Roxie, an adult Australian Retriever at 1 year old, ACHC registered. Photo courtesy of Amy Lawson
The Australian Retriever is not a purebred dog. It is a cross between the Australian Shepherd and the Golden Retriever. The best way to determine the temperament of a mixed breed is to look up all breeds in the cross and know you can get any combination of any of the characteristics found in either breed. Not all of these designer hybrid dogs being bred are 50% purebred to 50% purebred. It is very common for breeders to breed multi-generation crosses.
Mack at 10 months old; Mack is an ACHC-registered Australian Retriever. Photo courtesy of Amy Lawson
"As the first breeder to design, name and register the Australian Retriever with ACHC, I'd like to tell the story of how it all got started. I've bred Golden Retrievers since 1980 and in recent years decided to get an Australian Shepherd to help out with my cattle. What I discovered was the black tricolored male Australian Shepherd was a wonderful and very intelligent companion. So, to make a long story short, in October of 2007, I purposely bred my registered black tri male Australian Shepherd to 3 of my AKC Golden Retriever females. In late December 2007, I got the first litter: 2 black and white or black bicolored and 2 black tricolored. The other two litters came in January 2008. They were wonderful! I've never had puppies learn so easily! At 4 weeks old the puppies were using a spring loaded doggie door by themselves. I couldn't believe it and thought the mother was helping them through the door so I sat and observed and found out that they didn't need assistance from mom! Word got around that I had designed a new hybrid and completed all the paperwork to register them with ACHC and soon I was sending the puppies to new homes. The response on this new hybrid was astonishing! Some of the comments were "super easy to housetrain," "very obedient," "pleasant," "calm," etc. I've found the Australian Retrievers are not super demanding of one's attention and are comfortable just being close by. Also they are very attentive of what their "people" are doing and seem to notice any changes or anything different on the property. Like the Goldens, the Australian Retrievers love everyone!" Courtesy of Amy Lawson
This is Roxie, an Australian Retriever puppy at 7 weeks old. Photo courtesy of Amy Lawson
Litter of Australian Retriever hybrid pups at 10 weeks old; circled is Mack. Photo courtesy of Amy Lawson
"This is Wyatt, my Australian Retriever puppy at 12 weeks old. He came from an accidental litter off of a working horse ranch. His father was a purebred Australian Shepherd used for herding sheep and his mother was a purebred Golden Retriever used for hunting. He is a medium sized sturdy puppy. His coat is coming in nicely and I'm starting to notice the feathering. He loves to go for brisk morning walks and play ball. Wyatt has also started joining us on family hikes with our other dogs and even enjoys swimming! He is such a wonderful little puppy and we are so glad we got him!"
Wyatt, my Australian Retriever puppy at 12 weeks old
"Azula is the offspring of a registered Australian Shepherd mother and a registered Golden Retriever father. Both lived on a farm near Sharon, PA. She was one of 8 pups—mostly black; a few blue merle, like Azula. This is her as a puppy."
