Myth Busters: Australian Shepherd Edition

Ruby, our Mini Aussie.

Myth: The Australian Shepherd was invented by Vito Von Trembleflurb in Squinkleburra Australia in 1893. Trembleflurb crossed two of his herding dogs with a kangaroo, a koala, a sheep, a crocodile, and three species of Australian spider. His goal? To create a wooly vegetarian guard dog that could spin silk and herd itself. After three months of lovingly raising his creation, the animal trapped Trembleflurb in a web, drained him of all his blood, and escaped into the outback where, legend has it, it lives to this day.
Fact: “Developed in California in the 19th century, it is claimed the breed descends from a variety of herding breeds including collies imported into California alongside sheep imported from Australia and New Zealand, the breed taking its name from the former. Originally used solely as a herding dog, the Australian Shepherd has become one of the most popular companion dog breeds in North America.” Source.

Myth: The Australian Shepherd was actually invented in 1985 by Arnold Schwarzenegger and was meant to be called the Austrian Shepherd. Between the general geographical ignorance of Americans and the overwhelming popularity of the 1986 film “Crocodile Dundee,” the rest was history. Disheartened by this failure, Schwarzenegger would turn his full attention to acting where he found moderate success before entering politics.
Fact: Please see previous fact.

Myth: Because of its roots in California, the Australian Shepherd is chill af bro.
Fact: The Australian Shepherd is, in fact, not chill.

Myth: The Australian Shepherd sheds heavily throughout the year.
Fact: The Australian Shepherd sheds heavily twice a year. For six months.

Myth: The Australian Shepherd is known as the cowgirl’s lapdog of choice.
Fact: The Australian Shepherd is known as the cowboy’s herding dog of choice. Jeez. Figure it out.

Myth: Much like the giraffe, the Australian Shepherd flies around at night on the leathery wings of a bat.
Fact: Australian Shepherds do not fly.

Myth: The Mini Australian Shepherd was created in 1998 when Minnie Driver’s chihuahua escaped and hooked up with Crocodile Dundee star Paul Hogan’s collie.
Fact: The Mini Australian Shepherd is just a smaller version of the standard Australian Shepherd. The Mini stands for miniature. I guess I have to spell out everything. Bonus fact: Ruby is a Mini

Myth: The Australian Shepherd comes in a host of colors, including Black and Blue Cobbler, Strawberry Meringue, The Full Cherry, Brown Overcoat, Black and White and Tan All Over and more!
Fact: According to AKC breed standards, the Australian Shepherd comes in “Blue merle, black, red merle, red – all with or without white markings and/or tan (copper) points, with no order of preference.” You’ll note that they put the blue merle first, so make of that what you will. You’re most likely to see “tri” versions of these variations: Blue merle with white markings and copper points, red merle with white markings and copper points, as well as the black and red tri. The red tri is sometimes called a brown tri, because to normal human eyes, they are brown.

My friend Jim Mitchem’s red tri, Quill, and black tri, Rocket. Despite being three months younger than Ruby they are now bigger.

Myth: The nickname for the Australian Shepherd is the Sheepie.
Fact: Come on’, dude. It’s the Aussie. Just like the people. Although human Aussies are from Australia and, as we’ve establish, the dogs are not.

Myth: The Australian Shepherd is perfect for first-time dog owners who are, overall, on the fence about dog ownership but think having a cute, fuzzy pup with personality might be fun. The breed is also great for folks whose hobbies include watching a lot of TV, sitting in front of a computer all day, sleeping in, going to work and expecting to return home to a house that isn’t destroyed.
Fact: From this hilariously understated AKC description: “They’re the picture of rugged and agile movers of stock. Aussies exhibit an irresistible impulse to herd, anything: birds, dogs, kids. This strong work drive can make Aussies too much dog for a sedentary pet owner. Aussies are remarkably intelligent, quite capable of hoodwinking an unsuspecting novice owner.”

Myth: The Australian Shepherd is just a dog like every other dog.
Fact: No they are not.

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