Facts About Australian Shepherds

Updated on August 23, 2019
lenamariee profile image

I love the merle coat on dogs and like sharing which breeds can have this type of coat.

An adult Australian Shepherd.
An adult Australian Shepherd.

Australian Shepherd Size and Grooming Needs

Australian Shepherds are becoming a very popular breed of dog in America. People are beginning to notice their intelligence and loyalty. Aussies are working dogs and need about 30 minutes a day of hard exercise. After proper exercise they are perfectly content to hang around the house; however, without proper exercise, they can be very destructive. If you are willing to provide your dog with proper exercise every day and are looking for a smart, loyal dog, then an Australian Shepherd may be a good fit for you and your family.

Aussies are medium-sized dogs weighing anywhere from 40–70 pounds, with males weighing more than females on average. They live for 12–15 years on average. Because of their long coat, they do need some grooming. A simple brush a day should do, although some people prefer to shave their Aussie's long coat during the summer for shedding issues and to keep their dog cool. If you keep in Aussie indoors it is important to realize that vacuuming and sweeping will become part of your daily routine due to shedding!

A Blue Merle Australian Shepherd.
A Blue Merle Australian Shepherd.

Quick Breed Overview

Lifespan: 13 to 15 years

Weight: 35 to 70 pounds, males weigh more than females

Height: 18 to 21 inches tall

Coat colors: Black, Red Merle, Red tricolor, Merle, Red, Black tricolor, Blue Merle

Facts About Australian Shepherds

  • Aussies come in four standard colors: blue merle, red merle, red, and black.
  • Australian shepherds did not originate in Australia. They were originally bred in America and they got their name from their working relationships with herders who came from Australia.
  • Most are medium-sized, however, there are miniature and teacup varieties.
  • Australian shepherds need a job to do, even if it is getting the paper every day. Aussies are bred to herd, and if you don't give yours a job to do they will find one on their own. Inadequate mental stimulation and exercise cause destructive behavior and misbehaving.

Australian Shepherd puppy.
Australian Shepherd puppy.
  • Australian shepherds love to be close to their family members. They will follow you everywhere, room to room, outside, and even to the bathroom. Having one can be like having a shadow, especially if you are your Aussie's "favorite person."
  • Aussies are very agile. They excel in pet sports such as Frisbee, agility, and fly ball.
  • They have a medium coat and may have either straight or wavy hair.
  • Aussies can have either brown or blue eyes; it is not uncommon to see one with two different eye colors.
  • The AKC officially added Australian shepherds to their list of recognized breeds in 1991.

These dogs love to swim!
These dogs love to swim!
  • Australian shepherds are very shy, apprehensive dogs. Because of this, it is important to socialize your Aussie as a puppy and to expose them to as many people and situations as possible.
  • The gene responsible for the signature merle coloration of some Australian shepherds' coats also carries a blind/deaf component. Because of this, it is paramount to obtain a puppy from a reputable breeder.
  • Australian shepherds are extremely intelligent dogs and need to be trained from puppy-hood to curtail any mischievous behaviors before they begin to form.

  • Litters usually range from six to nine puppies. The average number of puppies in a litter is seven.
  • Australian Shepherd's are the 18th most popular dog breed according to the AKC. This ranking makes them more popular than dogs such as Pomeranians and Chihuahuas.
  • Like other herding breeds the Australian Shepherd has strong instincts to bark although this can be overcome with proper training.
  • Australian Shepherds coat can be either straight or wavy.
  • While Aussies do well with other pets they may chase and nip them due to their herding instincts.
  • With Australian Shepherds being such a popular dog breed reputable breeders are easy to locate in most areas. Due to the Australian Shepherds popularity if you purchase a dog from a breeder you will pay anywhere from $300 to $600 for a puppy.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment
      • profile image

        Christina 

        2 weeks ago

        I agree with this article and thought I’d share my experience with my baby.

        I have a 5 yr old Red Merle male Aussie name Nova. I’ve had dogs before him, and never do they look at me the way Nova does!

        Extremely smart, my husband and I speak to him like a human and he seems to understand everything we say. Our friends do get weirded out by how his eyes penetrate to your soul, he gets people.

        He is friendly to people more than other dogs but also gets along with them, as well as cats (even newborn kittens!) and our bird who loves to ride his back.

        No aggression issues, no medical issues, easy to care for, obedient, sweet, observant... He is easily discouraged, so I focus on praising him and it only takes a change in tone to guide him.

        The only bad habit we can’t seem to break him of, is charging at company that pull up in our driveway. He is just very excited to see people, but his bark can scare people. He is a natural guard dog though. He has scared a burglar before, and he exudes confidence and protection qualities when we are out in public.

