This page is under construction. If you have any suggestions on what questions I should put here, please let me know.
I've heard Aussies need a job to do, and wouldn't be happy in the city,
is this true?
Actually, Aussies can be quite happy in the city. Yes, Aussies do need exercise, especially for the first 2-3 years. But this can be met with a visit to the dog park, long, brisk walks, or even a good game of fetch. What's more important is *mental* stimulation. Aussies crave it! Aussies need training. Give each of their toys a name and play 'hide and seek' with the toys. Have them put their toys away. Teach them tons of tricks. All of these are things that can be done inside your home.
What's the difference between an Aussie and a mini? I heard other breeds were introduced, to make the minis smaller.
Minis are small Aussies, plain and simple.
At least one site claims that minis were created by taking small dogs and
breeding them to Aussies, but this isn't true. The Australian Shepherd is
a fairly new breed, and until relatively recently, the Australian
Shepherd Club of America would register ANY dog that looked like an Aussie
through their hardship registry. So the idea that the miniature Aussie is
somehow less 'pure' than the Aussie just doesn't make sense. The miniature Aussie variety was developed through selectively breeding small Aussies, just as some Aussie breeders choose to focus on dogs at the larger end of the scale. There are quality minis, and poor quality minis, just as there are quality Aussies, and poor quality Aussies. A quality mini will look and act exactly like an Aussie, because that's what they are!
Do Aussies shed?
How much grooming does an Aussie need?
One of the wonderful things about Aussies is their low maintenance! They should have a thorough brushing (preferably outdoors), once a week, and be bathed monthly. My husband used to bathe his Aussie in the yard, with the sprinkler. Nikki hated baths, but loved the sprinkler. All Danny had to do was add shampoo, and voila', a clean dog!
(For videos on grooming your Aussie, including how to trim their nails,
visit my Resources page.)
Do Aussies need a special diet?
No. All dogs should be fed a premium diet,
in fact my contract stipulates not feeding food sold in chain stores. Dog foods sold in chain stores aren't premium, despite their claims. The first ingredient should be a meat meal, i.e., chicken meal. Canned food is more nutritious than kibble, because it isn't baked. And don't believe the propaganda, table scraps are just fine. What did people feed their dogs for thousands of years?
The ideal food is a raw diet. (For more information visit my Resources
I've heard Aussies are smart, but are they easy to train?
Yes! They're very eager to please. But if you don't train them, they'll train you. And while all dogs should be trained using only positive methods, this is especially important for Aussies, because they're a sensitive breed. All it takes is a slightly stern voice to stop them from doing something. Far better to lavish praise for what you do want to see, and they'll do everything within their power to please you!
(There's tons of books and videos on training, including teaching tricks,
agility, herding, and more, on my Resources page.)
How do I read your dogs' pedigrees? What's with
that alphabet soup before and after their names?
What's black and white and red all
over? The pedigree of a well bred dog! Traditionally, the name of a dog
that is 'titled' is shown in red. Dogs can earn titles in a wide variety
of competitive venues. The most common is the conformation ring, which
is basically a beauty pageant for dogs. There are also a variety of
competetions geared toward what the dog was bred for, for example,
herding, tracking, and forms of hunting. There is also obedience,
agility, dock diving, and other competitions based more on having fun
rather than the historic purpose of the dog.
For starters, a pedigree is a family
tree, but turned on its side. The father's (sire's) family is on the
top, the mother's (dam's) is on the bottom. It's the same for
grandparents and great grand parents, the sire will be shown above, the
dam below. Traditionally a pedigree will show 5 generations.
On the first few generations I've
included registration numbers. The E numbers are ASCA numbers, the D
numbers are AKC.
The titles you will see most often
with Australian Shepherds are conformation, obedience, agility, and
herding. A few of them are
Ch = Champion, a conformation title.
A dog has to earn a certain number of points by defeating a certain
number of dogs in multiple shows.
BIS = Best In Show, awarded at shows
where multiple breeds compete.
BISS = Best In Specialty Show, a show for a specific breed, dogs will come from throughout the country for a Specialty. Because of the number of dogs usually present, this is especially prestigious.
HOF = Hall of Fame, a dog has to produce a certain number of offspring titled in a variety of venues to earn this title.
For more information:
The importance for breeders in knowing their dog's pedigree
Dog show terminology
AKC's list of titles
ASCA's competitive programs & titles