Other Names: Aussie Country of Origin: USA Lifespan: 12-13 Years Male Height: 20-23 Inches Male Weight: 50-65 Pounds Female Height: 18-21 Inches Female Weight: 40-55 Pounds
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As is consistent with his heritage, the Australian Shepherd is a dog with strong herding and sheep guarding instincts. He may try to herd young children by nipping them, but they generally get along well with children. They may be somewhat wary of strangers until they are comfortable with them, by they are always devoted to their owners. This dog has incredible stamina, thus daily walks are necessary. Their coat requires more than average care as he will pick up burrs, foxtails, and other materials on his romps in the wild.
Despite his name, the Australian Shepherd did not originate in Australia, it is thought that he originated in Spain. Around 1875, Basque sheep herders were migrating to the US and they brought their sheepdogs with them. The Americans named their dogs Australian Shepherd dogs because Australia was the immediate home of the Basque shepherds, though they originated from Europe.
Canadian and Mexican Kennel Clubs recognized the breed in 1976. They were admitted to the AKC in the Miscellaneous class in 1991, and were given full status in 1993. Upon recognition, it became an immediate success. The breed was popularized by a dog-trick act that performed in rodeos, and featured an Australian Shepherd. Many of these dogs were owned by Jay Sisler, and her dogs can still be found in the pedigree of many of today's dogs.
In 1957 the Australian Shepherd Club of America (ASCA) was formed and became the largest registry in America. Many of the members of ASCA felt that AKC recognition was not a good thing for the breed, so proponents were forced to form their own organization, and they called it the United States Australian Shepherd Association. The AKC popularity ranking does not do justice to the actual popularity of this breed because many breeders are not registered with the AKC.
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