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The Australian shepherd is an American breed recognized by the FCI. 

Average Life : 13–15 years Origin : Western USA Temperament : Affable, Intelligent, Affectionate, Active, Protective Weight : Male: 25–32 kg, Female: 16–25 kg Height : Male: 51–58 cm, Female: 46–54 cm Colors : Merle, Red Merle, Black, Red and Tan, Black and Tan, Blue Merle, Red

, Australian Shepherd, Nuova Fattoria Pet Food

Between the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries the ancestors of this dog arrived in the western United States immediately after the Basque shepherds. Among its ancestors is the “Pastor vasco” dog (Euskal artzain txakurra) brought to the States by the Basques, and the Smithfield, an unrecognized breed that seems to derive from a mixture of breeds created by Australian shepherds. The breed takes its name from Australia but was born and developed in the United States. The Australian Shepherd Club of America (ASCA) was founded in Arizona in 1957 and a unified standard was adopted in 1976. [2]


The Australian shepherd who, even if he is called that, does not come from Australia but from the United States of America. She is particularly fond of children and follows them wherever they go. They are very intelligent and agile dogs, they can practice sheep dog, agility, speed, jump, football as well as rescue on the snow or in the water. It is not a very tall dog, but in agility competitions it is classified in the Large category.

The Australian shepherd can be born with a 10 cm long tail, in this case the specimen is called NBT. In the past, in the case of puppies that had a longer tail at birth, they were amputated; tail docking is strictly prohibited by law in several countries today. Tail docking makes it impossible to register for sports competitions or exhibitions in those countries where this procedure is prohibited.

Pairing between two NBTs can lead to severe malformations.

The coat colors are:

black (solid) / tricolor black

brown (solid) / tricolor red

blue merle

red merle

All dilutions such as sand (yellow), blue (slate-like) and lilac (purple) are considered serious defects.

White is allowed on the neck (full or partial collar), chest, limbs, lower parts of the muzzle, stripe on the head and can extend, starting from the lower region, up to 10 cm, measuring from a horizontal line passing from the elbow. .

The white on the head should not predominate, and the eyes should be completely surrounded by color and pigment. Non-pigmented ears and eyes can lead to deafness and blindness.

Characteristic of merles is to become darker with age.

Black tricolor.

Blue merle.

Red merle.

The coat is of medium texture, straight to wavy, weatherproof and of medium length. The undercoat varies in quantity depending on the climate.

The coat is short and smooth on the head, ears, front of the legs and under the hocks.

Hindquarters and culottes are moderately feathered. There is a moderate mane and bib, more pronounced in males than females

The eyes can be brown, blue, amber or any variant or combination of the aforementioned colors, including stippling and marbling, heterochromia is common in merles but is also considered standard in solids (although rare).

The ears are triangular and close fitting, not straight. The head is well balanced with a cubic skull of the same length as the muzzle. The size for males ranges from 51 to 58 centimeters at the withers, while for females it ranges from 46 to 53 centimeters.


Even if the character can vary from subject to subject, it is usually docile in nature, it is a precious working dog, which has always been highly appreciated in the conduct of flocks even if it belongs to the cattle family. In America it is used in the management of cattle herds. Thanks to its important and evident qualities of intelligence, trainability and agility, it also proves to be an excellent sporting dog, as well as a valuable assistant to man, especially as an anti-drug dog, guide dog for the blind and for rescue. But the Australian shepherd also shows a great attachment to the family, a factor that makes him appreciate more and more as a nice and affectionate friend of life. It is also called the “dog that smiles” due to its particular aptitude to raise its lips showing its teeth in what should not be mistaken for a growl. Rarely quarrelsome with other dogs, it can be said that he likes to stay with his fellows. He tends to have a privileged relationship with what he identifies as “master”. He generally prefers the spaces and places where the owner is.

A puppy

, Australian Shepherd, Nuova Fattoria Pet Food


Particular attention should also be paid to drugs and pesticides, this breed (like other collies) can present a mutation to the mdr1 gene that makes it particularly sensitive to some pharmacological molecules. Adverse reactions are severe and can lead to death of the animal.

It is a rustic dog that does not require special care. It is enough to have some simple attention to the coat and health in general. We therefore simply recommend some periodic brushing, a little movement and a check for external parasites.

It is subject to some hereditary diseases, the most frequent are hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia and oculopathy and after 3 years epilepsy can occur.

Mating two merle subjects (to be understood both blue merle and red merle) is highly not recommended and harmful to puppies.

In a litter between two merle dogs, there will be about 25% of the tricolor puppies, 50% of the merle puppies and the remaining 25% of the puppies will have a prevalence of white or almost completely white, with the nose, the mucous membranes and the outline of the depigmented eyes. This type of coloring is a very serious standard defect.

In addition to everything related to the aesthetic and standard factor, this type of mating can bring about serious health problems on most puppies such as: hearing defects (which can lead to deafness), and serious problems with the eyeball which often lead to blindness of one or both eyes, ie Lethal White subjects.


Given his nature, which has made him so much appreciated as a conductor dog, with his first acquaintances he can be a bit shy and will need company every minute of his life: he is not an independent dog. It is absolutely necessary to avoid leaving him alone in the apartment, because it could even be harmful to his psychological health. To get the most out of the Australian shepherd you need to provide him with a consistent upbringing, so he is not very suitable as a first dog. [3]


In 2004 the ENCI counted 163 puppies. In 2005, 182. In 2006, 281. In 2007, 301. In 2008, 369. In 2009, 497. In 2012, 1005. In 2016, 2.060. Its diffusion is therefore constantly growing.

Suitable for …

Agility Dog

Fly ball




Civil protection

Management of flocks and cattle

Disc dog

Sheep dog