Australian Retrievers: Quick-Witted and Full of Fun

Last Updated on April 26, 2023

Imagine your two favorite superheroes. Now imagine that they combine their powers to create the ultimate superhero.

That’s pretty much what happened with the Australian Retriever, also known by different names, including Golden Aussie, Australian Golden Retriever, Australian Shepherd Retriever, and Golden Australian Shepherd.

Meet the Golden Retriever & Australian Shepherd mix
Meet the Golden Retriever & Australian Shepherd mix

This furry crossbreed is an energetic genius that will keep you on your toes in all the best ways. Keep reading to find out more!

The origin of the Australian Retriever

It’s believed that an Australian breeder is responsible for creating this hybrid doggo. According to theory, the breeder crossed her black Australian Shepherd with her Golden Retrievers in 2007 and 2008.

Since then, the crossbreed has been recognized by these organizations: American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC), Designer Dogs Kennel Club (DDKC), Dog Registry of America (DRA), and International Designer Canine Registry (IDCR).

Now, let’s move on to the dogs that started this beautiful mixed breed.

Australian Shepherds: The powerhouse pooch

Meet the Australian Shepherd
Meet the Australian Shepherd

Despite the locale in their name, modern Australian Shepherds didn’t come from the Land Down Under.

Their recent ancestors originated in Basque Country in Europe, but the breed was refined and made popular in the US.

Bred to herd livestock, Aussies are working dogs to the core.

Known for their work ethic and intelligence, the Australian Shepherd is a shoo-in for all sorts of canine jobs, from search and rescue to therapy.

Golden Retrievers, one of America’s most beloved breeds

Meet the Golden Retriever
Meet the Golden Retriever

Designed to retrieve waterfowl, Golden Retrievers (or Goldens for short) are another dedicated breed.

We can thank Dudley Marjoribanks of Scotland for giving us the Golden Retriever in the mid-1800s.

Out of a litter of black retrievers, one yellow puppy stood out. Marjoribanks crossed the pup with the now-extinct Tweed Water Spaniel. Their offspring gave way to today’s Golden Retriever.

Over the years, Golden Retrievers became cherished family pets. They consistently rank in the top 5 of the AKC’s “Most Popular Breeds” list.

What does a Golden Aussie look like?

An Australian Retriever with heterochromia
Source: @luna_cosmopolitan / IG

One of the coolest things about the Australian Shepherd-Golden Retriever cross is that no two dogs look alike. You can buy puppies from the same litter, and each can end up with unique appearances.

Aussie Retrievers tend to have athletic, well-proportioned frames that lend themselves to activity and exercise.

With warm eyes that could be shades of blue or brown, your Australian Retriever mix is sure to be a stunner. Their ears droop over either side of their broad head, and their round, black noses are the proverbial cherry on top.

The Aussie Retrievers water-repellant double coat can be a combination of white, black, brown, brindle, blonde, or golden colors. They could also have the characteristic red or blue merle of the Australian Shepherd.

Their fur can be medium or long, slightly wavy or straight, but it usually has a coarse texture.

Your Golden Australian Shepherd will most likely end up with the long, fluffy tail of the Golden Retriever. This isn’t always the case, though.

Some purebred Aussies are born with bobbed tails. Depending on your pup’s parents, they could have a full tail, or it can be so short that it seems like they don’t have one at all.

How big is a full-grown Australian Retriever?

A puppy and adult Australian Retriever walking side by side
Source: @badaboom_enzofamore / IG

Based on their parent breeds’ growth charts, your Aussie Golden should reach their full size between 12 to 16 months of age. Adults will generally weigh between 30 to 60 pounds (14 to 27 kg) and stand 19 to 23 inches (48 to 58 cm) tall.

Prefer something closer to lap-size? A Mini Golden Aussie is possible if one or both parents consists of the Miniature American Shepherd and Miniature Golden Retriever.

Even though neither variation of the Australian Retriever is particularly huge, this breed is not meant for apartment living. With their go-getter spirits, these canines thrive in homes with large, fenced yards.

What to expect from the Aussie Retriever’s temperament?

