One of the major stops in any breed search is the breed standard. It is meant to outline the ideal Australian shepherd. Responsible breeders make every attempt to come as close to this document as possible.
AKC Breed StandardA little over your head? Not to worry. This is just meant as an overview. Its like taking a look at the specs of your car.
Acronyms to become familiar with:
ASCA– Australian Shepherd Club of America, parent club of the Aussie, provides titling and performance programs for Australian Shepherds and other eligible breeds.
AKC– American Kennel Club, most commonly known all dog breed registry, also provides titling and performance programs.
USASA– United States Australian Shepherd Association, the parent club for the Aussie for AKC. Not involved in any titling programs, but holds National specialty and recognition programs.
CKC– The Canadian Kennel Club, the Great White North’s answer to AKC, eh?
MASCUSA– Miniature Australian Shepherd Club of the USA, for the little guys.
NBT- Natural Bob Tail (means a dog has been born with a naturally short tail
C/W – indicated a copper and white trim
ASCA’s Aussie Times – Free with membership in ASCA, mainly a listing of titles, standings and ads. Some good articles, but not strong in that department.
USASA’s Australian Shepherd Journal – You do not need to be a member to subscribe to this bi-monthly magazine. Some statistics, ads, very good articles, high quality magazine.
Aussies live from 9 to 15 years on average. It is not unheard of for an Aussie to live as many as 17 or 18 years. Things to look out for healthwise are cancer, epilepsy, and hip dysplasia. Reputable breeders test for or avoid these and many other diseases that pop up in the dogs.
Height and Weight
According to the standard, an Aussie ranges from 18-23 inches. Many people inquire upon average or ideal weight for an Aussie, but the breed is not dependent on a weight as other breeds are. Size is almost always measured in terms of inches. A good weight range is anywhere from 35-65 pounds. Your Aussie may be a lithe, leggy guy, or a short, stalky gal. It all depends on lines and breeding.
Aussie Pup Costs
When buying a puppy, keep in mind what your Aussie will be doing. A ‘pet’ quality Aussie is fine for performance and family if it is not to be bred.
Fair prices for Aussies are $150-1000 for a ‘pet’ quality dog, and ‘breeding quality’ ranges from $300-2000. All things are based on factors such as sex, color, ancestry, potential, or other contributory factors. Most breeders will be willing to help with broken up payments you if you cannot afford the initial cost of an Aussie but can demonstrate that you can afford the daily costs of the dog.
Way beyond basics: All About Aussies blog by Jeanne Joy Hartnagle-Taylor