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I have mentioned before that I want to bring a second dog into our family. I'm open to rescues but am likely buying this dog from a breeder. Aussies are one breed that I'm seriously considering.

Aussie owners: please tell me everything about your dog. Training, health, coat, barking, etc... I want the good, the bad and the ugly! Haha. Also, please let me know if you feel like your Aussie is a good representation of the breed. I have read a lot about them but I really like to hear first hand accounts.

My household consists of Rory and I, 3 kids (ages 5, 9 and 11), Aspen and a cat. I'm not concerned with a dog that will chase the cat. Aspen does that and the cat is really good at sticking up for himself haha. My 5 year old is the only one who really likes being hands on with Aspen. He feeds her everyday and always wants to 'train' her. The other two are happy to pet the dog and move on.

Thank you! :)
 

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My parents had Aussies before I was born, then they had a couple of rough Collies for awhile, and then went back to Aussies again. Over my lifespan, we've had a total of four, three of which we have now and one of which is a mix.

In short, Aussies are awesome. To me, they are love. We've never had a "bad" one.

Keep in mind, all of our Aussies have been from working lines so there is a lot of variation in terms of size, coat, and even color (for example, I really don't think you see many bi-black Aussies in show circles but I could be wrong). I don't know much about show lines but I love working Aussies. They usually have really great temperaments and an awesome off switch; I've never had a problem with one that has been hyperactive or insane.

In terms of coat and size...Lexy is HUGE but that's probably because she's a mix and has put on some weight in her old age. In contrast, Nellie and Raleigh are relatively small (Nellie is around 32 lbs and Raleigh is around 27). Maggy, the Aussie we had when I was younger was around 40 if I remember correctly. Coat color has been all across the board: two blue merles, a bi-black, and a red merle. Coat type, too....Maggy had a relatively rough coat, but it was on the shorter side. Lexy's coat is suuuuuper soft but a little longer and she sheds a TON. Nellie's coat is sleek, super soft, and actually pretty low shedding. Raleigh has a rough coat (think almost Sheltie-like) but he doesn't shed all that much either.

Temperament wise, all are rock solid. As I said, they've all been from working lines and we live on a farm, so socialization for all wasn't quite as well-formed as it would be for a dog living in the suburbs. Still, all have been awesome. None have had any aggressive tendencies, and while they have a tendency to be sensitive, it's not a super-shy sensitive nor is it reactivity like with Chisum. They bounce back really quick from certain situations. They've also incredibly loyal, velcro dogs (Nellie would crawl into your skin if she could), and are great with all ages.

All of mine have been wary of strangers, but not aggressively so. More along the lines of watchdogs than true "guard dogs". They have seemed to have an instinctual way of telling if someone is a threat or if they're not and are more than friendly to welcome visitors.

The one potentially negative aspect I've noticed with my dogs is they're not always keen on other, strange dogs. Nellie really dislikes them (she still hates Chisum). Raleigh is the exception, he loves everyone. Lexy does NOT like strange dogs. She's not mean or anything, but she will. not. have anything to do with them. If I remember correctly, Maggy was similar. But again, socialization would probably have helped with that.

In short, I love Aussies and I love my Aussies. I don't know if I'll have one of my own again after Lexy passes; I'm really into Collies too (we had great experiences with them as kids). I'm partial to working lines, but as I said I haven't had much experience with show lines. I know a lot of people who are really into just home-bred Aussies, which is often hit or miss and a lot of aggressive Aussies I think come from these situations BUT I've known someone who spent a lot of money on a high quality show pup who ended up with some major issues. I also know a lot of people who are really into mini Aussies...not my cup of tea, personally, and our working standards aren't too much bigger anyway!
 

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Thanks @PoppyKenna! Great analysis! I actually totally forgot that you have Aussies!!

I often hear that Aussies aren't great around strange dogs. That would be a bummer for me as I like to take my dog(s) everywhere. I also plan on doing some type of dog sport with my next dog and a dog aggressive or reactive dog would take some of the fun out of that.

I'm curious- how much of that reactivity is innately in the breed and how much can socialization (from the start) help?
 

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Aussies, Aussies, AUSSIES!

I love them. Like, seriously loooooove them.

Training

Eaaaaasy peasy. They get things so quickly, and are pretty eager to learn. Levi gets frustrated when we shape sometimes, but that is because we did so much luring as a puppy.

Coat

Levi seems to have less coat than the average Aussie. I brush him twice a week, which reduces the amount of hair I find, but it is still on all my clothes, and under my couches. I love all the colours too, the tris are beautiful.
His coat is amazingly soft. Oh so soft.

One thing that no one ever talks about is their pants. If your Aussie gets diarrhea or soft stool...it is getting stuck in those pants.

Size

Levi is on the taller side (23.5" at the withers), and is lean at just under 50 pounds.

Socialization/Reactivity

I do think they seem to be reactive, but I think good, strong, healthy socialization makes a huge difference, especially if the parents are easy going.

Levi was fairly heavily socialized, and as a result is very dog and people friendly. He doesn't really love being loved on by people for a long time, but that's because he'd be happier running around.

Inside the house though, good lord. If you come in the house, he is on your lap. Snuggle, little love bug. And that is for ANYONE. If you come in, and say hello to him, you're his buddy.

I do think a lot of their reactivity is a lack of proper socialization. We recently went to a pet festival and saw a ton of nice, friendly Aussies.

I also think working lines, or breeders that keep those instincts in tact are the way to go.

And Mini Aussies....well they're different. Maybe I've just been unlucky with the ones I've met, but they've all been super neurotic and reactive.
 

