Australian Shepherd – Dog Breed Life Span, Health Problems & Care

Despite the name of the breed, the Australian Shepherd was actually created in the United States around the time of the Gold Rush in the 1840s. It was developed to herd livestock and still remains a working breed even to this day. He is happiest when he is given a job to do, and makes a wonderful family companion. His intelligence and energy make him very suitable for dog sports and athletics challenges.

Breed Characteristics

Australian Shepherd Dog Characteristics
Dog Breed Group: Herding dogs
Height: Eighteen to twenty-three inches at the shoulder
Weight: Forty to sixty-five pounds
Life Span: 12 to 15 years


The sight of an Australian Shepherd rounding in a flock of sheep on its own is a beautiful sight to see. His graceful athletic movement is comparable, and he does very well at his job without having to be aggressive with the flock he’s protecting. With just a nip or a bark, no creature that he herds ever dares to challenge him. He is known for being very intelligent, hard-working, and versatile. He’s a no-nonsense dog who thrives in a home where he can put his brains and energy to good use.

You may not even be a farmer or shepherd with livestock of your own, but keeping him busy is key, or else he will become quite bored. His seemingly endless amounts of energy require exercise on a daily basis, and he is in no way content to remain a couch potato for days on end.

Australian Shepherd

When it comes to exercise, you’re going to have to do more than just a walk around the block. His physical needs also require there to be some kind of mental challenge. If he doesn’t have a job to do, he will become quite bored and destructive in the process. He will bark for hours on end until he receives the attention he believes he deserves, or he will invent jobs of his own to do. Don’t be surprised if he starts herding the members of your family around the house, chasing cards, other animals, or simply ripping your house apart. The Australian Shepherd is not the breed for you if you don’t have the time and energy to dedicate to train and exercise him on a daily basis.

If dog competitions are your thing, however, then you won’t find a more successful dog breed than the Australian Shepherd. He’s a top contender for all levels of obedience, agility, flyball, and herding tests. This dedication to completing any task given to him has expanded his abilities to other jobs, such as assistance dog, hearing dog, guide dog, police dog, and search and rescue work. You can even teach him to help you with chores around the house, such as picking up laundry from the floor.

Australian Shepherd Breed

In terms of looks, he really stands out from a crowd, with his attractive, medium-length coat that comes in a variety of colors. His lineage as a working dog also makes him a good protector of the home, and he can be quite aloof with strangers. He can definitely make your life an adventure, and will play from sunrise to sunset if he could. He’s quite versatile, but only if you have the energy to deal with his needs. Lying around the house most of the day just isn’t going to cut it for the Australian Shepherd.


The Australian Shepherd is not a couch potato. With a pool of energy that could serve as a home generator, he isn’t content to stay inside all day long. Getting him out and about and challenging his mind is the best way to keep your Australian Shepherd the happiest.

Teaching him tricks and providing challenging puzzles for him to figure out will keep him active throughout the day, and you would do better to take him on a bike ride rather than a simple walk. The Australian Shepherd is a breed that isn’t suitable for a first time owner, simply because of the demands of his active lifestyle.