I love the merle coat on dogs and like sharing which breeds can have this type of coat.
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!
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 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.
- 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.
VM on July 10, 2020:
My dog does not like baths but he loves to swim when we go to a river or lake.
SJ on June 23, 2020:
I have a merle Aussiedoodle who was significantly more than 600 dollars, are Australian Shepherds really that cheap? I love her but she is super emotional, anxious, neurotic, and has Stage IV clingy-ness. That dog would hide in my uterus if I let her. She doesn't shed because of the "doodle," everyone loves her, she doesn't bark much, and she's extremely smart.
Charlie on May 13, 2020:
$300-$600?? Uh no. How about $750.00-$1500. The 300 and 600 are the ones left over. Just bought my red merle, Ava. 750.00 had to forgo papers or she was $1500. Also spay agreement. Which doesnt seem to be being enforced, but we plan to do anyway.
Lorrie on December 24, 2019:
We have an Aussie and she is so smart. She can come in and out any door in the house that has a lever handle. We have a storm door and she comes in and out whenever she wants to, can slide our deck door open to come in, will cry or bark to wake me up if she needs to go out to potty, catches food, can sit, lay down, well.... you can see how smart they are. She has to know where we are at all times and follows my husband in and out of the house every time. Loves company, the grandchildren, and any delivery person. She’s very loyal.
Brady's Human on November 19, 2019:
Oh gosh, I'm a little disappointed to see 11-year-old Aussies still playing fetch. I was hoping he's slow down a little by then. Brady's two and a half and it's an hour and a half in the morning and the same in the evening. No way a half-hour would keep him exercised.
Mrs Kim on September 27, 2019:
Love this breed! Good article but a little off on a few points. Never Shave your Aussie! They have a dual layer coat that acts as insulation. It keeps them warm and also helps keep them cool. If you shave them their hair does not grow back the same!
Genetic defect that causes blindness comes from breeding two Merle’s. If you get a puppy make sure both parents are not Merle’s. Pups with two Merle parents can not be Registered so make sure you get papers.
Eye colors can vary greatly Blue, brown, green, amber and any combination of those. Eyes may be marbled or each eye being a different color.
30 minutes of exercise a day is not enough to satisfy an Aussie!
Brooke on September 20, 2019:
I have a 3year old red merle aussie. She woke my husband up for me when I was in Labor. I yold her I couldn't make it to wake him up and she went in the bedroom and jumped up and down on him until he woke up and got out of bed. They are very smart dogs.
Christina on August 31, 2019:
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.
Lori on July 19, 2019:
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.
Mrs Kim on July 07, 2019:
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!
Kat on June 20, 2019:
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.
Eric Miley on February 09, 2019:
Can a male black tri and a female blue merel breed without any genetic problems?
Art on January 14, 2019:
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.
Aussie fan on October 03, 2018:
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!
Elizabeth Arduain on September 30, 2018:
They actually originated in the Pyrenees mountain range between France and Spain.
matiana on August 27, 2018:
thank you for all the facts about the AUSIE, I am probably going to get one now and know what to expect!
Garland on July 27, 2018:
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!!!
Colin on July 25, 2018:
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
Bob on July 22, 2018:
They are greats dogs
They sleep for 4to 6hours a day
There lifespan is 13to 15 years
Trina on April 19, 2018:
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.
Holly on April 03, 2018:
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).
Steve on March 01, 2018:
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 !
sam on February 20, 2018:
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.
RenaBarr on January 20, 2018:
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.
Mellanie Prindle Teal on January 18, 2018:
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
Artemiss on January 07, 2018:
$300 to $600? Maybe 20 years ago. Most reputable breeders these days are $1000 - $2000. And can be higher with full registration.
Sharon on October 10, 2017:
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.
Davis on September 03, 2017:
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.
Will W. on June 29, 2017:
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.
taylor on March 12, 2017:
they are so cute great website
skieter on January 23, 2017:
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!
Jamie Nowlin on October 30, 2016:
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
Mary on September 07, 2016:
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.
Jen on September 07, 2016:
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.
Barbara on August 05, 2016:
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.
Kate on June 28, 2016:
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.
Tiffany on June 20, 2016:
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
Linda on June 15, 2016:
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.
Harrison on March 25, 2016:
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!
Charlie ann on March 24, 2016:
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.
Susan on March 22, 2016:
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! :)
Candice on January 28, 2016:
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.
Gerri Lyon on January 26, 2016:
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!
Kathy3882 on January 01, 2016:
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.
S. Fowler on December 15, 2015:
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
Susan on December 13, 2015:
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 (author) from The Sunshine State on November 30, 2015:
@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!
Colleen on November 28, 2015:
I love my 1 year old Black Tri Aussie.
Max on November 12, 2015:
Doesn't mean their facts are wrong just means you took your time to socialize your dog like they suggested to do...
Aussie Owner on October 17, 2015:
We have three Aussies that are neither shy or apprehensive. A dog is what you make if it. Your facts are wrong here.
Scott on June 19, 2015:
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.
Darnesha on January 11, 2015:
Frankly I think that's abullsteoy good stuff.
brenda12lynette from Utah on June 04, 2012:
I have a border collie who is also a working dog. Thanks for all the great info on Australian Shepherds!