Australian Shepherd Short Hair – Everything You Need To Know

Short-haired Australian Shepherds are similar to long-haired Australian Shepherds. Nevertheless, they are blessed with differentiating short coats. The Australian Shepherds belong to the working dogs’ group whose fur is often coarser and less fluffy to withstand the harsh climatic conditions. The Aussies belong to the lineage that produced other popular breeds like the Border Collies. Hence, the variety in their genetic ancestry can be one of the reasons why some Aussies adopt a shorter coat. This is especially evident in their eye colors as some Aussies have blue or brown colored eyes while others have spots or patches with a single color. They also differ in their sizes ranging from the smallest to the largest. Therefore, you can expect a short-haired Australian puppy if any of her parents are short-furred. On the other hand, they would have fluffier coats if her parents were show dogs; however, if genetic makeup is not the reason, you may have to inspect if your doggie gets the proper nutrition. 

Australian Shepherd Short Hair Pros and Cons

Pros Cons 
These dogs are generally healthy. High prey drive
High intelligence Needs to stay active and hence requires a lot of exercises. 

Australian Shepherd Short Hair Basic Information 

  • Name: Australian Shepherd Short Hair
  • Height: 18 – 23 inches
  • Weight: 40 – 65 pounds
  • Coat: Double-layer, medium length with a curly or wavy texture
  • Color: Blue, gray, black, and white
  • Energy: High
  • Activities: Companion, sports, obedience, agility
  • Group: Working
  • Barking Level: Medium to high
  • Shedding Level: Medium to high
  • Hypoallergenic: No 
  • Litter Size: 6 to 7 puppies
  • Life Span: 12 – 16 years
  • Other Names: Spanish Shepherd, Pastor dogs, BobTails, New Mexican Shepherds, California Shepherds.

Australian Shepherd vs. Australian Shepherd Short Hair: A Comparison 

Features Australian Shepherd Australian Shepherd Short Hair  
Origin United StatesUnited States
Height 18-23 inches18-23 inches
Weight 40-65 pounds40-65 pounds
Size MediumMedium
Group HerdingHerding
Children Compatibility HighHigh
Family Compatibility HighHigh
Pets Compatibility HighHigh
Barking Level Medium to HighMedium to High
Shedding Level Medium to HighMedium to High
Hypoallergenic NoNo
Grooming Needs Medium to HighMedium to High
Overall Health Medium to HighMedium to High
Energy HighHigh
Exercise Needs HighHigh
Trainability HighHigh
Activities Companion, Sports, Obedience, AgilityCompanion, Sports, Obedience, Agility
Complication in breeding NoNo
Litter Size 6-7 Puppies6-7 Puppies
Lifespan 12-15 years12-15 years
Other Names Spanish Shepherd, Pastor dogs, Bob-Tails, New Mexican Shepherds, California Shepherds

Australian Shepherd Short Hair Personality

The short-haired Australian Shepherd is indistinguishable from a typical Australian Shepherd except for its short coat. Therefore, short-coated Aussies have a characteristic short undercoat that is not fluffy. They also come in black, red, blue merle, red merle, bi, or tri-colored variations. These medium-sized canines have a well-built, athletic physique. They were raised as herding dogs; hence they have a medium bone structure to indulge in physical activities. 

The Australian Shepherd short hair canines have a well-defined, firm, and proportionate head. Their dome-shaped skull is pretty flat with an equal length and width. They are blessed with a well-rounded muzzle that tapers and merges into the head through parallel planes with a well-defined stop. Their medium-sized, triangular ears are set high on their heads. They have almond-shaped eyes that are heterochromia or brown, blue, or amber colored with black-pigmented eye rims. 

Short-haired Australian Shepherds have a pigmented nose with pinkish lips with their teeth meeting at scissors bite. Their head sits on a slightly arched, medium-length neck leading to the shoulder blades. They have long, flat, and well-laid back shoulders attached to the upper arm at right angles where forelimbs drop straight. These deep-chested canines have a firm topline with long ribs ending in a straight tail. Their tail appears bobbed. 

