In this post, we’re going to change things up a bit – instead of giving you a guide to Australian Shepherd dog breed specifics, care, grooming and so on, we’re going to do a quick overview and then get into some very specific topics. You’ll learn about Aussie puppies, mixes, buying Aussies and more! First, though, the overview.
The Australian Shepherd is a highly intelligent, energetic working dog that also makes a loyal friend and protector. Originally developed as a herding dog, the Aussie actually comes from the Basque region of Spain, and was introduced to Australia. The breed found its way to the United States during the 19th century.
Australian Shepherd dogs are considered to be medium-size, with standard males weighing between 50 and 65 pounds and standing between 20 and 23 inches. Females weigh between 40 and 45 pounds, and stand between 18 and 21 inches. Miniature Australian Shepherds are not considered to be suitable for herding, although they do have the instinct for it.
Because the instinct to herd is hard-wired in the Aussie, it’s important to focus on training early on. These strong-willed dogs will often try to herd humans, and can even become nippy if the humans are unwilling to be herded. Adults don’t generally find the behavior all that charming, and it can be dangerous where children are concerned.
Australian Shepherds are not generally considered to be suitable for novice owners. However, under the guidance of an experienced owner, these dogs can be wonderful companions.
Australian Shepherd Puppy
Bringing a puppy home is so exciting! Of course it can be fraught with peril as well, so before you pick up your Australian Shepherd puppy, make sure your home is safe. You’ll need to do a lot of the same things you’d do for a toddler. Make sure that toxic substances and medications are locked up or otherwise out of reach, check to ensure that electrical cords are not where they could be chewed, and secure anything that could be pulled over and result in an injury to your puppy.
Once you’ve created a safe environment, you might also want to consider getting a crate for your Australian Shepherd puppy. This is so that he has a safe place to be when you need to be away from home and there’s nobody else there to supervise him. A crate can also be useful when it comes to house training, as dogs dislike doing their business where they also sleep and eat.
Close supervision of your Australian Shepherd puppy is advisable as you get him accustomed to his new home. Of course you don’t want to leave him in his crate all the time – it’s supposed to be a safe place, not a prison! As you move around the house, take your puppy with you. If you’re concerned about him getting into things and being destructive, try tying a long leash around your waist and attaching the clip to your puppy’s collar. This will keep him safe, and also help the two of you to bond even more closely.
Now, let’s talk about the things that your Australian Shepherd puppy needs to learn in order to be a good canine citizen and a pleasure to have around.
Australian Shepherd dogs can be very protective, and sometimes tend to be suspicious of strangers. This is why you’ll want to begin socialization work right away. Fortunately, you should have plenty of opportunities for socialization – just take your Australian Shepherd puppy with you everywhere you go!
Just about everyone loves puppies, and you can bet that when you’re out in public with your new best friend, there will be any number of people who want to come over and pet him and tell him what a wonderful dog he is! Every single person you meet is an opportunity for your Australian Shepherd puppy to socialize. Take him on walks around the neighborhood, sit in your car in the parking lot of your local grocery store, visit your friends and relatives – you get the idea.
Once your Australian Shepherd puppy’s shots are up to date, you might also want to enroll him in puppy kindergarten so that he can become socialized to other dogs. And if there’s a dog park in your area, take him there.
Socializing is pretty easy. However, it’s not something you can put off – look for socializing opportunities early on, and take advantage of them often.
This is where a lot of people throw their hands up in despair and say “Why did I ever think getting a puppy was a good idea? Pee on the tile, poo on the carpet; I’ve never seen so much pee and poo in my entire life!” Hey, that’s what they make soap and water for, so keep calm and carry on.
All it takes is a little kindness, patience, and vigilance. Make sure to put your puppy out first thing in the morning, last thing at bedtime, a couple of hours throughout the day, and definitely half an hour after he’s had a meal.
