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Dog of the week: Australian Shepard (Aussie)

Australian Shepard's are known for their lively, vivacious, and intelligent personalities but more importantly they are known for their wiggly butts. Commonly weigh between 50-60Ibs, with their naturally bobbed tails. Aussies have striking eye colorations: brown, blue, multi colored, and even a swirled combination.

(Murale Red, Murale Blue, and Pinto coat coloring shown above)

Contrary to the name, Australian Shepherds are not from Australia. This breed was bred and developed in the United States to work on ranches herding sheep and cattle. Basque shepherds inspired the Aussie's name, Basque shepherds closely resembled and were often associated with Australian Shepherds.

This breed inspired Kate & Jules Feiffer to write and illustrate Henry the Dog with No Tail , a true story about their Australian Shepherd. This is a creative book about a dog that wanted a tail like his other doggo friends:

Aussie's are one of the most motivated breeds to train. They are known to be people pleasers and are food and goal oriented. However, this breed is high energy and will need 1-2 hours of exercise a day to prevent boredom and destructive behavior. Aussie's also require weekly brushings and touch up grooming.

Australian Shepherds can have the following health issues:

  1. Juvenile Cataracts- this is when the iris starts to take on a cloudy appearance that can lead to partial or full blindness

  2. Collie Eye Defect - a mutation commonly see in Collies and Australian Shepherds that can cause the retina to detach and lead to blindness

  3. Distichiasis - this is where the eyelashes grow inside the eyelid and cause irritation to the cornea

  4. Progressive Retinal Atrophy - causes degeneration of the image-forming parts of the eye, this condition is not painful but will lead to blindness

  5. Multi-drug Sensitivity (MDR1) - fairly common in Australian Shepherds. This should be tested before you put your dog under anesthesia for the first time. This gene can cause the dogs system to shut down entirely resulting in euthanisation.

  6. Hip Dysplasia - a common injury in canines that causes the hip socket not to fully cover the ball portion of the upper thighbone

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