Breed Standard Australian Shepherd
Australian Shepherds are one of the most versatile breeds in the dog kingdom today.
Though their name would automatically lead one to believe that they came from Australia,
the evidence is inconclusive & thus their origins remain clouded. Some believe they came
from Australia, while others believe they originated in Spain. What is known is that the
cattle ranchers and shepherds of the Western United States played a major role in the
history of the Aussie. As times changed and the children from the ranchers and
shepherds grew up and moved away to new ways of living in urban areas, they
remembered the faithful blue dogs from their childhood. They went back to the country to
get a "friend" from the past...this is when the Aussie's true versatility and unique
characteristics began to show.
The characteristics and temperament of Aussies are unique in many ways. Aussies,
though normally silent working dogs, are very vocal when playing with other dogs &
companions. When they are happy to see you or you are praising them they will make a
singing noise, talking to you in various degrees of sound from a deep howl to almost a
shrill whine. Their bark usually has a howl-like sound and many Aussies have a tendency
to grin. The grin can be from a slight curling at the corners of their lips to a full-fledged
curling showing their teeth like a snarl. The grin is usually accompanied with a wagging of
their bobbed tail or wiggling of the body & squinting of the eyes.
Some Aussies snap their teeth together making a clicking noise when they are happy or
excited. To get your attention they will use a myriad of various methods such as pushing
their nose up under your arm or hand, bumping you on the back of your leg with their
nose as you walk & they will even strike you with their paw. Aussies are very handy in
using their front feet; not only will they want to put their paw on your knee for attention,
they will use them while playing with their companions or their toys. They also use their
front legs and feet to wash their faces like a cat & to hold their bones while chewing.
Many will cross their front legs while lying down.
Aussies like to put their head on objects such as chair rungs, rocks & your feet. If allowed
up on a couch, they will take full advantage of a pillow, using it just like we would.
Outside, especially in warm weather, they will dig a bed in the ground & leave a nice rim to
put their head on. Even though they will dig, play in water & get dirt on them, they are in
fact a very clean dog, spending a good amount of time licking themselves & others clean.
They enjoy grooming their companions by itching & licking. The mother will clean her
puppies & herself at great length. Because Aussies are so clean they are easily
housebroken. They make excellent house companions provided they receive enough
exercise each day. They are very playful & love to race & jump with other dogs they
know. They will stalk the other dog, often using their innate eye & then suddenly they will
charge the other dog & try to roll it or just wrestle. They will play with you as well & will
enjoy it immensely.
They are a very athletic dog & can leap to great heights, either over fences or straight up
& down, as high as six feet or higher, like a yo-yo. They will even climb trees, fences or
The Aussie has a natural love for water. An Aussie will swim in a pond or up & down a
creek for the sheer delight of swimming. Some will splash the water on purpose & try to
catch the splashes. They love to retrieve sticks & balls thrown into the water & will
actually dive to find the objects. They will plunge into a ditch or water trough after working
or playing hard to cool off & sometimes will try to climb into their water buckets; in other
words, any water will do!!!
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