When accidents happen (and they will happen), don’t get upset, and don’t scold your Australian Shepherd puppy. Just clean up. Make sure to do it thoroughly, though – plenty of soap and water and an odor-buster like hydrogen peroxide or Dettol. Once the “business” is over with, you won’t be able to smell anything, but your puppy will, and if the area isn’t thoroughly cleaned, that’s where he’ll go back to next time he wants to “go potty.”
Some dog owners prefer to accomplish house training before moving on to actual obedience training. This is fine, but if you like, you can obedience train at the same time. Just make sure not to make too many demands of your Australian Shepherd puppy all at once – after all, he’s just a baby!
Obedience training isn’t something you should put off. Your Australian Shepherd puppy is going to become a substantial dog, and it’s going to be a lot easier to train him when he’s young and easy to handle. There are five things that your Aussie should learn. Here they are, in the order that they should be taught.
This is the first command that your Australian Shepherd puppy is going to learn, and it’s the easiest one. It’s also the building block that will lead to all the other commands.
To teach your Aussie to sit, fill your pockets with treats. Take one in your hand, and then pass it slowly above his head toward his hind quarters. As you do this, your puppy is going to naturally raise his head to follow the movement of the treat, and lower his butt to the floor. The instant he sits, praise him and give him the treat. After a few repetitions, you should be able to place your puppy in the sit without needing to use the treat.
This is another exercise that depends on the movement of your hand. First, have your Australian Shepherd puppy sit. Take a treat in your hand, but this time, change the movement – what you want to do is slowly bring the treat toward your feet downward. Say “Down,” and when your dog’s front quarters reach the floor, praise him and give him the treat.
This can be a tough one, because where you are, that’s where your dog wants to be. It’s not impossible, though.
To teach your dog to stay, put him in whichever position you think he’s most likely to be willing to hold – either the sit, or the down. Take a treat in your hand, and with him in sit or down, hold your palm up in front of you, something like the way a police officer directing traffic would do it in order to let you know that you have to stop.
Say “Stay,” and back away a step or two. If your dog holds the position, even for just a couple of seconds, tell him what an amazing canine specimen he is, and then do it again, this time moving back a little farther.
This follows from “Stay,” and it’s one of the most important commands your Australian Shepherd puppy can learn. That’s because a dog that can be counted on to return to his human each time, ever time, is never going to be in danger from traffic or other hazards.
Once your dog understands “Stay,” you can work toward “Come.” Place him in a stay, and then take out a treat. With the opposite hand, pat your shoulder and say “Come.” Your dog might be a bit hesitant, because after all, you did tell him to stay, but be enthusiastic. Keep patting your shoulder and telling him “Come.” As soon as he’s in front of you, give him the “Sit” command. Tell him how amazing he is, and give him the treat.
You can work on this command indoors or outdoors. However, if you’re doing it outdoors, it might be best to do it using a long leash so that you can control your puppy without having him run into danger.
It’s very easy to walk a puppy and make him go where you want him to. It’s not so easy with an adult dog. That’s why you should teach your Australian Shepherd puppy to walk at heel while he’s still young.
Fortunately, it’s not all that difficult. Just go out for a walk with your puppy, and let him explore for a bit. When he’s calmed down, take a treat out of your pocket and hold it close to your knee. Tell your puppy “Heel,” and let him move in to take the treat. Repeat as needed, and if he wanders a bit, gently pull back on the leash and say “Heel” again. He’ll get the idea in short order.
Remember that obedience training doesn’t happen overnight. Your Australian Shepherd puppy might catch on in a heartbeat, or it might take several weeks to get it right. Every dog is different, so if your little buddy doesn’t get it right away, don’t give up. Pretty much every dog is trainable, but some take a bit more time than others. Your Australian Shepherd puppy wants to learn, so help him throughout the process. Make it fun, and don’t get frustrated.