Friendliness Overview

Affection level Medium to high
Family-friendly High
Kid-friendly Medium to high
Pet-friendly High
Stranger -friendly Medium

Adaptability Overview

Good for apartment living Low
Good to new owners Low to medium
Sensitivity level High 
Tolerates being alone Low 
Cold-tolerance Medium to high
Heat-tolerance Medium to high

Australian Shepherd Short Hair Temperament

Australian Shepherd short hair is a highly energetic dog with a lively personality. Hence, these canines are extremely good at executing an assigned task. They also have a good flare for playing games, practicing tricks, and trying obstacle courses. Since their physique is suitable for hard work, these canines become destructive without proper mental and physical stimulation. These dogs are pretty standoffish with strangers and gradually develop their friendly nature.

Nevertheless, Aussies are well-attached to their pet parents, which has earned them the credit of being known as the velcro dogs. These canines are incredibly loyal and are excellent therapy dogs who make fantastic aid for the impaired. They are often adopted into the police force for their ability to locate drugs or missing people. They have strong guarding and herding instincts. Hence, they warn you with a loud bark in the event of impending peril.

The short-haired Australian Shepherd has a good herding history, often used to herd livestock. Therefore, they can become headstrong if you don’t establish your leadership. Hence, these dogs are not well-suited for novice owners. 

Australian Shepherd Short Hair Training 

Australian Shepherds with short hair are popular for their intelligence. So, they can be easily trained and perform well in canine challenges like dog sports and competitions. Their love for work and friendly nature compels them to take commands from their trainers and work accordingly. Like all breeds, positive reinforcements work well on them. However, their herding instincts can provoke them to chase or nip kids, smaller pets, or vehicles. Therefore, enrolling them in puppy training and creating opportunities to socialize them is necessary. Since Australian Shepherds with short hair can be bored quickly,  it is essential to keep the training interesting. Their training can include the following:

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Trainability Overview

Easy to train High 
Intelligence High 
Mouthiness tendencies Medium to high 
Barking and Howling tendencies Medium to high 
Prey drive Medium to high 
Wanderlust tendencies High 

Australian Shepherd Short Hair Exercise Needs 

Australian Shepherds with short hair are a highly energetic breed. They need to expend their energy to stay disciplined. They love to play around the yard. However, you will have to fence it to prevent them from jumping over or digging underground. Considering his herding and chasing instincts, walking him on a leash is always good unless he is taught to resist the urge.

Further, when it comes to physical exercise, the Aussies must have a dedicated schedule for physical activities, which includes a daily walk of 30-40 minutes. Apart from this, his daily activities can constitute 30-60 minutes of running, Frisbee, obedience, or agility exercises. If not, he must be at least mentally occupied with puzzle toys such as Buster Cubes. A proper exercise routine helps the dog with the following benefits.

  • Social interaction
  • Weight Control
  • Stress Relief
  • Behavioral Corrections like excessive chewing, persistent barking
  • Brain stimulation
  • Strengthening Muscles
  • Routine Toileting
  • Mental health and happiness

Exercise Needs Overview

Energy level High 
Exercise needs High
Intensity Medium to high
Playfulness High 

Australian Shepherd Short Hair Grooming

Unlike long-haired Australian Shepherds, short-haired Australian Shepherds are pretty easy to maintain. They experience less tangles due to their shorter hairs. However, you must groom them weekly to keep their coat’s beauty. In addition, it is not recommended to shave your short-haired Aussies as it predisposes them to heatstroke and sunburn. You must also clean your pet’s coat around the belly, paws, and back. Finally, you must bathe him with appropriate dog shampoo every six weeks and pat him dry later. However, this schedule varies depending on how frequently you take your pet out to the park to enjoy.

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Nails: Your dog’s nails are subject to breakage if they grow too long. Since broken nails are very painful, trim your pet’s nails regularly. 

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Teeth: Regular brushing of your dog’s teeth with a dog-formulated toothpaste can prevent tartar buildup and periodontal diseases in dogs. Additionally, you have to schedule an annual appointment with the veterinarian.

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Ears: Your dog’s ears accumulate wax that must be removed using a cotton ball dipped in pH-balanced ear cleaner. However, ensure not to damage his ear canal and check for signs of ear infection during the annual appointment with the vet. 

Grooming Overview

Easy to groom Low 
Drooling tendency Low
Amount of shedding Medium

Australian Shepherd Short Hair Health

Australian Shepherds short hair are generally a healthy breed. However, they are predisposed to specific health conditions, as discussed below. Although not all dogs develop these conditions, some are more prone to these disorders than others.

