The Australian Shepherd Dog (Australian Healer) is a breed developed by English farmers around the 19th century. The main purpose of the four-legged friend in those distant times was to manage the grazing herds of cattle and the subsequent protection. Representatives of the breed are characterized by tirelessness, increased courage, and extraordinary endurance. Until now, dog breeders have not been able to breed a more successful herding animal on the Australian continent and in the world.
The breed of Australian shepherd dog is devoted to the owner is quick-witted and easily amenable to the basics of training. Pets have established themselves as responsible cattle keepers. Dogs are affectionate and loving, they constantly delight breeders, act as excellent companions. According to statistics, a certain representative of the breed lived to be 29 years old. 2,500 puppies are born in Australia every year.
History of the Breed
Fast, brave, smart, hardy Australian Healers are very similar to their ancestors – independent, freedom-loving, and fearless dingos. It was thanks to these wild dogs that farmers in Australia got the idea to create an ideal dog in all respects that would drive and graze herds despite the local harsh climate, long distances, and other possible difficulties. Dingo dogs caused a lot of trouble for local farmers, they quietly and silently attacked livestock and instead of getting rid of them, the workers decided to create a similar dog to counterbalance the dingo. The farmers crossed dingoes with smooth-haired collies. Puppies were born that did not find a common language with horses. And then such a mestizo was crossed with a Dalmatian and an Australian kelpie. As you know, Dalmatians have been friends with horses for a long time, and kelpies are excellent shepherds. The standard for the resulting breed was developed by herding dog expert Robert Kaleski. The NSW Kennel Club adopted this standard in 1903. The official standard was adopted in 1963 by the Australian National Kennel Council. The new standard was written based on the Kaleski standard. At the same time, the current name of the breed was officially approved.
Description of the Breed
- Life expectancy – 13-15 years
- Another name – is the Australian healer; Blue healer
- Color – blue, red
- Weight – male: 15-16 kg, female: 14-16 kg
- Height – male: 46-51 cm, female: 43-48 cm
- Character – cautious, obedient, energetic, devoted, protective, fearless
- The Australian Cattle Dog is of medium size. He has a muscular body with well-developed fore and hind limbs. The neck is rather massive, the head is large, the ears are constantly in a standing position, the tail is mainly lowered downward.
- The official description of the Australian Shepherd Dog breed states that the representatives of the breed have a height at the withers of up to 51 cm, and their weight reaches 20 kg. The wool of animals is of medium length, is water-resistant, tough. In the area of the hind thighs, the coat is quite fluffy.
- Puppies of Australian shepherd dogs are born exclusively white with small black spots. Consistently, as it develops, the dog changes color to blue or reddish, still with dark spots.
- For people unfamiliar with the breed, the character and disposition of the Australian Shepherd often seem unbalanced. However, practice shows an erroneous opinion. To fully appreciate the character traits, you need to constantly remember for what purpose the breed was bred.
- For the breed, the first place is the sense of the pack, at the same time the feeling of increased independence is inherent in the dogs. The dog is able to trust exclusively the owner. Only in front of a devoted leader will the dog reveal its own positive qualities.
- Australian shepherds rarely bark. Moreover, the barking is rather similar to the cries of an owl. After the final recognition of the undeniable leader of the breeder, pets become obedient, ready to complete any task, even modest to a certain extent. In any endeavor, they are able to become faithful companions and friends.
The Australian Healer is a dog of small stature, compact build, strong and muscular. His head is strong with a wide skull, harmoniously combined with the body. The muzzle is wide and powerful. The nose is black. The jaws are strong, the lower one is especially well developed. The ears are medium in size, set wide apart, dense, and wide at the base. The eyes are medium in size, oval in shape. The neck is of medium length, powerful and muscular. The back is strong and straight. The ribcage is deep and wide. The legs are straight, parallel to each other, well muscled. The tail is set quite low, of medium length, drooping down, slightly curved, due to the long hair it resembles a brush. The coat is coarse, short, and straight with a dense, tight-fitting undercoat. On the back of the limbs, the hair forms feathers, on the thighs “trousers”. The hair around the neck is also longer. The color can be red, blue, blue, speckled with black, blue, and brown markings.
