Wow, great advice here guys!
I've had several other breeds and mixes of herding dogs but I love love love Aussies. I bred them for a few years when in college for money.
I do not recommend them for people with low activity lifestyles or very busy working schedules. They do not do well on their own, for sure not a dog (in the general sense) that you can leave alone for long periods of time. They tend to develop bad behaviors, anxiety, and can become really destructive. They DO need a job. Also be ready to deal with a lot of shedding in the spring and consistent grooming, their bums get matted easily. Puppies ARE a handful, Chev in particular would NOT kennel. He screamed bloody murder for weeks before I let him sleep by my bed, good ones NEED to be around their human. The ones I've had and bred tend to be very territorial too. Chev chased a 500 pound black bear out of the yard, they are fearless!
My dogs main jobs are to keep rabbits out of the yard, to stick by my side, and be my protector. His "working job" is to sit and stay for as long as I want, especially to "guard" the gate when I'm with the horses. You have to have an Alpha dog mentality and nix any bad behavior immediately. My Aussies have always been good members of society, but I always made sure they went to farm homes and to people that could be with them most of the day.
Be sure to become well acquainted with the breeder. Too many Aussie puppies are being pumped out for agility and have had terrible consequences for the breed. Be sure to look for a breeder that breeds FAMILY dogs. I can PM you an excellent source, but the good ones don't come cheap. I wouldn't look at dogs that average less than 60/70 lbs. The good Aussies are the large ones, IMHO. With emphasis on temperament and trainability.
Here is my boy Chevy. I bought him thinking I would get back into breeding but haven't yet. He is LARGE (100 lbs), intelligent, a loyal protector, and 100% a mommas boy! He was bred to do some
work but mainly for a family dog (he's pretty good at herding my chickens, only when I ask, horses are OFF LIMITS!). He is by my side 24/7.
Me on the balcony, told him to stay, the other dog in the background is a Golden Retriever, Derp derp derp!
He's always got his eyes on me.
He was so cute!
Now my big boy!