Pros and Cons of Australian Shepherds – Should You Get This Dog

Australian Shepherds are extremely loyal dogs with tons of energy that are great for large open spaces in the countryside.

If you have ever owned one, you have probably felt their endless affection.

You need to go over all the pros and cons if you’re considering adopting an Australian Shepherd. Most Australian Shepherds have a wonderful personality, and they get along with other dogs and children. These dogs aren’t aggressive and make a great companion in a household that’s active.

These dogs are a high-energy dog that is loyal, affectionate, and family orientated.  Because this dog is a herding breed, you may find your dog tends to try to nip people or herd them. But with the right training and plenty of exercises, this trait can be managed.


Australian Shepherd Overview – What to Expect from these Awesome Dogs

Every Australian Shepherd is different in temperament. Some of them are quick-moving, hyperactive, and energetic. Others may be calmer and milder.

It depends on their parentage and lines. These dogs will demand your attention, time, and want to be with you regularly.

All of these dogs need mental stimulation and physical exercise. Boredom can lead to excessive barking and very destructive behavior.

But the Australian Shepherd can range from police to being aloof with strangers. Early socialization needs to avoid shyness developing.


Aussie Shepherd Overview Table



The Australian Shepherd is an athletic medium-sized dog with a strong guarding and herding instinct. This breed is slightly longer than he is tall, well balanced, and a variety of colors. The breed averages from 18 to 23 inches in height and 40 to 65 pounds in weight.

Aussies are lithe and agile with a solid muscular build without cloddiness. The coat is of moderate length and average coarseness. The tail is either docked or is naturally bobbed.



All Australian Shepherds have a double fur coat that protects the dog against all kinds of weather. The harsher outer coat is a waterproof barrier. The fluffier undercoat acts as an insulator in both cold and hot temperatures.

The coat is medium to long and comes in the colors of red merle, black or red, and blue merle. All the coat colors could have either tan points or white markings. The winter coat of an Aussies shed in the spring.



Australian Shepherds love to spend all their time with their family. The breed forms a strong bond with his owner and is eager to please. These dogs are highly intelligent, are energetic, and take well to training. These dogs are happiest when they have a task to perform or kept busy.



Because the Aussie is so intelligent, your dog will be receptive to training and will learn quickly. An Aussie needs frequent exercise more than many other breeds of dogs. If your dog doesn’t get enough exercise, then he will become bored, hyperactive, and frustrated.


A Tendency To Bark:

An Aussie will have a tendency to bark if he is bored or doesn’t have enough exercise.


Biting Potential:

This breed doesn’t really bite but will nip the heels of animals and people when trying to herd them. But aggression is one major concern.



The Australian Shepherd is an extremely intelligent breed. They thrive with vigorous activity and are versatile. If the dog is well-trained, he can learn almost anything because an Australian Shepherd is one of the smartest dog breeds.


Shedding Level:

Twice a year, this breed sheds excessively, so brushing will need to be increased with more frequent baths. An Australian Shepherd has a thick coat with lots of hair.

You will need to brush your dog weekly to release matted clumps of hair and excess fur. Starting your dog with the grooming process early will make the grooming process more manageable.


Exercise Needs:

An Australian Shepherd is bred to be a working dog. These aren’t the type of dogs to hang around your backyard lying in the sun.

You need to provide your dog with opportunities to exercise, release energy, and do fun and exciting things. If not, your dog will become bored and start constantly barking and begin destructive chewing.


Health Issues:

Australian Shepherds can develop genetically predisposed eye disease. These disorders can include cataracts, detached retinas, colobomas, and other problems. Other health issues can consist of hip dysplasia, a malformation in some dogs’ hip socket.

Arthritis pain because of wear and tear on the hip joint can cause problems. Sometimes surgery is required.


Life Expectancy:

The life expectancy for Aussies are 12-15 years.



Pros Of Aussie Ownership

There are both pros and cons of owning an Australian Shepherd. Read them before you decide if this breed is the dog for you.


1. Loyal

Australian Shepherds are excellent watchdogs because of their innate protective streak. They are also wary of strangers. But if your dog is socialized early, then he will adapt to visitors. An Aussie will alert you to incoming strangers or possible danger whenever it happens. It’s because an Aussie loves human companionship and thrives when providing a needed service for his owner.


2. Not Too Big Not Too Small

An Aussie is a medium-sized dog with the male being 20-23 inches in height and the female being 18-21 inches tall. The male weighs in between 50-65 pounds, with the female being between 40-55 pounds.


3. Beautiful Coat

One of the admirable things about Australian Shepherds is their coats. An Aussie’s coat is medium to long with colors ranging from blue merle, red merle, red or black. Almost all the Aussie coats have tan (copper) points or have white markings.


