origination of Aussies is unknown. They are not from Australia, as it is
often thought, for they were actually imported to Australia from the Basque
region in the Pyrenees Mountains between Spain and France. Aussies got
their name when they arrived in America with boatloads of Australian sheep
during the early 1900s. The breed was different then, and was crossed with
other herding breeds to create today's Aussie. They are famous for their
herding ability and their protective loyalty and devotion to their master.
Aussies are very versatile
dogs. They excel in obedience, herding, and agility. Aussies are common
in search and rescue and therapy programs. Aussies
were, of course, bred to herd, and they carry out their job perfectly.
They are trained and shown herding mainly sheep, cattle, and ducks, but
there is a wide variety of what people have tried with their Aussies over
the years! Below, a pair of Aussies work on an enormous buffalo. Agility
has always been popular among Aussie owners, as well. One of the requirements
of this competition is a talented jumper, but other elements include balance
and agility through small spaces.
It is often said Aussies
are not good dogs for families with small children, since they have a fairly
high energy level. This may be true for some dogs, especially younger ones,
but my personal experience has gone against this concept. I have met many
great Aussies that were extremely good with children, but were not low
energy level, either. It is very true, however, that Aussies are loyal
and protective of their family. Protection is good, but sometimes it is
unwanted. In general, though, Aussies are people friendly and they have
few problems with over protectiveness.
Today, two large clubs
exist solely for Aussies. They are the Australian Shepherd Club of America
(ASCA) and the United States Australian Shepherd Association (USASA). ASCA
was founded in June of 1957.