The Australian Shepherd, or Aussie, isn't actually Australian. Originating from the Basque region of Spain, the breed was developed in the United States.
Aussies gained popularity due to their appearances in rodeos. Their herding skills and ability to perform tricks made them a crowd favorite.
Aussies have been known by many names, including Spanish Shepherds, Pastor Dogs, Bob-Tails, Blue Heelers, New Mexican Shepherds, and California Shepherds.
Native Americans called Australian Shepherds 'ghost eye' and considered them sacred. Pale blue, 'ghostly' eyes are common among the breed.
Aussies often have two different colored eyes, a condition called heterochromia. Eye colors can be any combination of brown, blue, hazel, amber, or green.
Aussies have a one-in-five chance of being born with a naturally bobbed tail. Ranchers bred Aussies with short tails for safety during herding.
Aussies serve as herding dogs, Seeing Eye dogs, hearing dogs, drug-sniffing dogs, and search and rescue dogs. Their high intelligence makes them well-suited for various jobs.