With its startling blue eyes and multicolored coat, the Australian Shepherd has a striking appearance. Interestingly, despite its name, it didn’t originate in Australia but rather in the western United States. It was bred to herd livestock and was frequently seen alongside cowboys on the cattle trails. In today’s world, this energetic and intelligent breed does exceptionally well in agility and obedience competitions.
|Dog Breed Group
We rate 19 characteristics for each breed, divided into three categories:
Highest Rated – Characteristics for which this breed is rated 4 or 5 stars (on a 5 star scale).
Neutral Rated – Characteristics that rated 3 stars.
Lowest Rated – Characteristics that rated only 1 or 2 stars.
- Good Family Dog
- Kid Friendly
- Low Drooling
- Likes to Play
- Easy to Train
- High Energy Level
- Tolerates Cold Climate
- Tolerates Hot Climate
- High Intelligence
- Good With Other Dogs
- Low Shedding
- Friendly to Strangers
- Protective Nature
- Handles Change Easily
- Low Amount of Barking
- Suitable for Small Yards/Apartments
- Good for Novice Owners
- Tolerates Being Left Alone
- Good General Health
While Aussies (as they are known) make wonderful family dogs and are great with children, they only do moderately well with other dogs and with strangers. It’s therefore important to socialize them early to overcome these challenges.
Aussies are protective over their families and make good watchdogs. In keeping with Old West values, they will alert you to anything suspicious and protect you with their life.
From an ongoing maintenance standpoint, you’ll have a bit of work to do. Aussies will need regular brushing due to their long coats, so be prepared to experience some dog hair around your house.
Although they make excellent family pets once they know it’s their family, they can have alpha-oriented personalities and require firm leadership. It’s important that they know you’re in charge or they may take over the household!
This need for firm control makes them a poor choice for first-time dog owners.
Austrian Shepherds are active and high-energy dogs. They do best in an environment where they are kept busy and challenged with lots of mental stimulation and exercise.
This means they do not do well in apartments or houses with small yards. They need a big fenced yard where they can run freely and release some of their large amount of energy. If you’re an active person and want a dog that can happily keep up with you, an Aussie is an excellent choice.
Aussies are highly intelligent and hard workers, so they are very easy to train and willingly take orders from their owners. They are commonly used by the police and as search and rescue dogs.
From a health perspective, we rate them as only average. That said, meeting their needs for exercise and mental stimulation will go a long way toward keeping them healthy.