March 06, 2005

Australian Shepherd

Despite the misleading name, the Australian Shepherd is not Australian at all, but was developed entirely in the U.S. to work as a herding dog on ranches.

A little research has led me to drop it off my short list, though this doesn't mean it won't make someone else a wonderful pet. It is traditionally docked if born with a tail (though this is now unlawful in Australia), and its dew claws removed. It carries the blue merle gene and associated blind/deaf factor. The naturally bob-tailed dogs can have serious spinal defects. Caratacts are a problem, and they are often sensitive to ivermectin.

The concern about the seeming increase in frequency of genetic problems in Aussies has led to the establishment of the Australian Shepherd Health & Genetics Institute .

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