Miniature Australian Shepherd
Miniature Australian Shepherds are, as you might expect from the name considerably smaller than standard Aussies. They usually only won’t weigh in at much more than 30 pounds. Until 2015, the AKC wouldn’t even recognize the minis as a breed. They’re recognized now, though, and allowed to participate in dog shows.
Australian Shepherd for Sale
Have you seen an ad like this? “Australian Shepherd for sale, great puppies, quality litter, next day delivery”? Chances are it’s a scam.
Australian Shepherds are still pretty rare in the United States, and usually you can expect to be on a waiting list for a while if you want a puppy. You’re not going to get a “next day” puppy, simply because litters don’t happen on demand!
Wait, contact breed clubs, and don’t get taken.
Australian Shepherd Mix
As is the case with just about any dog these days, people want to create mixes. Sometimes there are lovely results, as with the Labradoodle. Other times, not so much. Don’t get us started on Chorkies.
With the Australian Shepherd dog, there have been a number of mixes. They include the Augi (Australian Shepherd crossed with Corgi, the Aussiedoodle (Australian Shepherd crossed with Poodle), the Buassie (Australian Shepherd crossed with Boston Terrier), the Australian Retriever (Australian Shepherd crossed with Golden Retriever), the Border Aussie (Border Collie crossed with Australian Shepherd), the Ausky (Australian Shepherd crossed with Husky), Boxherd (Boxer crossed with Australian Shepherd), and too many other potential crosses to even talk about.
We’re not kiddng here – we try to keep these articles to a reasonable length, but if we included every possible Australian Shepherd dog mix here, we’d probably blow up the Internet. There are so many mixes out there, some of them worth breeding and others not so much.
Australian Shepherd Price
Depending on pedigree, quality and coat, an Australian Shepherd puppy will cost you anywhere from $300 to $1800.
Australian Shepherd Husky Mix
An Australian Shepherd Husky mix is a big, strong dog, and not necessarily right for the novice owner. On the plus side, you’ll have a very intelligent dog that’s eager and quick to learn. On the down side, you could have a dog that wants to be the boss. Aussie/Husky mixes aren’t always the best choice for novice owners.
Blue Merle Australian Shepherd
They’re beautiful aren’t they? Those markings! But there’s one problem. The blue merle gene can lead to deafness in your Australian Shepherd puppy.
Australian Shepherd Rescue
If you’re of the temperament to adopt a dog that has issues, and give him a loving home, then all we can say is, we salute you! Dogs of all breeds end up in rescue facilities. The Australian Shepherd, not so much, simply because of the rarity of the breed, but you might find one in a shelter.
If you do, keep in mind that he’s probably frightened. He won’t know why he’s there, or why his humans don’t want him anymore. You’re going to have to treat him very gently, and reassure him that he’s safe. Then take him home and love him with all your heart.
Australian Shepherd Corgi Mix
This is oddly enough a very popular mix. The Australian Shepherd Corgi mix, also known as the Aussie-Corgi is a medium-size, solid dog that embodies the best of both breeds. An Aussie-Corgi is smart, loyal and loving, and makes a great family pet.
What else do you need to know? Here are 7 questions and answers that might interest you, but that weren’t covered in the preceding material.
1. Do Australian Shepherds shed a lot?
Not really. They do shed, but regular grooming will keep the shedding down.
2. How smart are Australian Shepherds?
Maybe even smarter than you, LOL!
3. Are Australian Shepherds cuddly?
Yes. They love cuddling with their humans..
4. Are Australian Shepherds dangerous?
NO! Why would any properly trained dog be dangerous?
5. Are Australian Shepherds hard to train?
No more so than any other dog.
6. Are Australians good house pets?
7. Are Australian Shepherds loyal?
Very much so. You’ll never have a more loyal pet.
So, that’s the Australian Shepherd in a nutshell. A sweet, smart, loyal dog that will make a great family pet if properly trained. Does it sound as though the Aussie is the right breed for you? If it does, then get to work finding a good breeder. We wish you much happiness with your new best friend!