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There are several theories as to how the Australian Shepherd came to be. One of the most popular is that in the 1700s the Aussie predecessor was developed in France and Spain and worked with Basque shepherds. These Basque shepherds eventually migrated to North America and brought their dogs with them. These dogs were bred with other herding dogs and the Aussie of today was developed.
These dogs were originally bred to herd sheep and cattle. They were also to guard the property of the farmers and homesteaders.


Australian Shepherds: Should you own one?
Can you...

  • keep your Aussie busy enough to stay out of trouble? Aussies are very intelligent and may find ways to entertain and exercise themselves if their humans don't. Barking, chewing, digging, and escaping from the yard are all possibilities. Aussies can be quite creative! Participating in organized dog sports such as agility, obedience, or flyball is a good way to keep their minds occupied and their bodies fit.
  • manage a dog that is described in its breed standard as having strong guardian instincts and as being "reserved with strangers"? An Australian Shepherd should not exhibit unprovoked aggression, but many will defend their home, property, and family against what they perceive as threats. They will not be everyone's friend.
  • handle a dog that may chase cats, livestock, cars, or the neighbors' kids if not properly trained? Some dogs may only want to play, but the desire to chase can lead to more serious problems. Aussies should never be allowed to roam loose.
  • stand having a constant companion whose sole purpose in life is to be with you everywhere you go: from room to room, upstairs and down, into the bathroom, and even the shower? Aussies are very devoted to their people and want to be with them.
  • find the time to attend one or more formal obedience classes. Learning how to teach your Aussie to behave correctly is important.
  • commit to daily exercise such as walking, running, or throwing a ball or Frisbee for an hour or more? When you come home from a long day at work and want to relax, an Aussie will be ready to play. The Aussie is not content being a couch potato and taking a few leisurely walks a day. If this is what you are looking for there are other breeds far more suited to this lifestyle. The Aussie is a breed meant for those with an active lifestyle. Daily exercise is a must for them and that includes those days when it is cold, snowy, or rainy.
  • teach your Aussie not to chase your children and nip at their heels? Although some Australian Shepherds are good with children, others can become over-stimulated by the noise and activity.
  • make sure that your Aussie is properly socialized? Correct, thorough socialization from a young age is crucial and may prevent future behavioral problems.
  • run a vacuum cleaner frequently? Aussies shed, sometimes copious amounts. They need regular grooming to remove mats and dead hair.