        I am sure I could go on and on! Aussies are high energy, however I think Aussies require mental stimulation more than anything. If you pay attention to who they are and raise them with love, you will have an amazing friend.

        I LOVE my Aussie.

      • profile image

        Lori 

        8 weeks ago

        Our Aussie is 5, he is definitely loyal and protective. I have to disagree with the no shaving , we have had his hair shaved down, it does grow back the same as it was before, and we don’t leave him out in the sun to get burned, he loves his hair shorter in summer months, if we are outside with him, he lays in the shade, because he is smart. Less shedding also.

      • profile image

        Mrs Kim 

        2 months ago

        Good information but I would bet anyone with an Aussie would say they need more than 30 minutes of exercise per day. Love my Aussie!

      • profile image

        Kat 

        2 months ago

        They can have more eye colors than that. (Like green or golden) It is also standard for the minis to weigh less than what you have listed at 35 pounds. My pregnant Aussie is 25 pounds and so was her mother when she was pregnant. Her father who is a pure Aussie also weighs 30 pounds. All being under the weights you listed.

      • profile image

        Eric Miley 

        7 months ago

        Can a male black tri and a female blue merel breed without any genetic problems?

      • profile image

        Art 

        8 months ago

        I had three of them(AUSSI'S) there in no other dog to have,my first one tought my kids how to treat an animal the other two were for my pleasure,they are a great dog.

      • profile image

        Aussie fan 

        11 months ago

        I adopted a 13 year old mini aussie about 6 months ago. Even at 13, they have a lot of energy. I knew being retired myself that a senior aussie would be the best fit. She and I are still learning to trust each other, I do daily massages and such so that she will be ok with my touching her. And of course she's the typical "velcro" aussie. I read a blog where someone referred to them as the "velcro" dog and I was like "that's a great word for them". My velcro Kaya. We are falling in love with each other more and more each day. I loved her from day one, but she's taking a bit more time. Living 12 years with someone and then to be given up, I can understand trust issues that she might feel. I'm letting her know I'm here forever more!

      • profile image

        Elizabeth Arduain 

        11 months ago

        They actually originated in the Pyrenees mountain range between France and Spain.

      • profile image

        matiana 

        12 months ago

        thank you for all the facts about the AUSIE, I am probably going to get one now and know what to expect!

      • profile image

        Garland 

        13 months ago

        We bought two aussies from a farm. They were pottie trained in three weeks. They slept with us and one got off the bed on her own after a month. The second after two months. Yes they love to be by your side. Easy to train. They are sooooo smart. They love people and other dogs. We will have to work on the barking. So glad we got two. They have so much fun and run fast and roll over like balls and keep going. LOVE THEM SO MUCH!!!

      • profile image

        Colin 

        13 months ago

        I love my Aussie he’s one year old technically his first summer and was curious if anyone had found their dog to eat less during the summer times

      • profile image

        Bob 

        13 months ago

        They are greats dogs

        They sleep for 4to 6hours a day

        There lifespan is 13to 15 years

      • profile image

        Trina 

        17 months ago

        My husband and I just lost our beloved 10 year old Aussie to cancer a little over a month ago. Up until the day we had to put him down, no matter how horrible he felt, he did his job and protected his momma. I had to leave him at the vet for exploratory surgery, to see if they could save him. s

        So I left work and visited with him before his surgery. It was a pretty day that day, so we sat outside the vets office on the grass. Everytime someone would walk out of the vets office, he would bark, just to let them know he was there to protect me. He was the most amazing creature I have ever met and our lives are very empty without him. Treasure yours, ours was taken in the blink of an eye.

      • profile image

        Holly 

        17 months ago

        I have a almost 7 year old blue Merle boy. He’s technically a mini but he’s large for a mini, he’s about 30lbs. I love my Levi and he definitely loves me! I really lucked out though and he’s fairly laid back and grew out of his distructive behaviors after around age 2. I couldn’t have asked for a better Aussie and really consider getting another but at the same time the separation anxiety is rough (both on Levi and myself).

      • profile image

        Steve 

        18 months ago

        I have an 8 year old Aussie who I adopted at age 5 through a friend. She is the love of my life. LONG LIVE SISSIES !

      • profile image

        sam 

        19 months ago

        i have a 4 month old aussie, she is very soft, smart, brave, and loyal. Sophie is already potty trained and is great with kids of all ages.

      • profile image

        RenaBarr 

        20 months ago

        My husband introduced me to Aussies and I will have one as a pet for as long as I have pets. We currently have two in the house - they are definitely more like people than pets. Having two helps with the activity and hearding - they exercise and heard each other! They are great watchdogs and keep track of all of the cat activity in our home, too.

