Fun Australian Shepherd Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Feb 21, 2024 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Chandan Shukla
Australian shepherd facts are really interesting to help you understand the breed.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 12.8 Min

If you are someone who loves herding dog breeds and wants an active family dog, then you may be looking for something like the famous Australian shepherd or the Aussie. The Australian shepherd is a handsome medium-size dog and loves to be with families that not only care for them but also ensure that they have the right physical and mental stimulation along with it. Historically, they were bred as sheep-herding dogs back in the 19th century. They are known for their unique colored double coats which have a rough topcoat and quite a dense undercoat. Because Australian shepherds carry such unique variations of colors, it is generally said that each Australian shepherd will have some kind of variation of colors on their coat. Since they are a working breed, they are not supposed to be kept in the home but they should have lots of exercises whenever possible. They can be quite great for dog sports and quite energetic and thus, ticks most conditions of the herding dog breed group. If you want to know more about this fascinating dog breed, then read on to learn many more amazing facts about the Australian Shepherd dog breed.

If you find this article interesting then do check out the pocket pitbull and the lab chow mix.

Australian Shepherd Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an Australian Shepherd?

The Australian shepherd is a dog breed.

What class of animal does a Australian Shepherd belong to?

Australian shepherd belongs to the class of Mammalia.

How many Australian Shepherds are there in the world?

Since Australian shepherds are domesticated dogs, it is not possible to give a proper number as to how many Australian shepherds are currently existing in the world.

Where does an Australian Shepherd live?

The Australian shepherd loves to live in a house with people around them.

What is an Australian Shepherd's habitat?

Since the Australian shepherd is a herding dog, they love to live with human beings. However, to help them expend their energy, it might be best to keep them in a house with a small yard and high fences.

Who do Australian Shepherds live with?

Australian shepherds live with people and can be great family dogs.

How long does an Australian Shepherd live?

The Australian shepherd has a life span of 12-13 years on average.

How do they reproduce?

Generally, for dogs, the female goes through four phases of the reproductive cycle. They also have two heat periods during which they can get pregnant. However, if you are someone who is trying to breed Australian shepherds, you have to be careful. You should understand the genetic make-up of the dog. Many Australian shepherds have the active merle gene and merle-to-merle breeding can result in the puppies having poor internal organs and being born completely pale. You have to be very selective in how you breed your Australian shepherd. A good thing about Australian shepherd females is that they have rarely shown many birthing issues. Australian shepherd males, however, may show reproductive problems, like testicular issues. If your puppy has such a problem and you look forward to breeding Australian shepherds, then you may have to go to a vet to correct it. The average litter size is around seven or eight pups.

What is their conservation status?

The Australian shepherd is Not Listed in The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. Like most other domesticated dogs, there are breeding programs that take place for the Australian shepherd. Because of these breeding programs, the population of Australian shepherds is Least Threatened.

Australian Shepherd Fun Facts

What do Australian Shepherds look like?

An Australian Shepherd puppy can be really cute.

Australian shepherds are a medium-size dog with a medium-sized coat that can cover different color combinations, which includes merle that is shades of green and blue. The Australian shepherd has been known for the variety of color combinations that their coats reflect. When they are born, they can have long tails or bobtails. In previous centuries, if the Australian shepherd had a long tail, then it was cut off. Their eyes are also really bright. Their eyes can be green, yellow, dark brown, or amber. This eye coloration also makes it look really different from other breeds and a lot more handsome too.  Blue merle Australian shepherd puppies are really great to look at.

How cute are they?

Australian shepherds are extremely cute. They are fluffy and have a very purposeful gaze. The different coloration of their coats also makes them very different from the rest. However, if you want other people to say how cute your dog is, it is important that you socialize them properly from an early age. If you find the Australian shepherd cute, then wait until you see the even cuter mini Australian shepherd.

How do they communicate?

Australian shepherds have a lot of energy and they are very vocal about how they spend that energy. They also tend to communicate via nudging, poking, or nipping. Barking tends to be a sign that your dog is not mentally stimulated enough.

How big is an Australian Shepherd?

The Australian shepherd stands quite tall at  18-23 in (46-58 cm).. In comparison, the slightly bigger German shepherd stands at 24 to 26 in (60-66 cm).

How fast can an Australian Shepherd run?

Australian shepherds are energetic dogs. These dogs can reach a speed up to 34-35 mph (54.7-56.3 kph). But that is not just the top recorded speed of this breed. There have been some estimations that put the Australian shepherd at a speed of 40 mph (64 kph).

