The Australian Shepherd
The Australian Shepherd is a magnificent animal. We are a small Aussie breeder located in a remote area in central Utah. We’ve been breeding Australian Shepherds now for about 12 years. We fell in love with this breed because of their loving temperaments, their active natures, and their ability to learn quickly. We feel like they are one of the best family breeds to have around because they are so friendly and love the attention.
The Australian Shepherd is a working breed. They are commonly known for working around the ranch with cows and sheep and other herding animals because herding is in their blood. Aussies like to be out in the open, with the ability to stretch their legs once in a while. They are considered a herding breed. They like to herd. Cows. Sheep. Kids. And they like to participate in sporting events. They thrive on daily exercise and interaction with their family.
Depending on how they are bred, Aussies can also be “lower-drive”, like most of those here at Canyon Creek… They are the perfect balance for anyone who wants a cuddly, furry house pet, but yet able to go on almost any outdoor adventure, walks or runs, hikes, backpacking trips, horseback rides or even bike rides because they can keep up with the best of them.
And if you have kids, they will become instant friends… for life! We know! Emree and Alayna’s best friends are their little aussies. They are a fantastic breed to have around kids because of their well-natured and fun-loving temperaments. They are loyal beyond fault.
Different Colors of Australian Shepherds
Aussies come in a variety of colors: Black Tri, Red Tri, Blue Merle and Red Merle are the most common. There is the black BI and the red BI as well. Simply meaning TWO. Black and white with no copper points or red and white with no copper points. For simplicity of a new person exploring the breed and colors, we will refer to them as simply as we can.
Black Tri Aussie – The Black-Tri Australian Shepherd is a combination of Black, Copper and White. They can have brown eyes, blue eyes or a brown and blue eye. Most common are brown eyes. People seem to really love the black tri with two blue eyes but we feel like a good dog is simply that. Regardless of eye color. Some will have deep rich copper on their legs and around the face which gives them that unique Aussie look.
This is Dezzi, one of our black tri females and as you can see, she has a lot of deep copper around her face and her back legs. She also has 2 brown eyes. She is very sweet and a friend to everyone.
Red Tri Aussie – The Red-Tri Australian Shepherd is similar to the Black-Tri just comes in a red coat of fur. Red-Tri’s are red, copper and white. They can come in different shades of red.
They too can have brown eyes, blue eyes or both. They generally have copper points and that can vary…from massive copper points on legs and face to smaller copper points. This is Penny, one of Canyon Creek’s red tri females. She has two blue eyes. You can see her copper points (eye brows…cheeks, legs ) She is also very sweet and loves to go for rides in the golf cart
Blue Merle Aussie – The Blue Merle Australian Shepherd has more than 3 colors. They can have a combination of black, white, copper, and bluish-grey. The bluish-grey color results from the coat being genetically diluted. So instead of the coat being black like that of a Black-Tri, the black coat is diluted giving it that greyish-blue color. Eye color can also vary. Brown, blue or both.
Meet Messi – a Canyon Creek blue merle female. You can see all the “merling” in her coat. She too is a sweetheart. She is also referred to as a mini. This just means she is smaller than a standard size.
Red Merle Aussie – The Red Merle Australian Shepherd, similar to the blue merle can have a combination of red, white, copper, and brownish-red. Just like the blue merle, the red merle coat is genetically diluted which gives it that brownish-red color over its body. Eye color also varies from blue, brown or both.
Meet Willie, one of our Canyon Creek males. You can see the color pattern of the red coat giving him that reddish-brown merle look. Willie is a beautiful red merle male here at Canyon Creek and we absolutely love him.
Aussies are also extremely intelligent. They love to learn and interact with people or other animals. Again they are a herding breed so they love attention and affection. Known to aussie lovers world wide as “wiggle-butts” because when they get excited or happy to see you, they like to wiggle their butts and let you know about it. Many will even back up to you, wiggling the whole time, to get a much loved scratching and rubbing.
Aussies are a working breed and as such most of their tails are docked a few days after they are born. Some of them are actually genetically born without tails. Those are referred to as a NBT. Natural Bob Tail. Back in the day, the reason for the docking tails was to prevent injury when herding other animals because the tail had the potential of getting in the way. It is AKC standard to dock the tails and since Canyon Creek aussies are AKC registered, we normally will dock all tails. There are those exceptions when we leave a tail for a family who has requested that.
As a note of interest, AKC recognized the Australian Shepherd as a breed in 1991. The standard Aussie generally weighs between 40-65 pounds when fully grown and males can grow to a height of 20″-21″ with females 18″-21″ And some even larger. The smaller Aussies can also be considered “mini” if they are between 20-40 pounds with a height between 13″ and 18″. However, not to be misunderstood, the AKC Australian Shepherd is always registered as such, regardless of size. Life expectancy is 12-15 years.
Ears are triangular of moderate size set high on the head and break over. If they break over to the side of the dog, that is called a rose ear. Which is acceptable to AKC standards. An Australian Shepherd with ears that stand up (prick ears) or droop is considered a flaw. This is not a concern if you’re not breeding the dog or showing the dog in competition. A great family pet is not based on earset. Also their hearing will not be affected, regardless if the ears are up or down.
As for shedding, Aussies will typically ‘blow’ their coat once a year. Shedding that winter coat and then growing back that second layer of protection is completely normal, as with all double coated dogs. Because of all their fur, one would think that they shed more, however, in our dogs, they will keep most of their coat. Sometimes we will have a dog completely blow the coat to make it look like it’s naked…lol Totally slick haired. But most of them, especially the males, will only shed a portion of their coat. So you would think that with not one but TWO coats, that the dogs will be miserable in the summer right? WRONG! The double coat on an Aussie actually protects them in both the winter and summer. It acts just as insulation does. It keeps them warm in the winter and cool in the summer. This is why you DO NOT shave an Aussies coat in the summer. This will do more harm than good. Let nature take care of their heating and cooling. Just keep them brushed out good and nature will gladly take care of the rest.
We have been breeding Australian Shepherds now for 12 years. If you have any specific questions, please feel free to leave us a comment and we will answer your question. This will also help others who may have similar questions.
3 thoughts on “All About The Australian Shepherd”
Hello and thank you for your article, I purchased a mini Australian Shepherd at 15 weeks old, he is a blue Merle. He is not playful or energetic with my 8 year old grandson and has growled at him. Any suggestions. I understand that this is not normal.
I’m not sure how long you’ve had your new puppy, but sometimes puppies take time to acclimate to their new surroundings. If they haven’t been played with or handled much during the first 15 weeks of it’s life, an 8 yr old is something that is new to them. It’s important that you play and handle your puppy at a young age so they are familiar with it as they grow. Letting your puppy be around your grandson is a good thing and overtime he should get used to him. It just takes time. As far as the energy, some Australian Shepherds are high drive and some are not. It just depends on the genetics. You could try some higher energy food as well. That may or may not make any difference, but it’s worth a try.
I have a 12 year old Aussie who is very active for her age. She is the love of my life.