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Characteristics of the breed
Australian shepherd (AUO) has in the past few years become very popular as a companion, not only for his remarkable and original appearance,but mainly for his all-embracing personality.His natural intelligence, never-dying activity, docility, loyalty, ability to work with cattle, sheep and horses, his lust for  fulfilling every wish his owner has and talent for motion, makes Aussie a popular breed. Aussie is a dog with outstanding herding and  also guarding instincts. No question, why has Aussie became in the past 10 years the best popular breed especially in the country of his origin, United States. His name-Australian shepherd- is little bit misleading, and in contrast to Australian cattle dog, whose origin is really from Australia, is the origin of Aussie more complicated.


General appearance
Australian Shepherd is definitely a breed you will notice- his shiny colours from bluemerle, redmerle, blacktricolor, redtricolor, altogether with or without white, or other markings. The basic colours you can see at the pictures accompanying this text. Aussie is solidly built with moderate bone, is slightly longer than tall of an rectangular look. He is attentive and animated, lithe and agile, definitely not clumsy. The coat is of is of medium texture, straight to wavy  and of medium length. There is a moderate mane and frill, more pronounced in dogs than in bitches.

Character and temperament
The Australian Shepherd is an intelligent working dog of strong herding and guarding instincts.He is a loyal companion and has the stamina to work all day. He is well balanced, good natured, seldom quarrelsome. He may be somewhat reserved in initial meetings. Any display of shyness, fear or aggression is to be severely penalized. Enough of connotation from the standard. If you meet the Aussie personally, you would be excited about his character the same way as the breeders of this “fluffy heart” are. Aussie is always in a good mood, smiling, always ready to work or play. His big advantage is his activity and adaptability. Considering the activity, its not like you would have to keep him busy 10 hours per day, how some “would-be experts” declare. Aussie very adaptability to what do you want to do and when. If you want to do agility, he will happily jump across anything, if you rather prefer Frisbee, which is in the USA very popular, he will be excited about catching it.His moveability is so big, he can even change the direction in the air, therefore he is almost determined for this sport.

 

For whom is suitable
Aussie is suitable for anyone who can handle middle size, smiley dog who is always ready to work or play. Of course in any breed there can be extremes, home-bird or hyperactive missile. If you are average active, Aussie is best choice. He is great for sports fanatics and other who don't like “couching”  and like to spend a time with their dog at any canine activity. He is also great in sheep, cattle and horse farms. At herding he can substitute a work of few adult man on horses.Some breeders wanted to keep Aussie an exclusiveness and made a bad look of Aussie, especially with health problems, and this way they have made from Aussie a sick Border collie suitable only for apartments. Somehow they have forgotten th original use of Ausse- a herding and guarding dog, where the owner hardly took the dog after day-long work to city apartment by car. I don't want to say, that your Aussie doesn't deserve your attention! Often I have to answer qustions like “Can I have an Aussie if I can't keep him busy ten hours per day? Because I have read it at some webpages where they say its necessity! “ or “ I have a big garden, but I have heard I can't have Aussie outside, only inside?” etc. The answer is-look at the main purpose of existence. Aussie, as any other dog, needs regular contact with his family which he loves, especially children which won't tease him. The more time you spend with your Aussie, the more pleasure you will have from his work or sport success.For sure can Aussie live outside the house and have access to the house. If he should guard something, he needs to know its “his”. And same way he can live with you at the 15th floor in apartment.


Usage
Aussie is also used as a rescue dog. He is an important part in agility, frisbee, flyball and coursing.Few people in Czech Republic do dogtrekking with their dogs, and some  junior handlers are satisfied with Aussie as a good show dog. You can do any, or all these activities with you Aussie! Surely, your Aussie doesn't have to be excellent in all these activities, but you can often meet dog who is successful rescue and agility, or is good in herding and coursing and so on. Owners beginners are very happy about Aussie's ability to learn quickly, because not everybody is getting an Aussie to participate at the  top competitions. Many people have Aussie for fun, not for winning.


Care and breeding
Aussie doesn't need any special care, it all depends on the dog's activity. Home staying Aussie with few walks a day will require less, then dog working whole day. Aussie needs a food of a good quality, not leftovers.  He eats little less then German Shepherd.The coat needs to be brushed time to time, especially when the hair is changing (spring and fall), but does not need everyday brushing. Once in two weeks is just fine. The hair has self cleaning ability, but if you want to attend a dog shows, you can't take your dog from sheep and go exhibit, you need to take care of his coat first. Washing, drying and brushing is matter of course.Bitches are usually great mothers, they care of their puppies well. Number of  puppies is often big, it can happened, that 10 puppies are born in one litter. It has to be mentioned that with such a big number of puppies the bitch can't handle feeding all of them alone. There has to be other bitch or the owner has to help feeding from a bottle every 2 hours.


Health
Its always good to mention a health problems that each breed suffers with. Especially ASCA and responsible breeders try to avoid health risks by caused by crossing wrong individuals. Australian Shepherd together with other breeds can suffer with eye problems, therefore responsible breeder lets adult dogs be examined every year. Some problems appear immediately, others in 4th, 5th year of age.Also puppies should be examined at the age of 6-8 months. Another health problem is hip or elbow dysplasia. With this disease suffer not only purebred dogs, but also wild wolfs. Therefore the x-ray examination of both parents is need to be done. Even when both parents are clear, it doesn't mean that the dog would not have the disease, but its chance is low. The Aussie population in the Czech Republic comes from lines that have examinations many generations back. I am not trying to push forward dogs with pedigrees, but to be honest, if you plan buying a Aussie puppy, buy one from registered litter, because these puppies and parents have the examinations done. Also you would not get disappointed as when your mix breed grows up into something else, and sick.


Author of the original text: Jarmila Podzemská,kennel Bohemia Acro, Czech Republic.