Australian Shepherds are amazing dogs, and many Aussie owners claim that their dog has changed their lives. As with every dog breed, Australian Shepherds have some unique quirks and behaviors.
Australian Shepherds are often described as dogs who are intelligent, energetic, and lively. These dogs definitely have plenty of personality, and they also tend to engage in a lot of herding behaviors as a result of their history and breeding.
In this article, we will be listing ten of the most common behavioral quirks that are found in Australian Shepherds. In addition, we will also be explaining a little about this breed’s history, why they behave the way that they do, and how you can manage some of the less desirable traits that this dog can have.
Let’s get into it!
General Australian Shepherd Behavior and Personalities
Before we get into the ten common Australian Shepherd quirks, it is helpful to learn a bit of information about this dog breed.
Let’s talk about the history of the Aussie and some of their common behaviors and personality traits.
History of Australian Shepherds
The history of the Australian Shepherds begins with the Basques from Europe.
After traveling to Australia, Basque immigrants mixed their prized Pyrenean Shepherds with imported Collies and Border Collies from the British, who were also immigrating to Australia around the same time.
Later on, Californians imported these dogs from Australia for their ranch work. They further bred and streamlined this breed into the Australian Shepherd that we know and love today.
Due to their rich and unique history, the Aussie has been a popular breed for western cowboys, rodeo goers, and ranchers for decades, and these dogs are still commonly seen working on farms to this day.
Check out these related articles:
- 10 Effective Ways to Bond with Your Australian Shepherd
- Red Tri Australian Shepherds: Everything you Need to Know
Common Behavior and Personality Traits
The Australian Shepherd has strong herding roots as a result of their ancestors and their overall breeding. This dog has been bred to herd livestock and work on farms.
Aussies also have a strong herding instinct. In fact, a lot of their unique and quirky behaviors are derived from this strong herding drive.
In addition, Australian Shepherds are generally eager to please their owners, and they are fairly easy to train as a result of this trait. These dogs are also known to be well-behaved around children and are generally very playful.
10 Australian Shepherd Quirks
The Australian Shepherd is a truly unique and amazing dog in both its physical appearance and its personality. Due to this dog breed’s unique nature, there are some quirks that are commonly found in Australian Shepherds. Here are ten Australian Shepherd quirks!
1. Herding Behavior
As we have mentioned before, Aussies are true herding dogs and they often engage in herding behaviors as a result. These behaviors include pushing, chasing, and nipping.
As many Australian Shepherd owners can attest to, there is practically nothing that an Aussie will not herd. Other dogs, kids, and adults are all fair game for an Australian Shepherd to herd in addition to livestock if there are any around.
2. You May Need to be Cautious Around Other Dogs
Due to their sometimes intense herding behavior, you may need to be cautious when your Australian Shepherd is playing with other dogs.
Aussies are usually pretty friendly with other dogs, but many dogs may not appreciate being herded and nipped at. As a result, a situation could escalate even though your Aussie originally meant no harm.
3. Australian Shepherds Are Hyper
Australian Shepherds were originally bred to herd livestock and work around farms. Due to this history, these dogs all have a seemingly endless amount of energy.
Although these dogs truly thrive on farms, it is possible for those other than farmers to have a healthy and happy Australian Shepherd.
These dogs require about an hour of exercise a day, and it is recommended that this exercise is fairly fast-paced. Fetch, hiking, and running are all great activities to do with your Aussie!
4. These Dogs Thrive Most When They Have a Job To Do
Due to their high activity levels, Australian Shepherds thrive most when they have a job to do.
Most people think of herding when it comes to a job for their Aussie, but many Australian Shepherds also work in other fields. For example, some Aussies are trained as therapy dogs, search and rescue dogs, and more!
Read these related articles:
- 20 Stimulating Jobs for Your Australian Shepherd
- How to Exercise an Australian Shepherd – 6 Unique Exercises to Try
5. Australian Shepherds Can be Prone to Having Separation Anxiety
Australian Shepherds love their owners, and they can be prone to suffering from separation anxiety when their families are away. Some common signs of separation anxiety in dogs include but are not limited to:
- Excessive barking or howling
- Destructive behaviors like chewing and digging
- Having accidents inside of the home
- Obsessive-compulsive behaviors like pacing and itching
- Attempting to escape a home, yard, or other confined space
Separation anxiety is a serious condition in dogs. As a result, you should always visit a vet if you believe that your dog is affected by this condition.
In addition, you may also benefit from medication and training from either an animal behaviorist or a dog trainer that is qualified to work with separation anxiety.
6. Aussies Can be Louder Than Some Other Dogs
Australian Shepherds are known to be very vocal dogs and are likely to bark, growl, and whine more than some other types of dogs. This behavior is derived from the Australian Shepherd’s instincts to herd and protect their territory.
7. Australian Shepherds Are Very Intelligent
Australian Shepherds are also known to be very intelligent dogs. However, they are also very eager to please their owners, so training is usually pretty easy.
As a result, early training and socialization is always recommended when it comes to these dogs. This is because an untrained Aussie is likely to get into a lot more mischief than a trained one.
However, all Aussie owners will be able to see their dog’s amazing and quirky personality as a result of this trait.
