The Australian Shepherd–sometimes better known as an Aussie–is recognized in the hearts of dog lovers every day. The calendar recognizes this dog breed every year on a special pet holiday: National Australian Shepherd Day.
When is National Australian Shepherd Day?
Mark your calendar for National Australian Shepherd Day on January 9. The holiday was founded in 2020 by The Woof Book, a social media network exclusively for dog owners.
This pet holiday takes place on the same day every year.
To mark the occasion, we’ve fetched a few fun facts about Aussies:
Don’t let their name fool you! Contrary to popular belief, the Australian Shepherd does not actually hail from The Land Down Under. The breed may have originated in the Basque region of Spain, then developed in the Western United States, where the dogs helped cowboys and ranchers herd sheep.
Australian Shepherds are number one in the hearts of their pet parents, and the breed isn’t too far away from the top spot in the American Kennel Club’s annual list of the most popular dogs, with the Aussie landing in 12th place in 2021.
Long live the Australian Shepherd! The average lifespan for members of this breed ranges from 13 – 15 years.
No matter the color (which can range from sky blue to brown), the eyes of Australian Shepherds are hauntingly beautiful…so much so that members of the breed are known as Ghost Eye among some Native American tribes.
The Australian Shepherd’s coat comes in a variety of colors, with the American Kennel Club recognizing black, blue merle, red and red merle.
An Australian Shepherd/Border Collie mix named Sweet Pea set several world records! Showing off her balancing ability, the talented tail-wagger walked approximately 328 feet in precisely two minutes and fifty-five seconds with a can on top of her head. The pup’s poise also made her a Guinness World Record holder for the most steps walked forward by a dog while simultaneously balancing a glass of water, and another for achieving the same number of steps while walking backward and balancing a glass of water.
Other Names for Australian Shepherds
Affectionately referred to as Aussies, this breed is also known as:
- Bob-Tails (due to the fact that one in five Australian Shepherds are born with a stubby tail)
- California Shepherds
- Pastor Dogs
- Spanish Shepherds
Famous Australian Shepherds
Combining real life with “reel life,” silent movie star Jack Hoxie shared the big screen with his canine companion Bunk in many Westerns. The Australian Shepherd (who also answered to the sweet sobriquet Bunky Bean) first stepped in front of a camera in 1924 for the film Ridgeway of Montana, with his career transitioning into the start of “talkies.” After a full life which included traveling throughout the United States with his famous pet parent, Bunk crossed Rainbow Bridge at the age of 18.
Queenie, Shorty and Stubby— Canine celebrities on the rodeo circuit in the 1950s, trainer Jay Sisler’s pack of pooches also became stars on the big screen, appearing in several live action Disney movies.
Rowdy— Transforming from a kid into a canine, bully Eddie McDowd performed acts of kindness in order to revert back to his original form in the Nickelodeon series 100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd. Eddie the dog was portrayed by a former shelter dog named Rowdy. TV fans may also recognize the Australian Shepherd/Siberian Husky from his role as Dasher in the Hallmark Channel series When Calls the Heart.
Tuffy— Born in 1930 on a Cheyenne reservation in South Dakota, this talented Australian Shepherd/Collie would go on to become a Hollywood star, appearing in eight big screen Westerns. An intelligent tail-wagger, Tuffy understood commands in several languages.
Although no member of the breed has at present won top honors at the Westminster Dog Show, an Aussie named Reckon won Best in Show at the American Kennel Club National Championship in 2010, and an Australian Shepherd named Caitland Isle Take A Chance stood on the podium as the winner of Crufts in 2006.
A dog who made the leap from shelter life to a life of service as a member of the Rhode Island State Police, an Australian Shepherd/Border Collie called Ruby received the 2018 Hero Dog Award for Search and Rescue, and her life was celebrated in the Netflix biographical drama Rescued By Ruby.
Famous Pet Parents of Aussies
Trace Adkins— The country crooner’s fur family once included two Aussies called Bella and Daisy.
Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly— This high-profile pair shared happy years with an Aussie named Pippy.
George W. Bush and Laura Bush— Choosing the option of pet adoption, the former President and First Lady found Freddy, their Australian Shepherd mix, at the SPCA of Texas’ Jan Rees-Jones Animal Care Center in Dallas. Twelve weeks old at the time, Freddy was one of a litter of puppies who had been discovered by a sanitation worker at a dump site.
Holly Marie Combs— The fur family of this Charmed actress once included an Aussie called Lola, who was given to the star by Alyssa Milano’s mother.
Larry David— In 2020 the Curb Your Enthusiasm star waxed enthusiastically on the subject of being a new doting dog Dad to an Aussie named Bernie.
Nina Dobrev— Maverick, an Australian Shepherd/Border Collie puppy from the L.A.-based rescue The Pet Care Foundation, landed a starring role in the life of The Vampire Diaries in 2017.
Jane Lynch— An Aussie mix dubbed Francis Willoughby won the heart of the Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG award-winning actress at a pet adoption event in Studio City, California back in 2011.
Mike Pence— The former Vice President welcomed an Aussie he named Harley into his heart and home in 2017. Harley’s fur siblings include a cat called Hazel and a rabbit known as Marlon Brando.
Amanda Seyfried— Finn, the Oscar-nominated actress’s fur baby is a star in his own right, with his own Instagram account. The rescue dog and his movie star Mom even used their shared fame to shine a spotlight on pet adoption when they took part in Best Friends Animal Society’s I Saved My Best Friend campaign.
Britney Spears— In 2022 the “Baby One More time” singer introduced her fans to her new fur baby, Sawyer. As is often the case with pet parents of an Aussie, the singer stated: “I think he understands me especially with those eyes 😍 … he makes my heart melt … he needs me and I like that !!!!!”
Steven Spielberg— The Academy Award-winning director turned to the Golden Age of Hollywood for inspiration when he named his Australian Shepherd Harlow.
Steve Wozniak— The Apple co-founder was once a proud pet parent to an Australian Shepherd called Cruiser.
Adopting an Australian Shepherd
If you want to welcome an Australian Shepherd into your family, you can look for a breed specific rescue in your area, or contact Aussie Rescue & Placement Helpline (ARPH), an all-volunteer run non-profit which rescues and rehomes purebred Australian Shepherds.
You can also find Australian Shepherds and Aussie mixes at your local rescue organization or shelter. To help in your search, visit:
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