Australian shepherd dog. Australian healer. Breed description
The Australian herding dog (healer) appeared at the end of the 19th century on farm land in Australia. The main purpose of the breed was protection. Four-legged assistants coped well with their immediate task, which was reflected in the rapid growth of the population and its further spread across other continents.
How did the name of the breed
The first puppies of the Australian shepherd dog appeared as a result of long breeding work, the crossing of a Dalmatian and a wild dingo, a bull terrier and kelpie, as well as a collie. Today in Australia, over two and a half thousand healers are born per year. The most popular breed is considered to be in the countryside of Victoria and South Wales. The name of the breed comes from the word "Heeler", which means "heel". The fact is that when shaggy shepherds drive a herd, the most disobedient or lagging animals bite their heels without causing damage and forcing them to move faster.Healers practically do not know fatigue, they are able to manage large groups of livestock all day long, driving them from one pasture to another, scaring off predators.
Alternative breed names
Depending on the geography, the name of the dogs may vary. When you hear about a blue, red, Queensled healer or an Australian herd dog, be aware that this is exactly the Australian herding dog. They do not need to be brought exclusively to farmers, because this breed boasts an attractive appearance and affectionate character. They are incredibly loyal companions, and are also long-lived among dogs. One of the documented facts shows that the Australian short-tailed herding dog lived 29 years!
History and standard
The Australian herding dog is a relatively young breed, the occurrence of which has reliable facts. For the first time, farmers from New South Wales (Australia), who arrived on the mainland from the British Empire, took up their breeding. The British immigrated brought with them large black bobtails, which were considered the best herding dogs in their homeland.However, on the continent, where a hot summer reigns year round, the English breed could not become an effective assistant in agriculture. Powerful dogs with a large weight, heavily endured the heat. It was decided to cross the English breed with local wild dingo dogs. Breeders were confident in the success of their business, but the result was far from ideal. The appeared mestizos became more hardy and resistant to a hot climate, but were very aggressive, attacking both other animals and people.
After a failed selection, the farmers decided to cross the bull terrier and the long-haired collie, which also ended in a fiasco. Despite all the failures, attempts to breed the ideal breed for local conditions continued. At the beginning of the 19th century, a farmer Thomas Hall arrived from Great Britain. He brought European dogs with him. The Scottish Blue Marble Collies were mixed with dingoes, and the offspring that emerged pleased with their performance. Metis has established themselves as excellent shepherds and guards. The good working qualities of the dogs living on Hall's farm caught the attention of John Elliott.A landowner from Queensland also decided to cross the Scottish collie and wild Australian dogs.
Some time later, as soon as the Australian shepherd's dog began to gain popularity among people engaged in breeding cattle, the Bagast brothers decided to contribute to the formation of the new breed. They crossed the healer with a Dalmatian, from whom the four-legged shepherds received even greater endurance and love for horses.
Breeding was completed only in the twenties of the last century, when the Australian shepherd's dog was crossed with kelpie, after which the appearance and physical data remained unchanged. In 1989, the international standard of the breed was approved, which, according to the classification of the International Dog Federation, belongs to the 1st group.
Australian herding dog: breed description
An adult dog has a medium size. The height at withers is from 0.4 to 0.5 m, and the average weight varies from 15 to 25 kg. Torso strong, muscular. Paws strong, well developed. Head and neck - powerful, ears with fluffy tassels, erect. The tail is constantly lowered and has a curved tip.
The color of the Australian shepherd's dog is blue, with chestnut or black spots, the marks on the head are usually red or black.The coat is dense, double-layer, waterproof, medium hard and long. The tip of the tail and the back of the thighs are the most fluffy.
The average lifespan of these dogs is 8-16 years. However, with proper care, balanced nutrition and proper distribution of physical activity, healers can live for more than twenty years.
Australian healers are incredibly efficient dogs that do not know fatigue. Their activity is amazing. Even in the hottest weather, they do an excellent job with their shepherd duties. The dogs are very alert and ready to show their determination at any time, as soon as they detect the slightest threat to the owner or his property. The Australian shepherd’s dog knows absolutely no fear and can attack a predator that is larger than her.
Uninformed people may think that these dogs are unbalanced, which is far from reality. Before you start these four-footed shepherds, you need to learn as much as possible about the breed of the Australian herding dog. Healers will never be perfect assistants for owners who could not prove their authority.They are rather strong-willed and independent dogs with their own hierarchy, something resembling a wolf. Obedient and faithful dog will be only if it acquires in the person of the owner of this leader who can demonstrate his superiority. Unlike many of his fellows, the Australian shepherd’s dog does not have the habit of barking without a reason. They do not get along well with other pets, as they are accustomed to dominate and protect the territory in which they live, considering it to be their property.
Healers are trying to keep away from children, since the role of the nurse is alien to them. Small fidgets are capable of provoking a congenital instinct of shaggy shepherds, who will start grabbing the heels of the children and may cause damage or seriously frighten.
The Australian healer does not tolerate enclosed space, it is not recommended to keep them in an apartment or a small courtyard. In order for a dog to grow up healthy and with a balanced temperament, it is necessary to buy puppies only in nurseries engaged in their breeding. The price of the breed is quite high, but with the right upbringing, the fluffy shepherd will fully justify all investments and will become an indispensable assistant for the farmer.
It is important to know!
If you decide to get an Australian healer, who intend to keep in the yard, then be prepared for regular shoots. These dogs are incredibly inquisitive, will instantly explore the entire territory and will surely find a loophole through which you can slip away from the confined space. Often they do the digging under the fence or wicket. Such behavior can seriously confuse any person, but, as a rule, healers always return home, as they are very attached to their master.
Australian shepherd is a breed of dog that hardly adapts in urban environments, but feels great in the countryside. She urgently needs daily physical exertion, long walks in the fresh air and active games. Most of the time they have to spend in nature, for example, looking after the herd. In the care of healers are not whimsical. It is enough several times a month to comb their wool and bathe, but only when the dog gets very dirty.
Healers have almost no serious health problems, which makes them rare guests in the veterinarian’s office.This is not surprising, because in their veins flows the blood of a wild dog dingo, which is used to living in the harsh conditions of a hot continent.
Upbringing and training
Despite the fact that the breed is relatively young, it is considered established and fully formed. The nature of the dog is not easy, but she is well trained in training, quickly realizes that the owner demands from her and tries to please him. In order to instill the interest of the dog in the training process, it is necessary to correctly distribute the load and schedule of classes, as well as show their own leadership skills.
It is important to know that during the training it is impossible to use physical force, but only to influence the puppy morally, encouraging or condemning it. Otherwise, the dog will be reluctant to execute commands or will go out of control altogether. Do not forget that the breed was bred for independent work with cattle. These dogs are able to make their own decisions and act depending on the situation.
It is not recommended to feed the healers with food or meat alone. These dogs are very agile and spend an enormous amount of energy every day that needs to be replenished.In order for a fluffy shepherd to always remain cheerful and active, he needs a balanced diet that includes all the vitamins and minerals, as well as fats and carbohydrates. The most correct will be to contact a veterinarian who can choose the right diet.
Do not forget that the physical and moral condition of the dog depends directly on the owner, who must show proper attention to his pet.
Healer in a house or apartment
Healers are real athletes who often win international competitions, especially in such disciplines as obedience and agility. If you decide to keep this breed of dogs, for example, in an apartment, then you just have to know that they need to run at least 3-4 hours a day. Otherwise, the animal will begin to suffer not only from excess weight, but also from more serious diseases.