The Australian Shepherd is actually an American breed, though why it was given this name is unknown.
They were first seen arriving on ships that had brought sheep to California, USA. The farmers/ranchers where quite taken with the dogs working ability, the ‘blue’ dogs with their strange brown/blue coloured eyes, who where able to work all day without seeming to tire.
So taken with the dogs they tried them on other stock & found they possessed a natural ability to work stock, they also found that the dogs where easy to train, natural watchdogs & very good companions for the family.
The Australian shepherd was happiest though working, in any conditions, snow, rain, heat etc…
These dogs where bred to their working type dogs in America, though what breeds they where crossed with isn’t known.
But they kept producing the same type, if you look at photos of Aussies from the late 1800’s into the early 1900’s & compare them to today’s Aussie, you can see the same resemblance.
The Aussies versatile & trainable personality made them great assets to the American ranchers & their families.
Although Aussies come in many different colour's & markings, ALL Aussies show unsurpassed devotion to their families.
There are many stories about the origins of the breed & all are interesting to read.
An Indian legend tells of how Indians held the dogs in ‘reverence’ due to their blue eyes, calling them ‘ghost dogs’ thinking they where sacred, they left the settlers alone who owned such dogs, as they thought that meant they could see into the spirit world.
Aussies have also appeared in rodeo’s mainly during the 1950/60’s with Jay Sisler & his ‘blue dogs’ who did amazing tricks, like two dogs balancing on the edge of boards while held in the air, skipping, etc…
These dogs also appeared in Disney films “STUB – the greatest cow dog in the west” & “Run Appaloosa Run” many dogs of today can trace back to Jay Sislers dogs.
A lot of information can be sought on the Internet. & there is a selection of books out on the market about the Australian Shepherd.
Other places to observe are dog shows, most breeders/showers will be more than happy to talk about their dogs as well as giving you a chance to observe their dogs.