Is the Australian Shepherd a good family dog?

Last updated on September 23, 2022

The Australian Shepherd is a fantastic family dog. Actually, with its playful and loyal personality, it’s one of the best dog breeds you can find to accompany an active household. Exceptionally loyal, highly intelligent, loving, and affectionate, the Australian Shepherd is a perfect match for those looking for a frisky pet that’s going to be a true home protector. However, bear in mind that this vigorous, energetic, and full-of-life breed requires the same type of owner. Read on to find out why the Australian Shepherd is a good family dog.

A baby Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherds and people

Popularly known as Aussies, the Australian Shepherd is a breed developed in the US in the 1840s. Being a herding dog, the Aussie is the ultimate workforce: diligent, smart enough to learn new skills, and loyal. As such, it’s no wonder this breed is a very common choice amongst ranchers and farmers.

The Australian Shepherd loves being surrounded by humans, which makes it a good family dog. Always friendly and adaptable to people, they can however be reserved towards strangers, as they need time to extend their friendship. With the members of the home, it is quite a different story. Being a clingy pet, the Aussie will use every opportunity to spend time with its owner. They see themselves as protectors, so don’t be surprised when your pup alerts you for approaching guests or feasible dangers. Rare moments of aggression are only seen when the Australian Shepherds will feel someone or something is posing a threat for its owners, especially if an unknown person or an intruder is shouting at the dog.

Being good by nature, and easily making bonds with humans, the Aussies can be also trained to be excellent emotional support dogs. Thriving in families, these dogs will always try to cheer you up when upset or sad. Another big plus for having an Australian Shepherd pet is their need for activities: an active dog might promote an active lifestyle with their owners.

Australian Shepherds and children

Aussies can be great with children. Always watchful, always alert, and protective, these social beings will give your child the perfect pet friend. Their almost never-ending energy means they can easily keep up with the children’s games. Australian Shepherds are less likely to be aggressive, which means you can feel perfectly comfortable with leaving your offspring with your dog. And what’s even greater, Aussies are not only great with your children, but also with kids that come from outside your home. Your friend’s children, for example. They are great partners for playing fetch and kids love them. The Aussie will love every child that will be willing to play with it. Sometimes, a simple pat on the head will suffice for your dog and a strange kid to become friends.

Anyhow, something you have to be aware of is their genetics. Being a typical herding dog, the Aussie tends to herd everything around it, including children. By doing this, they might unwillingly hurt a child, mainly by tripping them, but this can also extend to nipping the children’s feet. However, proper training will resolve this issue.  Educating your pup to behave is best done at the earliest stages of the dog’s life. Do not worry though, Australian Shepherds are very, very intelligent, easy to train, and always eager to learn new skills or tricks. With little effort and time, your dog will be ready to be your child’s best friend.

Australian Shepherds and other dogs

The Aussies friendly behavior towards humans also extends towards other dogs. Friendly and curious, your Australian Shepherd will get along great with another dog in your apartment or the park. Especially if that other dog is as nearly as energetic and playful as the Aussie, we got ourselves a great match. Being a herding dog, the Australian Shepherd can get along and team up with other dogs, all in favor of securing the herd. Even though it is a medium-sized breed, the Aussie is not easily intimidated by bigger dogs.

Even though naturally friendly, a dog’s behavior is normally individual. Sometimes, an Australian Shepherd will try and be dominant over other dogs. This can be explained by their herding nature and desire to show the other dog who the boss is. Similar to other breeds, Aussies might become aggressive towards other dogs if they feel jealous and intimidated. Being the clingy pets they are, possessiveness is another problem you might meet when your Aussie meets another canine.

Again, all this can be avoided by providing your pup with love, time, and proper training. Being a social being, it is very important to mix your Aussie with other dogs at the early stages of their life, so they can develop tolerance and affection towards their furry friends

The Australian Shepherd is a good family dog

Australian Shepherds and other animals

The Aussie is a herding and protective dog. And there is nothing you can do to change that. It is in their nature to make other animals behave as they want to. But then again, things can vary from situation to situation and are highly individual.

In general, Aussies are great with other animals, including cats. However, their bossy and herding nature prevails even here. Worry not though. The chances your Aussie will hurt your cat are minimal. Especially if you paired them when young, they will get along just fine. The Australian Shepherds rarely express their hunting nature, so it is not very likely they will chase after your cat or another animal. The only problem you might meet is the Aussie’s high energy levels. If not burned out properly, it might annoy your cat, which is lazier by nature.

As far as it goes to birds and other smaller animals, the same rules apply: herding and playing, but rarely hurting. In general, Australian Shepherds are great with other animals.

Final words

All in all, Australian Shepherds are wonderful animals and good family dogs. Intelligent, loving, affectionate, playful, and protective, they have all the characteristics of a great pet. They can make your home a better, healthier, and safer place.

Be very aware of their energy levels, though. The Australian Shepherd requires training and activities on daily basis. Extremely proactive, they are perfect for accompanying you while hiking, riding a bicycle, or jogging. However, if you and your family are not very active, you might want to look for another breed to keep as your pet. It’s either that or changing your lifestyle to suit your dog’s needs.

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