These pets are relatively poorly adapted to the urban environment; it is recommended to keep them in villages or towns. Remember, herding dogs need constant physical activity, outdoor games in the fresh air. This is not a couch dog snoring peacefully next to its owner.
It is a 100% working animal, made for nature. Proper grooming of an Australian Shepherd Dog is primarily about grooming. It is recommended to brush the dog daily, wash it periodically. Perform the last procedure only if the animal has fallen into the mud.
There are no particular health problems in pets. As already noted, the breed is classified as a long-liver. Life expectancy depends solely on how the Australian Cattle Dog is taken care of.
What to Feed
Representatives of the breed are carnivorous. But even predators are not able to constantly feed exclusively on meat. Find out how to feed an Australian shepherd dog:
- First of all, the diet is supposed to be as balanced as possible. Proteins, fats, carbohydrates are welcome, in the established norm – minerals and vitamins.
- Food must be of high quality and fresh. If a breeder prefers natural food, it is not recommended to prepare a diet for a week. You will need to cook daily for the dog.
- Attention is paid to the amount of feed. An adult dog is fed twice a day, and if the load was increased during the day, it is permissible to slightly increase the portion.
- Experienced breeders recommend feeding your dog only natural food. For example, for breakfast, they give cottage cheese with kefir, for dinner, meat with raw vegetables. The main difficulty of the given feeding option is the insufficient balance of the diet. In such a situation, dogs are prescribed real vitamin complexes that completely compensate for the lack of substances or vitamins in the body.
From the first months, there is nothing better for Australian Shepherd’s puppies than mother’s milk. For about two months, they try to transfer the puppy to “adult” food. Initially, they offer low-fat curd, certainly with kefir. Later they try to give meat and individual vegetables in the form of thoroughly ground minced meat. From six months, the shepherd switches to normal feeding twice a day.
Despite the character and natural instincts, the breed is quite easily amenable to education and subsequent training. The explanation is simple – the dog always wants to please the owner. To achieve this is not difficult – to perform the necessary tricks. The training of the Australian Cattle Dog involves properly organized lessons with a load. As a result, the breeder gets an obedient dog, capable of unquestioning obedience.
Dog breeders do not recommend taking a shepherd’s dog as the first or working one, not all breeders manage to direct the dog’s energy in the necessary direction as a result. For example, the desire to periodically bite cows by the legs is so strongly fixed in the psyche of the animal that it is often transferred even to the owners.
Remember, even if your puppy is behaving badly, you cannot follow the principles of violence. Initially, the breed was bred exclusively for independent work. If the puppy thinks that it is unnecessary or inappropriate to carry out the given task, it will be impossible to force him to execute the command. The basis of animal training is based on the characteristics of the breed, the personal qualities of a particular pet, and the obligatory reward for the performed tricks.
Health and Disease
The gene pool in these dogs is extremely strong. Perhaps thanks to the genes of the wild dingo dog, these shepherd dogs are one of the most resilient and resistant to various diseases. In addition, dogs of this breed are among the long-livers. An Australian healer named Blue is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the “oldest dog” in the world. This dog lived for 29 years, 5 months, and 7 days (06/07/1910 – 11/14/1939), of which 20 years she devoted to her work – herding herds. Of course, for your dog to be healthy, you need to take care of it. The healer needs to spend a lot of time outdoors. These dogs are created to graze and drive herds. Therefore, they need intense exercise every day for their physical and emotional health. Before you buy a puppy of this breed, be sure to study its heredity. In rare cases, dogs may be born with deafness, epilepsy, hip dysplasia, and eye diseases.