The Australian Shepherd is an extremely active, fast, and intelligent dog. Future owners should make it clear before they buy that guarding and guarding are in their blood. If there is no flock of sheep around, this loyal companion with the charismatic eyes becomes a balanced and friendly member of the family thanks to regular, demanding occupation.
The Aussie, as the Australian Shepherd is affectionately known, is an American breed and not an Australian one, as one might assume. Its name is based on the immigration of Basque shepherds who brought merino sheep that were previously exported to Australia back to America. The herds of the so-called Australian Sheeps were accompanied by watchful, hard-working helpers, the Australian Shepherd dogs.
The Australian Shepherd Club of America (ASCA) began breeding the then new breed in Arizona in 1957, and the International Australian Shepherd Association (IASA) was founded in 1966. The ASCA breed standard came into force in 1977. Both clubs merged in 1980 and have been the largest breed club in North America ever since. Another breed club called the American Kennel Club (AKC) was added in the early 1990s. This association also set its own breed standard in 1993. Since the 1970s, this dog breed has found more and more lovers in Europe. According to the rules of the largest international umbrella organization for dog breeding, the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI), the Australian Shepherd has been run as an independent breed since 1996.
This is the mini version of the Australian Shepherd, which is not yet recognized as a breed by the FCI. The smaller dogs, also known as Miniature American Shepherds, have always appeared sporadically in the litters. Due to the demand from farmers and private individuals, a separate breeding line was created parallel to the larger animals. It differs only in its smaller constitution, whereby the character and the coat colors are identical. The dogs have been recorded in the USA in two special registers since the 1980s, the Miniature American Shepherd Club of the USA (MASCUSA) and The Miniature Australian Shepherd Club of America (MASCA). In Germany, too, there has been a breed club in Mönchengladbach called the First Mini Australian Shepherd Club Germany (EMASCD) since 2005.
The physique is of medium size with a strong neck, good chest depth and a straight back line. Depending on the color of the fur, the nose can be pigmented brown or black. The almond-shaped eyes are blue, amber, brown or come in combinations and variations. Set high, moderately large ears are triangular in shape and should point forward when alert. Drooping or erect ears count as serious faults in the breed standard. The head appears as long as it is broad, but is finely drawn. The tail is usually straight and long, but congenital stubby rods are also found. The Australian Shepherd moves on straight, strong legs with compact, oval paws. The basic colors of the coat are black, red, red-merle (beige to light red basic color with marbled red / brown) and blue-merle (gray basic color with marbled black) . Together with copper-colored and white accents, this results in 16 color combinations. The fur is short on the ears, on the head and on the front of the front legs, on the body it has half-length hair with a weatherproof undercoat.
This dog needs intense exercise, both physically and mentally. It is therefore only recommended to owners who have enough time and space to challenge the highly active Aussi in every respect. Due to his enormous energy and high intelligence, on the one hand he is trained by rescue services and authorities to be a working and watchdog, on the other hand the Australian Shepherd is a gentle and loving family dog. Catching sports such as agility, obedience or Frisbee should alternate with mental tasks such as mantrailing or search and nose games, otherwise the Australian Shepherd will build up more and more power that will eventually overwhelm the owner. Adhering to interim rest breaks is also an important point in the weekly plan, which must first be learned. Less, but demanding employment promotes long-term satisfaction and the harmonious coexistence of humans and dogs.
The MDR1 defect can occur as a breed-specific disease. As a result of an inherited genetic defect, severe symptoms of poisoning can be seen when certain drugs are used, such as flea collars, tick spot-on, wormer cures, antibiotics or diarrhea drugs. In addition, there are elbow and hip dysplasia (ED, HD), dentition defects and heart problems. The boom around the Australian Shepherd brought the lightened coat color merle into fashion. Two carriers of the Merle gene are paired, whose pure-bred offspring suffer from blindness, deafness or deformities as a result of the albinism caused by breeding. Life expectancy is low. This manipulation of the genetic material is known as torture breeding and is prohibited in Germany. We strongly advise against buying these animals.
The Australian Shepherd at a glance
Origin: North America FCI Breed Standard 342, Group 1, Section 1: Sheepdogs, Shepherd Dogs, Cattle Dogs Size: medium-sized Height at the withers: Male 51 – 59 cm, Female 46 – 54 cm Weight: 13 – 28 kg depending on size Coat color: Basic colors Black, Blue Merle, Red, Red merle, badge in white and copper Eye colors: amber – dark brown, amber (amber-green-yellow), blue Use: watchdog, herding dog, drug sniffer dog, rescue dog, therapy dog Character: intelligent, vigilant, family-friendly, eager to work Health risks: hip joints (HD), elbows ( ED), MDR1 defect, bite defect Life expectancy: approx. 12-15 years
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