Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherd – Interview with an owner

Australian Shepherd – the owner’s view

Gemma said that she did a great deal of research before getting her first dog.  She also went to a responsible breeder, who bred her puppies with loving care and attention.  Gemma therefore followed the two key pieces of advice given by dog owners in my survey results Go Gemma!

Australian ShepherdArcher is a two year-old Australian Shepherd.   Before getting him, Gemma decided that she wanted an active, fun-loving dog who was going to cope with the lifestyle she has, with plenty of hiking and long cycle rides.  She said that Australian Shepherds are described as being good at running with bikes.  She knew that like Border Collies, they would be intelligent and easy to train.

Home Circumstances – plan ahead

Before looking at actual puppies, Gemma made sure that she had the right home circumstances to look after a dog.  She checked that she was going to be able to take her dog to work.  She walks him to work and then he has a special run, with shelter and space, so that he is safe and happy.

Gemma has put in a great deal of effort to ensure that Archer is well-trained and well behaved around people, so that her work are happy for him to be there.  He is a lovely boy and a real credit to her.

Australian ShepherdChoosing the puppy

Interestingly, Gemma said that she had wanted a girl rather than a boy.  She also said she had always wanted a merle, which is the most common colour of Australian Shepherd dogs.  She waited until a breeder had a bitch available for her, but then saw Archer and fell in love with him!

Personally, I think Gemma made a great choice there.  I have said before that I think boy dogs are easier to have on their own than girls, as they are more sociable with other dogs.   However, that is particularly true for Border Collies, less so for other breeds.

Australian ShepherdBreed Characteristics

What is the difference between the Australian Shepherd and the Border Collie?  Well the Aussie is generally broader and ‘squarer’ than the BC.  They usually have ‘tipped’ rather than ‘pricked’ ears (although BCs can have all sorts of ears!)  Aussies typically have merle or tricolour coats, which are normally thick and curly, whereas a BC’s coat might be straight.

One significant difference between the Aussie and the BC is that they have historically been docked, although this is fortunately no longer the case in the UK.  There is also a ‘bobtail’ type, where they are born with no tail.  This is part of the recognised Australian Shepherd breed standard.

Australian ShepherdChallenges of the breed

Australian Shepherd dogs, just like Border Collies, are very demanding!  They need exercise and stimulation, either training or other play activities.

Gemma mentioned that Aussies are described as being typically attached to one person in particular.  She feels that Archer loves her and her partner equally, with another friend also accepted into his pack.  My observation is that Archer is extremely well bonded to Gemma and that he may become quite guarding of her around other dogs, which needs careful handling.

Speaking to an agility friend, she observed that Aussies can be inclined towards stubbornness.  This in comparison with Border Collies, who are anxious to please, to the point of being needy and clingy.  You pays your money and takes your choice!

Many thanks to Gemma and Archer for their help.

Australian Shepherd

Ask for help?

I hope you have enjoyed my insight into the Australian Shepherd breed?  Please comment and share your views and experiences?

You are very welcome to CONTACT ME to ask for my advice?  I can help you with a variety of issues and problems around getting a dog and suggestions for tackling training issues.  Go to the What Dog? page for more information on my new service.

What breed would you like to know about?  Or do you have a breed of dog and would like to share your views on living with your dog?  Please CONTACT ME to let me know?


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