      • profile image

        Mellanie Prindle Teal 

        20 months ago

        hi i have a red Merle and i'm 12 years old i need some interesting facts for a prezi i'm doing in class

      • profile image

        Artemiss 

        20 months ago

        $300 to $600? Maybe 20 years ago. Most reputable breeders these days are $1000 - $2000. And can be higher with full registration.

      • profile image

        Sharon 

        23 months ago

        I have a 12 year old , and she is at my side all the time. Just a short story about the intelligence of this breed. My husbands sugar had dropped to a point that while sleeping he went into a coma. She came and jumped into my lap whining, which I had never heard her do, then ran back to the bed room ! The doctors at the hospital said if he would been left 30 min, longer he would have died.

      • profile image

        Davis 

        2 years ago

        I have a 9 yr old that is with me 24/7. Everything in this article is spot on! She is just as happy on a 60 acre farm as she is traveling on vacation. They adapt well, as along as they are with their "person/people" they are happy. Although I was raised in a German Sheppard home, I will always have room for an Aussie.

      • profile image

        Will W. 

        2 years ago

        Our 4 yr.old Aussie, Jaxson, is a healthy 82 lbs.. Our daily walk includes a large open field. He intentionally lets me get way ahead so he can run to catch up. Watching an Aussie in full stride is one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. What strength and grace.

      • profile image

        taylor 

        2 years ago

        they are so cute great website

      • profile image

        skieter 

        2 years ago

        Charlie Ann....I'm so glad I took the time to read these posts....esp. yours, because not long ago, I lost my beloved female, blue merle Aussie to cancer at 11 and half years of age and was rather devastated. She was so healthy up till she was diagnosed. She was as devoted as all of these owners have described and esp close to me after her 'master' passed. Knew my every emotion and stayed by my side at all times. With her being so intelligent on top of her loyalty, she almost seemed as a human companion! I will never ever have a dog like her again....a very personal experience, for me! Thanks again for sharing, this has really helped me!

      • profile image

        Jamie Nowlin 

        2 years ago

        My Aussie doesn't have a blank stare! He's very loving, I do get him a summer haircut and his coat grows beautifully in the winter. He's very protective and loves to heard my toddler grandchildren. He gets along well with my lab and mini dachshund

      • profile image

        Mary 

        3 years ago

        I have 4 Aussies and I love this breed. All of them do different show events. They are above normal intelligence and learn quickly! As for being shadows, yes, all 4 are shadows! But, I love this about them. They love training, jobs, playtime and just hanging out with family and friends. Most of all enjoy their energy and have fun! Yes, definitely go to a good breeder. Nothing is harder than having a pet with genetic health issues that could have been avoided.

      • profile image

        Jen 

        3 years ago

        I have to disagree with the pricing unless you are getting your Aussie from a puppy mill. I paid $1250 for my Blue Merle almost 3 years ago, they are now going for $1600! I just bought a Black Tri puppy for $1200. I saw many more online for that amount or more. Agree with Kate that mini's and toys are not considered Australian Shepherds, they are American Shepherds. And 30 minutes is not long enough to exercise your Aussie, especially a puppy (1-3 years old especially!). We could walk our 1 year old Aussie for an hour, come home and play for a bit and he was still raring to go and we were tired. LOL Now he's almost 3 years old and has settled down some so we don't have to exercise him quite as much. We are training him in agility, rally, obedience and conformation through 4-H now and just got a new puppy so he's very busy.

      • profile image

        Barbara 

        3 years ago

        Have had Aussie s for about 30years. Have also had many other breeds and mixes. These are the most interested and loyal of them all. Have had 4 over these years. They have been the smartest, most active, most challenging and diverse in temperament we have ever had. Wouldn't change or trade any of them..but always tell people who ask about them or want one that you really really need to be involved with them.they may not be an easy pet. Also they need to know if the Aussie was a "pet/show" bred or a "farm/working" bred. There is a definite difference in their "thinking powers" . My herder (her mom was a herder on a sheep farm) was the stubbornness,thinking girl I have ever met ! But we have grown together and I wouldn't have her any other way . Please just know what your getting into before getting this breed, they really are special.

      • profile image

        Kate 

        3 years ago

        Mini Aussie and teacups are not recognized by The Australian Shepherd Club of America or the AKC.

        Most Aussie need more than 30 mins of exercise a day!!! They are bred to work, and not just for half an hour, they have incredible endurance.

