AUSTRALIAN SHEPHERD DOG

The image of symmetry and resistance: the Australian Shepherd Dog combines an attractive appearance with unbeatable ethics and plenty of personality. 
Longer than tall, the Australian Shepherd has a moderate lengthed coat, with different colors, with a stub tail at birth. It should be an image of symmetry and resistance, with an agile appearance. The head should have a clean and strong cut, with a skull between smooth and slightly rounded; the muzzle narrows softly towards the nose and the stop is moderate. The neck is strong and medium lengthed; the body is firm, with a straight upper outline. The chest is wide; the lumbar area is strong and wide. The stub tail is not over 10 cm. The limbs are balanced and offer the dog good support, moderate angulations, with enough shoulder sloping. The coat has medium texture to provide protection from weather inclemency, although it should not be exaggerated in amount. Colors include merle blue, bluish red (liver), solid black, solid red (liver, with or without white and/or tan spots). There should not be white spots on the coat. Color distribution varies from roan, spotted, mottled, to patches and disperse spots. Males stand between 50 and 58 cm; the females, from 46 to 53 cm.  
 
WHO IS IT RIGHT FOR     
The Australian Shepherd is a thinking dog. It is instinctive and protective with those who it is in charge of, therefore, reserved with strangers. As a family dog it is loyal and devoted, but also brave. The Australian Shepherd takes initiative, it is an ingenious worker, and very adaptable. Many work as shepherds under the Texan sun, while others do it in very cold conditions in the Canadian winter. It needs plenty of exercise and an outlet for its talents, while at home it is very educated and affectionate.
 
The adult Australian Shepherd Dog is an independent company dog, with a good head, which enjoys increasing popularity upon discovering its many virtues. 
 
DEVELOPMENT    
There is a considerable variety amongst the different breeding lines in this breed, in size as well as growth speed. Newborn puppies weigh between 250 and 500 g, as an adult it can reach 35 kg, when reaching maturity after three years. The largest type has a more spectacular growth period, and many times the skeleton is stronger than the muscular, for which the dog seems longer at the limbs. During this time an adequate diet is vital to avoid potential joint problems. Exercise should be adjusted accordingly. Color changes are frequent to the breed. The puppies are born with the nose pink, which darkens with time, as well as the blue coloring. All the copper coloring turns more intense a few weeks after birth. The bite can be evaluated after six months, although it can improve after two years. It is advisable to remove the dewclaws early, in case they exist.
 
To guarantee the puppy’s good character, observe the mother. She should be balanced, confident and calm. 
 
HEALTH      
Blue (merle) specimens have blue eyes and the color of their coat tends to darken with age.
 
The Australian Shepherd is a strong breed, adaptable to its environment and disease resistant. The largest problem suffered by this rustic shepherd is accidental injuries – the breed is prone to chase bicycles, cars, and other moving objects, in an attempt to satisfy its insatiable guiding instinct -. And the working dogs, evidently, exposed to suffering kicks with the livestock. OFA and CERF certificates should be acquired; its hip dysplasia incidence is well known as well as, retinal progressive atrophy and detachment. Other eye problems that occur in the breed are microphtalmia (small eyes), Collie eye and cataracts. The future buyer should check for blue homozygote, possible products  of crossings between “merles”, since such dogs are highly prone to health problems. Some specimens can suffer from deafness, blindness and other anomalies, such as kidney stones. Care is considerable, although not excessive or demanding. Bald patches can be avoided with a high quality diet. There is high incidence of nasal solar dermatitis. The Australian Shepherd can live from 12 to 15 years.