FCI GROUP: Sheepdogs and Cattle dogs
FAMILY: Livestock, Herding
Allowed as pet in Singapore HDB Flat: No
Origin: United States, 1800s. Despite the name, these are American dogs. While there are many theories as to the origin of the Australian Shepherd, the breed as we know it today developed exclusively in the United States. The Australian Shepherd was given its name because of the association with Basque Sheepherders who emigrated to the United States from Australia in the 1800’s.
Original Purpose: Herding livestock.
Behaviour and Temperament: Australian Shepherds are enthusiastic, good-natured, loving and devoted, hardworking, even-tempered, attentive—they are eager to please, with a sixth sense about what the owner wants.
Breed Characteristics: Active and agile. Needs a job to do. Can be hyperactive in the house. Australian Shepherds can become very destructive and barky if they are not sufficiently exercised. Experienced owner recommended.
Physical Features: 45.5 to 58.5 cm; 18 to 29.5 kg. Aussies come in a wide array of exciting colours, including an overall coloration of black, red, blue or red merle; may have a white blaze and white markings on the chest, neck, and legs. Copper markings on face and legs are permitted.
Coat Type and Grooming: Medium-length double coat; can be straight or wavy. High maintenance; The Australian Shepherd needs daily brushing to prevent mats. Moderate to heavy shedding. Full grooming recommended every 6 – 8 weeks to have their undercoat removed and light neat trimming. Basic grooming is recommended every 4 weeks to have their under-paw shaved so as they will not slip when they run. Estimated grooming charges in Singapore: Full, S$90 – S$100, Basic, S$75 – S$85
Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years.
Health Concerns: Hip dysplasia, eye problems (cataracts, PRA, Collie eye anomaly), deafness (for merle-coloured dogs), von Willebrand’s, thyroid disease. This breed is often sensitive to ivermectin; however, the dosage for heartworm preventive is considered safe.
Exercise: Very high. (They were bred to handle an entire herd of sheep, after all.) Working lines may be too energetic for people who only have a moderately active lifestyle.
Housing: The Australian Shepherd does not do well in an apartment life; needs lots of space to meets his high exercise needs, i.e. a very large yard required.
Sociability: Bonds to whole family. Excellent with children, although some dogs may try to herd them by nipping, and this behaviour needs to be corrected, teaching the dog that humans are not to be herded. Australian Shepherds do not do well when left by themselves for long periods. Aloof with strangers. Good with other dogs; needs socialisation with smaller pets so he can learn that they are not part of his flock (imagine your Aussie herding your cats!)
Trainability: High; happiest when working or training. Australian Shepherds happily take commands from their trainer, they respond best to dog training methods that employ positive reinforcement.
Activities: Herding, agility, obedience.
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