Australian Shepherds are the ultimate working dogs. Actually not from Australia, as one might rationally conclude, these pups grew in popularity as herding dogs because of their high energy levels and impressive intellect. These dogs like to be occupied with a job to do, and excel at many activities, including herding, search and rescue, and agility. Aussies often have distinctive merle coloring and bright, striking eyes that come in a variety of colors. They are medium-sized, smart, loyal dogs and make devoted companions to active families.
This active breed gained popularity in Western culture after WWII, and was often featured in rodeos, horse shows, movies, and television.
The Australian Shepherd was created as a livestock herder for ranchers and farmers in the western U.S. It's likely that the breed's roots reach back to collie and shepherd-type dogs that were imported with shipments of sheep from Australia during the 1840s.