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Australian Shepherd: What you should know

Australian Shepherd: What you should know

The Australian Shepherd is one of the most popular dogs in the world, at least according to the AKC ranking. They take 17th place out of almost 200 dog breeds! The Aussie’s popularity is due to their looks but also brains! However, they are not the dog for everyone!

In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at everything you should know before you get an Australian Shepherd. At first glance, the Aussie might seem like the perfect pet, however, they are also very high maintenance.

Also read: Australian Shepherd Golden Retriever Mix

Australian Shepherd

Australian shepherds, despite their name, didn’t actually originate in Australia, but in the western United States around the time of the Gold Rush in the 1840s.

A picture of an Australian Shepherd dog smiling
Australian Shepherds are very happy, active and full of energy

These dogs were originally bred to herd livestock, so they were used on farms (they still are!). Aussies are very intelligent, full of energy and are the happiest when they have something to do. They love helping their humans, no matter what the task is.

Also read: What Is The Smartest Dog In The World?


Because they were bred to be dominant and control livestock, Australian Shepherds tend to be a little pushy and commanding with humans too. That is if you don’t give them firm and confident leadership. So, it’s safe to say that the Aussie might not be the best choice for first-time or scared owners.

Besides this, because of their nature Aussies are quite loyal to their family, however they tend to be a bit standoff-ish with strangers. From early on you will have to work on socializing your dog.

A picture of an Australian Shepherd puppy
Aussies are very standoff-ish with strangers, so you will have to work on socialization early on

Aussies are very playful and love being active, this means that long walks, hikes and runs will be a must. Also, playing fetch is the most popular activity for Aussies. These dogs really need an owner who will have a lot of time for them and take them on long walks. If you are not like that, if you prefer staying inside, the Aussie might not be the best dog for you.

Also read: German Shepherd Golden Retriever Mix


The Aussie is a medium-sized, very athletic dog.

The males are somewhere between 20 and 23 inches tall at the shoulder. The females on the other hand are between 18 and 21 inches for females. When it comes to their weight, males weigh between 50 and 65 pounds, whereas females weigh somewhere between 40 and 55 pounds.

As you can see, males are a bit taller and heavier than females. Also, it’s important to mention that the lifespan of an Aussie is between 12 and 14 years.


Generally speaking this breed is quite healthy, however just like any other breed they are susceptible to certain diseases and illnesses such as:

A picture of a sad Aussie
The list of illnesses and diseases the Aussie is susceptible to is long
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Epilepsy
  • Deafness
  • Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD)
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
  • Cataracts
  • Distichiasis
  • Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA)
  • Persistent Pupillary Membranes (PPM)
  • Allergies
  • Cancer
  • Detached Retina


In conclusion, the Australian Shepherd is indeed an amazing dog. They are very loyal, intelligent, loving and excitable. But it’s exactly these amazing personality traits why the Aussie isn’t the dog for everyone.

They need a lot of physical and mental stimulation, so their owner needs to be focused on them and put in a lot of time and effort. They will thrive with an active owner who will play with them a lot. Also, have you seen their coat? Aussies are a hairy beast that requires lots of brushing and will still leave your house covered in hair!

So, before getting an Australian Shepherd really think it through. These dogs definitely aren’t the best option for first-time-owners!

My name is Jackie and I am a veterinarian with a degree in veterinary medicine. With extensive experience in treating various animals, I am known for my compassionate and personalized approach to animal care.