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@Aspen726 - Honestly, when I think of "reactivity" I think of Chisum and the buzzwords that follow him around: anxiety, thresholds, BAT, LAT, CC/DS, etc. etc. I don't personally think any of our Aussies have been reactive because they have been and are still able to go anywhere and function like a normal dog. There's no lunging/barking at the end of the leash, there's no shutting down, there's no fear of a bite, nothing. They're a dream!

Now, they're sensitive and part of that I think is just the way they are as individuals, and part is probably socialization. For example: Lexy. She really doesn't care for other, strange, dogs. She's not mean or unruly about it, in fact, I have taken her on dog walks and to events. She's just very clear that she's not there to socialize, she'd rather keep to herself, if any dogs come over she turns around and ignores them, stuff like that.

Nellie and Raleigh are both sensitive too, in their own ways. Nellie just doesn't like other dogs up in her space. And, since Chisum totally was when they first met, she's held onto that hatred of him. If we go to the vet, for example, she doesn't start fights nor does she cause a scene, she just wants her own bubble. It doesn't help that she's so poorly exercised right now because of her medical condition. Once she's healthy again I really may borrow her from my parents and try to get into some kind of sport with her - she's very driven, intelligent, and athletic and certainly not anywhere near 'reactive' enough that she couldn't do it.

Raleigh I don't consider to be reactive at all. He was in a bad home for the first part of his young life, so he's a little nervous about certain things (car rides, new places) but he adapts quickly and is a total love bug, really sensitive and gentle. I told my mom when she retires that she should look into training him to be a therapy dog because he'd be totally awesome, I know he would.

My parents had an Aussie that was incredibly shy/reserved but again, not mean, just not overly social. Maggy was more social but we constantly had friends out to the farm and everyone doted on her so she certainly got a lot of attention :)

But, those are my experiences. As far as reactivity in the breed...Aussies have become quite popular so I certainly think that, as is the case with most 'sensitive' breeds that become overbred, the potential for fear and reactivity is there. That's why I like my working line Aussies, because generally the people breeding them put temperament pretty darn high on the list.

At the end of the day, all of our Aussies and other farm dogs didn't get quite the same level of socialization that your dog no doubt would, but I don't consider them reactive and I wouldn't hesitate to take them pretty much anywhere. They've each got their "quirks" but really, it's nothing that can't be easily worked with.
 

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Totally late to the party but I have to sing my praises about Aussies.

Seriously, I love this breed. They are thinkers. Forbes really likes to think things through. He will notices changes WAY before Roxie does. He has the best sense of humor. The faces he makes is constantly making me laugh. My phone is full of pictures of him making dumb faces.

The hair is a chore. Forbes is a show bred aussie and has a full coat. He sheds CONSTANTLY. I feel like there are constantly hairs just floating through the air. Lint rollers are great for helping de-dog my clothing.

And Pants @Shandula totally nailed it with the pants. No one tells you about having to wipe your dogs butt to prevent them from tracking poop, but I've done it more times then I can count (Shandula, I thought about you this weekend as I ended up having to give Forbes 2 whore bathes because he released his anal glands).

I seriously love this breed. I could never imagine not having one. I think your active household would be perfect for an aussie!
 

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Thanks again guys!! I emailed a (fairly) local breeder. I let her know that I was interested but NOT in a rush. I will happily wait for the right fit, I'm just getting the ball rolling.

Not saying that I'm an expert but I'm excited to start a puppy knowing the things I know now.

I'm still worried that Aspen will be sad (I know! I'm ridiculous!).
 

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Going from 1 dog to 2 is never an easy decision. I was actually just talking about this with @cbarkerb724 when she decided to add another (beautiful) dog to their household. The original dog will have to adjust, they have been use to being an only dog for a few years. But what attention they do not get from you will be made up in extra attention they get from having a companion. I did not think Roxie would do well with adding another dog to my household, and she had her moments where she told him and I that she wasn't happy. But now she loves her brother. She looks for him when I take him and LOVES playing with him. I am sure Aspen will adjust. The only time I have problems now is when I am taking one and have to leave the other.
 

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Going from 1 dog to 2 is never an easy decision. I was actually just talking about this with @cbarkerb724 when she decided to add another (beautiful) dog to their household. The original dog will have to adjust, they have been use to being an only dog for a few years. But what attention they do not get from you will be made up in extra attention they get from having a companion. I did not think Roxie would do well with adding another dog to my household, and she had her moments where she told him and I that she wasn't happy. But now she loves her brother. She looks for him when I take him and LOVES playing with him. I am sure Aspen will adjust. The only time I have problems now is when I am taking one and have to leave the other.
Did you get Forbes from a breeder? How old is he? How old was Roxie when you got Forbes?
 

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Did you get Forbes from a breeder? How old is he? How old was Roxie when you got Forbes?
Yes, I did get him from a breeder, although I got him at a year. He was the pick of the litter and was supposed to be her conformation dog but his color is a little off. He is 3 now and Roxie is 6, so Roxie was late 3 early 4 ish. She had lived with my parents and their dogs for the 2 years of her life, then had spent the last year being the only dog before I got him. Honestly I think she would have done better with a puppy but it really wasn't an option. Not to mention I don't think we were ready for a puppy.
 
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I see your coming to the aussie side ;p

I don't have much to add since @Shandula, @PoppyKenna and @jclark343 covered pretty much everything. But I will echo that they are great dogs and love being with their people. As mentioned socialization is very important since there not they are known for being stranger weary. Other than that be prepared for lots and lots of hair, it will become your new favorite accessory and lint rollers will become your new best friends lol.
Are you planning on getting a standard or possibly a mini?
Good luck in your searching :)
 
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