The Australian Shepherd
They are they agile working dogs, extremely intelligent, and wonderful family companions. They are quick learners and loyal friends. They are quick learners and loyal friends. Naturally reserved with strangers, but should never be shy or timid. Owners should encourage them to meet people but not force encounters. They do have strong territorial instincts and are naturally possessive and protective of their owners and home. When raised with children, Aussies love kids and quickly become a predictable and devoted family member. They do not need a huge yard to run in, but they do need daily exercise and attention. They love to play ball and frisbee. It’s hard to keep most of them out of water. They make great foot warmers curled up at the end of the bed.
The Australian Shepherd comes in four acceptable colors: black, blue merle (a marbling of gray and black), red (ranging from light cinnamon to liver), and red merle (marbling of red and silver or buff). A variety of white and tan markings may appear on the face, chest, front and rear legs. Males weigh approximately 50 to 65 pounds; females weigh about 40 to 55 pounds with a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years. The eyes of the Australian Shepherd are perhaps one of his most commented on features because of the variety of colors. They may be any color or combination of colors from glassy blue, amber, hazel, to all shades of brown.Those of us who love Aussies can’t imagine a more perfect breed of dog. Unfortunately, the very characteristics we value in these dogs make them unsuitable for some homes and owners. Consider carefully if your lifestyle can accommodate the exuberance of a typical Aussie.They were developed to be a moderate-sized, intelligent, all-purpose stock dog of great character and endurance. Many today still do the work they were bred for, and even those that have never seen sheep or cattle usually have a strong herding instinct. They need fenced yards and leashes, as the temptation to herd dogs, children, and traffic can simply overwhelm them.Being bred to work hard all day means that most are not content to be couch potatoes, although some are more sedate and quiet-natured than others. Mostly these are high-energy dogs that need a job and they are quite capable of out-thinking their owners. Owners must be committed to give these dogs the time and attention they require through play and training, for as with any dog, undirected energy can turn towards destructive behaviors, such as digging and chewing. Running, jumping, and roughhousing are all a part of being a normal Aussie.
In general, they are healthy dogs and can be expected to live up to twelve years or more. Regular brushing and nail trimming are required. To maintain their high energy levels, they may eat more than other, more sedate dogs of similar size, so be prepared to feed plenty of high quality food.
They are basically very good with children if they have been raised with them, and sometimes even when they have not been around them. One of the basic prerequisites for your children and your puppy to have a good relationship is to teach the child, as well as the puppy, what is allowed. Babies and toddlers should not be left unattended with your dog, no matter what breed. A child should learn not to handle the dog roughly or tease him. The parent, not the child, should be responsible for correcting the puppy if he gets too rough. Puppies and dogs have a tendency to look at children as “siblings” in the social order of the family, and the dog should never be allowed to get the upper position over the child. Something that sometimes occurs with Aussie puppies and kids is that, in play, the puppy may chase and nip at the heels of the child. This is because the dog is bred to herd and he is trying to “herd” the child because it is natural to herd something moving. In this situation, it is a good idea to have the child stop running and tell the dog “no bite.” This should not be confused with actually trying to harm the child, but the game should not be encouraged.
They are perfect for people wishing to own a highly trainable, versatile, super-smart dog that can work/play “’till the cows come home.” If you have the time and commitment, you won’t be disappointed. These special dogs deserve special owners. Their loyalty, drive, character, and whimsical sense of humor place them in a class by themselves!
An example of the variability
of Black Aussies
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Double Merle (AKA Lethal White)
They are the product of breeding Merle to Merle in any animal. More common than not, they have excessive white covering most of their body, possibly some merle patches and blue eyes. They are often blind or deaf, or in the worse cases BOTH.
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