The Australian shepherd is a breed of a herding dog that was developed on ranches in western United States. Despite its name, the breed, commonly known as an Aussie, did not originate in Australia and is American. They acquired their name because some of these dogs were used to herd Australian sheep. The breed rose gradually in popularity with the boom of western riding after World War I. They became known to the general public through rodeos, horse shows, and through Disney movies made for television.
For many years, Aussies have been valued by stockmen for their versatility and trainability. They have a similar look to the popular English Shepherd and Border Collie breeds. While they continue to work as stockdogs and compete in herding trials, the breed has earned recognition in other roles due to their trainability and eagerness to please, and are highly regarded for their skills in obedience. Like all working breeds, the Aussie has considerable energy and drive, and usually needs a job to do. It often excels at dog sports such as dog agility, flyball, and frisbee. They are also highly successful search and rescue dogs, disaster dogs, detection dogs, guide, service, and therapy dogs.