10 Best Australian Shepherd Rescues for Adoption (2021): Our Top 10 Picks!

Best Australian Shepherd Rescue for Adoption

If you’re an energetic, outdoorsy type of person and you’re looking for a great dog with a similar energy level and interest, the Australian Shepherd might be your perfect match!

Of course, you can choose to get one from a trusted breeder in your area. However, you can also consider adopting one who is in need of a home.

This is why I’ve compiled a helpful list of Australian Shepherd rescues where you can search for the Aussie that will be your best buddy to have outdoor adventures with!

Let’s get to it!

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Most of the Australian Shepherd rescues in this list follow the same adoption process. If you want to ace your application, I suggest that you read our ultimate adoption guide which features key tips and techniques starting from choosing the breed to home introduction.

Top 10 Australian Shepherd Rescues to Find Australian Shepherds for Adoption

Choosing to adopt an Aussie in a rescue or a shelter can make you feel good because you know you’re saving a life.

Rescue and shelter dogs are more often than not incredibly grateful for the affection and love they receive and they reciprocate this a lot! This means a loyal and loving dog by your side.

That being said, here are the best 10 Australian Shepherd rescues where you can look for your next loving pet companion:

1. Aussie Rescue & Placement Helpline, Inc. (ARPH) – Utah

ARPH started with three private rescuers back in 1993. Their passion for rescuing purebred Australian Shepherds grew into a not-for-profit organization with a network of volunteers and fellow Aussie lovers all over the US.

ARPH is the official rescue organization of the Australian Shepherd Club of America (ASCA) and The United States Australian Shepherd Association (USASA).

This Australian Shepherd rescue organization is committed to three goals: rescuing Australian Shepherds, placing them in their forever homes, and educating the public about what it means to own an Australian Shepherd.

They rely mainly on their volunteers to get their rescue work done. If you have a heart for homeless Australian Shepherds, there are various ways you can volunteer – you can be a rescue representative, a foster parent, or a general volunteer.

For their funding, ARPH is solely dependent on the donations of their supporters. You can donate using checks, credit cards or through PayPal.

If one particular Aussie captures your heart but you cannot adopt, you can still help that dog by sponsoring him or her.

Aussie Rescue & Placement Helpline, Inc. (ARPH) Information and Details:

2. Australian Shepherds Furever (ASF) – California

In 2013, ASF’s founder Nancy Gonzales started a Facebook community page for Australian Shepherds after adopting a blue merle one that’s been abandoned by its previous owners. She wanted to make a difference for these castaway dogs.

Less than a decade later, ASF is now an established non-profit organization with 150 volunteers and has rescued 3,150 Australian Shepherds to date.

ASF focuses on rescue-foster-adoption of mixed and purebred Australian Shepherds all over the US.

Their homepage lists three ways for Aussie lovers to get involved – by adopting an Aussie in need, joining their Foster Program, and helping them save more Aussies with a donation.

ASF also partners with another non-profit organization, Pilots N Paws, volunteer pilots and plane owners, to transport rescue Aussies across the US. So in case you’re a pilot or plane owner yourself, this is another way you can lend a hand!

There are lots of learning resources about Australian Shepherds on ASF’s website that might interest you if you’re not very familiar with Aussies.

Get yourself educated with all things Aussie – from information about their history and breed to potty training and grooming and so much more.

Australian Shepherds Furever (ASF) Information and Details:

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3. Aussie Rescue SoCal, Inc. (ARSC) – Southern California

ARSC is another non-profit charity focusing on the Australian Shepherd breed and its mixes. They network with other rescue groups and volunteers to help homeless Aussies especially those in the Southern California area.

Their main mission is to promote the adoption of these dogs in need of a home.

You can start the adoption process by filling out a form on their website. If you have a dog-friendly vehicle and enjoy traveling, you can also apply as a volunteer who helps in transporting Aussies to a shelter or a rescue organization.

Of course, you can also help ARSC raise funds by donating a check or giving through PayPal, purchasing items from partner companies, or holding your own fundraising event for the benefit of ARSC.

The ARSC website has all kinds of information about Australian Shepherds, contact details of SoCal shelters and Aussie rescues, spay-neuter clinics, successful adoption stories, and even dog treat recipes!

