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HISTORY Let's take a quick look at the origins of this lovable breed so we can better understand their natural tendencies and how that affects them in our modern world.  Firstly, the Australian Shepherd isn't a native Australian breed but the breed did have some refining in the country. They actually originated in the Pyrenees Mountains in Europe and were the shepherd dogs developed by the indigenous Basque. They were primarily sheepherders who needed medium-sized dogs with endless energy and sharp minds to help them move the flocks of sheep around the fertile pasture land. The Basque set out for the promising flatlands of Australia in the early 1800s and of course brought their beloved shepherd dogs with them. It was here that the breed was crossed with English breeds, like the Border Collie. The Basque moved again in the early 1900s and went to fertile valleys of Califonia in America. The local ranchers and farmers in the area fell in love with the sweet and intelligent dog the Basque brought with them from Australia and it was here that they were dubbed the Australian Shepherd or Aussie for short. The Aussie was quickly adopted on working ranches and rodeo circuits and has been a fixture in cowboy culture every since. Now, many people still love this spectacular breed and they are purely companions in plenty of homes in addition to still being used with livestock.  TEMPERAMENT OVERVIEW Now let's really dive into the temperament that makes the Aussie such an extraordinary working dog and family companion. As a working canine Aussies typically find roles in, of course, herding livestock. They herd everything from Geese and Ducks, to sheep and goats, to horses and cattle with amazing dexterity. For larger herds, it's common for the Aussie to work as part of a team of several dogs all being directed by the shepherd or rancher. The needs of this demanding role mean that the Aussie must be highly intelligent and trainable, only mildly independent thinking, have an intense desire to please, and be able to focus in chaotic environments. These same temperament traits are also what makes them fantastic in their other modern working roles as entertainers, service dogs, and even in scent detection work. They are extremely athletic so they are usually top competition at agility events and demanding canine sports. SOCIAL - CHILDREN/SMALL ANIMALS/STRANGERS As a household companion, they can be a handful for inexperienced leaders or low activity homes. They are more than smart enough to figure out how to open food containers or manipulate an unwitting human into giving them far more treats than necessary. Their sweet and loving nature can hide the razor-sharp mind behind their eyes that always working.  They are extremely social and do well with children, small animals, and other dogs. They will also herd children, small animals, and even adults if this instinct isn't redirected early on in the home. With an outlet for their drive to work, you'll find the Aussie is glued to you at all times. Their devotion to their family runs deep and they want to be close, if not touching, at all times. They are very loyal and affectionate without being overly needy about it and it lends to their charming personalities.  They do best when they aren't left alone all day because they are so social but having other dogs in the house can help reduce their stress at home where people are off at work all day. Aussie's bond closest to the person who works with them most often but they are loving and loyal with their entire family. They even love strangers, especially if the stranger will throw a ball or toy for them. WRAP UP Aussie's are a high energy breed with an intense drive to always be working and looking to their human for calm, consistent leadership. They thrive in active homes where they can get several hours of play and exercise each day that satisfies their working instinct. They are incredibly sweet and affectionate with everyone but remain loyal to their family. For an active and experienced canine leader, the beautiful Australian Shepherd just might be the perfect fit.

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