As previously mentioned, the Australian Shepherd originates from Spain where they were used as working dogs by Basque shepherds. With this said, the breed was mainly developed in the United States. Aussies were first taken over to Australia by shepherds who emigrated there at the end of the nineteenth century. These “blue dogs” were then taken to the Americas where they were given the name Australian Shepherds.
However, other people believe that the breed first appeared in the United States when dogs were taken over there by European immigrants. With this said, their ancestry is a bit of a mystery, but the dogs bought over to Australia from Spain were no doubt crossed with Australian working dogs. At the time, they earned themselves the reputation for being devoted dogs that boasted a higher than average intelligence in the working environment and very capable of doing their job without the need for the shepherd to be around.
The breed only arrived in the UK in the mid-1980s when dogs were imported to the country by Mr., & Mrs. Jueckstock and over the years these attractive dogs have gained popularity both as working dogs, family pets and companion dogs. Over more recent times, they have been trained as Guide Dogs for the Blind, Search and Rescue dogs as well as being trained to help handicapped people. A lot of Aussies are used as therapy dogs in nursing homes and hospitals which goes to show just how versatile and intelligent they are.
Interesting facts about the breed
- Is the Australian Shepherd a vulnerable breed? No, although they are quite rare in the UK which means puppies can often command a lot of money and anyone wanting to share a home with an Aussie would need to register their interest with breeders for the pleasure of doing so
- An Australian Shepherd’s eyes are a beautiful physical feature in the breed and they can be any combination of colors which includes amber, pale blue, all shades of brown and hazel
- There are 4 basic coat colors in the breed, namely black, blue merle, red and red merle
- Australian Shepherds can have naturally bobbed tails
- Traditionally, an Australian Shepherd’s tail was always docked, but since the law banning the procedure came into effect in 2007, tail docking is now illegal with the exception being for some working breeds and if a dog suffers from some sort of health issue that requires their tails to be docked. The procedure must be agreed and authorized before being performed by a qualified vet, but it is worth noting that Australian Shepherds can have naturally bobbed tails