Lively, intelligent, and people-loving, the Australian Shepherd is a delightful breed filled with enthusiasm for life. There are growing numbers of dog lovers who want to add this pooch to their brood.
Is an Australian Shepherd a good family dog? Read on to find out.
Can an Australian Shepherd Be a House Dog?
Yes, the Australian Shepherd is highly adaptable to become a house dog. However, potential owners should remember that this breed is extremely active as he is a herding dog.
To keep the Australian Shepherd fit and sated, you need to spend a great deal of time exercising him. This herding breed needs at least 1–2 hours of physical exercise and mental stimulation every day.
The high energy of Australian Shepherds can be put into good use by engaging them in various activities. They enjoy jogging, chasing balls, and playing Frisbee.
Dog sports, including agility, nose work, and sheep herding, are other constructive outlets for their tireless energy.
So if you are wondering, “Is an Australian Shepherd a good family dog?” then yes, he is, so long as he has enough exercise. Thus, he needs an owner with an active lifestyle, which can match his energy.
The Aussie breed is not suitable for those who prefer to stay at home most of the time. If his exercise requirement is not met, he can quickly get bored and become a destructive dog.
The Mini Aussie, a smaller dog version of the Australian Shepherd, can adapt to apartment living due to its size. Just note that his diminutive appearance does not mean he’s not energetic like his big brother. He will still need physical activities to fulfil his exercise requirements.
Is the Australian Shepherd Easy to Groom?
The Australian Shepherd is a double-coated dog breed. His outer coat will range from straight to wavy, whilst his undercoat is thick and soft.
Australian Shepherds typically have medium-length hair, but those bred for shows tend to have longer coats. The most common coat colours of this herding dog are blue merle, red merle, red, black, blue, and tricolour.
Grooming Australian Shepherds is easy, but it can take a bit of time. Their double coats need to be brushed at least once or twice a week to keep tangles from forming. Daily brushing should be done once their shedding season begins.
Australian Shepherds should be bathed once a month or when necessary.
Trim the Aussie’s nails and clean his ears every week. Daily brushing is recommended to prevent plaque build-up and periodontal diseases.
Are Australian Shepherds Friendly?
Yes, Australian Shepherds are very friendly towards their families. They have a comical personality and love to keep their human companions happy. These lively dogs will drive away sadness and boredom and replace them with laughter and joy.
Although the Australian Shepherd is very affectionate with his family, he is quite wary of people outside his pack. He is deeply protective of his human companions and possesses territorial habits.
According to research, the Aussie breed is prone to stranger aggression. This could be brought on by the breed’s long history of protecting livestock from any potential threat. In a family setting, he redirects this strong drive to his human companions.
Properly socialising Australian Shepherds during their puppyhood will greatly lower these dogs’ risk of displaying aggression towards strangers.
Do Australian Shepherds Get Attached to One Person?
Yes, Australian Shepherds tend to be a one-person dog. This is a common trait found in herding and working dogs.
Since the Aussies often worked with a shepherd, it is common for them to develop a strong and unique connection that can’t be found with anybody else.
So, is an Australian Shepherd a good family dog? Yes, he can still be a good addition to your brood. All you need to do is make sure that he has a balanced interaction with every family member.
Each person in the household must be tasked with caring for your Aussie dog. In this way, each of you can form a bond with him. This will also prevent him from becoming overly attached to one person.
Do Australian Shepherds Like to Cuddle?
Yes, most Australian Shepherds are very tactile in showing their affection, and they also enjoy cuddles. This loving gesture is only reserved for their loved ones. Guests in your home will be met with wariness and caution.
Australian Shepherds can be very clingy family pets. That’s why they are dubbed as Velcro dogs. These pooches have a habit of shadowing their owners’ every move around the house. It is also their way of showing their protectiveness.
Whilst this may seem like a cute act of love from an Aussie, it should not be tolerated. Allowing your dog to become extremely clingy can lead to behaviour problems, especially separation anxiety.
Thus, you need to teach your Aussie dog to be independent and give you some space.
Are Australian Shepherds Child-Friendly?
Yes, Australian Shepherds are fond of children. Since they are high-energy dogs, they are better suited for homes with older children. Their rambunctiousness and loudness may be too much to handle for younger children.
Be warned that the Aussie breed is very protective of the children in the household. This may cause problems as your dog may view your child’s playmate as a threat, especially if they are roughhousing.
Make sure that he is properly socialised with children to tone down his wariness around other kids. Always supervise your dog’s interaction with children to avoid accidents from happening.
Another thing to keep in mind is the Australian Shepherd’s strong herding instincts. He may chase and nip at the heels of children in an attempt to herd them. Inhibit this behaviour through consistent dog training.
However, since the Aussie breed is predisposed to herd, his chasing and nipping cannot be completely removed. So provide him with activities that make use of his herding instincts such as tracking, Frisbee, and Treibball.
Are Australian Shepherds Good with Cats?
No, Australian Shepherd’s are not the best family dogs for a household with cats. Their herding instinct is too strong, which may lead to chasing after their feline companions.
But there’s hope. Harmonious cohabitation between the Australian Shepherd and a cat is achievable, but it will need time. It is a slow process of introduction that can last for weeks and months. Thus, patience is necessary for success.
Mind that forming a friendship between the Aussie dog and a cat is easier if they grew up together.
Are Australian Shepherds Good with Dogs?
No, Australian Shepherds have a propensity for being unwelcoming towards other dogs. Studies show that they tend to exhibit aggression to strange dogs and even to fellow family dogs.
On a brighter note, the Aussie breed can get along with other pooches so long as they are raised together. The Australian Shepherd’s aggression towards stranger dogs can be managed too.
By socialising your Aussie dog at an early age and letting him meet friendly pooches, he will be less wary and more open to canine friendship.
Do Aussies Bark a Lot?
Yes, Australian Shepherds are barkers. Back in the day, they needed to use their voice to keep the livestock in line. They will bark to properly herd the animals towards the direction they needed to go.
The protectiveness and territorial nature of Australian Shepherds are also another reason behind their yappiness. They will not hesitate to bark at anything or anyone that they perceive as a threat.
Is an Australian Shepherd a good family dog if this is the case? Yes, provided that you train him regularly to minimise this behaviour. With proper training methods, this intelligent and easy-to-train herding dog will make a good watchdog.
Note that incessant barking in Aussies can also be caused by boredom. So always make it your goal to meet your dog’s daily exercise needs.
How Long Can an Australian Shepherd Dog Live?
The Australian Shepherd is a healthy dog breed with an average lifespan of 12–15 years. However, you should be aware of the health problems commonly plaguing the breed as these can affect his life expectancy.
The most prevalent health issues in Australian Shepherds are eye problems, particularly cataracts and Collie eye anomaly, hip dysplasia, epilepsy, and multiple drug sensitivity.
Get a healthy Australian Shepherd puppy from a reputable breeder that does health tests to breeding dogs and their litters. You may be assured that the pups will less likely develop these health conditions.
Provide your Australian Shepherd pup with a healthy and balanced diet and adequate exercise to keep him healthy and fit. Routine visits to the vet for check-ups should not be overlooked as well.