Australian Sheagle

Pippa Elliott
Dr Pippa Elliott (BVMS MRCVS, University of Glasgow)
Photo of adult Australian Sheagle
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The Australian Sheagle is a hybrid dog, which is a mix between an Australian Shepherd and a Beagle. This is a high energy hybrid requiring plenty of exercise, intelligent but stubborn, and needs an active owner committed to training. Indeed, their ideal pet parent is someone looking for a canine companion to accompany them on long walks or dog based sports, such as Agility, Flyball, or Canicross.

Although fun and playful, an Australian Sheagle that doesn’t get enough mental stimulation and exercise, will be a handful. To stave off boredom, they are likely to resort to bad behaviours, such as digging, barking, or becoming a talented escapologist. The health problems to which this hybrid may be prone include epilepsy, joint problems, and underactive thyroid glands.

About & History

The Australian Sheagle is such a new breed that their story belongs to that of the parent dogs.

The Australian Shepherd

The Australian Shepherd is something of an enigma, since despite their name the breed developed in Colorado, western US. Quite why the moniker of ‘Australian’ Shepherd was adopted is open to debate. Theories includes these dogs having a merle coat pattern reminiscent of the Australian shepherding dog and another that the foundation stock originated from people with Australian roots settling in Colorado. Whatever the truth, the Australian Shepherd has many of the characteristics of the Border Collie and is a supreme shepherding dog.

The Beagle

The Beagle is synonymous with hunting, a pack dog that tracks by scent. The Beagle’s origins go back several centuries, with references to a Beagle-like dog present in 15th century literature. However, the Beagle we know and love today, was developed in the 18th century. Their ancestors were larger Foxhound type dogs that were selected for their smaller size and bred together. Indeed, a much smaller version, the ‘Pocket Beagle’, was once very popular but now extinct.


The Australian Sheagle is a well-proportioned, medium-sized dog. In a litter of pups, there will be a range of appearances, with some dogs taking strongly after one parent and some appearing a half-half mix. For those that are a true blend, the Australian Sheagle is likely to have a slightly heavier bone than a purebred Australian Shepherd, with somewhat blunter and broader facial features. An interesting feature is the Australian Sheagle may inherit the piercing ice-blue of the Australian shepherd or indeed have odd-eye colours. They also have drop ears that reach their jaw line and at the other end of their body a long, straight tail.

The Australian Sheagle’s coat may be short or medium-length, and they are not suited to extreme cold. Some dogs have a recognisable Beagle tri-colour appearance, whilst others are a variation on lemon, fawn, black, merle, and white.

Character & Temperament

The Australian Sheagle is a characterful dog. They may inherit the intelligent and work-ethic of the Australian Shepherd, mixed with the scent-obsession and boundless energy of the Beagle. This makes for an enthusiastic dog that needs plenty of mental stimulation but is easily distracted. The owner that meets these needs will have a loving, outgoing, and clever companion that is tons of fun to be around.


The intelligence of the Australian Shepherd means the Australian Sheagle may be super-smart. However, bear in mind this is mingled with the stubbornness of the Beagle and their talent for being distracted by an interesting scent. The secret to training an Australian Sheagle is daily training using reward-based methods. Do this and the dog will thrive and you stand a better chance of having a dog that doesn’t disappear over the horizon at the sight of a squirrel.


There is a misconception that hybrid dogs are healthier than purebreds. In fact, what can occur is the pup inherits ‘double trouble’ with problems from both side of the family tree. As a new hybrid, there is little data regarding the health problems specific to the Australian Sheagle but it is fair to assume the issues present in the parents stand a chance of showing up in their offspring.

Disc Disease

A slipped disc is a painful condition. An intervertebral disc is a shock-absorber or ‘cushion’ that sits between each vertebra. Under certain conditions, the disc may slip out of place and put pressure on the spinal cord. This can cause episodes of severe pain and discomfort. However, in a worst case scenario the disc can damage the spinal cord and cause paralysis.

The majority of dogs with a slipped disc require pain relief and strict rest. But those dogs showing more severe signs, such as loss of sensation in the legs, may require emergency surgery to relieve the pressure on the spinal cord and prevent permanent disability.


Epilepsy is a condition that can develop in early life, affecting the brain that result in fits or seizures. Whether or not the dog requires treatment depends on how often the seizures occur and how severe they are. There are many excellent anti-convulsant medications available to control the fits, but they are often required for life and can be expensive.

Underactive Thyroid Glands

The thyroid glands produce a hormone, which governs how quickly the dog burns calories. Underactive thyroid glands don’t produce sufficient hormone, which means the dog’s metabolism runs slowly. Signs of this include sluggishness, weight gain, a poor coat, and hair loss. Once diagnosed the problem can be controlled with a daily supplement of synthetic thyroid hormone.

Exercise and Activity Levels

On a scale from ‘coach potato’ to ‘doggy dynamo’ the Australian Sheagle sits towards the top in terms of exercise requirements. Both parent breeds are working dogs that love to herd or chase. This makes for a hybrid dog that needs plenty of daily runs and walks, and for whom a lazy life is not an option. A minimum would be one or two hours of vigorous exercise per day. Not to meet this need risks a dog that barks, chews, or digs and may become an escape artist.


The short Beagle coat requires a daily slick over to remove shed hair, whilst the Australian Shepherd needs regular combing to keep them tangle free. The Australian Sheagle lies somewhere in between with a coat that ideally needs a quick daily groom to keep tangles at bay and reduce the inevitable shed hair.

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