Is an Australian Shepherd Dog Right for your Family?

Australian shepherd dogThe Australian Shepherd dog is a thinking dog that has been bred to use his brain and make decisions. What you find is they want to be involved in everything involving the family, or they feel left out and pout. This dog loves things to happen at the same time everyday. If you want to change something, your Australian Shepherd dog will have to give his approval first.

Traits of the Australian Shepherd Dog

As with many dog breeds used for herding, this dog has an inborn protective streak, and he can be cautious of strangers. This dog will not be friends with everyone he meets, even if you bring people around a lot. If there is not frequent socialization early on, the Australian Shepherd dog becomes either aggressive or shy around strangers. They make superb watch dogs because of their highly sensitive hearing. The downside is they could develop a noise phobia to thunderstorms and other loud noises.

You need to start training your puppy from the day you bring him home. At eight weeks old, this dog is fully capable of learning everything you teach him, and if you wait six months to train him, you will have a dog that is too headstrong to be trained.


An Australian Shepherd dog may vary in temperament. With some, you get a hyperactive and quick moving dog; however, there are others that are milder and calmer. Every Australian Shepherd dog needs regular physical exercise. Frisbee, walks, jogging and chasing balls are constructive outlets for their zest. These dogs also love water and swimming, but when this dog gets bored, it leads to destructive curiosity and barking, so you have to keep him exercised. A Miniature Australian Shepherd may not need as much exercise as the full-sized breed.

Good With Kids?

Australian Shepherds are not the best with kids because they tend to be protective, and they nip at things that move a lot. Nevertheless, this could depend on how the dog has been trained, and these dogs are some of the easiest dogs to train. When the dog grows up with the kid, they love kids and quickly become a playmate.

Good With Other Animals?

Some Australian Shepherds chase cats and are dominant with other dogs; however, it depends on the specific dog because others are friendly towards other animals.

Suited for Apartment Living?

The Australian Shepherd was bred so that it could be run all day. This is not the type of dog that you would want to live in an apartment with because his high energy levels in an enclosed space would drive you up the wall. These dogs were bred to manage livestock and require a backyard at least.

How the ASCA Breed Standard Describes the Aussie

The ASCA says that the Australian Shepherd Dog has intelligence and is primarily a working dog due to its guardian and herding instincts. They become the meaning of the word, “Man’s best friend,” because they are constantly wanting to hang out with the family. The Aussie’s bond with their owner is part of his heritage. They are easily trained and can perform the desired tasks with style and enthusiasm.

Overall, this dog is good-natured, but it can be high maintenance to avoid destructive tendencies. This dog is sweet and affectionate towards its owners, and it makes a great protective dog. Their high intelligence is one of the reasons that you see them in dog shows so often. The average litter size for puppies is around seven. They have a life expectancy of between 12 to 15 years and are prone to hip dysplasia and eye problems. Some shepherding dogs carry the MDR1 gene, and you should know that this makes them sensitive to certain drugs. If they test positive for this gene, drugs that would normally be okay for other dogs might kill them.