Australian Sheepdog: an intelligent but complicated breed
Australian Sheepdog Owner Review
We have an Australian Sheepdog Teddy and I wanted to tell you about him and the breed overall. These, of course, are just my impressions of the breed.
I have never heard about the breed until I saw a photo of one on the website about Bernese Mountain Dogs and was instantly smitten. The more I read about them, the more I thought that this was the dog I have always wanted. But, up to a certain point, I have only seen them in photos. It took me about 6 months to find a breeder and wait for the puppies to be born.
After I saw the puppies in real life, my heart was completely taken by the breed. Long story short, now we have Teddy! (And a second Australian Sheepdog too!)
Australian Sheepdog is truly a unique breed. Teddy started to surprise us when he was still very small. He was learning everything so quickly and seemed to understand almost everything we said to him! He was such a joy to be around.
Historically, Australian Sheepdog wasn’t actually bred in Australia. The breed was created in the USA.
What else can I say about my two Australian Sheepdogs?
They are quite stunning! Both of mine are merle-colored and absolutely beautiful. Despite their stunning coats, they don’t actually need that much grooming, if at all. We are doing quite well just brushing them once a week and using a special shampoo when we wash them. We never take them to dog grooming or anything like that.
Aussies are extremely smart, active, agile, very easy to train. As a breed, they are very people-oriented. They are playful, excitable, enthusiastic, and need lots of active playtime. They do need regular exercise and you will need to put a lot of time into this dog.
They need both physical and mental work to stay happy and healthy. Without it they may become frustrated and destructive.
Australian Sheepdogs and strangers
Although the breed as a whole is very friendly, some Australian Sheepdog males may be territorial or dominant and may like to get into an occasional fight with another male. These are not dogs that will just be friendly at all times, in all situations. (If such dogs even exist).
Australian Sheepdogs tend to be suspicious and cautious around strangers. This is their natural behavior, one that’s evolved throughout their evolution. They have always been sheepdogs and guarded and protected cattle and sheep which made them the way they are.
Because of this, early socialization is extremely important. Without it, your dog may become overly cautious and potentially even hostile towards strangers. They are very strong and fearless, and could really surprise you with how boldly they will protect you if needed. So it’s important to help them become friendly and nice to people they don’t know.
Oh! One thing about Australian Sheepdogs and strangers is that strangers will WANT to come and meet your dog! Always and everywhere!
We always get approached and there is always someone who wants to pet our dogs. They are used to it and very polite so we always let the people do it. Australian Sheepdogs are very beautiful so they attract lots of attention.
If you don’t want that type of attention or don’t want your dog to become too friendly with strangers, you can just ask people not to touch your dog (explain that your dog is being trained to be cautious of strangers) or just get a different breed!
Although Australian Sheepdogs are fantastic dogs, I don’t think they would be a good dog for anyone. They are extremely smart and can very well try to take a dominant position in the family. You need to be a strong enough person and experienced enough with dogs to prevent that from happening and to keep the dog in check.
Australian Sheepdog personality
Australian Sheepdogs have quite a moderate temperament, with lots of energy and drive, but also kind, loving, devoted, and tender. They are quite patient with children. In fact, they could be a perfect dog for a family with kids, because they tend to thrive ina busy environment.
They love being outside, love everything active. Our dogs will be lying on the sofa chewing on their bone one minute, and then all of a sudden they are racing into the backyard or around the house with one of their toys. Their antiques are hilarious!
Australian Sheepdogs thrive in winter due to their warm coats. Summers are a little tougher for them to endure, especially hot summers. If you live in a hot climate, you may need to help your dog in the summer by pouring some water on them or keeping them in the shade.
If our dogs stays home alone for too long, they will start being mischievous and can destroy the house if left alone for too long., They do require lots of attention, which is why I said they are not the dog for anyone!
Because they are so active, our Australian Sheepdogs seem to need quite a bit of food! They are pretty voracious and can eat up anything left from the table or any scraps they can find, so we have to work hard on not leaving anything out.
They love their food and snacks, but will also steal your carrot or apple – anything they can get to, really.
Due to their overall activity and very quick metabolism, our Australian Sheepdogs need to be taken out to potty quite regularly and quite often! Otherwise, we do get some “surprises” on the hallway floor.
Your dog will, of course, have its own “schedule” but just be warned that they do have a quick metabolism!
Guarding and protecting instincts is something that becomes very obvious very early on. Many Australian Sheepdogs that live in a rural area are natural-born sheepdogs and take up protecting and herding cattle even though they were never specifically taught to do it.
Of course, if you want your Australian Sheepdog to be a professional herder, you will need to teach them how to do it properly!
Australian Sheepdogs are generally quite friendly with other dogs, but they can sometimes bark quite a bit when they play, which may seem like aggression but really isn’t.
Australian Sheepdogs are not very barky dogs although they do bark quite a bit when playing and when they are excited. This isn’t a dog that will bark all day long at every neighbor passing by. However, one of our dogs is more barky than the other so it’s somewhat down to each individual dog as well.
One of our dogs is a bit of a scaredy cat when it comes to loud sounds. Fireworks are a big no-no and we never take her outside during the NEW yEAR’S celebrations and other times when there may be fireworks.
The other dog seems much less perturbed by sounds but hates it when we raise our voices. Actually, both of them hate it when people raise their voices and we never discipline our dogs too strictly. They understand you even if you just talk to them strictly, there is no need to yell, and definitely never hit your dog!
Australian Sheepdog health
While Australian Sheepdogs are a healthy breed in general, some issues may crop up. One of our Australian Sheepdogs is allergic to quite a wide variety of foods and also to pollen. Springtime can be quite a hassle with us caring for her eyes and ears and not letting her roll in the grass she is allergic to.
Because of her allergies, we have to avoid any food that has chicken in it (and a few other things) for both dogs, a they tend to “share” (or rather steal food from each other). Allergies also mean some extra financial expenses on top of the already expensive premium dog food we provide for both of our dogs.
Other than that, we haven’t had any serious issues with our dogs’ health in quite a while as they do seem to be quite a healthy, sturdy breed.
We feel so, so lucky to have our two dogs. Australian Sheepdogs are not necessarily the best dogs for inexperienced owners, and we have read so much information to prepare before getting them. Of course, there may still be issues and difficulties, as with any dog. I need to mention that of course, it’s best for this dog to live in a house or on a farm.
If you live in an apartment, this would probably not be the best dog for you. They do need space to roam and would feel too confined in such a small space. They also love being outside, rolling in the grass, feeling the soil under their feet.
SO a backyard is a wonderful thing for such a dog, which, of course, you can’t have if you live in an apartment. In winter they love running and jumping in the snow. In the fall they will dive into piles of leaves and chase leaves in the wind.
This is a very outdoorsy dog and it thrives in nature. (As probably many other breeds do). So if you are a busy career person and have no time for long regular walks outside with your dog, Australian Sheepdog may, again, be not the best choice for you. For the sake of the dog and your own sake as well as your family’s, please read as much as you can about these dogs so that you know what environments they need to stay healthy and happy.
A happy and healthy dog means a happy owner! Understand that you will need to put a lot of work into this dog to raise them to be polite and well-behaved and to keep them mentally and physically healthy. Do you have so much free time?
Do you have enough financial resources to care for your dog in case of an illness or accident the way the dog deserves? All of these are questions to consider before you get any dog, but especially a unique and demanding breed like the Australian Sheepdog.