Intelligent, energetic, athletic best describes the Australian Shepherd. The breed originally bred for herding cattle and sheep can still be found today on many working farms and ranches. Australian Shepherds are easily trained and are noted for their versatility making them an excellent choice for agility, obedience, tracking or various other canine activities.
Although, they can be reserved with strangers they are very much "people" dogs making them exceptional companions. The Aussie as they are fondly nicknamed is a medium size dog with medium length coat. They come in 4 different coat colors blue merle, black, red merle and red all with or without white and tan markings. They do shed and require frequent brushing and grooming. Merles often have blue eyes or a combination of blue and brown eyes. Another characteristic the breed is noted for are their natural bob or docked tails.
Despite the Australian name the Australian Shepherd is not from Australia, they are a American breed fined-tuned by ranchers and farmers of the American West. There are several theories regarding the origin of this breed but many believe dogs similar to the present day Aussie accompanied Basque sheep herders when Australian sheep were being imported to America's western states in the 1800's.
While the Australian Shepherd is a wonderful companion they are not for everyone. Aussies can be extremely energetic especially as youngsters requiring vigorous daily exercise. Some aussies can be protective or reserved and will need extensive socialization but all aussies benefit from socialization as puppies. Anyone considering one of these amazing dogs should be prepared to have plenty of time to devote to training, socializing, and caring for their new friend. There is an abundance of information available on the internet, in breed books and magazines that offer insight on all aspects of Australian Shepherd ownership. Please be sure to research the breed in depth so you are certain that the Aussie is the right breed for you and your family. If indeed you believe a Australian Shepherd is a good match for you and your lifestyle then by all means start looking for knowledgeable breeders in your area, remember you get what you pay for. A good breeder is incredibly knowledgeable on the breed and devotes a great deal of time, money and love when planning and raising each litter of puppies.