Aussie Rescue SoCal, Inc. (ARSC) Information and Details:

4. Lone Star Aussie Rescue (LSAR) – Texas

Established in 2017, LSAR depends largely on its foster volunteers to help in rescuing, rehoming, and adopting displaced Australian Shepherds in Texas and some areas of Oklahoma.

They showcase Aussies available (or soon to be available) for adoption on their digital Adoption Center.

Here you can get to know an Aussie through their bio page which shows pictures, the dog’s age, and gender where they are located, adoption fee, and a description of the Aussie’s personality, temperament, needs, background, etc.

If you’re in Texas and you’re not quite sure you’re up for adopting an Aussie, you can try fostering one to find out or you can also help with transporting Aussies to and from foster homes.

Learn more about other ways you can support LSAR or buy their 2021 calendar which features lots of photos of LSAR rescue Aussies!

Lone Star Aussie Rescue (LSAR) Information and Details:

5. New Spirit 4 Aussie Rescue, Inc. (NS4AR) – US & Canada

As a volunteer-based organization, NS4AR describes itself as a “doggie dating service.”

They evaluate unwanted Australian Shepherds, purebreds and mixes alike, from selected shelters and private owners to see if they’re suitable for placement and fostering.

NS4AR then matches these dogs with adoptive homes which are a good fit for their personalities and energy levels.

NS4AR holds an Annual Fun Day for its volunteers, adopters, prospective adopters, and of course the Aussies!

This Australian Shepherd rescue has volunteers from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Florida, Georgia, New Hampshire, Maine, Tennessee, and North Carolina.

If you’re interested in connecting with Aussie-lovers all over the US, consider applying as an NS4AR volunteer. If you’d rather open your home to an Aussie in need, you can read about this rescue’s adoption process.

For fund-raising, NS4AR has its online shop and also partners with other establishments. The rescue also accepts monetary donations through checks and credit cards.

New Spirit 4 Aussie Rescue, Inc. (NS4AR) Information and Details:

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6. Western Australian Shepherd Rescue (WASR) – Western US

Formed in 1998 by a small group of volunteers, WASR remains a foster-based rescue dedicated to helping Australian Shepherds, as well as other herding breeds, find their forever homes or service careers.

Similar to other Australian Shepherd rescue groups, WASR’s adoption application includes filling out a form on their website since they aim for a contactless adoption process due to the recent turn of events.

If you are feeling hesitant to adopt a dog from a rescue, I would suggest that you read their “Top 10 Reasons You Should Consider a Rescue”. This might convince you to provide a place in your home for a rescue Aussie.

WASR allows you to directly donate to specific dogs on their website or make a recurring donation with your credit card. Considering fostering an Aussie? You can get in touch through their email or fostering contact form.

Western Australian Shepherd Rescue (WASR) Information and Details:

7. Aussie & Friends Rescue (AAFR) – Arizona

As a small non-profit Australian Shepherd rescue, AAFR depends on its foster volunteers in rehabilitating and rehoming Australian Shepherds, including Mini’s, that have been abandoned at shelters or surrendered as rescue by their owners.

Their adoption process includes a 10-day window in which you can return the Aussie you’ve adopted to AAFR if the dog turns out to be not a match.

This is beneficial to you and the rescue dog since you won’t get stuck with each other in case your personalities are far different from each other.

By returning the dog, you can get back your adoption fee since it is refundable. Even though they allow this, they emphasize that adopting a dog is a serious and long-term commitment.

If you’ve realized that you may not be ready to adopt an Aussie just yet, you can still get involved with AAFR by volunteering, fostering, and donating.

Aussie & Friends Rescue (AAFR) Information and Details:

8. Aussie Rescue San Diego – San Diego, California

Although this non-profit’s name includes “Aussie,” Aussie Rescue San Diego’s rescuing efforts is not limited to finding permanent homes for the Australian Shepherd breed but also for Border Collies and other breeds.

Being a foster-based rescue, all of their Aussies available for adoption are housed in private foster homes.

The Australian Shepherd rescue is currently calling for more foster volunteers to apply. Fostering is one sure way you can “test” your compatibility living with an Aussie while at the same time helping a dog in need, even if only temporarily.

As a foster parent, you will be provided with the dog’s needs including food, bedding, medical care, toys, crate, and so on.