This fido is a wonderful pet for active families. They get along with kids of all ages, and they form close bonds with everyone in their pack.

Take a second to watch this video of a fluffy merle puppy enjoying some backyard playtime with their humans:

In fact, Australian Retrievers love their families so much that they’d prefer to be with them 24/7.

They can tolerate being alone for short periods, but they need frequent interaction and stimulation. Without these, Golden Australian Shepherds can turn to destructive behaviors to cope with restlessness and separation anxiety. As a result, this hybrid shouldn’t live or sleep outside.

To sweeten the pot, Golden Aussies are friendly doggos, even with strangers. If you enjoy hosting and entertaining, you won’t have to worry about your Australian Shepherd-Golden Retriever mix trying to scare off your guests.

Friendly as they may be, Aussie Shepherd Retrievers can have a territorial streak. They can get protective of their favorite person, or they may hog beloved items around the house.

Keep an eye on kids and other pets if toys are involved during playtime. Your Golden Aussie may decide that they’re tired of sharing, and you’ll want to be nearby to make sure everyone plays nicely.

Aussie Retrievers possess watchdog qualities, too. While they don’t bark much in general, they’re more than willing to defend you from potential threats or if there’s something amiss.

Their Aussie side makes them adept herders, so toddlers and cats beware! Depending on how strong those herding genes are, you may find your tiniest pack members corralled occasionally.

Not to worry because these herding instincts will gradually taper off as your dog matures. You can also take steps to teach your pup and your kids what to do if this behavior crops up.

One thing that won’t ever wear off is your Aussie Golden’s rambunctious spirit. They love to play, fetch, and live life with abandon. Your pup may grow taller, but they’ll never outgrow their puppy-like joy.

Meet Loki, the Golden Retriever-Australian Shepherd mix
Source: @loki_thegoldenbear / IG

Fortunately, training this breed is a walk in the dog park.

Aussies and Goldens are two of the most intelligent breeds of the canine world, so your Australian Retriever is pretty much guaranteed to be a quick learner. They love training, and this will allow you to stamp out problem behaviors from the very beginning.

As soon as your pup comes home with you, start setting expectations. You want to prevent inappropriate herding or territorial traits before it even starts.

Once your Australian Shepherd-Golden Retriever mix has been fully vaccinated, start taking them to obedience classes and on puppy playdates.

Combining socialization with behavior training throughout their life will teach them how to appropriately interact with other dogs and people. It also keeps them from becoming too possessive of their favorite person. Also, it will help solidify your place as a fearless pack leader.

They’ll never be too old for new tricks. Plus, ongoing mental stimulation is critical to this crossbreed’s happiness. Use training as a time to bond with your dog and nurture its needs.

Owning a Golden Australian Shepherd

Thankfully, taking care of an Australian Shepherd-Golden Retriever mix is pretty straightforward, too. Keep reading to see just what you need to do to keep your pooch happy and healthy!

Grooming: Do Australian Retrievers shed?

Yes. And as moderate to heavy shedders, brushing twice a week is usually sufficient. You can always brush them more frequently to reduce shedding. But you should NEVER shave this dog.

Remember that double coat we mentioned earlier, right? This second layer of hair protects your Golden Aussie dog from the elements and helps her regulate her body temperature.

Shaving reduces the coat’s ability to do its function and can cause discomfort and harm to your dog.

A healthy Golden Australian Shepherd dog
Source: @maggiejclark / IG

Keeping that double coat in top condition will ensure that your Golden Aussie will rarely need a bath.

We know it sounds counterintuitive, but save full-on baths for when it’s necessary. That’s the best way to preserve the natural oils in their fur.

If you’re already cringing at the thought of dirty dog hair, don’t fret. When your pup brings the outdoors in, use a brush or wet wipe to clean them up. If they’re incredibly filthy and weather permits, hose them off outside. Just don’t use shampoo!

The rest of the Australian Golden Retriever’s beauty routine is less time-consuming. Once a day or so, you’ll want to check those adorable fuzzy ears for signs of pests or debris. 

Don’t forget to brush her teeth daily and trim her nails every other week.

