Australian Shepherds were not my first choice for a dog breed. As it happened, I kind of fell into them.
I got my first Aussie – McCoy – when I decided to get another dog to keep my first dog Shasta company. Shasta was a mixed breed but was clearly a Black-Tri (black, white and brown) colour. Knowing nothing about dog breeders I combed the internet and asked a breeder not far away if she had any tri-coloured dogs. Many breeders are not impressed when you ask for a certain colour but this one had the dog.
So I ended up with McCoy, and the rest is history. Then, I learned about Australian Shepherds.
Australian Shepherds were finished as a breed in The United States, but now are found all over the world, as they are an extremely appealing looking dog. Their temperament is friendly but not super outgoing to everyone. This does not mean aggressive or fearful in anyway. A better word to describe this would be wary.
The Aussie has a more guardian type temperament than other herding dogs such as the Border Collie. They are not attack dogs by any means but will alert readily and are protective to their humans in a way that is not reactive, if that makes sense.
Other qualities that the Australian Shepherd has are: they are funny, have a bark that is part bark and part howl, make funny noises, are beautiful, and come in many colours, shapes and sizes. The colour and size variations is mostly due to the split in the breed between working and show Aussies. The working dogs are varied with all different kinds of head and body shapes, but can work stock for long periods of time. Show Aussies can mostly still herd stock but not on the same level as working bred. Show Aussies have a more uniform look.
Working Versus Show Bred
It is often thought that the function of a dog will produce the form or look of the dog. In the case of working versus show bred dogs of any breed, this is unfortunately not the case. Breeding for any look, will automatically reduce the working capability of the dogs born. It can’t be argued against this. This is fact. So many beautiful show Aussies have had their instincts skewed away from working ability due to the focus on a certain look. This can be seen by looking at the variety of “looks” in the working Aussies.
Because of their beauty, the Australian Shepherd has become a very popular breed. Unfortunately, they have also lent themselves to the creation of another breed, the Mini American Shepherd.
Just to clarify, there is no such thing as a Mini Australian Shepherd. There is only one Australian Shepherd breed and that is the standard size that predates this creation.
So-called mini australian shepherds were created by crossing (sometimes indiscriminately), Aussies with smaller breeds to create the small size, thus producing mutts.
If you are sold something called a Mini Aussie, you are in possession of a mutt.
Only Miniature American Shepherds are purebred. They were also created in the same fashion, by crossing unregistered dogs and producing mutts, but now after serious work and closing the studbooks, they are a purebred with different Kennel clubs. See HERE for more info.
As such, Toy, teacup and Mini Aussies are not a registerable breed.
There is only one true Australian Shepherd.