This breed’s name is misleading since it actually originated in the US, where it was bred in the nineteenth century as a herding dog; Australian shepherds have long been associated with the American West. These are mid-sized dogs, averaging around 50 pounds (23 kg), with fluffy white fur with black and brown markings and, often, naturally stubby tails. Australian shepherds are extremely active and clever and are especially devoted to their owners, for which reason they make excellent guide and service dogs.
Should You Purchase Insurance for Your Australian Shepherd?
Australian Shepherds are one of the more robust breeds in their size class, living an average of 13 years. At least two common canine health concerns are associated with the breed:
- Dysplasia of the hip and/or elbow: these dogs may inherit a condition where the hipbone fails to fit correctly into the pelvis, or where the bones of the legs connect poorly. Over time, wear and tear can cause these joints to become inflamed, resulting in pain and restricted movement. The condition can often be reversed with surgery.
- Hypothyroidism: this condition occurs when the dog’s immune system attacks the thyroid gland, resulting in a lack of the necessary hormones that the thyroid produces. Symptoms include hair loss, skin problems, weight gain, and lethargy. Blood analysis is used to confirm the presence of the disease; treatment involves daily administration of an artificial hormone to replace what the thyroid no longer produces.
Hopefully, your Australian Shepherd will live for a long time; if so, however, you can expect to rack up some vet bills, particularly as your dog enters old age. In addition, a dog that requires an hour more a day of physical exercise will always be at risk for cuts, sprains, and even broken bones. One way to take the guesswork out of planning financially for your dog’s medical care is to a purchase pet health insurance plan that covers these and other health issues that are frequently faced by pet parents.
For other types of dogs, check out our full list of dog breeds.