Review and photos by pipsxlch; edited by bmathison1972
Today I’m reviewing the Schleich Australian Shepherd registered by Schleich in 2012 (retired in 2016). I believe this figure is meant to depict a female.
The Australian Shepherd is, despite the name, a herding breed of US origins. It is a conglomeration of various herding breeds/types found in the US and Canada in the early to mid 1900s, especially in the western half of the country. Known influences are British herding breeds such as the Border collie and old fashioned English herding dogs, European herding breeds such as the German Tiger Shepherd and (believed to be a very strong influence, due to Basque shepherds emigrating to the US with their dogs and a few known direct importations by early breeders) the Pyrenean Shepherd, and on the Pacific coast some dogs of actual Australian origin with flocks of Merino sheep- this is the origin of their breed name. Before the insistence on registration papers and/or ranchers breeding for their needs, breeds such as Australian Cattle Dogs and Border Collies were also crossed in. Despite the name and sheepdog antecedents, the Aussie is more often used as a cattle dog, which suits its loose eyed close up working style. They were often used as feedlot dogs, and general all purpose no frills farm dogs expected to guard the family and property as well as work all livestock, and sometimes even to retrieve game.
According to the Australian Shepherd Club of America, the parent breed club, ‘moderate’ is the best word to describe this intelligent breed. It is a medium sized dog, 45 to 59 centimeters at the withers, with a moderate build and medium length and thickness double coat. Ears should lift from the skull without being prick, stretch no further than the inner corner of the eye if pulled down, and the head is of moderate shape and length with tight skin and short sleek hair on the face. Also found in black and red (brown with brown skin pigment) with or without tan points and moderate white markings, the breed is known for commonly being merle- they were traditionally known as “those little blue dogs”. A traditional identifying trait only commonly found in the US now is the bob tail. This model, produced in Germany, has a full tail. Tail carriage appears correct for a dog alerting on something, as the model looks to be.
Overall, this is a lovely model that leaves no doubt as to the breed identification. It has a clean, feminine looking head with the ears set well but slightly overlarge. The color is red merle, and the skin is correctly painted brown. It looks like this dog is to have tan points, and the tan is a bit excessive and oddly placed- not enough to detract from the model though, and one of the better depictions of red merle I’ve seen on any model, toy or decorative figurine. The body is slightly longer than the dog is tall, as is proper for the breed. The rear quarters look a little oddly sloped. The head and neck appear a bit too large and upright, but this may be an illusion caused by the excessive coat on the model’s neck and chest. It would be somewhat too much on a male, and definitely is for a female. I think placing the head at a slightly lower angle might have helped the sculpt.
Despite the nitpicking, this is a nice model for anyone who loves the breed or herding breeds in general, and is sturdy enough to be a fine addition to a child’s farm setup.
Editor’s comment: should look great next to the 2019 Papo Merino sheep 🙂
Used in the background are photos of a male (red) and female (blue merle) Aussie, to compare the model to. The dogs were mine!