However, if you’re already sure you want to adopt an Aussie, you can fill out their adoption application online. And if that’s not enough and you want to do more, volunteering or donating are always options.

Aussie Rescue San Diego Information and Details:

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9. Northwest Minnesota Aussie Rescue (NWMNAR) – Minnesota

Located in a six-acre ranchette in Minnesota, NWMNAR prides itself on ten years of rescue work, more than 400 dogs placed in homes, and more than 30 dogs living with the landowners.

This Australian Shepherd rescue organization is a non-profit and was founded in 2008 when the owners’ Aussie rescue dog Smokey passed away.

Aussies in NWMNAR have the luxury of running around and playing in a wider space as well as being given chores to do under supervision.

The rescue keeps a limited number of sanctuary dogs who will live the rest of their lives in the ranchette. These sanctuary dogs are considered as already unadoptable because of some “quirk” that they possess.

NWMNAR accepts one-time monetary donations or a recurring gift to support these sanctuary dogs. Donations can be made through PayPal and debit or credit card.

If you’ve already set your heart to adopting an Aussie, you will find NWMNAR’s adoptables on their Petfinder page. You can download their adoption application and adoption contract on their website.

Northwest Minnesota Aussie Rescue (NWMNAR) Information and Details:

10. Australian Shepherd Rescue in Michigan (ASRIM) – Michigan

ASRIM is a non-profit public charity supporting the rescue, fostering, and adoption of Australian Shepherds in the Michigan area. This organization partners with the Animal Placement Bureau (APB) in rehoming Aussies with loving adoptive families.

The adoption application starts with filling out APB’s online form. Other ways of helping, if you live in Michigan, include volunteering and fostering. In any case, ASRIM accepts donations through PayPal and debit or credit card.

Australian Shepherd Rescue in Michigan (ASRIM) Information and Details:

Another thing that can help you significantly with your dog hunt is reading our ultimate dog adoption guide. This, alongside the Australian Shepherd rescue options from our directory, will increase your chances of bringing home the dog you desire.

READ NEXT: The Ultimate Guide to Dog Adoption: Process, What to Ask and Tips to Get Approved

Other Sources for Australian Shepherd Rescues or Shelters for Adoption

Adopted Australian Shepherd walking outdoor on leash

Searching for the right Australian Shepherd rescue that is a good fit for you can take a long time and may be frustrating at times.

So if you’ve tried the Australian Shepherd rescues mentioned above with no luck, keep calm for there are other places you can look for your Aussie:

  • A Purposeful Rescue – This rescue focuses on saving overlooked dogs from high-kill shelters in Los Angeles. You may just find your Aussie here and give him/her a second chance in life.
  • Ewenity Farm Herding Dog Haven – This non-profit is foster-based and finds permanent homes for herding dog breeds and mixes in Florida and the southeast US. Since Aussies are herding dogs, you can try your luck finding one here.
  • Twisted Branch Aussie Ranch – This non-profit mainly functions as a sanctuary for Australian Shepherds and other herding breeds that are not able to get adopted for various reasons. However, the rescue occasionally has dogs for adoption so you might just meet your Aussie here.
  • Australian Shepherd Rescue @ Rescue Me! – The Rescue Me website has a dedicated page for Australian Shepherd rescues. The great thing about this page is you can see which states have Aussie up for adoption as well as the number of dogs available.
  • Local Animal Shelters and Rescue Organizations – Aside from the organizations I mentioned above, you can try your luck at local shelters and rescues near you. More often than not, they are housing multiple Aussies under their care since they are the first option in surrendering their dog.

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Why Do People Put Australian Shepherds up for Adoption or in a Rescue?

Although it may seem inconceivable for dog lovers to give up their pet dogs, some circumstances lead to dog owners giving up on their dogs and putting them up for adoption.

Here are the common reasons Australian Shepherds are surrendered to shelters and rescues:

  • The owner cannot give the Aussie the exercise and stimulation it needs.
  • The owner dies or gets divorced.
  • The owner moves to another place that does not allow pets.
  • A major change happened in the family that makes the home life unsuitable for an Aussie.
  • The owner is no longer able to afford the costs of keeping an Aussie.
  • The owner cannot deal with the behavior problems of their Aussie.

