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The Australian Shepherd, herding dog extraordinaire, is recognized most for their work throughout the rodeo circuit and ranks among the top 20 most popular dog breeds according to the American Kennel Club. “Aussies,” as they’re often referred to, are highly-intelligent working dogs known for their trainability, endless energy, speed, and thirst for challenge. Unsurprisingly, Australian Shepherds are known for outsmarting and getting into mischief when their talents aren’t put to good use. Read on to learn more about this medium-sized breed overflowing with love and personality, and find out if one might be a great fit for you!

Despite the breed’s name, the Australian Shepherd was actually developed in the western United States by ranchers and gained popularity throughout the 1900s thanks to media portrayal of ranch life and rodeo’s rise in popularity. However, the breeds from which they came from likely originated in western Europe, in the Basque region. Australian Shepherds are hardy and adaptable dogs, but they do require an abundance of exercise to stay both fit and relaxed. The thick coat that protects Aussies during their outdoor work does require frequent brushing, although shedding shouldn’t be a daily hassle, but rather a biannual “occasion.” Depending on whether or not your Australian Shepherd lives the traditional ranch life, nail trims may also be infrequent. Be sure to check the nails often and clip them as necessary. Australian Shepherds are delightfully low maintenance in terms of grooming, as you can see, but their exercise and training cannot fall to the wayside! If exercise and mental stimulation needs are not met, problematic behaviors such as uncontrolled barking, digging, and more will almost invariably develop.

Aussies are affectionate and loving with their pet parents, although wary of strangers at first. They are fast learners and will do whatever they can to please you, but, again, they may exhibit problematic behaviors if they are underworked. Aussie’s are a working breed and will need a job in order to feel fulfilled. If you’re getting an Australian Shepherd you’ll want to enroll them in obedience training early and consider outlets for their energy such as outdoor (ranch) work, agility classes, or even NOVA Pets’ daily Doggie Day Camp! Keep in mind that because of their herding instincts Aussies require supervision if not properly trained or familiar with their immediate surroundings.

Generally speaking Australian Shepherds are a healthy breed, however, they are prone to certain conditions, including hip dysplasia, cataracts, and thyroid conditions. With loving care and regular checkups, your friend will have the best chance at a long, healthy life. To help with that, we’ve created Wellness Plans that help you save money while keeping your Aussie in tip-top shape! Don’t hesitate to call NOVA Pets at (703) 378-9791 to establish care for your Aussie now (or post adoption)!