Australian Shepherd Breed Characteristics - Aussie University

Australian Shepherd Breed Characteristics

Australian Shepherd Breed Characteristics

Why does my Australian Shepherd turn his butt towards me and “grin” when I pet/scratch him? Some say it is a herding instinct, but it is proven to be just a sign to you, as his owner, to keep scratching and that he enjoys it. He trusts you or he would not show you his vulnerable backside so easily. Just laugh and give him what he wants-a good scratch in a spot he cannot reach!


Some Australian Shepherds tend to “grin”, not to be mistaken for baring their teeth, when feeling silly or goofy. It’s a sign of appeasement! A dog will grin if it senses you his owner needs to be calmed down or when they are excited by greeting people or guests. Some Australian Shepherds grin so hard they sneeze, and they often wiggle their whole bodies with happiness. When an Australian Shepherd is especially happy the movement can be so intense as to curl your Australian Shepherd into a U-shape! To those of us who know and love the breed, the grin is just one of the many charming traits.


Australian Shepherds are commended as being a silent worker but can also be very vocal. Mostly when playing with other dogs or trying to get your attention. When greeting their owners or upon being applauded they will often make what sounds like a singing noise, speaking to you in various tones ranging from a deep kind of growl to a sharp wine. It sounds like they are trying to talk to you. This may or may not happen while they are carrying their favorite toy in their mouth or need something from you.


Quirky and Fun Australian Shepherd Facts:


  1. Australian Shepherds routinely sleep with their front paws crossed.
  2. Some snap their teeth together making a clicking noise when they are happy.
  3. They are notorious for trying to get your attention by using their nose to push up under your arm or hand or by bumping you on the back of your leg as you walk.
  4. They tend to always be right under your feet anytime you are trying to walk, anywhere! They will follow you from room to room each time you get up. Having one can be like having a shadow.
  5. They can be quite handy with their front feet often surprising you with their abilities. (Watch them during play or while chewing on a bone to get the picture.)
  6. Australian Shepherds and a kiddie pool. Living their best life!
  7. They can leap straight up and down like a yo-yo.
  8. Frisbee and ball fetching are their favorites!
  9. No need for a doorbell, your Australian Shepherd will let you know when someone arrives at your home.
  10. Australian Shepherds can be extremely affectionate, turning them into the perfect cuddle buddies.
  11. They are not Australian. Shepherds out of Spain first took their dogs with them to Australia and then to the United States, so Americans called the Dogs Australian Shepherds.
  1. They gained popularity from Rodeos.
  2. Native Americans Considered them Sacred.
  3. Many have Naturally bobbed tails.
  4. There’s an Australian Shepherd out there who was a Frisbee Champion, Hyper Hank, google it!
  5. They can be big babies and hate to walk on wet or damp grass.
  6. Some Australian Shepherds sigh heavily, usually after being ignored or bored.
  7. They can fear the oddest things…laundry baskets, lint rollers, Christmas bags, and boxes.
  8. They instinctively use a “pounce” position to deal with cattle trying to kick them.
  9. They may herd anything that moves. Including your children.
  10. You can put their brains to good use.
  11. Australian Shepherds shed, a ton. Clean house be gone!
  12. They come in striking colors and intense eyes. They are eye-catching. (Blue Merle and Red Merle, red and black)
  13. They can be the perfect running/walking partner.
  14. They love to spend as much time as possible with their owners.
  15. They love to show off with tricks. Such as roll over, sit, and high five.
  16. They are popular. One of the most popular breeds in the United States.
  17. You will want more than one Australian Shepherd. 😊
  18. They enjoy being trained or having a “job” to do. They make great search and rescue dogs as well as therapy dogs.
  19. There are miniature and teacup varieties.
  20. Some Australian Shepherds have cool eyebrows.
  21. Their coat can be either wavy or straight.
  22. They are sometimes affectionately called an ‘Aussie’.
  23. They never really outgrow the puppy stage.
  24. They have a double-coat of fur which effectively protects them from all types of weather.


To Sum it all up, if your Australian Shepherd is a happy dog, he should be wagging his butt around like crazy and grinning ear to ear. This behavior is a good sign that your dog is happy at home, happy with you, and happy with any other pets or friends around. Once you’ve had one, none other can compare.




Hi there! My name is Erica and I am absolutely in love with Australian Shepherds. These pups have been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember, and I have learned so much about them over the years. I am now excited to share all of my knowledge and experiences with you through my writing for Aussie University. When I'm not typing away, you can find me out and about with my own Aussie crew, exploring all that nature has to offer or participating in fun dog-centered activities. I can't wait to connect with all of you fellow Aussie lovers out there!

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