A genius among canines, the highly trainable and remarkably adaptable Australian shepherd isn’t really from Down Under. The breed was probably developed in the Pyrenees Mountains. It moseyed into the American West, where it hired on as ranch hand, sheepherder and all-around farm dog. Guys are typically 20 to 23 inches tall and tip the scales at about 50 to 65 pounds, while the gals reach heights of 18 to 21 inches and weigh about 35 to 50 pounds.
The AKC emphasizes the significance of proportion in the Aussie’s body mass, indicating that quality is more important than rigid size standards. This dog should be robust, sturdily built, well balanced and slightly longer than he is tall at the withers. Ladies must look feminine yet not fragile of bone, while gents should appear masculine but not coarse.
Not only is he a canine Einstein, the medium-sized, handsome, hard-working Australian shepherd thrives on activity and is happiest when he has a job to do. Because Aussies bred from working lines must be agile and quick on their feet to move livestock, they’re typically a bit slimmer and smaller than specimens bred for AKC shows and performance events. True working Australian shepherds also tend to have shorter coats, which aren’t as likely to get caught up on brambles, bushes and weedy undergrowth.
- Sean Gallup/Getty Images News/Getty Images