Known as the Australian Retriever or Golden Aussie, the Golden Retriever and Australian Shepherd Mix is a well-known intelligent and loyal crossbreed. If you are looking for a dog breed that has a lot of vigor and family friendliness, this is one of the breeds that you’ve probably been recommended to by fellow pet owners and breeders.
However, what can you expect about the Golden Aussie? Is it difficult or easy to take care of? How do you feed it and what about its exercise needs? To help ease your worries, we wrote this dog breed guide just for you.
Below are some fast facts about the Golden Aussie Mix and what you should expect if you want to take this crossbreed home. Once you have a brief idea about this dog breed, you can decide for yourself whether the Golden Aussie is the right breed choice for you (and/or your family).
Know the Origins
Before we dive down into the Golden Aussie, let’s check out its parents, the Australian Shepherd and the Golden Retriever:
Despite its name, the Australian Shepherd comes down from European dogs that were made for herding. They have been around since the 1800s. When the breed went to America (specifically in California), they were used by cowboys and bred them to the Australian Shepherd that we know of today. That’s why these dogs are commonly associated with cowboys.
This breed became popular around 2007 and the AKC recognizes this breed as the 17th most popular dog in the United States. The breed standards describe them as loving and energetic, which makes them a bit of a handful for the beginner dog owner.
The Australian Retriever is not the first designer dog that the Australian Shepherd has produced – it also became the parents for the Australian Husky and the Aussiepoo or Ausiedoodle.
As a dog originating from Scotland, the Golden Retriever is one of the most popular dog breeds around the world and started as companions for hunting game. Their intelligence earned them a spot in the doggy workforce even today – as bomb-sniffing dogs, as therapy dogs, and as assistance dogs.
Just like the Australian Shepherd, the Golden Retriever has also been constantly used as a parent for designer dog breeds, such as the Golden Husky or Goberian, Golden Lab Mix, Dakota Sporting Mix, Golden Corgi, and much more. The reason for that is the popularity of the breed – nearly every household wants one but they also want the qualities of this other breed.
Australian Golden Retriever Mix
When it comes to crossbreeding, the Australian Shepherd Golden Retriever Mix is a designer dog in which the outcome of their appearance has no definitive standards. They could look like one of their parents or become a mix of two depending on the genetic strength of each parent.
Let’s have a look at the Golden Aussie’s physical characteristics:
Height: 19 to 23 inches
Weight: 25 to 60 pounds
Classified as a large dog, the Australian Retriever might be a bit intimidating for children or those who have anxiety with big dogs. However, the size will still vary depending on the parents of the dog in question. As with most breeds, the females are usually smaller compared to the male Australian Retrievers.
Coat and facial features
Due to the Golden Retriever genes, your Australian Retriever might appear fluffy and thick due to their luxurious coat. However, their general build will most likely resemble that of the Australian Shepherd. The eyes might be bright blue, dark brown, or black. An Australian Retriever is most likely going to have black lips and nose but it may also turn brown depending on genetics.
Compared to other designer dog breeds, the Australian Retriever will have much more balance in terms of parental genetics. The coat will have a merle pattern (patches of color) and catchy eyes, making them immensely popular but also highly expensive. Among the colors you can expect from an Australian Retriever include gold, merle, brown, brindle (tiger-like stripes), and black.
The coat of the Australian Retriever is slightly wavy with a double coat. Due to having a thick coat, they are ideal for the winter. They aren’t the breed for allergy sufferers since they are moderate shedders and are going to be quite troublesome during shedding season.
Temperament and Behavior
A Golden Aussie is quite the vigorous four-legged friend due to the genes of the Australian Shepherd. This means that you’ll need to exercise them more often to keep their behavior in check and also to mentally stimulate them. Make sure that the Golden Aussie you’ll have at home will be busy most of the time.
Nonetheless, the Golden Aussie is easily tamable and will help a lot when you’re tired. For example, they’ll quickly rest down with their owner once you’ve trained them enough. The Golden genes also make this crossbreed quite a devoted and loyal companion.
As long as you train them properly and use positive reinforcement (or even just treats), playing fetch and giving them commands will be a breeze for you. Make sure that you bond with them more often to avoid separation anxiety.
Due to the Golden Retriever roots, the Golden Aussie is also a sociable and friendly pet for the family and the kids. However, there is still a trace of aloofness thanks to the Australian Shepherd’s lineage. This is why you should train them as early as possible to lessen their social anxiety (if that’s the case with your puppy/adopted dog).
Golden Aussie Training
Like most active dogs, the Golden Retriever Australian Shepherd Mix needs a plethora of exercise to help stimulate them. Don’t get this breed if you will often be busy at work or travels as they are very prone to separation anxiety. During the puppy stage, consider playing with them a few hours a day, especially if they have more of the Aussie Shepherd in their genes.
