Meet Morty, a 4-year-old Australian Shepherd. He is full of energy and always excited to see his owner. Morty is not just an ordinary dog, he can do some incredible things. He helps his owner with various tasks like turning on the light, closing the door, and even taking off his owner's socks and putting them in the laundry basket. But that's not all, Morty also brings his owner a burger in a bag, fetches him a beer, and even puts the burger package in the bin. After all that, Morty comes to his owner for some cuddles. With his stunning blue eyes, floppy ears, and spectacular spotted fur, Morty is truly the best dog in the world.
Australian Shepherds are one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States. But did you know that they are not Australian at all? The breed was originally bred in the Basque region of Spain and brought to Australia by Basque farmers and herders. However, the breed was further developed and bred exclusively in the United States.
Native Americans considered Australian Shepherds sacred animals. They often referred to them as "ghost eye" due to their blue eyes, which are a common trait in the breed. These dogs are also known for their high intelligence, athleticism, and energy. They can be trained to perform various tasks, such as working as a Seeing Eye Dog, therapy dog, or even a drug-sniffing dog.
Unlike many other breeds, Australian Shepherds have a 20% chance of being born with a naturally bobbed tail, which is preferred for their work as herding dogs. They also have a genetic trait called heterochromia, which causes them to have two different colored eyes. Their eye colors can range from blue to hazel, amber, brown, or green.
Australian Shepherds gained popularity in the United States for their abilities in rodeos. They were prized for their herding skills as well as their tricks. Despite their small stature, they make great running partners and have a lot of energy to burn.
The breed comes in a variety of colors, with the merle-colored coat being the most common. However, breeding for solid colors in the past has led to genetic conditions like blindness. Australian Shepherds are natural herders and have a strong instinct to corral and organize things, including children.
One of the most famous Australian Shepherds, Hyper Hank, was known for his energetic performances at events like the Superbowl and even the White House. These dogs are generally loved for their loving nature, intelligence, and fun personality, which is why they rank as the 18th most popular dog breed in the United States.
While they are great family dogs, Australian Shepherds may develop a close bond with one particular family member. Their striking coat requires regular grooming to manage the shedding. They tend to have larger litters, with an average of seven puppies per litter, and they have a long lifespan of up to 15 years.
Due to their high energy levels, Australian Shepherds are not suitable for apartment living. They need plenty of space to exercise and stay mentally stimulated. They may have a higher rate of deafness compared to other breeds, and their intelligence can sometimes make them stubborn. Active families who can provide them with regular high-intensity exercise will be the best fit for this breed.