Everything you need to know to buy or adopt an Australian Shepherd puppy or adult dog.


BE PREPARED

For Your New

Australian Shepherd!

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Raise and train your dog the RIGHT way and he will live a long, healthy, well-behaved life – and both of you will be happy!

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Australian Shepherd dog breed

Buying or Adopting an Australian Shepherd

By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2017


Is a DOG really the right pet for you?

I've been helping people choose and find dogs for over 35 years now, and I have to say that for many people, dogs are not ideal pets.

Pros AND Cons of Owning a Dog


Should you get a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog?

Don't set your sights on any purebred dog until you read these three eye-opening articles:

The Truth About Purebred Dogs

The Truth About Crossbred Dogs

The Truth About Mixed Breed Dogs


Is an Australian Shepherd the right breed for you?

Australian Shepherds: What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em

Australian Shepherd Health Problems


Are YOU right for an Australian Shepherd?

Can you provide what this breed needs?

  • Someone home most of the day
  • Fenced yard (6-8 feet high, not an electronic/underground fence)
  • Restricted exercise when young – until maturity (at least 18 months old), exercise restricted to multiple short (20 minute) walks, fetch games, and playing with other dogs – no forced running (beside a jogger or bicyclist), no long-distance treks, minimal jumping
  • Ample exercise after maturity – enough ongoing exercise that your Australian Shepherd stays slim and is tired enough to sleep contentedly and not get into mischief
  • "Mental exercise" – interesting activities that keep the mind stimulated, such as a challenging dog sport (agility, rally obedience, herding, flyball, frisbee, musical freestyle, dock diving, tracking, carting); challenging dog toys; a homemade obstacle course; tricks and games such as Musical Toys and Hide 'n Seek; instructions in my training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words
  • Brushing – moderate
  • Trimming – every few months
  • An indoor lifestyle, except for exercise and bathroom breaks
  • A meat-heavy diet, either homemade or commercial – meat is expensive, so people with less money should opt for a smaller dog
  • An owner with enough money to treat the health problems Australian Shepherds are prone to (pet health insurance can really help here!)
  • An owner who is okay with heavy shedding
  • Commitment to provide thorough socialization – introducing your Australian Shepherd to lots of people and other animals, diligently correcting any signs of misbehavior
  • Commitment to establish the right Leader-Follower relationship with your Australian Shepherd, teaching him to listen to you and do what you say

Should you get a male or female Australian Shepherd?

Symbols for male and female Male Dogs vs. Female Dogs
Which one makes a better pet?


Should you get a young puppy, an older puppy, or an adult dog?

Girl hugging a dog Puppies vs. Adult Dogs
What age should your new Australian Shepherd be?


Where can you buy or adopt an Australian Shepherd?

Australian Shepherds are a very common breed in the United States. Out of 189 breeds in the American Kennel Club, where 1 is most popular and 189 is least popular, Australian Shepherds rank 16th.

Unfortunately, their popularity is largely based on their appealing appearance and their reputation for intelligence. But people who acquire an Aussie without meeting its considerable needs end up regretting it. Some of these dogs can be quite challenging to live with.

Adopting From Dog Rescue Organizations
Australian Shepherds (and Aussie crosses and mixes) are often available from Dog Rescue groups. Australian Shepherds may be turned over to Rescue because they shed too much, or need much more companionship, exercise, and interesting activities than the owner expected. There might be dominance issues, or skittishness, or hyperactivity. Typically the dog is bored. You would need to provide these dogs with the exercise, training, and socialization that they are lacking.

Adopting From Public Animal Shelters and Humane Societies
Australian Shepherds are sometimes found here, though they're more likely to be Aussie crosses or mixes. Australian Shepherd Rescue groups do try to move Australian Shepherds out of shelters and into their rescue network.

Buying From a Dog Breeder
You can buy an Australian Shepherd from a show breeder, who breeds Australian Shepherds to match a detailed standard of appearance for the dog show ring.

Or you can buy an Australian Shepherd from a performance breeder, who emphasizes an energetic temperament and strong "prey (chasing) drives" for participating in performance sports like herding, dog agility, tracking, flyball, and frisbee. Some breeders are a combination of show/performance, though how they prioritize those two goals can vary greatly.

You can also buy an Australian Shepherd from people who "just breed pets" or "just had one litter." But should you? Be sure to read the article to learn more about these people.

Here's one difference between a responsible breeder and an irresponsible breeder – BOTH PARENTS of an Australian Shepherd puppy should have:

  • a certificate from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) – dated within the past year – certifying the dog to be free of eye diseases
  • a certificate from the Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA) or PennHip certifying the dog to have normal hips
  • a certificate from the Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA) certifying the dog to have normal elbows

If a seller can't show you those certificates, the puppies are higher risk for health problems. You might choose to accept that risk. But then you need to be willing (and able) to pay a couple thousand bucks for future surgeries and lifelong meds if your Australian Shepherd ends up with cataracts and hip dysplasia.

Puppy in a pet shop window Pet Shop Puppies: Buying a Puppy From a Pet Store
Australian Shepherds are sometimes seen in pet shops. I have plenty to say about buying a puppy from a pet shop!


Related Articles

Girl holding up a puppy and looking at him How To Choose a Good Australian Shepherd Puppy
How to test the temperament and personality of Australian Shepherd puppies and pick the best puppy in a litter.


Pedigree parchment AKC Registered Puppies: Are AKC Papers Important?
Should you consider buying only AKC registered Australian Shepherd puppies? Do AKC papers and pedigrees really matter?


To help you train and care for your dog

book cover To learn more about training your dog to be calm and well-behaved, my dog training book is Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your dog to listen to you and do whatever you ask.

book cover My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy dog.

book cover My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to help your dog live a longer life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.