Are Australian Shepherds high maintenance?

Last updated on September 23, 2022

The Australian Shepherd became one of the most popular breeds in the last couple of years. Besides being fantastic farmworkers, they’ve also proven to be exceptional family pets. However, many potential owners still ask questions about their maintenance level. Not everybody can afford the same amount of time dedicated to their pet. If you’re one of those, read on.

Are Australian Shepherds high maintenance?

The Australian Shepherd is a high-maintenance dog breed. Many sources consider the Aussie one of the highest maintenance dog breeds there are. Even though the Aussie is very favored, being the 12th most popular dog in America, owning a dog of this breed can be tricky and extremely time-consuming.

This highly intelligent, high-energy pup demands lots of care. If you are a person that has limited time for a dog, the Australian Shepherd is not a dog for you. Starting from their physical and mental health, down to grooming and feeding, we are going to break down every aspect of maintaining Aussie health and happiness.

The Australian Shepherd is a high maintenance dog

Physical Health

The Australian Shepherd is a dog with an almost endless supply of energy. Being classified as a working dog, this herding breed is used on spending lots of time around the sheep, thus, being physically active. And it’s in their genes, so there’s almost nothing their owner can do about it. The Australian Shepherd requires daily walks, lots of running, and playing. Although domesticated and adapted to living in apartments, the Aussie is still an outdoor dog.

If you are an active person, you enjoy running, hiking, cycling, or other outdoor activities, you may have found your perfect companion. But not providing an Australian Shepherd with its required two-three hours of daily activities, may make your dog destructive, nervous, sensitive, and angry. It is highly advised not to adopt an Aussie if you can not afford the time for their exercises.  Also, the Australian Shepherd is naturally curious and might occasionally escape. Make sure to prevent this by securing your yard with a fence and walking your furry friend on a leash.

Mental Health

When it comes to mental health, the same rules apply to physical health. A happy dog is a healthy dog, and the Australian Shepherd needs a lot of attention to be happy. Besides physical activities, loneliness can also be a trigger of bad behavior for this breed. Being naturally clingy and thriving in the company of his owners, the Australian Shepherd is not good when left unpatented or bored.  Boredom makes the dogs search for their way of making fun, which means a lot of barking, chewing, and other destructive behavior. Teaching them new tricks or giving them puzzle toys is a great way to mentally stimulate an Australian Shepherd. Obedience and leash training is also very important, as well as discouraging their herding behavior. This can be achieved by constantly giving the dog various tasks or playing different games.

General Health Issues

With a life span of 12-15 years, the Australian Shepherd is generally a healthy dog. Its double coat of fur makes it a climate adaptable animal. However, there are certain issues regarding their health.

Hip or elbow dysplasia is a common issue with Australian Shepherds. It can cause pain and may lead to a surgical solution. A healthy diet and regular exercise can help decrease the chances of dysplasia occurring.

Eye issues are also one of the common problems you may run into, as Aussies are genetically predisposed to eye diseases. Cataracts, retina detachments of iris colobomas can often affect your dog. Regular ophthalmology exams are highly recommended.

Epilepsy is another occurring disease your pup may experience. Seizures can be caused by a variety of reasons, such as injuries, intoxication, or other diseases. Although one seizure does not mean your dog has epilepsy, a visit to the vet’s office is a must.

Grooming and nail care

As we mentioned before, the Australian Shepherd has double coat fur that protects the dog from all kinds of weather. The outer, tougher coat represents waterproof protection, while the fluffier undercoat, serves as insulation against hot or cold environments. The fur of the Aussie needs to be brushed at least once a week, to remove loose hair or spread natural oils to the skin. Australian Shepherds are heavy shedders, excessively shedding twice a year: in spring and autumn.  Regular brushing also decreases the need for showering your dog too often.

Bathing your dog is something you need to establish in the earliest days, while your furry friend is still a pup. Always use dog products, since your Aussie is most likely allergic to human shampoos and soaps. Make sure you do regular ear cleanups, as the debris in your dog’s ear can lead to infections.

As far as it goes to nail care, if you hear the nails of your Aussie clicking on the floor, it is time to clip them. Make sure to always use a dog nail trimmer. If feeling unsure, just take the dog to the vet.


Being a highly energetic dog, the Australian Shepherd requires a well-balanced diet. As an extremely active breed, Aussies require more calories than lazier dogs. Puppies need to consume more calories than older dogs, too. Being a medium-sized dog, tall as 23 inches and weighting 45-65 pounds, the Australian Shepherd requires 3-4 cups of dog food a day, split into two meals. Be aware that Aussies love food and tend to become fat and overweight. Regular exercise is the best way to prevent this from happening.

Costs of having an Australian Shepherd pet

Being a high-maintenance dog, it is quite normal for an Aussie to make some damage to your financial wellbeing. However, having an Australian Shepherd pet won’t cost you much more than the average dog. With food, toys, supplies, leashes, vets, and everything else, an average monthly cost of 150$ is expected. Normally, this cost might be considerably higher during the first year of the pup’s life.


Even though the Australian Shepherd is a high-maintenance dog, its love, affection, loyalty, and playfulness can make it worth the care. A mid-sized dog that can be easily transported in a car or walked on a leash, the Aussie is a great companion for the active person. However, if you have never taken care of a dog before, experts suggest you opt for another breed. But if you are ready to handle the tons of exercise, shedding, barking, and its herding instincts, the Australian Shepherd can be a wonderful pet for you and your family.

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