What’s the best dog food for an Aussie Retriever?

Adequate nutrition varies from dog to dog. Active canines generally do best with diets high in protein, and this crossbreed is no exception. Choose a high-quality dry kibble formulated for medium- to large-sized fidos who are energetic. It should also be suitable for your pet’s age, weight, and health requirements.

About 2 to 3 cups of food daily will keep your pooch fueled, then split into breakfast and dinner. Avoid overfeeding and free-feeding to reduce the risk of bloat and unhealthy weight gain.

Exercising your Golden Aussie

Australian Retriever playing in the snow
Source: @kfrazellpics / IG

Fitness fanatics, this may just be the dog for you. Golden Aussie Shepherds are highly energetic and need at least 60 minutes of exercise a day.

We need to be clear that this amount of exercise is non-negotiable.

Not sure if you’re prepared for an uninterrupted hour of cardio every day? A common misconception is that this activity needs to happen all at once. It’s better to spread out your doggo’s workout throughout the day. Trust us, Fido’s joints and muscles will thank you for it.

Along those lines, your pup’s exercise regimen should involve more than walks or runs through the park.

Physical activity is awesome, but Australian Retrievers blossom when their mental needs are met, too. To keep their brains happy, mix moderate-length walks with play and training sessions.

Feel free to spice things up. They’re not sensitive to hot or cold weather, either. What does that mean for you? Plenty of options!

They love running freely in wide-open spaces, chasing waves at the beach, even hiking! No mountain’s too tall, if you ask these canines.

Exercise sessions don’t always have to involve field trips, though. Tap into your Golden Aussie Shepherd’s retriever side, and tire them out with a classic game of fetch. Just make sure you’re in a fully-fenced area before letting them play off-leash.

Once an Australian Retriever catches a scent, they’re bound and determined to follow it. Practice their recall skills regularly, and look into getting a long lead so they can stretch their legs without taking a field trip of their own.

Do Golden Australian Shepherds have health issues?

Like all breeds, Aussie Golden Retrievers are susceptible to certain health conditions.

It’s the part of dog ownership that none of us likes to think about. But the more you know about your dog’s risk factors, the easier it’ll be to spot potential health problems.

With Golden Aussies, you want to look out for signs of eye problems, like cataracts and colobomas. There’s also underactive thyroid, allergies, bloat, and hip dysplasia

Your Australian Retriever could also inherit breed-specific health issues. Golden Retrievers are sadly notorious for developing cancer, while Multidrug Sensitivity is common in Australian Shepherds.

Fortunately, even with certain health risks, Aussie Goldens live a long time. With regular vet visits and proper care, Australian Retrievers enjoy a lifespan of 12 to 15 years.

Finding an Australian Shepherd Retriever puppy for sale

Meet the Australian Shepherd Retriever mix puppy

Australian Retrievers are relatively affordable compared to other designer breeds. Prices for these dogs range from $300 to $900.

Because this hybrid is still new and rare, finding a breeder or kennel that exclusively breeds Australian Shepherd-Golden Retriever mixes can be difficult.

That doesn’t mean it’s impossible, though.

Australian Golden Retriever breeders & kennels

If you’ve already done your research and are confident that you can handle this crossbreed, we found some websites with Golden Aussies for sale or adoption.

They may also have other Australian Shepherd crosses and Golden Retriever mixes that may interest you. Here are a few places to check out:

  • Australian Shepherds Furever (Rancho Cucamonga, CA)
  • Western Australian Shepherd Rescue (Sheridan, WY)
  • Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue (Reinholds, PA)
  • Neuse River Golden Retriever Rescue (Raleigh, NC)

We also found a Facebook page dedicated to Australian Retrievers, and we think it’s worth taking a look at.

Is the precocious Australian Retriever your perfect pet?

Whether or not you’re smitten with this breed, you’ve got to admit that Aussie Goldens have a lot to offer.

They love their families, they love to play, and they love to learn. They also thoroughly enjoy exercise and require active owners with a lot of stamina.

Do you think you can keep up with the Australian Retriever? Let us know in the comments!


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