8. Aussies Are Incredibly Loyal
Australian Shepherds are known to be very loyal to their owners. Due to this trait and their trainability, many Aussie owners have reported that their dog can walk off-leash with little trouble after being properly trained. These dogs are known to stick by their owner’s side.
- Are Australian Shepherds Good Family Dogs?
- Why Does my Australian Shepherd Follow Me Everywhere? (3 Reasons Why)
9. Australian Shepherds Can be Prone to Obsessive-Compulsive Behaviors
These dogs can also be prone to enjoy engaging in some obsessive-compulsive behaviors as well. This includes but may not be limited to:
- Excessive barking
- Pacing and tail chasing
- Excessive chewing and licking
These behaviors usually occur more often when an Australian Shepherd isn’t receiving enough exercise. Because of this, it is recommended that you increase your dog’s exercise if your Aussie engages in these types of behaviors often.
Additionally, you may want to focus on training to reduce these behaviors.
10. Australian Shepherds Like to Chew and Dig, Especially When They Are Under Exercised
Australian Shepherds are also known to be destructive when they are under-exercised and mentally stimulated.
These obsessive behaviors often include excessive digging, chewing, and other forms of destruction. It is important to remember that a tired dog is a well-behaved dog, and increasing your dog’s exercise will usually reduce this kind of behavior as well.
Miniature Australian Shepherd quirks
There is also a mini Australian Shepherd in addition to the standard-sized Aussie. This version of the breed has its own unique history that is derived from the standard Australian Shepherds, and they have their own unique set of quirks and personality traits as a result.
Here is some important information about the mini Aussie and a list of some of their quirks!
History of the Mini Australian Shepherd
The mini Australian Shepherd was created in the 1960s after a naturally smaller than average standard Aussie was bred to other small Australian Shepherds.
These dogs were then continuously bred to create a smaller and smaller size until the mini Australian Shepherd breed was streamlined into the dog that is recognized today.
Mini Australian Shepherd Personality Traits and Quirks
These dogs are closely related to the standard Australian Shepherd, and they share many of the same personality traits and quirks. However, there are some tendencies that are truly unique to the mini Australian Shepherd.
These dogs still have the energetic nature and strong herding tendencies as their larger ancestors. However, these dogs are reported to be a bit more affectionate and behave a little better with other dogs than standard-sized Australian Shepherds.
Also, their smaller size makes this version of the Australian Shepherd easier to manage for some prospective dog owners.
Australian Shepherd Habits
As a result of their herding history, both mini and standard-sized Australian Shepherds have some truly unique habits that every Aussie owner has likely noticed.
These habits include chasing, nipping, and barking. All of these behaviors are common herding tactics among herding dogs.
If you run and have an Australian Shepherd then they will likely chase you and push you in the direction that they want you to go.
This endearing trait can be either fun or frustrating depending on the situation at hand. Although you can train a dog to reduce this kind of behavior, it can be particularly difficult to train this behavior out of an Australian Shepherd.
This is because this behavior is a result of years of breeding and training herding behaviors into these dogs.
Nipping is yet another behavior that is common in many herding breeds. Many herding dogs use nipping as a way to get livestock to move, but oftentimes this is also extended as a tactic that is also used on people and other dogs.
Although this behavior is a bit easier to reduce than chasing through training, your Aussie is likely to still do this every once in a while.
Barking and Other Vocalizations
Herding breeds also often bark and vocalize in other ways as a way to herd and protect their territory. As a result, many Australian Shepherds are louder than some other dog breeds.
This is yet another behavior that can be difficult to reduce in Aussies, and most Australian Shepherd owners turn to manage this behavior instead.
Check out these related articles:
- How to Crate Train Your Australian Shepherd in 6 Steps
- How to Entertain your Australian Shepherd – 11 Fun Activities for you and your Aussie
Australian Shepherds are truly amazing and unique dogs. Although they come in both mini and standard sizes, all Aussies were bred to be herding dogs.
As a result, most of their quirks are centered around their genetic herding instincts and need for plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.
Regardless, the Australian Shepherd has found their way into the hearts of many as a result of its unique personalities, intelligence, and stunning good looks for decades.
Naturally, many people may have some questions that are related to Australian Shepherds and their quirks. The question that we have today is about Australian Shepherds and why they whine so much.
Let’s get to it!
Why does my Australian Shepherd whine so much?
Aussies are known to be extremely vocal dogs, and they often use their vocalizations to communicate. Australian shepherds often whine as a result of excitement, nervousness, and wanting attention.
Although this wide range of causes can be confusing, you can tell why your Aussie is whining by looking at their body language. In addition, dogs sometimes whine when they are sick or in pain.
How big do Miniature Australian Shepherds Get?
Mini Australian Shepherds usually weigh in at around 20 to 40 pounds for both males and females. As for height, female mini Australian Shepherds are usually around 13 to 17 inches tall at the shoulder, and males are usually 14 to 18 inches tall.
In contrast, the standard Aussie is usually 40 to 55 pounds for females and 50 to 65 pounds for males. In addition, female standard Australian Shepherds are usually 18 to 21 inches tall at the shoulder, and males tend to be larger at 20 to 23 inches tall at the shoulder.