International Miniature Australian Shepherd Club, INC
Attention Secretary PO Box 373, Winter Park, FL 32790-0373 Email: IMASCREGISTRAR@aol.com
Although there are many theories about the origin of the Australian Shepherd, the breed as we know it today developed exclusively in the United States. Most stories state origin in the Basque region of the Pyrenees Mountains between Spain and France, but was dubbed the Australian Shepherd because of its association with Basque shepherds who came to the United States with sheep from Australia in the 1800's.
As with most working breeds, the Australian Shepherd was initially called by several names, including Bob-Tail, Pastor Dog, Spanish Shepherd, New Mexican Shepherd, and California Shepherd.
The Australian Shepherds rose rapidly in popularity of Western horse riding after World War II. The breed became known to the general public from appearances in rodeos, horse shows, movies and television programs. It s inherent versatility and trainability made it extremely useful asset on farms and ranches.
Ranchers continued to develop the breed and hence the size variations in the breed arose. Some ranchers wanted the smaller sized Aussies in which were able to maneuver much easier in tighter-closer spaces, but maintained the adaptability, keen intelligence, strong herding instincts, and eye catching appearance that originally won its admirers. As a herder, the Australian Shepherd is a loose to medium-eyed dog. (Eye is a general term used to describe the way a dog controls stock with its gaze.) It will watch and entire herd of animals, but not with an intense gaze. Some dogs use more eye in situations where added power is required to move stubborn or balky animals or while holding off single animals.
The Aussie (as the breed is nicknamed) is a truly versatile dog. It is so sound minded that it easily adapts to various situations. Today, the Australian Shepherd serves humanity in every imaginable way: as a working stock dog, guide dogs for the blind, hearing dogs for the deaf, therapy dogs, search and rescue, drug detection, bomb detections, alert dogs, not to mention they are one of the greatest all time family and children dogs. Their devotion and loyalty to their families is unsurpassed. They are truly magnificent dogs. And, as the story goes, once you have owned an Aussie you'll never have any other breed.