        They have strong guard dog qualities, which may be mistaken for shyness. It is a separate trait. They are bred to question new situations and people, in order to protect their families.

      • profile image

        Tiffany 

        3 years ago

        We have an eight month old blue Merle mini Aussie named Lilly. We have 2 boys age 6 & 9 months. She protective of both but she's almost inseparable from our 9 month old. Almost to a fault. And she most definitely herds them! She keeps us on our toes and some days I want to wring her neck but I couldn't live without her! She has more personality than most people I know

      • profile image

        Linda 

        3 years ago

        I love australian shepherds, so intelligent and loyal. But I would never get one because of their weird blank stare. I've had other breeds that have such feeling and depth in their eyes, just don't get that from an Aussie... they have a cold look.

      • profile image

        Harrison 

        3 years ago

        I have a six year old Aussie named Patch. We lived far from the city so he never got to socialize but now that we live in the city he can be very protective unless properly introduced, but overall he is an amazing dog!

      • profile image

        Charlie ann 

        3 years ago

        We had three Aussies and lost 2 at the age of 111/2 to cancer. we have Deuce our blue merle. we are expecting a puppy on Saturday a red merle called Porter. it should be interesting. we have gone through 11 years of adult Aussies and are looking forward to this new little puppy.

      • profile image

        Susan 

        3 years ago

        Love, love, love my Aussie! I got him very early, 3 weeks due to his mother not making enough milk. Definitely my baby and extremely intelligent.....sometimes to smart! :)

      • profile image

        Candice 

        3 years ago

        We have an Aussie mix Germen Shepherd. He is such a great mix. Looks like a Germen Shepherd but has longer hair and little white on his chest. I feel like he has the best qualities of both breeds. Very smart.

      • profile image

        Gerri Lyon 

        3 years ago

        We have a 9 yr old, Red Merle. Quincy is very loyal, attentive & loves our grandkids. He follows me everywhere to keep an eye out while I'm doing garden work or just relaxing. When we come home he will make a circle around the house & yard barking to make sure it is safe for us. He is an amazing , smart dog. He loves to lead me on walks & does require exercise everyday. Quincy is my motivator! He has free run of our farm since he is territorial & loyal . I seriously can't think of any reason not to enjoy his wonderful company!

      • profile image

        Kathy3882 

        3 years ago

        My Aussie, Bailey is my untrained service dog. When I'm having medical issues, he's constantly with me, won't take his eyes off of me and if I must go into an area that's gated off, he waits for me to return. I love my black tri color so very much.

      • profile image

        S. Fowler 

        3 years ago

        love love love my AUSSIE !! He's the best. He loves everybody and yes...follows me everywhere I go. When I went thru a very difficult time in my life....he was always there by my side. No matter how dark my days...his love and devotion got me thru

      • profile image

        Susan 

        3 years ago

        Never shave your Aussie! They will get overheated as their under coat acts as insulation. They are in danger of getting sun burned and the undercoat never grows back the same once shaved. I have owned Aussies for over 25 years.

      • lenamariee profile imageAUTHOR

        lenamariee 

        3 years ago from The Sunshine State

        @Aussieowner, it doesn't mean every Aussie is shy or apprehensive it is just a general trait of the breed. I had an Aussie that did fit the general shy Aussie temper with strangers however once she got to know someone it was as if she had known them their whole life!

        Another example is Labs are known for being sweet, easy to train, well mannered dogs however there are plenty of labs that are ill mannered and in some cases aggressive. Its is an overview of the breed not specific to every dog. Max is right, you obviously have taken the time to socialize your dogs and remove any shy traits they may have.

        Have a great day!

      • profile image

        Colleen 

        3 years ago

        I love my 1 year old Black Tri Aussie.

      • profile image

        Max 

        3 years ago

        Doesn't mean their facts are wrong just means you took your time to socialize your dog like they suggested to do...

      • profile image

        Aussie Owner 

        3 years ago

        We have three Aussies that are neither shy or apprehensive. A dog is what you make if it. Your facts are wrong here.

      • profile image

        Scott 

        4 years ago

        So true! Our Aussie is 9 years old, still active as a puppy...we play fetch with a chuck it EVERY day...she could go on forever!!! Always follows me EVERYWHERE! (Yes, even to the bathroom) but most of all...she is the best, must loyal , sweetest dog EVER.

      • profile image

        Darnesha 

        4 years ago

        Frankly I think that's abullsteoy good stuff.

      • brenda12lynette profile image

        brenda12lynette 

        7 years ago from Utah

        I have a border collie who is also a working dog. Thanks for all the great info on Australian Shepherds!

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, pethelpful.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://pethelpful.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)