Gala herding Alpacas

The Australian Shepherd
Breed Standard

"First and foremost, the Australian Shepherd is a true working stockdog, and anything that detracts from his usefulness as such is undesirable. The most important breed characteristics are overall moderation in size and bone, balance with correct proportions, and sound movement."

The full description of the breed standard can be found at the ASCA website.

 

HaleyGinger and Max on McHugh PeakSKyler in snow

 

Looking for an Aussie? Our Facebook club page is a great resource for folks looking for an Aussie in Alaska. Facebook link

Aussie doing agility weaves

 

Aussie Rescue

The Aussie Rescue and Placement Helpline, Inc. (ARPH) is a not-for-profit organization that is comprised of volunteers who are dedicated to the Australian Shepherd breed.

www.aussierescue.org (US & Canada)

Alaska Aussie Rescue (Alaska)

ALASKA AUSSIE RESCUE: Max is a neutered male with a beautiful tail. Please see the Alaska Aussie Rescue website for more information.

Max for adoption

Also, be sure to visit our Facebook page for available Aussies.   Facebook link

 

Ginger & RumorStriker

 

Finding a Breeder

HOW TO FIND A REPUTABLE BREEDER

It is strongly recommended that you do not buy from a pet shop. It is a violation of ASCA Code of Ethics for ASCA registered Aussies to be sold in pet shops.

It is best for both the puppy and the new owner when puppies do not go to their new home until they are at least eight weeks of age. This gives the puppies time to socialize with their littermates, get past the stress of weaning, and time to have their first temporary vaccinations.

BobbiAt the time of sale, the breeder should provide you with information on the health clearances of the parents, registration application papers for the puppy, a pedigree, and a health record. Are both the sire and dam OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) certified and free from Hip Dysplasia?

Price should be consistent with the quality of the puppy. Raising a litter of quality, healthy Aussie puppies takes time and a lot of effort by an informed breeder. The initial investment you make is nothing compared to the investment, both financially and emotionally, you will make over the next 12-17 years.

Ask the breeder which pup they would consider to be the best for you and why. Concerned breeders want to place each pup in the home that is the best match for him/her. Consider what traits are important to you.

Please visit the ASCA website for more valuable information before purchasing your Aussie puppy.

 

Me2 Herding

 

Activities to do with Your Aussie

Aussies excel in many activities, such as agility, stockdog, obedience, rally, barn hunt, flyball, tracking, conformation, lure coursing, and nose work, as well as hiking, biking, skiing, running, camping, skijoring, frisbee... the list goes on. See our Resources page for links to activities in your area!

The Alaska Australian Shepherd Club (AK ASC) sponsors a number of trials and shows each year. See our Calendar of Events to find an event near you!

 

Haley hiking

Is an Aussie Right for You?

If you are looking for a dog with an intense desire to please and who is very loyal to you and your family, the Aussie will make you a wonderful companion, as well as a great working partner if you have livestock. You should be aware of his territorial Rumor with ballinstincts and that he may be naturally possessive and protective of his owners and home. You and your environment will greatly determine the dog you end up with.

The Australian Shepherd Club of America (ASCA) has much more information on their website for the prospective Aussie owner. More links can be found on our Resources page.

The Australian Shepherd

BREED HISTORY:

The Australian Shepherd, despite its name, was developed in the American west. There are many theories as to how it got its name. Here are a few links to various websites with historical information on the Australian Shepherd:
Working Aussie Source
Las Rocosas Australian Shepherds
All About Aussies
Slash V Aussies
The Australian Shepherd Photo Archives

TEMPERAMENT:

The Australian Shepherd was developed to be an intelligent, all-purpose stock dog of great character and endurance. Aussies need fenced yards and leashes, as the temptation to herd dogs, children, and traffic can simply overwhelm them.

Ginger after playing with the hoseBeing bred to work hard all day means that most Aussies are not content to be couch potatoes. These are high energy dogs who need a purpose in their lives -- a job as it were. Owners must be committed to give these dogs the time and attention they require through play and training, or undirected energy can turn towards destructive behaviors. Running, jumping, and rough-housing are all a part of being a normal Aussie.

Consider carefully if your lifestyle can accommodate the exuberance of a typical Aussie.

More information on the personality & character of Aussies can be found at the ASCA website.

WORKING DESCRIPTION:

Gala herding cat"The Australian Shepherd was developed in the 19th and 20th centuries as a general-purpose ranch and farm dog in the American West, where a tough, enduring, versatile stockdog with an honest work ethic was required."

The rest of the working description can be found at the ASCA webite, under Working Description.

APPEARANCE:

Aussies come in a variety of colors, the basics being Black, Red, Blue Merle, and Red Merle. Each may or may not have copper trim and/or white.

The basic body colors of the Australian Shepherd is red and black. The blue merle is genetically a black dog carrying the merling gene (which looks like patches or splashes of color). The red merle is genetically a red dog carrying a merling gene (which looks like patches or splashes of color).

For more info on Aussie colors the following links may be helpful:
ASCA Website
Australian Shepherd Health & Genetic Institute

Health & Genetics

The following information has been gathered to better inform you of the hereditary diseases associated with the Australian Shepherd.

The Australian Shepherd Health & Genetics Institute (ASGHI) is your "one-stop shopping" site for information about genetics and hereditary disease in Australian Shepherds.

HIP DYSPLASIA:

Hip Dysplasia is a terrible genetic disease because of the various degrees of arthritis (also called degenerative joint disease, arthrosis, osteoarthrosis) it can eventually produce, leading to pain and debilitation.

More information can be found at the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) website. There you will also find information on elbow dysplasia and other genetic disease. More information can also be found at the Australian Shepherd Health & Genetic Institute.

HEREDITARY EYE DEFECTS:Chevy in sunglasses

Eye Disorders in Aussies (ASHGI website)

According to C.A. Sharp, eye defects are the most common inherited problem in Australian Shepherds. Even discounting the problems that result from merle-to-merle breeding, they are still the most likely genetic diseases a breeder will encounter. Conformation lines are more heavily affected, but working lines experience them also. (Excerpt from Can You See?: Inherited Eye Disease in Aussies article)

More information:
Cataracts (ASHGI website)
Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA) (ASHGI website)

MDR1 (Multi-Drug Resistance 1 gene):

Australian Shepherds, along with several other breeds, can carry a genetic mutation that makes them sensitive to certain drugs. Use of those drugs can cause serious neurological illness or death.

Fortunately, there is an extremely accurate DNA test that will let you know whether your dog has this mutation.

The Australian Shepherd Health & Genetics Institute has extensive information on MDR1.

Washington State University, College of Veterinary Medicine conducts the testing for MDR1.

LETHAL WHITES / HOMOZYGOUS MERLE / DOUBLE MERLE:

When two merles are bred together, there is a 25% chance of producing blind and/or deaf puppies. Predominantly white Aussies are almost always the result of merle-to-merle breeding. These homozygous (meaning "two like genes") merles have inherited the merle color gene from both parents. They are usually, but not always, blind and/or deaf. More information can be found at:
Australian Shepherd Health & Genetics Institute
Lethal Whites

EPILEPSY:

Toby's Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing resources and support to aid in the fight against canine epilepsy.

The Epi Guardian Angels is your source for information, support, treatments, and solutions for veterinarians and owners of dogs with canine epilepsy.

OTHER HEALTH & GENETIC ISSUES:

You can find more information on genetics and other hereditary disease at the Australian Shepherd Health & Genetics Institute.

Australian Shepherd Health & Genetics Institute