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Australian Shepherd

Other names: Vorstehhund, Kurzhaar

Australian Shepherd

The German Shorthaired Pointer is a breed that was first seen to accompany the German aristocrats of the 1800s on their hunting forays. It was originally (and in some parts of the world still is) an all-purpose gun dog capable of catching game as well as retrieving it. This breed of Pointer has webbed feet as a result of generations of selective breeding: a trait which was useful to the dog when recovering wild fowl from lakes and marshland.

Key facts about the Australian Shepherd

Life expectancy :





Temperament :

Affectionate Playful Intelligent Hunter

Size :

Origins and history

The descendant of the German Shorthaired Pointer is believed to be a German Bird Dog, itself descended from dogs of Spanish origin and brought to Germany in the 1600s. Other hounds and pointers are thought to have then been bred with the Bird Dog to bring about the German Shorthaired Pointer that we know today. The breed is unchanged since the 1800s and still retains the characteristic of an agile and versatile hunter.

FCI breed nomenclature

FCI Group

Group 7 - Pointing Dogs


Section 1 : Continental Pointing Dogs

Physical characteristics of the Australian Shepherd

    Adult size

    Female : Between 23 and 25 in

    Male : Between 24 and 26 in


    Female : Between 62 and 71 lb

    Male : Between 62 and 71 lb

    Coat colour

    Type of coat

    Eye colour



    This dog is bred to move effortlessly and as such it has a streamlined body. From the withers at the top of the shoulders to the croup above the tail the back falls gently in an almost straight line. Its long ears are floppy and set high on its head. The dog’s muzzle has a Romanesque length to it and its jaw is broad and strong.

    Good to know

    The German Shorthaired Pointer is the archetypal outdoor adventurer. It can swim well, does not tire easily, can fight off attacks from other animals and is exceptionally obedient. Training and socialisation are essential components of the early years’ development of this dog.


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      An affectionate dog despite its hunting heritage, the German Shorthaired Pointer does not have an aggressive tilt. It is robust and boisterous and may at times accidentally knock a small child or elderly person off their perch. It means no harm by this. Regular and plentiful exercise and some obedience training will wind in the energy of this loving dog.

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      An active dog that likes to play and interact, and will do so all day long if given the opportunity. A German Shorthaired Pointer likes to please its owner but it can be a bit of a show and a little rough.

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      This is a dog not given to undue nervousness. Its lust for life and enthusiasm to tackle any task pushes timidity and agitation into the background. The Pointer does not however enjoy being left alone or isolated, and will suffer separation anxiety if it is.

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      Willing and able to learn new things, enthusiastic and keen to please its owner: just some of the traits of the German Shorthaired Pointer that constitute the dog’s more than ample intelligence. It is a dog easily distracted though, so training needs to be consistent, forthright and include a variety of training measures. Once you have the Pointer’s attention it will be cooperative to a tee.

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      Hunting was the reason the German Shorthaired Pointer was originally bred, but its German masters were also careful not to instil too much of a blood lust. Obedience training puts pay to some of the dog’s desires to chase other animals but to hunt is an instinct deeply ingrained in the dog’s psyche.  Regular and plentiful exercise is a must for preventing this dog from causing a nuisance.

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      Fearful / wary of strangers

      German Shorthaired Pointers are not afraid of new people visiting their domain but some may be reserved at the initial meeting. Others are warm and friendly to strangers and may even bark an excited welcome.

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      German Shorthaired Pointers are independent but can be trained to be exceptionally obedient. Pointers are on the whole very easily distracted by sights and sound around them and will often plod off if something interests them more than your command.

      Behaviour of the Australian Shepherd

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        Tolerates solitude

        German Shorthaired Pointers do not tolerate solitude. Separation anxiety is seen of Pointers that are left alone for long periods of time. Not only do they miss their family but the lack of exercise that comes with being left alone will bring on depression.

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        Easy to train / obedience

        The German Shorthaired Pointer is reasonably easy to train. However training must be done properly and consistently, and at all times the trainer must make an effort to hold the attention of the Pointer. If the attention is lost, the pupil is too. In order to ensure that what you are teaching a Pointer is learnt your training sessions should be short and done only when the dog is alert and responsive to you.

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        This dog doesn't bark to excess and will soon settle again once a perceived ‘danger’ has passed.

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