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Australian Shepherds: Quirky facts about 2024’s Best in Show

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Viking, a three-year-old Australian Shepherd, clinched the ‘Best In Show’ title at Crufts last night, outshining an extraordinary lineup of 24,000 pedigree dogs from across the globe. But how much do you know about this amazing breed? Here are a few facts about them that might surprise you.

Four paws, four wheels

Australian Shepherd, otherwise known as Aussies, are the canine kings of the skateboarding world, with their intelligence, training ability and agility adding up to being able to thrash with the best of them.

Star power

Aussies are quite the trendsetters in celebrity circles. Stars like Mel Gibson, Bruce Springsteen, Tiger Woods and tech giant Mark Zuckerberg, all count these charismatic canines as part of their families. 

Location confusion

Despite their name, Aussies were actually developed in America, and not Australia. They gained their name because of their association with Basque shepherds who came from Australia to the US in the 1800s. It’s Australian Cattle Dogs that hail from the land down under.

Chatterboxes

Aussies aren’t just barkers – some have learned to ‘press and express,’ having been trained to “talk” using sound buttons, which they press with their paws to communicate specific needs or thoughts.

Ghostbusters

Because of their keen senses and alert nature, some Aussies have been jokingly referred to as excellent “ghost hunters,” reacting to sounds and movements that humans might not notice.

Guiness World Record holders

Striker the Australian Shepherd found himself in the Guiness Book of World Records when he opened a car door in record time – 11.34 seconds. And Sweet Pea managed to walk 100m with a soda can balanced on his head for 2 minutes and 55 seconds.

Clever and capable

But it’s not just random demonstrations of their smarts. Aussies are also put to serious use in demanding roles like search and rescue, guiding, and therapy.

Vintage classic

An Aussie named Pockets set a record as the oldest dog to earn a title in the American Kennel Club’s history, achieving the Rally Novice title at 15 years and 5 weeks old.

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