Azula the Australian Retriever at 10 months old
"About my dog Cooper, the Australian Shepherd / Golden Retriever mix (Australian Retriever Hybrid): I got him from a puppy rescue shelter/foster home in Modesto, California, June 4, 2005. He was 9 weeks old when I got him, making his date of birth around March 31, 2005. Full grown now, Cooper weighs about 92 lbs. (as of last vet visit), so definitely is closer to a Golden in size than an Aussie—a big Golden. In fact, sometimes people like to play the “what else could he be, he’s so big” game, but according to the rescue shelter, his mom was a young Golden and his dad was an Aussie. All I know for sure is he is a great dog! Cooper is very smart, maybe almost too smart, if you know what I mean. He definitely has the Aussie herding instinct, which comes out when he’s playing with other dogs, or sees any other animals that aren’t going where he thinks they should. He also LOVES to swim; he’ll go in the water even when it’s in the 50s and the rest of the sane creatures in the world are trying to keep warm. He loves playing in the snow, too! He is quite territorial, weary of strangers and very protective of me. Strangers who approach my home or any other place Cooper considers “his” get barked at. Actually, he barks no matter who’s coming home, even if he knows them, the difference is his tail is wagging if it’s a friend. Unknown animals are not allowed to approach me before he gives the OK. When one does, he’ll get between us and send them off with a short bark, and then a growl if they don’t get it. After he gets to know them, they are allowed to visit with me, but he seems to know which ones I think are almost as cute as him and he’ll get a bit jealous if I pay too much attention to them, so I always make sure he’s getting plenty of love too. I probably spoil him, but I can’t help it, I adore him! He also isn’t too happy when unknown men approach me, but doesn’t seem to mind women. And if anybody ever gives him a treat, he loves them for life, and he will remember that person even if he doesn’t see them again for a while. For example, we met a man with an adorable Bernese Mountain Dog at the dog park one day, and Cooper sniffed out his pocket where he kept his treats, then obediently sat down (he learned that one fast). Of course the guy couldn’t resist that sweet face looking up at him expectantly. Cooper is his best friend now and it was at least a month in between the first time he gave Coops a treat, and the next time we saw him again. Cooper has many nicknames, all of which he answers to: Coops, Coop-a-loops, Baby-boy, Swooper, Cooper Super Duper, Puppy-dog, Coopster. But it’s always “Cooper” when he’s getting into mischief, which he does quite often. He’s sneaky and can’t seem to stay away from the garbage cans, especially if they have food in them! But most of the time he’s an angel. He’s very independent, which is nice, but at the same time, very loving and loyal. He will follow me around pretty much all around the house. He’ll take the attention if you’re giving it, but he’ll also completely ignore an outstretched hand when walking by someone who’s trying to pet him. It’s almost like a fake out, he’ll seem to be coming right to you, then he’ll veer off at the last second. He can be aloof, I guess, but not really to me. He’s a funny guy; he makes me laugh a lot, especially when he gets into super puppy play mode, which still happens quite often. There’s nothing better than coming home to my dog wiggling his whole rear end, along with his tail, and doing his “I’m so happy to see you” sound, which actually sounds like he’s sneezing, but he only does it right when I get home. I couldn’t ask for a better companion and look forward to many more years with my best friend Cooper."
Cooper the Australian Shepherd / Golden Retriever hybrid puppy at 9 weeks old (Australian Retriever)
"This picture, and the one above, is from the first day I got him, at 9 weeks old. He had the puppy-dog eyes down, for sure. He used to fall asleep with his head in his water bowls all the time, and I used to worry that he’d drown himself, but it was a hot summer and I think he was just trying to stay cool. Poor little guy had all that fluff and it gets hot in California in the summer. You can see that he a few spots just barely starting to show on his face, and his fur around his eye and down his ears is really dark. I just loved his little nose, mostly pink with black spots. Reminded me of a little cow."
"Here is Cooper at about 11 ½ weeks, in his favorite spot at my boyfriend’s house (while he still fit there, at least). He liked to lie there because it was cooler than all the carpet everywhere, plus there was wood to chew on! He was always lying on brick, or linoleum, or any surface that was slightly cooler than others."
Cooper the Australian Shepherd / Golden Retriever Hybrid puppy at 11 ½ weeks old (Australian Retriever)—"Here’s a picture of Cooper just looking really cute! By this age his freckles were starting to show more and his dark fur is just starting to lighten up a bit. Also, the pink on his nose started to become blacker."
Cooper the Australian Shepherd / Golden Retriever Hybrid puppy at 13 weeks old (Australian Retriever)
"This picture is from 4th of July weekend in Big Sur, CA, a month after I got Cooper. That’s me with him. He had just been digging, as you can probably tell. He really likes to dig, so sand excites him because he knows he’s allowed to (unlike when he’s caught digging in someone’s backyard)."
