The Australian Shepherd is a lively and agile dog with a body slightly longer than it is high. They are medium sized dogs with pendant ears, a medium length coat and a bob-tail (which may or may not be docked). The Aussie should stand squarely and have a deep chest. The top of the head is approximately the same length as the slightly tapering muzzle. Aussies have medium sized oval eyes that come in many shades of blue, amber and brown, often combined or with flecks; and they often have two different colored eyes. Their ears are set high atop the head and are erect and triangular. The medium length coat comes in blue or red merle, red or black tricolor, all with white and/or tan markings. Aussies may have straight or wavy hair, but always have feathering on the backs of their legs and boast a full mane around their necks.
Size and Weight
Aussies stand from 18 to 23 inches at the shoulder and range in weight from 40 to about 65 pounds. The average weight for females is 47 pounds and for males, 57 pounds.
Coat and Color
Australian Shepherds have medium-length coats. Their thick, weather-resistant coat keeps them warm and dry in the winter. Aussies are adaptable, though, and those dogs who live in warmer climates have thinner undercoats than dogs who are subject to snowy winters. Their hair can be either straight or wavy, with short, smooth hair on the head, ears, front forelegs and hocks. There is some feathering on the back of the forelegs. Aussies also have thick, full hair on the neck and chest.
Australian Shepherds come in a variety of colors and patterns: red merle, blue merle, red, tri-color (black, white and tan), and black. “Merle” means patches of dark blotches against a lighter background, therefore a blue merle dog has black patches on gray and a red merle dog has red patches on beige.
Australian Shepherds shed year round, and shed very heavily twice a year during season changes. To keep shedding under control and mats from forming in the coat, Aussies should be brushed weekly, year round, several times per week during periods of heavy shedding. This breed is relatively clean by nature so baths only need to be given as-needed when the dog is dirty or begins to emit an odor.
Regular ear cleanings, teeth cleanings, and nail trimmings should also be part of the grooming regimen in order to promote optimal health and appearance.