The Australian Shepherd FAQ

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Strangers approach me on an almost daily basis and ask about my dog. I’ve heard questions like “what breed is he?”, “will he stay this size?” or “where can I get one?” countless times and if I’d get a dollar for every time someone took a picture of Lumos I’d be rich, well not really rich but you get my point. I figured it was time to answer some of these questions on here.


Everyone, meet my lovely dog Lumos:

Blue Merle Australian Shepherd


  • Name: Lumos (von Blue Sansibar)
  • Date of birth: January 26th 2017
  • Breed: Australian Shepherd
  • Color: Blue Merle
  • Hobbies: running, sleeping, chasing other dogs

 


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  • Q: Do all Aussies look like Lumos?

  • A: No, Aussies come in four different colors:

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Red Merle Australian Shepherd

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Blue Merle Australian Shepherd

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Red tri Australian Shepherd

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Q: Do Aussies shed a lot?

A: Yes, they are heavy shedders and need to be brushed frequently.


 Q: Is it okay to keep an Aussie in the city?

 A: This is my personal view but Lumos lived in big cities all his life ( first Berlin, now London) and he does not seem to mind. He likes busy areas and tube rides.


Q: Do they need a lot of “outside time”?

A: Lumos enjoys being outside, however he also likes to sleep (all dogs sleep a lot). Some days we only go out for a quick walk around the block and he does not seem to care much on other days we go out for hours and he actually gets tired quite easily.


Q: Is it normal for them to have different colored eyes?

A: Yes, it’s very common for Australian Shepherds to have different colored or even split colored eyes. On Blue Merle they tend to be blue/brown where as on Red Tri and Red Merle they tend to be amber/turquoise. 

heterochromia on Australian Shepherd


Q: Are Aussies good with children and other animals?

A: Lumos is great with kids and other animals, my flatmates have a cat and a newborn and he is very good with both. 


Q: Do they have strong instincts?

A: Lumos has a strong herding instinct, he will try to round up other dogs, kids or people. He does not have a strong hunting instinct, he sometimes chases small birds for fun, however he does not “hunt”.


Q: Are they a healthy breed?

A: Yes, they are relatively healthy for a medium sized breed, however they tend to get bad eyes when they get older.


Q: How heavy do they get?

A: Lumos is small for an Aussie, he’s about 17kg. Normally males are around 23kg and females around 18kg.


Q: Are Australian Shepherds noisy?

A: Lumos hardly barks inside but when we are at the park he barks at other dog in order to get them to move and play with him. This is typical herding behavior for Aussies. He also is quite “talkative” and he will definitely tell you when he is not happy.


 

I hope this answered most of your questions, if you have any more you can comment below or visit Lumos’ Instagram page (@lumostheaussie).

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Blue Merle Australian Shepherd

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4 tips for dog owners in London

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It was never really a question if I would bring Lumos to London with me. He has been with me since he was 8 weeks old and he definitely is part of my family. A month after I moved here I brought him over. It all worked out , however I wish I knew a few things before I moved here.

1. Public transport is free for your furry friend

As long as you are able to carry your dog on the escalators you are allowed to bring them to the tube. They have to be on a lead, but there are no rules besides that. I was really worried that Lumos would be scared of riding the tube, but he is totally relaxed and usually sleeps during the ride. One thing you should be aware of is that while some people will love your dog and will ask to pet it, others might be scared of dogs.

2. You can let them run off lead in most parks

Unless a park specifically says to keep your dog on a lead, they are allowed to run around. London has many big parks and most of them are super dog friendly.

Here are Lumos’ favorite parks and green spaces:

  • Hampstead Heath
  • Battersea Park
  • Wimbledon Common

Australian ShepherdAustralian Shepherd runningDogs playing with tennis ballDogs playing at hampstead heathHampstead Heath in autumn

 

3. Areas like Chelsea, Shoreditch and Hampstead are really dog friendly

I originally got a dog because I always wanted one and living in Berlin at the time I saw all these dogs in coffee shops, restaurants and parks and it really made me jealous. Berlin is one of the most dog friendly cities.

When I first moved to London I found it very hard to bring my dog with me as many places don’t allow dogs. Now that I’ve been here for 9 months I know which areas are more likely to be dog friendly and which aren’t.

Shoreditch is by far the most dog friendly area. All the pop-up stores, vintage stores and coffee shops allow you to bring your dog. People there are really excited to have dogs in their venues and always give Lumos cuddles (and sometimes even treats).

Hampstead is located in the North of London and I’d say most people there own a dog. It’s very nice to grab a coffee or a bite there after a long walk through the Heath.

Chelsea is one of the “poshest” areas in London and many people there have a dog (though most dogs there are “handbag dogs”). You can bring your dog to most shops, including Zara, and most coffee shops too.

I will write a separate blog post on my favorite dog friendly coffee shops soon.

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Blue Merle Australian shepherdAustralian Shepherd in Shoreditch

4. Get insurance for your dog

Where I’m from vet costs are really low compared to other countries, that’s why I never really thought about getting health insurance for Lumos. But when I moved to the UK and Lumos had his first visit to the vet I knew why people would get insurance for their pets.

Vet bills here can be REALLY high! I recently paid over  £120 for antibiotics and a check up. So do yourself a favor and get insurance for your pet, even though this might seem expensive too, it’s worth it. I’ve heard about several dogs who needed emergency treatment and the bill was more than  £2000, luckily their insurance covered the whole bill.