Australian Shepherd

Lifestyle Needs

Australian Shepherd
Australian Shepherd

The Australian Shepherd is a very beautiful, medium sized dog who is used to working on a farm.  His working background and great intelligence means that he needs to be challenged by doing obedience training and/or agility training.  He has high energy and ideally should have at least two hours exercise every day with opportunities to run free.  His thick coat will need regular and frequent grooming.

Genetic Diversity
(Known as Coefficient of Inbreeding: 'COI'. It should be as low as possible.)

The UK Kennel Club breed average COI is 3.6% - See 'A Beginners Guide to COI'

Gene Pool Size
(Known as Effective Population Size: 'EPS')


EPS is a measure of how many individuals are contributing genetically to a breed population. It is a measure of the size of the gene pool in a breed. Lower than 100 is considered critical by conservationists and below 50 brings a breed close to extinction. For more information see the Kennel Club article.

Health and Welfare Problems due to Conformation
(Body shape and physical characteristics)

None known

BVA/KC Health Schemes:

  • Hip dysplasia:  breed 5 year mean score 11.9 (ideally parents should be lower)
  • Elbow dysplasia:  score ideally O:O
  • Eye disease:  Hereditary cataract (HC) (litter screening); Coloboma (litter screening); Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) (annual testing)

Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) : No EBVs are currently available for this breed

DNA Tests Available
DogWellNet and IPFD Harmonisation of Genetic Testing for Dogs (HGTD)

  • Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA/CH)
  • Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)
  • Hyperuricosuria and Hyperuricemia (Urolithiasis)
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (prcd-PRA)
  • Multi-drug resistance 1 (MDR1)
  • Primary Hereditary Cataract (PHC)
  • Hereditary Cataract HSFA
  • Neuronal Ceroid Lipofusinosis 6 (NCL 6)
  • Achromatopsia (AMAL) (Cone degeneration)
  • Cobalan Malabsorption
  • Blood test for Pelger-Huet Anomaly

Availability of a DNA test does not mean that it is always necessary or even desirable for breeders to use this test.

Other Breed-Specific Health Screening Schemes

  • Blood test for Pelger-Huet Anomaly (blood leukocyte development).

Ask the breeder to show you the certificates for the above tests/screening for both parents. If any of the above tests have not been considered necessary by the breeder (and there may be good reasons), ask her to explain why.

Other Diseases Reported
(For which there are currently no genetic or screening tests for sire or dam)

  • Skin – Sterile nodular panniculitis
  • Haemophilia A
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Pituitary tumour resulting in Hyperadrenocorticism (Cushings syndrome)
  • Keratitis
  • Multiple ocular defects: most common Persistent hyaloid remnants (PHR); Cone degeneration

Ask the breeder about the medical history of the parents, grandparents and great grandparents. Consider carefully whether to purchase a puppy if some of these or other diseases are in the family line.

Ask about the breeder’s policy in cases of serious genetic diseases occurring to your puppy in later life. Good breeders will request to be informed of such events in order to improve future breeding decisions.

You are strongly advised to buy from a breeder who uses (or is prepared to use) the AWF Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack (PIP):

The breeder should also be familiar with the CFSG/DBRG Code of Practice for Dog Breeding

Or the Kennel Club’s Assured Breeders Scheme Standard and Guidance:
Standard PDF | Guidance PDF

Breed Health Information