How much does an Australian Shepherd weigh?

The Australian shepherd comes with a healthy weight of around 35-70 lb (16-32 kg).. The weight of a male is 50-70 lb (22.6-32 kg) and the weight of a female is 35-55 lb (16-22.6 kg)

What are their male and female names of the species?

The Australian shepherd is a specific breed of dog. So, there is no special name for Australian shepherd male and female dogs. The male Australian shepherd is called a ‘dog’ while the female Australian shepherd is called a ‘bitch’.

What would you call a baby Australian Shepherd?

The baby Australian shepherd dog is called an Australian shepherd puppy.

What do they eat?

The Australian shepherd is a powerful dog and thus, needs a lot of nutrient-rich food items as their daily diet. Generally, it is recommended that the Australian shepherd eats around one and a half to two and a half cups of nutrient-rich good quality dry food each day. This food quantity should be divided into two proper meals for your furry friend. On top of nutrient-rich food, they also need food that is low in calories, so as to maintain their health. Hence, you should probably opt for a healthy amount of chicken, fruits and vegetables, whole grain wheat, apples, and oats to keep your pet enriched and happy.

Are they slobbery?

One of the great things about Australian shepherds is that they do not drool a lot. So, they are the perfect pet if you are someone who likes to keep everything neat and tidy. However, like all dogs, they can get slobbery on certain specific occasions. Australian shepherds tend to drool (like most other dogs) when they are really hungry, especially, when it's time for them to eat. They can also drool when they are really excited or under some kind of stress. As a puppy, when the first set of teeth begins to grow, Australian shepherds can get slobbery too. However, if it starts to drool all of a sudden for no apparent reason and you can’t point out why the drooling is taking place, then it is time for you to contact the vet.

Would they make a good pet?

The Australian shepherd rates are high on intelligence. Generally, intelligent dogs are quite easy to train and the same goes for the Australian shepherd. The Australian shepherd has been considered great guide dogs, companions for exercising, and also, amazing family pets. They are really agile. Since they are often high on energy, they should be trained for agility tests and proper speed tracks to keep them at a high energy level. Australian shepherds are great as family dogs but you should always keep them within a yard with large fences so that they don’t leap over due to their boundless energy level. Many breeders recommend high-intensity games like a frisbee for an elongated time period of around 30-60 minutes can be great for your Australian shepherd. They love to remain active and would be great for a family that likes to stay active as well. Since they are intelligent dogs, they love to keep themselves mentally stimulated as well to keep themselves from getting bored. If they get too bored, there is a possibility that they can get too destructive and also a little bit aggressive as well. Australian shepherds have weather-resistant coats with a dose of natural oils. While you bathe them, you should ensure that you do not over-bathe them as that could result in them losing out on all the essential natural oils. Australian shepherds have amazing teeth but it is your responsibility to keep them shining so do ensure to brush them twice every week.

However, you should be aware that the Australian shepherd is not a great choice for the first-time breeder. Australian shepherds are dominant dogs and tend to take up a leadership role. And hence, they need a proper experienced owner for training purposes so that they are easy to train. A good trainer can also ensure that they are suitable for dog sport too.  

Did you know...

Though the Australian shepherd seems to have come from Australia (if we go by their name), their origin actually lies in the United States of America.

A terrible gene mutation of the Australian shepherd is the MDR1 Gene Mutation. Because of this mutation, many dogs will not receive a few essential drugs properly. The drugs will become useless but a residue will stay in their brain and can trigger seizures.

Since the Australian shepherd was a working breed dog, there were very few people who knew this dog outside of the livestock industry. The dog became really famous after a rodeo performer, Jay Lister, performed with his Australian shepherd and traveled the entire western states. So, it is no wonder that the Australian shepherd has recently got the title that they are the best choice of herding dogs for cowboys. They might even be seen on horse shows.

The merle gene is a coat pattern that is quite popular among the Australian shepherd and certain Collie-like dog breeds. It generally becomes prominent due to the merle blue coat of the Australian shepherd. The gene is known to form mottled color patches on their coat, which makes the coat look brilliant.

Unlike many other dog breeds, Australian Shepherds can have heterochromia. This can result in different colored eyes. They can thus have a combination of blue eyes, hazel eyes, green eyes, and even amber eyes. Because of the different colors of their eyes, Native Americans used to be afraid of Australian shepherds. They called Australian shepherds ‘ghost eye’ which perfectly shows how much they feared these cute dogs.

