Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some answers to the common questions we get asked...
Are Australian Shepherds from Australia?
The Australian Shepherd is not technically an Australian Breed, having been developed on American ranches and farms.
How much exercise does an Australian Shepherd need?
Australian Shepherds are traditionally a working breed, with an athletic build and energetic temperament. Aussies need regular and rewarding exercise. They also require mental stimulation to reduce the risk of unwanted behaviours. Most aussies benefit from a daily walk, and many will be happy to sit by you on the couch watching TV at night time. Aussies are not the kind of dog you can put in a backyard and leave. They love being around people and will want to be inside with you.
Are Australian Shepherds good with children?
While most Aussies are well suited as family companions, we recommend that a dog should never be left alone with small children. Children should be supervised and instructed on how to behave appropriately around dogs.
How big do Australian Shepherds grow?
Male - 51 to 58.5cm (20-23 ins) in height, weight 22-30kg
How long do Australian Shepherds live for?
The average lifespan of an Australian Shepherd is between 12-15 years.
Do Australian Shepherds have any particular health problems?
Australian Shepherds are generally a very well bred breed of dog. A small percentage can be affected by hip dysplasia, eye diseases and epilepsy. It is recommended that if you are looking to purchase an Australian Shepherd, that you research the breed and contact registered breeders. All breeding aussies at Melvada Australian Shepherds undergo DNA testing for heritable traits (e.g. Collie Eye Anomaly, Hereditary Cataracts, ivermectin sensitivity and PRA), regular eye examinations and hip and elbow scoring.
Why do some Australian Shepherds have tails and others do not?
Some Australian Shepherds carry a natural bob tail (NBT) gene, which can mean they have a short tail, almost no tail, or a part tail. Aussies without this gene have full tails, but if bred to a NBT dog, can produce NBT puppies. Tail docking is no longer performed in Australia, but some imported dogs may have docked tails. Tail or not, Aussies make wonderful lifelong companions.
What grooming is required?
Australian Shepherds usually have a moderately long coat and will often shed, sometimes more than once a year. Brushing at least once a week is recommended to prevent matting. We also recommend that you learn how to do some maintenance grooming or get in contact with a local dog groomer who has experience in Australian Shepherds.
What colours do Australian Shepherds come in?
Australian Shepherds come in a variety of colours, with the most common being:
Do Australian Shepherds have blue eyes?
Australian Shepherds can have blue or brown eyes, and some have different coloured eyes, combination of both colours in the same eye (heterochromia), or both eyes the same.
What sort of temperament does an Australian Shepherd usually have?
Australian Shepherds are an intelligent working breed of dog, often with herding and guarding instincts. They make loyal companions and often excel at various sporting disciplines. We recommend that your new Aussie puppy goes to a positive reinforcement puppy school and basic obedience class to build some foundation skills.
Do you have a waiting list for puppies?
We are a small kennel and do not breed regularly, so we do not have a waiting list for puppies. However, if a litter is expected, it will be listed under on our puppy page, and we we may advertise for expression of interest applications - a questionnaire will be emailed to you if we have availability.
What does a "puppy with papers" actually mean?
There is always some confusion on what a "puppy with papers" versus a "registered breeder" actually means. In Australia, purchasing a "purebred puppy from a registered breeder" means to be purchasing a puppy from a breeder which is registered with an ANKC member body (such as DogsNSW, DogsSA, DogsVictoria etc). A registered breeder should be able to show a membership card with their name, their prefix (kennel name) and a membership number. Such breeders are obligated to follow certain standards and codes of ethics, and will usually perform thorough health testing on their breeding animals. All puppies produced will have their own registration number and pedigree certificate.
What does a Melvada Australian Shepherd puppy come with?
All puppies from Melvada Australian Shepherds will go home with a puppy pack that contains the following:
I have specific colour, gender and tail preference for my Australian Shepherd puppy. Can you provide what I am looking for?
While you may have a colour or gender preference in mind, we encourage our potential new puppy owners to keep an open mind. What is more important is the temperament and activity level of the puppy to be matched to its future potential family.
What happens if I can no longer care for my puppy?
We will always take a puppy or adult dog back, if for any reason, if you can no longer look after him/her. We will also assist you in finding a new home if required. We would rather do this that find out one of our puppies was surrendered to a shelter or pound. Please contact us if you have any concerns.
What is the difference between a pet quality puppy and show quality puppy?
Here in Australia, dogs registered with ANKC can either be on the main register or limited register. Main registered dogs are those usually kept for showing or breeding purposes (sometimes referred to as show quality). Limited register puppies are those allocated for pet or performance homes (often referred to as pet quality). Just because your puppy is on limited register does not make it any less of an excellent example of the breed! First and foremost, we want all of our Australian Shepherds to be a treasured family companion. Usually only 1 or 2 puppies are considered "show quality" in a litter, and placed in homes for breeding and/or showing purposes.
What is "Puppy Culture"?
"Puppy Culture" is a puppy rearing method based on scientific evidence and advice from leading breeders, veterinarians and behaviouralists. "Puppy Culture" outlines a series of week-by-week activities and tasks, all aimed at producing puppies that are ready to set forth into their new homes. "Puppy Culture" involves paying particular attention to prenatal care, early neurological stimulation, weaning set up, developmental periods, the enrichment effect, early socialisation, communication and problem prevention.