What is that little black and white dog you’ll see from time to time running around the Bailey’s Bed’n Bale ? It’s a Toy Mini Australian Shepherd. The Australian Shepherd may have a bit of an identity crisis when it comes to part of its name. The breed originated in the United States, not Australia. But there’s no question about the Shepherd designation; this is a talented and versatile herding dog ready to tackle any challenge. Most Aussies today turn their talents to being active and attentive companions. But give them a chance, and they’ll prove themselves at just about anything.
Aussies are especially talented at herding, agility, fly ball, Frisbee and obedience. They are smart and active, a great combination if you want to do a lot with your dog, but a bad combination if you expect your dog to entertain itself.
The Aussie’s herding style is termed “loose-eyed” (as opposed to “strong-eyed”). This means they herd with an upright posture, tending to use their body and movement to intimidate and thus move sheep rather than staring and stalking. They will also bark to control livestock, but not as much as many other breeds. And they will at times grip (meaning bite) the livestock if they are challenged. Despite being called shepherds, they are equally good at herding cattle.