Hyper Hank is a famous Australian shepherd known for the Frisbee skills. Hyper Hank became quite famous back in the 1970s. So, dog sports are clearly an area where these dogs can make their mark.

Characteristics and health issues

There are certain characteristics that the Australian shepherd has that you should be aware of if you are bringing them in as a pet or a working dog. Australian shepherds are known to be quite wary of strangers and foreign dogs. So, if they are not socialized properly from puppyhood, they may not be very accepting of dogs or other people. Australian shepherds are well-known as herding dogs. As with most dogs from the herding group, they also carry the herding dog instincts within them. As a result, if you have small children, they can get their herding instincts activated and involve themselves in herding the little kids. This can result in them being a little pushy and eventually, the dogs may topple little children and injure them, without understanding how. So, if you have small children at home, you should train your Australian shepherd properly. The Australian shepherd has a medium-length coat and they can shed a lot. So, it is essential that they get their weekly brushing and grooming needs are met, and eventually, they get proper trimming to look very neat and tidy.

When it comes to their health, the Australian shepherd generally seems healthy. But there are certain common health problems and conditions that the Australian shepherd can face as they grow older. Some of the health issues that the Australian shepherd faces are hip and elbow dysplasia and osteochondrosis dissecans (an orthopedic disease). One of the common issues that the Australian shepherd faces is deafness. While certain degrees of deafness are treatable, complete deafness cannot be treated. Certain eye conditions that can affect the Australian shepherd are progressive retinal atrophy, a degenerative eye disorder, distichiasis (eyelash overgrowth), collie eye anomaly (an inherited condition that can lead to blindness), and a few rare ones. Hormonal problems like hypothyroidism can also affect Australian shepherds. Another rare issue that the Australian shepherd often faces is epilepsy. If you are buying an Australian shepherd puppy from a proper breeder, they should ideally show you the health clearance of the parents so that the pup does not carry traits of any inheritable diseases.  

Many people tend to compare the diseases of an Australian shepherd and a bulldog. A short comparison of the two can be really insightful as it can shed light on the health conditions of both these famous breeds of dogs. Unlike the bulldog, the Australian shepherd is prone to allergies. Cancer and cataracts are also some of the common diseases of Australian shepherds which are not faced by bulldogs to the same degree. On the other hand, bulldogs often suffer from cherry eye, dry eye, or orthopedic diseases like patellar luxation. Both of these dogs however have the tendency to suffer from hip dysplasia (though bulldogs do not suffer from elbow dysplasia as such). A common health issue that bulldogs often suffer from is reverse sneezing which is not the case with an Australian shepherd. Overall, the Australian shepherd and bulldog disease comparison clearly shows that both breeds of dogs have very different health profiles and tend to suffer from different diseases.

Getting your own Australian Shepherd

Australian shepherds carry the herding dog genes within them and so they are still often used as herding dogs. But along with that, they have been used as police dogs for detection purposes. As herding dogs, they can be great family pets too though their pushy behavior may not sit well if your family has smaller children. Before, Australian shepherds were recognized as a powerful breed by the Australian Shepherd Club. Recently, the American Kennel Club, AKC, has added the Australian shepherd as part of their herding group. Many Australian dog breeders fear that the AKC might redirect the attention towards to Australian shepherd’s appearance rather than their real talent as a herding dog. As Australian shepherds are really high on energy, they can match up with the boundless high energy of children and play with them. However, it is essential for them to be socialized at an early age so that they are not too pushy and can remain friendly with any other pets that a family may have. Aussies love people and so, they should not be left alone for a long period of time. The average cost of an Australian shepherd tends to stand at an average of around $600 - $1000.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including the pitbull chihuahua mix and the cheagle.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our Australian shepherd coloring pages.

Australian Shepherd Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Unknown

What Type of Animal were they?

Omnivore

Average Litter Size?

7 - 8

How Much Did They Weigh?

35-70 lb (16-32 kg)

What habitat Do they Live In?

as house pets

Where Do They Live?

australia, north america, canada

How Long Were They?

Unknown

How Tall Were They?

18 in - 23 in (46-58 cm)

Class

Mammalia

Genus

Canis

Family

Canidae

Scientific Name

Canis lupus familiaris

What Do They Look Like?

Solid black, solid red, black merle, blue merle.

Skin Type

Fur

What Are Their Main Threats?

diseases (generally genetic)

What is their Conservation Status?

Not Listed
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Sources

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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