With that in mind, when you train your Golden Aussie, consider giving them obedience classes early on. Due to the lone wolf personality of the Australian Shepherd, there is a chance that your Aussie Retriever will be a bit stubborn at first. However, this trait is somehow diminished thanks to the trainability of the Golden Retriever.
When training them in puppyhood, consider crate training but make sure you have plenty of space for the puppy to roam around. This will help them roll around and play to their heart’s content. You may also want to try positive rewards using treats but always be mindful of your words to avoid making your dog feel shunned or intimidated.
Regardless, always make sure that the family members will treat them with respect. This is to avoid causing them to develop negative or destructive habits. Early socialization of the dog will lessen its likelihood of being too clingy.
Caring for an Australian Retriever
If you’re not sure how to take care of the Australian Retriever properly, here’s a cheat sheet we prepared just for you:
Ideal exercise time for the Australian Retriever should be an hour or more, depending on their stamina (and the weather). Starting an exercise routine at an early age will help them fight obesity and behavioral problems. If there are weather disturbances or any situation that doesn’t allow you to go outside often, you can play with them at home with fun toys.
It doesn’t have to be running or catching a Frisbee – it can be anything such as a simple game of fetch or any similar activity that’s sure to burn calories and exercise their muscles and joints.
You may also want to consider toys that will mentally stimulate them. That’s because the Golden Aussie is known for its intelligence. Setting up your home-made agility course would provide hours of entertainment for your loving companion.
A word of caution: these dogs also don’t like repetition so make sure to mix up your activity list every week. For instance, you can go jogging with them this week and then play flyball the next week.
The Golden Aussie is best fed somewhere between 2.5 to 3 cups a day, which also depends on their size since they are a mixed breed with not too much definitive height and weight specifics. Regardless, always make sure they have quality dog food that’s free from fillers and unnecessary ingredients that will only hinder their health.
As with most breeds, protein is an important part of their diet, especially since the Golden Aussie is a hardworking and active breed. Even if their Aussie Shepherd roots will lessen their likelihood of obesity, it is still important to maintain a good weight for your dog. Only raise their kibble, wet food, and treats intake if they are immensely active outdoors.
The Australian Retriever is known to have sensitive skin so consider dog shampoo with a gentle formulation. Don’t bathe them too much to avoid stripping your dog’s natural skin oils.
They need to be brushed daily using a slicker brush. If you can’t commit to daily brushing then at least 2 to 3 times a week will do.
Since they come from fluffy dogs, the Australian Retriever will shed moderately so make sure you brush it regularly to avoid painful tangles. You can also take your dog to a grooming salon to help manage their coat.
Other than bathing and brushing, the Australian Retriever should also receive other grooming necessities, such as brushing their teeth, ear cleaning, and the like. A Golden Aussie with a larger ear will need about 2 times a week of cleaning.
Another way to protect your dog’s coat is to shield them from the elements. Use a dog coat in the winter and keep water by your dog’s side during the summer. Even though they adapt easily to different weather conditions, it still pays to keep them safe and prepared.
Golden Aussie Health and Problems
What can you expect when it comes to the health of the Australian Retriever? Here are some of their common ailments:
- hip dysplasia
- heart diseases
- elbow dysplasia
- pigmentary uveitis
- cataracts and other health problems
The Australian Retriever is most likely going to live around 11 to 14 years. Of course, you can lengthen this number if you give them the utmost care when it comes to proper feeding, exercise, socialization, obedience training, and attention to keep them from being destructive and lonely.
If you are wondering whether the Australian Retriever is okay with families and pets, your guess is right. When raised properly, the Golden Aussie will be ideal for kids and they will share great bonding time. However, due to the Aussie Shepherd roots, be wary of any possible clingy attitudes that might appear.
To prevent this possessive nature, it pays to give them obedience training and a balanced attention span. Always put boundaries between you and the dog to avoid herding tendencies.
If you have other pets in the house, this training is also important for keeping a healthy relationship between them. As with most dog breeds, your pet will benefit more from early socialization so you won’t have problems in adulthood.
Finding a Golden Retriever and Australian Shepherd Mix
Whether you want a puppy or want to adopt from a shelter, here are details you need to know about the Australian Retriever:
Puppies from breeders
Since it is a designer breed, the Australian Retriever will have a pricier tag if they have multicolored eyes or a merle coat. Make sure that do a background check on the breeder and visit them. Don’t go to puppy mills because they will most likely hide the parents from you. A responsible breeder gives you information about the parents and the health history of the puppy.
Golden Aussies can be adopted from rescues around the world. Consider a shelter that focuses on Golden Retrievers or Aussie Shepherds or you can contact local organizations in your area to find more information on where to search for the mix.