See a particularly striking dog: bright blue eyes, unusual color patterns, and a particularly smooth and enthusiastic walk. This is the Australian Shepherd, one of the most beautiful and elegant dog breeds in the world.
The dog is extremely popular in Australia and the US and is also gaining popularity in Europe. Here you will find 11 fun facts about the Australian Shepherd that explain why this is such a beloved dog breed.
The Australian Shepherd’s history is not really known anywhere. It is generally assumed that the dog comes from the Basque region of the Pyrenees, but that cannot be said with certainty.
The story goes that the shepherds from this region went to America and possibly even made a stopover in Australia. Whatever the case, the dogs of the Basque Shepherds are very similar in appearance to the well-known Australian Shepherds. The real origins of this breed will always remain shrouded in mysteries…
2. American Australians
Although the Australian Shepherd is widely accepted as an Australian dog, the breed has been perfected in America. Hundreds of shepherds from different countries gathered there to build a new future, each bringing their own dogs.
This led to a large mix, in which the dogs were bred for qualities such as alertness, intelligence, speed and adaptation to terrain types. Four dog breeds are considered to be the basis of the Shepherd: the Scottish Collie, Border Collie, English Shepherd, and the Australian Collie. Together they result in a great dog with a good character.
3. The rodeo dog
The Australian Shepherd is best known when the dog after the 1st World War also had other chores to do besides sheep herding. Especially the rodeos, where the beautiful dogs ran around to drive bulls or horses. In addition, the dogs became more famous due to various roles in films and series, such as Run, Appaloosa, Run!
Australian Shepherd are real eye-catchers
The Australian Shepherd’s blue eyes are particularly striking. Even so striking that the native population sees the dogs as sacred and prefers to avoid them. The dogs can stare intently at you and even win a cat-staring contest!
5. Uneven eyes
photo: ItsWolfeh / wiki commons
Many Australian Shepherds have eyes in different colors. While many dogs of the breed have blue eyes, there are also those with brown, gray, or speckled eyes. A special fact: there are also Shepherds with two different eyes: a blue and a brown eye.
6. Color patterns
The Australian Shepherd is recognized by the color, although many different colors are accepted. The most characteristic color is ‘merle’, where the dog has a pattern of dark pigments and light spots of gray or brown in the white areas in between.
From black and brown to brown merle and blue merle are accepted by the studbook, although you will find more color variations.
In the past, many shepherds removed the long ears and tails of the dogs so that they were not injured while herding the sheep. Because the tails were unnecessary, they have been bred from the breed over time, and one in five Shepherds is now born with a short tail.
8. Working dogs
photo: Ron Armstrong / Flickr
Although previously only bred to herd sheep, the Aussies are now used in many more areas due to their excellent qualities. For example, they are used as guide dogs, assistance dogs and therapy. In addition, they are used by rescue workers to find and help victims.
The Australian Shepherd has a very strong instinct and a lot of energy. Therefore, it is necessary to constantly challenge the dog and keep it active. If you don’t, the dog will start looking for chores. They can try to ‘herd’ other animals, but they can also start to show annoying behavior if they are bored.
This dog breed is still gaining popularity. In fact, it is the 18th most popular dog breed in America, meaning it even ranks above the Chihuahua. Because the dogs are so striking in appearance and behavior, there are more and more people who also want an Australian Shepherd as a pet.
11. Frisbee dog
In the 1970s, there was an athlete who became known for practicing a sport with his dog. He was a Frisbee and played that with his dog Hyper Hank. They even got so far that they were allowed to open the Super Bowl!