Eiteljorg Musuem Blog

For the love of Australian Shepherds

by User Not Found | Jul 24, 2012
I have a confession: I wasn’t always a dog person. Growing up, we had dogs but they were rough and tumble mutts that showed up on our front porch…country dogs, you might call them. When it came time to live on my own, my apartment seemed more suited towards an independent and minimal needs species, so I adopted two barn cats. 

It wasn’t until a few years ago that I started exploring my appreciation for canines. I had moved to a bigger place and my cats weren’t very interested in taking long walks. At the same time, anyone who has met Jennifer Complo McNutt (curator of contemporary art and my direct supervisor) knows how much she loves dogs and that love is contagious. Soon I started researching dog breeds and came across what had been missing in my life all along: the Australian Shepherd! 

What better dog for an Eiteljorg Museum employee than a breed specifically bred for the West? Despite their name, Australian Shepherds, as we know them today, originate from the United States and were bred to herd. Their name originates from an association with the Basque sheepherders who came to the United States from Australia in the 1800s. Australian Shepherds are intelligent dogs that still maintain their strong herding and guardian instincts but also make great family pets. They need a job but are often referred to as “Velcro dogs” because of their intense need to be near their humans. 

It was through my fascination of Australian Shepherds, or Aussies for short, that I began volunteering with the Aussie Rescue & Placement Helpline (ARPH), the official rescue organization of the Australian Shepherd Club of American (ASCA). Through ARPH, I have met many wonderful Aussies as well as amazing people who are dedicated to the breed. 

My boyfriend and I adopted from ARPH in March 2011. Our Rufus is exemplifies all the wonderful attributes that makes an Australian Shepherd: loyalty, sweetness, intelligence, playfulness and spirit. Rufus doesn’t have an official herding job like his ancestors and Aussie cousins, but he does a pretty good job of keeping our cats in line while we are at work! 

More information on adopting an Aussie 


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