"Cooper trekking it up the riverside. He is about 13 weeks here. His freckles are really showing now, and his personality is really starting to come out too, and he’s quite the character. I had about 4 or 5 random people stop me and ask if they could take a picture of my dog. Of course, I said yes."
"This is Cooper, shown here at 9 months old. He is an Australian Shepherd / Golden Retriever mix. He weighs about 75 pounds, and the top of his head stands about 28 - 30 inches from the ground (give or take an inch) His mom was the Golden and his father was Aussie. He is such a wonderful dog! He's very smart and loyal. He definitely has the herding instinct, but isn't too annoying with it. He also loves to swim, run and play with other dogs, but doesn't mind lying at my side while I read. He is quite a joy to have. We go to the dog park every day for at least 2 hours so he can run around playing/chasing/herding (whatever he's in the mood for). He is extremely social. I've met a few other of the same mixes, and they all look so different, but all very good looking. Absolutely great combo and I would love to have more of them."
"All of a sudden, one day I looked at my dog and I’m not sure when he snuck it in, but he became a completely different dog! His fur became more reddish-golden than brown, his tail became feathered like a Golden Retriever’s, as did the back of his legs, where his fur is extremely thick too. His coat is a bit wavy on his back, and a bit crimped looking behind his ears. In fact, someone once asked me if I crimped his hair? I just looked at them like they were crazy. I’ve always thought that his tail is unique in that it is very fat for about an inch or two, then gets very skinny. You can’t tell because of the fur, but it almost seems to me that it might be because of his Aussie blood, and the fact that some Aussies are born with a natural bob-tail. But, for all I know that is normal in some dogs. More freckles seem to pop up here and there still, and he has almost no pink on his nose anymore, just a spot right on the top in the middle, and a spot on the left side too. Also, he got huge! What happened to my little puppy? I couldn’t believe it when I took him to the vet and he weighed 92 lbs.! They also said he needs to lose some weight, so he’s been on a bit of a diet lately."
"Cooper doing one of the things he loves best...swimming! He looks so small at first when he gets out, with his fur all plastered to his body, until he shakes, then he’s back to being my fluffy puppy!"
"Cooper swam out into the middle of a river to climb onto that rock. He really likes to climb rocks; I think he’s part mountain goat!"
"And here’s Cooper, guarding his stick. He loves sticks. When we gather firewood, Cooper thinks we’re being really cool and bringing him his own personal stick stash. He especially loves when you throw the stick, but even though he’s half Retriever, he just doesn’t quite get the “retrieve” part of the game. He’d rather you, or preferably another dog, chase him and try to get it, and when you do, then he likes if you play keep away or tug-of-war. He’s a funny guy. "
Cheyenne (Cheye) the Australian Retriever at 15 years old—"I found Cheyenne advertised in my city's Reader while looking for a dog to train as a Service Dog. The breed listed as a mix between two purebreds. One Golden Retriever, the other Australian Shepherd. I'd previously had a purebred Aussie who was a GREAT companion, but was very high strung, nipped at heels and had a bad case of separation anxiety. Because I needed a calmer dog as a service dog I purposefully looked for a mix. This was way back in 1999, so to all who claim they invented this breed (and at a much later date/year) sorry, it wasn't you. Cheyenne was mostly black with white and a small amount of brown (didn't look like a blue, however), with brown eyes a mostly black nose (mostly pink as a pup) with a heart-shaped pink area near it's base. With careful training, enlisting my kids as helpers, Cheyenne was a HUGE help, learned fast and very easygoing. Even during illness he still performed light duties (flipping lights, retrieving items) without fail. So glad I found him! He holds my heart with wonderful memories."
Cheyenne (Cheye) the Australian Retriever at 15 years old
Cheyenne (Cheye) the Australian Retriever at 15 years old
Cheyenne (Cheye) the Australian Retriever at 15 years old
Cheyenne (Cheye) the Australian Retriever at 15 years old with his doggie friend.