Are Australian Shepherds Good Family Dogs?

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If you’re seeking a hard-working, loyal, and intelligent companion, then the Australian Shepherd may be the ideal family pet for you. Extremely smart and focused, an Aussie can be the perfect family dog, as long as you are prepared to keep him mentally and physically stimulated. Boredom is the leading cause of destructive behavior and excessive barking in these work dogs.

History of the Australian Shepherd

This multi-color eyed, and perky-eared breed is simply unmistakable. Many folks believe that the Australian Shepherd originates from Australia due to their name. In actuality, the breed was specially created to be a herding and working dog in the Old West.

Some of the breeds used to create the Australian Shepherd include the English Shepherd, the Australian Cattle Dog, the Scottish Collie, and the Welsh Sheepdog.

Physical Attributes

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The Australian Shepherd can be split into two categories in terms of appearance, those bred for work and those bred for show. Show dogs have longer coats and are bred to meet the breed standard while the working dogs may be a bit thinner and have shorter fur.

Males weigh between 55 and 70 pounds while females clock in at about 35 to 55 pounds. Both tend to stand 21 inches tall at the shoulder.

Australian Shepherd Personality

The personality of Aussies will vary widely from dog to dog. While some Australian Shepherd puppies can have an outgoing and friendly temperament, others will tend to be shy and reserved.

Regardless of your dog’s individual personality, a few traits will remain consistent. Aussies are loyal, high energy, and thrive on human companionship. They are at their best when engaged in human interaction, including playing, fetching, running, or walking.

Australian Shepherds are first and foremost a working dog that were bred to herd. This means that the breed has high energy and high intelligence. If your pup gets bored because he does not have a job, he will quickly create one of his own that could be annoying or destructive.

If left alone for long periods of time, your dog can also develop separation anxiety or barking behaviors. Early training, routine exercise, and mental activity are needed for a well-behaved and well-adjusted dog.

Trainability

Australian Shepherds are very intelligent and can be trained to do almost anything. While a firm hand is not necessary for this breed, positive reinforcement is needed. These people-pleasing dogs speedily learn new tricks that are consistently rewarded with praise or a tiny treat. Aussies excel in simple obedience training and can also master more complex tricks, as well as agility training.

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Australian Shepherd Health Issues

As with most purebred dogs, Aussie health issues are inherent to the breed. Many can suffer from eye problems. Epilepsy is also a common health condition with Australian Shepherds.

The breed also has certain genetic abnormalities that should be tested prior to breeding. For instance, the mutant MDR1 gene can cause severe side effects to ordinary medications, like heartworm medicine.

An Australian Shepherd May Be Right for You If:

  • You are looking for a medium-sized and sturdy canine
  • Want an exceptionally versatile dog that can do and learn almost anything
  • Love physical activity

An Australian Shepherd May Not Be Right for You If:

  • You cannot provide enough exercise and training to keep his mind and body satisfied
  • Cannot handle barking and destructiveness when bored or not exercised enough
  • Do not like shedding
  • Will not tolerate stubbornness
  • Will not tolerate nipping or chasing things that move, including running children, other animals, bikes, or joggers

Is an Australian Shepherd Right for Your Family?

If you have an active lifestyle and are in need of an intelligent dog who wants nothing more than to work hard and please you, an Aussie could be the perfect dog breed for you. The Australian Shepherd needs work, mental stimulation, and obedience training to be a balanced and well-behaved dog.

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