The Australian Shepherd is the farmer’s herding dog of choice. They are highly intelligent, energetic, and devoted companions; if you have ever owned one, you understand why they deserve a special day dedicated to them.
The Australian Shepherd, affectionately known as the Aussie, is recognized on National Australian Shepherd Day on January 9th. In this article, we’ll talk about how you can celebrate it and why this breed is recognized for stealing the hearts of dog owners worldwide.
What Is Australian Shepherd Day?
National Australian Shepherd Day occurs on the 9th of January and is celebrated on the same day each year. This holiday was created to celebrate and recognize the Australian Shepherd’s energetic personality and versatility. Australian Shepherds are particularly skilled in herding. Additionally, they excel at working as service dogs, guide dogs, and police search and rescue dogs.
History of the Australian Shepherd
As a sheep herding dog for Californian shepherds, the breed as we know it today emerged in California in the 19th century. The Australian Shepherd is thought to have originated from various herding dogs, including Border Collies from Australia, that were brought to California with sheep imports. Their ancestors were European herding dogs that lived in the Pyrenees Mountains.
Some native Basque residents left the area in the 1800s with their dogs, hoping to find better cattle land in Australia. These Basque dogs were named Australian shepherds by American ranchers who believed they were Australian shepherds by origin.
The breed was further developed in the United States into what is now known as the Australian Shepherd. They rose in popularity as ranch dogs and in rodeos, particularly in the western United States. In 1991, the Australian Shepherd was given official recognition by the American Kennel Club.
How to Celebrate Australian Shepherd Day
As an owner or admirer, you can celebrate the Aussie on National Australian Shepherd Day in many ways. Your contribution can be large or small, but every little bit counts. If you are the proud owner of an Aussie, you can give your companion a little extra attention on this day by participating in activities they love or even trying something new. They can include agility training, herding trials, hiking, advanced obedience training, flyball, and field trials.
Other ways you can celebrate National Australian Shepherd Day include the following:
Fun Facts about Australian Shepherds
If you are unfamiliar with the Australian Shepherd, we thought we would share some fun facts about the remarkable breed. Don’t forget to share them with fellow Aussie parents and all the dog lovers you know!
1. Native Americans Considered Aussies Sacred
Pale blue eyes are common, and because of their pale hue, they can appear to be “ghostly.” The dogs’ “ghost eyes” are admired and considered sacred by Native Americans.
2. Some Aussies Have Short Tails
Aussies have a one in five chance of being born with naturally bobbed tails. Short tails are safer for herding, and ranchers deliberately developed Australian Shepherds with naturally short tails.
3. Aussies Can Have Two Different Colored Eyes
The Australian Shepherd is one of a few breeds that often has heterochromia, which causes each eye to be a different color. Aussies can have eyes that are any shade of brown, hazel, amber, blue, or green, and more than one color can be seen in one eye in some Aussies.
Caring for an Australian Shepherd
Australian Shepherds are energetic dogs who love having a job to do. They are well-known for being loyal, intelligent dogs that sometimes take their time warming up to strangers while generally being friendly with their humans and familiar faces.
Australian Shepherds can have a high prey drive due to their herding nature, which makes them enthusiastic players of fetch. Additionally, it indicates that they enjoy chasing and biting at smaller objects and animals, including excited children, cats, smaller dogs, and most things that move or have wheels. However, early socialization allows them to coexist peacefully with other dogs, cats, and children.
New owners should also be aware of their predisposed health issues so that they can provide them with the best care. They are typically a healthy breed, but they can be predisposed to health issues such as:
Your Aussie must have a veterinary check-up at least once a year to ensure they’re in good health so that your veterinarian can pick up any signs of health issues early on.
Their medium-length coat will need daily brushing to prevent knots and matting. You can avoid infections or the build-up of dirt or debris by checking and cleaning their ears and thoroughly drying them after swimming or bathing. Australian Shepherds are prone to specific eye conditions, so it’s best to regularly check them and watch for excessive discharge or changes in appearance.
Your Aussie will require a high-quality, well-balanced diet suitable for their life stage. It is best to talk to your veterinarian about the best diet for your Aussie.
Australian Shepherds make wonderful companions and working dogs. They are athletic, energetic, highly intelligent, loyal, playful, and loving. They have a day dedicated to them to celebrate all their wonderful qualities. National Australian Shepherd is celebrated on the 9th of January every year. Whether you are an owner or potential owner, there are many ways you can take part in this day by donating, learning, sharing, and providing your Aussie with the best care possible.
Featured Image Credit: LightField Studios, Shutterstock