Australian Shepherd Breed Information

Australian Shepherds are a member of the ‘Pastoral’ breed group. Dogs in the Pastoral group are made up of breeds of herding dogs used with working cattle, sheep, reindeer and other cloven footed animals.

Australian Shepherds will get on well with other pets given the right socialisation as a puppy. For more information on how to socialise your Australian Shepherd, check out our dog behaviour page. Due to their natural herding instincts, they may try to herd small children, so would be better suited to an older family. Their coats will need grooming two-three times per week to keep it in tip top condition.


Breed-related health problems:

Owners are, understandably, upset when their dog develops a health problem linked to its breed. Often they wish they’d known what problems the breed was prone to have. The potential health problems that Australian Shepherds are prone to include:

  • Microphthalmia - abnormally small eye
  • Hip dysplasia – hip joint laxity as a result of poor development, which will eventually lead to arthritis.
  • Nasal solar dermatitis – inflammation to the surface of the nose from sun exposure
  • Pelger-Huet Anomaly – abnormal development of neutrophils (white blood cells)

For some conditions, there are screening programmes available through the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and the Kennel Club. The Canine Health Schemes allow breeders to screen for a range of inherited diseases, so it’s a good idea to check the parents of any puppy you’re looking to rehome have been screened under these schemes. We’d also recommend discussing the medical history of your potential puppy’s parents and grandparents, and think very carefully before taking on a dog with any of the health conditions listed above evident in the family line.

You can find out more about the Canine Health Schemes on the BVA's website.

Exercise requirements:

Australian Shepherds have high energy levels and need at least 2 hours of exercise every day. Where possible, any exercise that combines both physical and mental challenges is ideal as they are highly intelligent dogs, so they need an owner who can commit to extra activities such as agility, flyball etc. These activities also give you chance to spend some quality one-to-one time with your furry friend and strengthen your bond, so there’s benefits all round.


Estimated cost over lifetime:

The likely lifetime costs for an Australian Shepherd are based on estimates calculated using current market prices and include:

The list above does not include veterinary costs if your pet becomes sick or injured, so these average lifetime costs could be even higher.

Insure your Australian Shepherd with PDSA:

1 in 3 pets need vet treatment each year and vet bills can come to hundreds of pounds. PDSA Pet Insurance can give you peace of mind when your pet is poorly, especially for breeds like Australian Shepherds that are prone to certain conditions. PDSA Pet Insurance offers:

  • 5 Star Pet Insurance* - from the vet experts
  • 4 levels of cover to suit you
  • Monthly payment at no extra cost

*Defaqto 5 Star rating applies to our Plus and Premier policies only. Defaqto’s Star Ratings provide an independent assessment of the quality of financial products.

By insuring your Australian Shepherd with PDSA you’ll also be helping to provide vet care to some of the UK’s neediest pets.

For more information on taking care of your dog please visit our puppies and dogs section


Rehoming from a reputable source:

Where you get a dog from can have a big effect on how healthy and happy it is for the rest of its life. Find out where our PDSA vet experts recommend you get your dog from.

Energy levels
Easy to train
Exercise needed
Barking/likely to be vocal
Size Large
Average height 46-58 cm
Average weight 18-29 kg
Average lifespan Over 10 years
Minimum exercise (per day) 2 hours
Coat length Medium
Minimum cost (per month) £105

Not sure if the Australian Shepherd is the right pet for you?