The Australian Shepherd was originally founded in Spain. The Basque people who immigrated to Spain from Australia relocated to the United States in the 19th Century and developed the breed as we know it today. It had many names but was finally registered for the origin of the breeders.
They are a medium sized animal, almost square in conformation, strong boned with a thick coat that can be marked or solid. They need daily grooming and lots of exercise. Because they are a farm and ranch dog they need a lot of activity and purpose. These intelligent canines are excellent sport dogs doing well in agility and flyball.
Today ranchers rely upon their dogs for herding. They have a medium to loose eye regarding herding which means that they watch the entire herd and do not have an intense gaze as other herding dogs. This is ideal for the open country of the western United States.
They have a warm and loving disposition but can be shy. Because they are heelers they have a tendency to nip at people’s heels. They can be apartment dogs if they have a daily, rigorous exercise schedule otherwise they do not make good pets for those who do not own a lot of acreage.
Grooming should be part of their daily routine. Because they have a thick undercoat, the wire brush should first be used to pull out the loose fur. Then a stiff brush to work the over coat. This type of grooming will bring up the oils to the skin and keep a healthy look to the dog.
They do best at herding competition, agility and flyball. They are excellent at obedience and enjoy working with their humans.
Milwaukee area residents who might be interested in the breed can contact Wisconsin breeders, breed rescue organizations, shelters or breed clubs. They make an good addition to the family if they are included in activities, but are not happy if they are not busy and the results can be devastating.