Australian Shepherds Breed History

Australian Shepherds Breed History

Breed History and Development

Although the name suggests that this is an Australian breed, the Australian Shepherd, as we know it, is in fact an American developed breed.

There are numerous thoughts about the origin and early development of the Australian Shepherd. Some believe that the breed evolved from a mixture of several herding breeds that were introduced into the USA from Europe in the 16th. and 17th. centuries by early settlers. These breeds could well have included Smithfield's (a natural bob tail), the Old Welsh Bobtail and possibly German Coolies.

Another strong school of thought is that during the gold rush in the late 1800's and early 1900's. the Basque sheepherder's from France and Spain arrived via Australia with their ‘little blue dogs' looking for work. The work that they sought was provided by the vast numbers of sheep that were being brought into the country along with their shepherd's and their dogs from Australia . Many Australian Shepherd historians hold the firm belief that the present day Aussie is a direct descendant of these Basque shepherds' dogs. Those courageous “little blue dogs” not only guarded the sheep against predators such as wolves and thieves but were instrumental in keeping the huge flocks of sheep together during that period. They were hardy individuals, toughened by the harsh environment in which they lived and worked. Following the gold rush the Australian shepherd rose in popularity with the American stock farmer due to its inherent versatility, strong herding instincts and intelligence and complete and utter devotion to its owner and family. It was during this period that the ranchers continued to develop the breed to suit the work and environmental demands that had to be met by their stock dogs.

The Australian shepherd's as we know them today, still closely resemble their ancestors who came over to the States and worked with the Basque sheepherders all those years ago.

"Your friend, your companion, your protector, your dog. You are their life, their love, their leader. They will be yours faithful and true to the last beat of their heart. You owe it to them to be worthy of such devotion"
Australian Shepherds ~ Liashasue