Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherd

5 May 2023

Reviewed by Dr Jill McMaster BVM&S MBA MRCVS, Veterinary Surgeon and in-house expert at BorrowMyDoggy on 26 May 2023

Are you looking for a loyal, loving and courageous dog? An Australian Shepherd could be just for you! Whether you’re thinking of borrowing one or getting your own, we’ve pulled together some fun and interesting facts you should know about the breed.

Australian Shepherd stats about exercise needs (5/5), grooming ease (3/5) and trainability (4/5)

Overview of article:

What is an Australian Shepherd


Exercise needs





Vet top tip

Local Australian Shepherds on BorrowMyDoggy

Top Australian Shepherd names

Let’s talk about… Australian Shepherds: what are they?

  • Interestingly, the Australian Shepherd actually originates from California, and was derived from the Spanish Sheepdog.
  • They are an incredibly intelligent and alert working dog, who are often used on farms and ranches.
  • They often have two different coloured eyes!
  • Many have naturally short tails, due to ranchers breeding from dogs with short tails as it was safer for herding work.
  • They can be up to 57cm in height for males, and 52cm for females.
  • They can weigh between 18 and 29kg.
  • Their life expectancy is usually between 12 and 15 years.
  • The Miniature Australian Shepherd or Miniature American Shepherd is a smaller version of the breed but is similar in other respects.

What is the temperament of Australian Shepherds like?

  • The Australian Shepherd has a fantastic temperament.
  • They’re very loving and loyal dogs, who are extremely devoted to those around them. They can be unsure of new people, and it’s a great idea to socialise them well as puppies to be more relaxed around people and other animals.
  • They can be good family pets, for very active families, who have taught their Australian Shepherd not to herd the family.
  • They need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation, otherwise they can find their own fun, which can involve things like herding children or chasing cars!
  • If they are bored they can also be destructive or bark a lot. They will also bark if they think their family is in danger, as they can be protective of their territory and family.
Barley, the Australian Shepherd, with merle coat
Barley, the Australian Shepherd

How much exercise do Australian Shepherds need?

  • Australian Shepherds are extremely active dogs that require more than 2 hours of exercise a day.
  • They require committed owners who are willing to give them lots of exercise if they are not going to be used as a working dog.
  • It’s important to remember these intelligent pups need mental activities as well as physical ones!
  • They just love to be kept busy whether that’s working, learning new tricks, competing or just getting lots of walks. They excel at agility, flyball and/or obedience training. Check out the Flyball UK official site here!

Do Australian Shepherds need a lot of grooming?

  • They come in four different colours; black, red, blue merle and red merle, with each of these colours sometimes showing tan and white markings on the legs, face and chest.
  • Their coats are double-layered and waterproof.
  • They can shed quite a lot, so be sure to give them a good brush at least weekly.
  • Like any dog, regular tooth brushing with a dog-specific toothpaste twice daily is ideal.  If you can’t manage that often, just do it as often as you can.
Luna, the Australian Shepherd, in a nice patch of grass
Luna, the Australian Shepherd

Are Australian Shepherds easy to train?

  • Although the Australian Shepherd is relatively easy to train as they are so smart, this has to be done from a very early age.
  • They need to be trained by an owner who is confident and knows what they are doing with training, so they are not generally recommended as a first dog.
  • Consistency is key when training them, and make sure to keep things interesting so they don’t get bored.

What do Australian Shepherds eat?

  • A good quality dog food twice daily is ideal for an adult Australian Shepherd.
  • They can put on weight quite easily, so be sure to watch the amounts they are eating, and don’t give too many treats!
  • Puppies should be on a puppy specific diet until they are about 12 months old, but your food supplier can advise on that as every brand is a bit different.
  • Unless working or doing high levels of exercise, they don’t need to be on high calorie working dog food.
  • If they have any joint or skin issues they can benefit from supplements as recommended by your vet.

Sierra, the Australian Shepherd with a light brown and white coat
Sierra, the Australian Shepherd

Are Australian Shepherds healthy?

Australian shepherds are generally healthy dogs, but can be more prone to some conditions than other breeds:

  • Bones and Joints
    • Hip dysplasia - a condition where the thigh bone and pelvis do not sit together properly at the hip joint
    • Elbow dysplasia - this condition is where there is an issue with how the bones fit together at the elbow joint
  • Eyes
    • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) - this is when the retina of the eye, breaks down, leading to blindness
    • Cataracts - a common cause of blindness due to a clouding of the lens of the eye
    • Glaucoma - when the pressure of the eye becomes too high which can damage the eye
  • Medication
    • Multidrug Sensitivity - this hereditary condition is when your dog cannot process drugs properly
  • Metabolic
    • Cobalamin deficiency - this genetic condition occurs when certain dogs cannot absorb vitamin B12 as well as they should

Always make sure to have your dog insured, so you don’t get caught out with any unexpected vet bills.

Viggo, the Australian Shepherd, on a muddy walk
Viggo, the Australian Shepherd

Our vet top tip

“Australian shepherds have loads of energy and love their exercise, so going out for exciting adventures with them can keep them trim and also keep their big brains engaged”

BorrowMyDoggy loves Australian Shepherds

BorrowMyDoggy has 285 Australian Shepherd members.

Roxy is the sweetest and well behaved dog. She is very relaxed and calm, and she just loves spending time outside. She is a true beauty and anyone who spends time with her leaves with a big smile.

- Lee, Owner of Roxy

Panda is a very clever dog - he can open doors and grasps things very fast.

- Danielle, Owner of Panda.

Hobson has a lot of energy - he enjoys walks by the river and playing fetch (although he might not bring it back!). I always walk him off the lead so he get’s as much exercise as possible, and he never ventures too far away from me.

- Tatiana, Owner of Hobson.

Hobson, the Australian Shepherd, looking magnificent next to a stream in a mossy wood
Hobson, the Australian Shepherd

And what are some of our Australian Shepherds’ quirks?

Rupert must always be on you, or touching you and he loves his belly, well actually any part of him rubbed! He cries when you stop rubbing him and he loves to give kisses.

- Rebecca, Owner of Rupert

Logan competes in Flyball and has a number of Rosettes - 1st place has so far eluded him, but that's our target for this year.

- Elaine, Owner of Logan

Joey is 6 months old and is loved (and loves!) by everyone!

- Juliann, Owner of Joey

Australian Shepherd names

The most popular name for an Australian Shepherd on BorrowMyDoggy is Milo.

  1. Milo
  2. Bailey
  3. Koda
  4. Luna
  5. Cooper
  6. Loki
  7. Merlin
  8. Skye
  9. Storm
  10. Alba
  11. Alfie
  12. Barley
  13. Bonnie
  14. Boomer
  15. Bruno
  16. Charlie
  17. Fletcher
  18. Freddie
  19. Gracie
  20. Jack

Owner Caroline joined BorrowMyDoggy with her Australian Shepherd, Posey, and shared how BorrowMyDoggy borrowers join

not because it’s their job. They’re doing it because they miss having a dog and they love dogs

Information on this page should never replace advice given by your veterinarian.  Potential health issues presented are given as a guide only and are not meant to be comprehensive. If you ever have any concerns about your dog’s health contact your local vet.

Want to borrow an Australian Shepherd  in your area? Register for free!

Find out more about Australian Cattle Dogs  Find out more about Basenjis

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