Australian Shepherds are loyal dogs with a strong loyalty to their owners. They have been bred for over 100 years for hunting, herding, guarding livestock and working in farms. Some believe that they were originally developed to protect sheep from predators such as wolves or foxes. However, there is no scientific evidence that supports this theory because it was not until the early 20th century when scientists began studying them that they discovered the true reason why these animals are so successful at what they do.
The Australian Shepherd breed originated in Australia. There are two main types of Aussies; the Miniature and the Standard.
The Miniature Aussie is smaller than a standard Australian Shepherd, but still large enough to pull a wagon. They are known for being very affectionate and loving towards humans and other animals alike. These dogs have been used for many purposes including guard work, search & rescue, tracking, obedience training, therapy dogs etc..
The Standard Australian Shepherd is larger than a Miniature Aussie, but still small enough to carry around in your pocket. These dogs are known for being hardworking and reliable.
They are often used as police or military dogs due to their size and strength. The Standard Australian Shepherd is also known for its intelligence which makes them good with children and other pets.
What is temperament?
Temperament refers to a dog’s inborn behavioral attributes. While a dog’s behavior can be modified through training and socialization, their temperament is something that is there from the moment the dog is born. A dogs temperament includes things like their reaction to things like people, other animals, new situations etc.
Most professional breeders are able to judge the temperament of a litter of puppies very accurately just by watching them when they are about 1-2 days old. The more experience that a breeder has the better they are able to judge a dogs temperament however even a novice should be able to tell the difference between a nervous or shy puppy compared to one that is calm and confident.
There is a lot of debate within the professional community about how much temperament is genetic and how much is caused by environmental factors. What is known is that a dogs genetics have an effect on their temperament, but it isn’t the only factor.
Even dogs with great genetics can be born timid or scared if the mother is exposed to a lot of loud noises or traumatic events while she is pregnant.
The personality of Australian Shepherds varies from dog to dog just like with any other breed. Some are shy and reserved, others energetic and playful.
Most Aussies are intelligent and quick to learn new things, but some may be more stubborn than others. What is universal within the breed is their loyalty, protectiveness and devotion to their owners and families.
One of the most common problems that Aussies have is what is known as “barking paranoia”. This means that they are often quick to warn their owners of any noise or event that is out of the ordinary.
While this can be annoying to some owners, it is an excellent trait for a working ranch dog as they are able to warn their owners of potential danger coming on the property.
The Australian Shepherd is very much a working breed first and foremost and many owners report that their dogs will take the job of “herding the children” if they feel that the parents are not doing a good enough job. This trait does need to be curtailed since a rogue Aussie is more than capable of knocking a child over when herding them or taking the bit of clothing that they want.
These dogs are very protective of their owners and will defend them if need be. They are a breed that loves to have a job to do and they take great pride in whatever that job might be.
Due to their herding heritage, many Aussies love to chase animals and things that move and this needs to be curtailed when the dog is young since you don’t want them to develop too much of a habit that can’t be changed later on.
Many owners report that their dogs take active roles in guarding their families by taking positions at entrances like doorways and keeping a watch out for potential threats. This behavior stands out when a lot of other breeds will simply sleep on the floor next to the entrance and do nothing until someone enters the home.
Australian Shepherds, even the younger dogs, are often ready and willing to take the initiative to chase off potential predators that come on to a property. Due to their herding background, they will not be intimidated by animals that are typically “scary” to other dogs such as wolves or bears.
It is not uncommon for a young Aussie to challenge a wolf three times their size in order to protect the owner. While adult Aussies are fearless and fully grown, these dogs can be easily injured or killed by taking on such creatures.
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