Health Overview

Overall health Low
Weight gain tendencies Medium to high 
Size Medium

Hip Dysplasia: When the thigh bones do not fit into the pelvic socket of the hip joint of your pet, it results in hip dysplasia, which is a heritable condition. 

Other Causes of Hip Dysplasia: 

  • Injuries 
  • Excessive weight gain 
  • Wrong exercises 

Symptoms of Hip Dysplasia: 

Some of the notable signs that may be present on one or both rear legs include:  

  • Pain  
  • Lameness 

Treatment: X-ray screening for hip dysplasia, medication, and hip replacement through surgeries may also be preferred. This condition, if ignored, can be life-threatening.

Progressive retinal atrophy: An eye disease that causes blindness from losing photoreceptors. It can be diagnosed earlier. Dogs with this disorder can survive for many years since they have other senses to compensate. The gradual deterioration of the eye’s retina marks the progression of this disease. Affected dogs exhibit night-blindness symptoms, slowly progressing to complete vision loss. Most affected dogs adapt well to their limited or lost vision if they continue to reside in the same environment.

Collie Eye Anomaly: CEA is an inherited developmental condition usually seen in breeds like Australian Shepherds, Border Collies, Shetland sheepdogs, etc. This disorder leads to blindness. 

Distichiasis: Distichiasis is prevalent in dogs. It results from the abnormal growth of eyelashes. It occurs when eyelashes emerge from the eyelid margin instead of its skin. Most dogs don’t experience any adverse symptoms due to soft hairs. However, other dogs experience discomfort due to eye irritation. In severe cases, this condition can lead to corneal ulcers. 

Persistent Pupillary Membranes (PPM): Before the birth of canines, specific blood vessels are involved in nourishing their eye lens with nutrients. When these blood vessels don’t disappear after birth, they develop into strands of eye tissue known as persistent pupillary membranes. However, most dogs don’t experience any symptoms due to it. 

Cataracts: When your dog experiences a thickening lens, it results in cloudy vision due to their age. This condition is treatable either through medications or surgery. 

Detached Retina: Retinal detachment in dogs occurs when the retina isolates itself from the back of your dog’s eyes. This condition occurs due to underlying medical conditions such as glaucoma, high blood pressure, and/or hypothyroidism in dogs. It is a medical emergency as it can lead to blindness in dogs without immediate treatment. 

Deafness: Some dogs are born deaf, and others may acquire it with age. While hereditary deafness is due to genetic defects, acquired deafness results from decreased blood supply to the cochlea of the inner ear resulting in the loss of hair cells necessary for sound transmission. Deafness may present unilaterally (deafness in one ear) or bilaterally (deafness in both ears). Bilaterally deaf dogs require some special considerations. To get to know your pet better, you can subject your pet to the BAER (Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response), which helps you detect deafness in dogs. 

Epilepsy: Australian Shepherds suffer from a higher rate of epilepsy. Although the exact cause is unknown, a genetic base is often suspected. Epilepsy is a sudden spike in the brain’s electrical activity resulting in malfunctioning. Some of the signs to look for include:

Symptoms of epilepsy: 

  • A stiffening of the neck and legs 
  • Stumbling and falling over
  • Uncontrollable chewing
  • Drooling
  • Paddling of the limbs
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Defecating
  • Vocalizing 
  • Violent shaking 
  • Trembling

Elbow Dysplasia: Elbow dysplasia occurs when the elbow joint bones don’t align properly. This misalignment causes abnormal pressure at the joint, leading to chronic rubbing and severe osteoarthritis.


  • Mild to moderate pain 
  • Lameness in the forelimbs 

Although the symptoms begin to show as early as four months, some dogs will not show these signs until later in life. Further, it involves both elbows, of which one may be heavily affected.

Osteochondrosis Dissecans: Osteochondrosis Dessicans is an inflammatory condition due to the cartilage’s abnormal development, leading to its separation from the underlying bone. Although it most prominently affects the shoulder, it may be prevalent at the elbow, hip, or knee.

