Australian Shepherd - PetFirst
Breed Spotlights

Australian Shepherd

by MetLife Pet Insurance
6 years ago

Life Expectancy:  13 – 15 years
Dog Breed Group: Herding Dogs
Weight:  45 – 65 lbs.
Height: 18- 23 inches

Where Does the Australian Shepherd Rank?

See where this beloved breed ranks in comparison to other breeds in 7 key categories.


9 out of 10 ranking

The Aussie desires to please you which makes them a relatively easy-to- train breed.

Shedding Friendliness

2 out of 10 ranking

The Aussie is a moderate shedder. Their coat requires weekly brushing to remain healthy and prevent matting.


Ease of Grooming

Your Aussie does not require a significant amount of grooming. Weekly brushing is often sufficient. If you notice your Aussie’s coat becoming tangled or matted, you may decide to maintain a shorter coat to keep their coat looking presentable.


4 out of 10 rankingThis breed is prone to health conditions like nasal dermatitis, hip dysplasia, and epilepsy. It may be best to get eye and hip exams on your Australian Shepherd regularly.

Exercise Needs

The exercise needs of the Aussie are extensive. This is not the breed for you if you are searching for a dog who enjoys relaxing for the majority of the day. Your Aussie needs several hours of activity each day to stay happy and healthy.

Good with Children

10 out of 10 ranking

The Australian Shepherd is very good with children and quickly becomes part of the family.

Barking Restraint

8 out of 10 ranking

Barking is generally not a problem with this breed.


What You Need to Know About Australian Shepherds


The Australian Shepherd is an extremely hard-working, intelligent dog who thrives in an environment where he is permitted to expand his body and mind. He must be kept busy as he is an extremely busy dog. He is not the type of dog to sit around the house and lounge. One brief walk per day is not sufficient for this breed to keep a healthy body and mind. If he lacks activity, he will often become extremely destructive and develop other severe behavioral problems.

If you are interested in canine agility, this may be the breed for you. The Australian Shepherd not only has a significant amount of energy but is extremely agile as well. Aussies are also known to help with chores around the house including bringing their pet parent various items and helping them clean.

The Aussie is a great family companion as well and will be protective of your home. If they hear a suspicious noise, they will alert you immediately. Even if you want your Aussie to be protective, it is important to socialize her with friends and family as well as strangers to improve her social skills.


Aussies are extremely intelligent and eager to please their pet parent. This results in successful and relatively easy training.


The Aussie is a moderate shedder and will require weekly brushing.

Health Problems

Hip dysplasia – an abnormal formation of the hip socket that can eventually cause crippling lameness and painful arthritis of the joints.

Epilepsy – The Aussie sometimes suffers from epilepsy which results in occasional seizures. Epilepsy is not a curable condition; however, it can be treated with medication.

Deafness – Deafness is somewhat common in this breed.

Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD) – OCD in dogs is an orthopedic condition which is caused by the cartilage in the joints growing improperly. This can result in painful stiffening of the joints. OCD is often detected when an Aussie is between four and nine months of age.

Cataracts – Cataracts, the opacity of the lens of the eye, is fairly common in this breed. Cataracts in this breed are generally not seen until later in age.

Hypothyroidism – The Aussie is prone to have lowered production and release of hormones. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include lethargy, inactivity, mental dullness, and generalized weakness.

Drug Sensitivity – This breed is known to have a drug sensitivity, as seen in many herding breeds. This means a drug can become toxic sooner in this breed than others. Signs of drug sensitivity include depression, incoordination, hypersalivation and/or coma. Drug sensitivity may even be fatal in some situations.

Top 10 Most Common Health Issues for Australian Shepherds 

  1. Epilepsy
  2. Hereditary Eye Diseases
  3. Hip Dysplasia
  4. Heart Disease
  5. Chronic Allergies
  6. Hypothyroidism
  7. Drug Sensitivity
  8. Deafness
  9. Osteochondrosis Dissecans
  10. Skin Infections

Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

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