legs, some dogs experience pain and may become lame.

Arthritis may appear as the dog ages. Elbow dysplasia is a heritable disorder that affects large-breed dogs most frequently. The three bones that make up the dog’s elbow have three different growth rates, which results in joint laxity.

This joint laxity may result in severe pain for your dog. Your veterinarian might advise either surgery to fix the issue or pain medication to lessen the discomfort.

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The Australian Shepherd Dog Is Prone To Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a condition that results in seizures in the Australian Shepherd. It is a condition that can affect them and common among this breed.

Although there is no cure for epilepsy, you can manage this condition with medicine. A dog can live a healthy life despite having this inherited condition with proper treatment.


This breed has a high prevalence of deafness, which can present several difficulties. Although you can manage some types of deafness and hearing loss with medicine and surgery, deafness is mostly incurable.

However, it takes time and patience to live with and train a deaf dog. Various tools, such as vibrating collars, are available to make their lives easier.

Consider whether you have the time, patience, and ability to care for the animal if the Aussie is diagnosed with hearing loss or complete deafness. No matter your choice, it’s best to let the breeder know.

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Osteochondrosis Dissecans

This orthopaedic disorder is brought on by abnormal cartilage formation in the joints. This typically affects the elbows but has also been observed in the shoulders. The dog’s elbow becomes painfully stiffened to be unable to bend.

Dogs can already show signs of the condition as young as four to nine months old. Overfeeding high-protein or “growth formula” puppy diets may hasten the development of this condition.

 Progressive Retinal Atrophy

This degenerative eye condition eventually results in blindness. PRA may be evident in your Aussie years before the dog exhibits any evidence of blindness.

Fortunately, dogs can compensate for blindness with their other senses, and a blind dog can lead a content life.


Most obstructions on the lens of a dog’s eye that impairs their vision is caused by cataracts. The dog’s eye(s) will appear to be clouded.

Older dogs frequently develop cataracts, which vets can occasionally remove surgically to enhance the dog’s vision.

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Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland production level is deficient. Infertility could be a minor illness symptom.

Obesity, mental dullness, drowsiness, drooping eyelids, low energy levels, and erratic heat cycles are more noticeable symptoms.


In dogs, allergies are a prevalent condition. By removing specific foods from the dog’s diet temporarily, allergies to particular foods are detected and addressed.

A reaction to something that comes into contact with the dog, such as bedding, flea powders, dog shampoos, or other chemicals, causes contact allergies in dogs.


Like people, the Australian Shepherd Dog is prone to cancer. There are numerous forms of cancer, and each patient’s response to treatment is unique.

Depending on the type of cancer, the tumours may need to be physically removed, treated with chemotherapy, or surgical and medicinal treatment.

Care Of The Australian Shepherd Dog

If you have a yard, have a sturdy fence that your Australian Shepherd dog can’t dig under or leap over. For this breed, the underground electronic fence is ineffective.

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Any worries your Aussie may have about receiving a little shock will be outweighed by his urge to go out and herd something. Walk him on a leash for the same reason unless you want to teach him to control his impulses.

The Aussie is often pleased to follow it trainer’s instructions and respond well to training techniques that employ positive reinforcement, which includes rewards like praise, play, and food. They want to know who is in control to serve them well.

Feeding And Diet

1.5 to 2.5 cups of premium dry food should be consumed daily, split between two meals.

The amount of food your adult dog consumes is influenced by size, age, build, metabolism, and degree of activity. Like people, each dog is unique; thus, they don’t all require the same amount of food.

Grooming The Aussie

The Australian Shepherd does shed if that is a question you have. The breed sheds all year round but more heavily in the spring as he loses his winter coat.

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To avoid matting, brush the Australian Shepherd’s coat once weekly, possibly more frequently during shedding season.

Your Australian Shepherd should only require a wash when he is dirty, which generally won’t be more than a few times each year if you keep him brushed.

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