Symptoms of OCD:

  • Limping in the affected leg 
  • Extremely painful when the affected leg is manipulated
  • Swollen or warm joint

Treatment generally follows a strict rest schedule, medications, supplements, and surgery, if necessary.


  • Food-based allergies: This can be treated by following an elimination diet that eliminates suspected ingredients to which the dog may be allergic.  
  • Contact allergies: These allergies are caused due to the adverse reaction of a dog’s immune system when it comes in contact with a topical substance such as bedding, flea powders, dog shampoos, and other chemicals. Removing the cause of the allergy reduces the symptoms.  
  • Inhalant allergies are caused when your canine accidentally inhales airborne allergens like pollen, dust, and mildew. Treatment for these allergies depends upon their severity. Often, these allergies are accompanied by ear infections.

Hypothyroidism is when a dog’s metabolism is slowed due to the lack of thyroid hormone production. Symptoms are:  

  • Lethargy 
  • Gaining weight 
  • Reluctance to work out 
  • Hair Loss

Drug Sensitivity: Most herding dogs react adversely to certain medications due to a mutation in the MDR1 gene. Consequently, they experience enhanced sensitivity to certain medical drugs like antiparasitic, antidiarrheal, and anticancer drugs. 

Cancer: Cancer in dogs is treatable if detected early. Although certain dogs show no symptoms initially, some of the warning symptoms to watch out for include:

  • Prevalence of a lump or bump
  • A non-healing wound
  • Swelling
  • Enlarged lymph nodes, 
  • Lameness or swelling in the bone 
  • Abnormal bleeding 

Nasal Solar Dermatitis: Nasal solar dermatitis is a congenital condition that results from abnormal skin sensitivity to sunlight. This disorder worsens with exposure to sunlight and affects the skin, nose, eyelids, trunk, and limbs. However, its exact cause is not yet known. 

Australian Shepherd Short Hair Diet and Nutrition 

Australian Shepherd short hair thrives well on a  well-balanced and healthy diet. They require a protein-rich, fatty diet with low carbohydrate contents since they are working dog breeds. Further, their meal becomes holistic, including minerals, healthy fats, antioxidants, omega fatty acids, and vitamins. Aussies require 1300 calories to meet their daily nutritional needs. Hence, feeding 1.5 to 2.5 cups of high-quality protein-rich food is an excellent option. However, you must ensure it is appropriate for her age, weight, and activity level and adjust the amount of food accordingly. In addition, a good physical exercise routine ensures they stay fit and trim. This also helps them expend their energy and avoid weight gain. For this purpose, it is always good to divide their meals into portions throughout their feeding schedule.

Australian Shepherd Short Hair Living Condition 

Short-haired Australian Shepherds enjoy wide-open space and love to expend their energy. Although this trait makes them unsuitable for apartment life, they still have the ability to adapt to it. However, their stimulation needs have to be addressed. Aussies are prone to be headstrong if you don’t establish yourself as the pack leader. Hence, Australian Shepherds are not suitable for novice owners but are most appropriate for an active family. These canines can withstand extreme temperatures as they are blessed with a short insulated coat layer. Although they are good family dogs, they need early socialization to accept and overcome their aloofness with strangers. In addition, these dogs have an intense herding instinct, making them herd children and other pets. Hence, early training is necessary to help them overcome it.

Adding an Australian Shepherd Short Hair to Your Family

Things to Remember Before Adding an Australian Shepherd Short Hair to Your Family

Getting a short-haired Australian Shepherd from a reputable breeder is the best way to prevent buying or adopting an unhealthy puppy. Further, you need to ensure your puppy-to-be is :

  1. Vaccinated timely. 
  2. Check with the puppy’s parents to ensure his optimum health. 

In addition, while buying from a breeder, always ensure the below points are met:

  • Puppies are available around the year.
  • A variety of litters are always available. 
  • The breeder allows you to visit the puppy and his parents in advance.
  • The breeder holds the necessary health clearance and vaccination certificates. 

Cost of an Australian Shepherd Short Hair Puppy 

You can either adopt or buy a puppy from a reputable breeder. However, the cost of your puppy depends upon the breeder’s reputation, your dog’s lineage, color, etc. A short-haired Australian puppy can cost between $400 and $1,880. However, if you choose to adopt one, you can expect to pay anywhere between $425 to $880.

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