As the western parts of the U.S. were settled and as the population of sheep and settlers in California grew, so did the need for sheepdogs. The dogs that came over from Australia with the importation of sheep were completely unlike the Teacup Australian Shepherd of today.
These early Aussies were the pioneering members of a breed that had the ability to work within the rugged regions of the American West. Much like the early pioneers, they learned to make do with very little and to cope with whatever nature sent their way.
by ben gwilliam
The early settlers soon found out that the western parts of America were really quite different from the eastern parts. The west was rugged and unsettled, while the east was civilized and domesticated. Back then, the west was a vast and mysterious frontier. No one knew what to expect until they got there.
The western portions of the country were a great deal harsher in terms of the heat, specifically within the bone-dry southern areas. It is and was so much more scorching than what these immigrants or their working dogs had known before. And inside the northwestern areas, it was considerably colder than what they had been accustomed to.
There grew a great need to have for a dog that could thrive in these unique conditions: blinding storms, practically unbearable heat, and frigid cold. By necessity, the settlers had to find a breed of dog that can instantly react to the flock’s movements and their owner’s voice too.
Thus the Aussie that we know nowadays was born. These dogs have adapted to practically all environments, from the Arctic to the plains of Texas. They are naturally adept around livestock and, as soon as they are trained in some fundamental commands, they can master virtually any herding requirement.
But the uniqueness of the Australian Shepherd is not his ability to work. It really is the wonderful relationship he chooses to have with his master throughout his life. These dogs form life-long bonds with their master and their master’s family. I challenge you to find a dog that is more loyal.
Right now, numerous Australian Shepherds play the exact same role in the state of California as they did many generations ago. They are able to still be found as working ranch dogs.
But these days you’ll find two kinds of Australian Shepherds. Most Aussies have been selectively bred to be pets or for dog shows. Yet, you can find a good number of Aussies bred to work on ranches.
An Aussie that is bred for working has a innate grit and smarts around livestock to complete its work. It has a lighter build, is exceptionally athletic and has a coat that is lighter than an Aussie that is bred for shows. They are extremely intelligent and active, but they are not hyperactive. They’re loyal, responsible, and protective when needed. These Aussies aren’t recommended for most suburban pet houses, since they require strenuous exercise on a daily basis and mental challenges. They do best in an agricultural setting, doing what they were bred for: herding livestock.
All Australian Shepherds are born with an innate instinct for herding; however, this trait won’t be as intense in a household Aussie as it is in the working-bred Aussie. These Aussies that are bred for shows are very well-known for being great companions for your family. But they are capable of a lot more than this.
Moreover, these household dogs won’t be outdone by their farm-hand siblings. These canines can be found hard at work as: hearing dogs, eye dogs, general therapy dogs, search dogs, rescue dogs and drug sniffing dogs, too. You’ll find that this bred is also extremely competitive in various performance disciplines like agility, obedience and utility. It’s no wonder that the Australian Shepherd is quickly becoming known one of America’s favorite breeds of canine.