How Much Should It Cost to Adopt an Australian Shepherd?

One great advantage of adopting an Aussie instead of buying one is that it generally costs less to adopt from a rescue.

The adoption fee may depend on the age of the dog and the capacity of the rescue organization. You can expect to pay somewhere from $150 to $400.

To give you an idea of why rescues impose an adoption fee, here are some of the expenses costs that they shoulder and subsidize for you. They do this to increase their dogs’ chances of adoption.

ExpensesAverage Cost
Vet Visits$50 – $250
Routine Vaccinations$20 – $150
Spay/Neuter Procedure$45 – $200
Shelter/Rescue Fee$45 – $200
Microchip Implant$25 – $50
Heartworm Test$45 – $50
Heartworm Prevention$5 – $15 / month
Heartworm Treatment$500 – $2,000 / dose
Professional Training$1,000 – $5,000
Parvo Treatment$500 – $2,000 / dose

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Is It Difficult to Adopt an Australian Shepherd From a Rescue?

Closeup of cute rescue Miniature Australian Shepherd puppy

Considering the number of homeless Australian Shepherds in rescue organizations, it’s easy to presume that adopting an Aussie from any of these groups would be an effortless and painless process. But is this really the case?

I would say that whether adopting an Aussie from a rescue is difficult or easy depends mainly on two things: the rescue organization’s vetting process and the specific qualifications required from the prospective adopter.

Most Australian Shepherd rescue groups are incredibly thorough and strict when it comes to screening homes for their rescue Aussies.

This is more so the case with this breed as Aussies are not recommended for novice dog owners. Therefore, you have to have some sort of experience with dogs.

Another thing most rescues look for in Aussie adopters is their capacity to meet the exercise requirements of this high-energy dog as well as its need for intellectually stimulating tasks and activities.

This is incredibly important as Australian Shepherds are bred to work and have the level of energy and intelligence for this purpose.

So if you’ve never had a dog before or you live a sedentary life or you’re not that into physical activities, it would be quite difficult for you to adopt an Aussie from a rescue, especially a puppy or a younger dog.

And that’s totally okay because this only means that another kind of rescue dog is for you.

However, if you’ve had a good amount of experience with dogs and you live a pretty active life or you own a farm or a ranch, you might find adopting an Aussie from a rescue a relatively painless process.

5 Tips for Getting Approved by a Rescue to Adopt an Australian Shepherd

Are there things you can do on your end to help your chances of getting your adoption application approved? Yes, there are.

Here are five things that you can do:

  • Prepare all the documents you might need. Before actually applying to adopt an Aussie, make sure you have all the documents needed including proof that your place of residence, if you’re renting, allows pets.
  • Carefully fill out the adoption application. When filling out the adoption form, take your time and carefully construct your answers to reflect that you’ll be a great dog parent to an Aussie.
  • Apply to several rescue organizations in your area. Because of the tough screening process that most rescues have in place, it’s not unusual to get rejected on your first try. One workaround to this is to apply to as many local rescues in your area, this way you increase your chances to get a shot at an interview or meet and greet with an Aussie rescue.
  • Volunteer in a local rescue or shelter. One way of improving your knowledge and experience with dogs is by volunteering in a rescue or shelter. Being a volunteer will give you first-hand experience and many opportunities to interact with rescue dogs. This will also give you insider information about Aussies available for adoption.
  • Show your interest and love for Australian Shepherds. When you get to the interview or the meet and greet stage of the adoption process, make sure to convey your interest and love for Aussies. Maybe you can relay an anecdote or short story detailing why you are very invested in this breed.

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Final Thoughts

The fact that you’ve decided to open your heart and your home to a rescue dog is a very kind and generous thing to do.

However, searching for an Australian Shepherd rescue that you’d like to adopt from as well as going through the actual adoption process can be an arduous experience.

Remember that your diligent research and efforts will eventually reward you with an Aussie that’s loving and loyal and just right for you. So don’t give up and take a breather once in a while.

John Carter

My name is John Carter and I absolutely love pets, especially cats and dogs. I've got a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare and have several years’ experience working in animal shelters and rescues. My passion for animals started at a very young age as I grow up on a farm with several horses, cows, cats, chickens, and dogs on our property.

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