A remarkably versatile and attractive herding dog, the Australian Shepherd is actually an American dog. The original stocks for the breed are likely the Border Collie of England and the Pyrenean Shepherd of France (the small shepherds that work the Great Pyrenees in the Basque areas). The Aussie stand 18-23 inches high and weighs from 35-75 pounds. The merle gene, inherited from its French forebear, gives the dog an eye-stopping look; other colors can be liver, black and red, each with white markings. The dogs have a small collie look and are among the mot agile of the herders. These dogs are gentle with children, good with small animals and poultry, but also fearless and industrious enough to work cattle, bison and goats. Most dogs work in the western United States.