4. Great Family Pets

For the right family, this breed makes an excellent companion. The Aussie adapts well to an active household with children as long as the dog has training and proper exercise. This breed tends to herd children, which can be scary for them and when they have friends over to play. Plus, Aussie’s try to herd cats, which makes the family cats very unappreciative.


5. Incredibly Intelligent

This breed is incredibly intelligent and will learn training quickly. These dogs excel at obedience competition, dog sports, agility, and even Frisbee. Aussies become bored quickly and need to be stimulated to stay out of trouble.


6. Can Be Trained Very Well

Australian Shepherds are a working breed of dog. Working breeds are a lot easier to train than non-working breeds. You have to take the time and effort into training to get a well-behaved dog.


7. Tons of Energy

Aussies are incredibly energetic and require exercise daily. If you don’t exercise your dog daily, he may become bored, leading to destructive tendencies. If your dog is exercised daily with outdoor stimulation, then he will be an excellent pet.


8. Love Their Owners Immensely

Aussies have a strong bond with their owners. This breed adapts well to families with children and other dogs. The breed isn’t aggressive even with being a high-energy dog and is ideal for an active household.


9. Well Behaved When Socialized Early

These dogs do have a protective streak, but if socialized early, they will accept the company coming into the house. Aussies need exposure to unusual sights, sounds, and people. Otherwise, they may become shy or suspicious of people.


Cons Of Aussie Ownership

1. Herding Instinct

Australian Shepherds are known for their herding instinct. These dogs have an irresistible impulse to herd anything that moves. It can include other dogs, cats, children, and even birds. If you’re a sedentary person, this breed’s intense work drive will be too much dog for you.


2. Needs A Lot of Exercise and Mental Stimulation

Because of this breed’s strong herding instinct, getting enough mental stimulation and exercise is essential. You will need to give your dog enough of both to keep his mind and body satisfied. These dogs can become destructive and start barking if not given enough stimulation.


3. Can Become Destructive

When not exercised or given enough stimulation, these dogs can get into all kinds of trouble. From chewing up the furniture, your shoes, or anything else to relentless barking. These dogs need to be able to vent their energy doing interesting things. You need to be able to run, hike, swim, play fetch, set up obstacle courses, and even let them track to keep this breed content: the more activity, the better.


4. Prone to Health Problems

Aussies are prone to health problems. Eye problems are a serious issue and can include cataracts, detached retinas, colobomas, and other issues.

You can avoid your dog from having these issues and get reports from the breeder about the parents’ recent eye exams.

Too, just because this breed is susceptible to this disorder doesn’t mean that your dog will have it.

Hip dysplasia is another common issue for this dog breed. Hip dysplasia is a genetic malformation in the hip socket. Plus, improper wear and tear on the hip joint over time can cause arthritis and will sometimes require surgery for relief.


5. Excessive Shedding

Aussies have a lot of hair, which means you’ll be doing a lot of grooming. You may need to do a thorough grooming every week to remove any matted clumps or excess hair.

Plus, these dogs will shed excessively twice a year, so increased brushing will be needed during these times.

Some Aussies have a shorter coat that is easier to care for than other ones. Aussies with a lot of feathering will need to have more maintenance brushing to keep ahead of the hair.


Tips for Raising an Aussie Shepherd

Australian Shepherds have a mind of their own. Some are eager to please their owners while others aren’t so eager.

Sometimes the females are manipulative plus smart enough to get what they want.


Some Aussies want to be the boss and are stubborn and will make you prove that you are the boss. Respect training is mandatory when you own an Australian Shepherd.


You need to put in both time and effort into your dog’s training. An unsocialized Aussie can become aggressive with strangers.


Aussies are territorial, and you need to teach your dog where the boundaries are. If your Aussie isn’t socialized, then he can become aggressive in a new situation.

Because the Aussie is a mid-sized dog, they are a manageable size for car rides and on-leash walks.

Mini Aussies

If you’re looking for a smaller version, there are miniature versions of Australian Shepherds. These dogs can also become overweight quickly, which is another reason for the need for daily exercise.


Keep in mind that temperament isn’t just the inheritance factor from the parents. It is also shaped by how your dog is raised and trained.

Adopt or Rescue

You can avoid some negative traits which don’t show up in puppies until later by adopting or rescuing an adult dog from a shelter or rescue.

When you adopt or rescue an adult dog, you can see what you are getting without any surprises.

Remember that this breed isn’t for everyone. These dogs are intelligent and can hoodwink a novice owner. Aussies are brainy, trainable, and tireless, and only a dedicated pet owner can handle this breed.

High Quality Food

You need to feed your dog a high-quality dog food to keep him in good health. Some Aussies are prone to becoming overweight, so you need to watch how much you feed him and the calorie count.

You can give your dog training treats but not too many because it can lead to obesity.

You need to learn which human foods are safe to feed him and which are not. If you have concerns about your pup’s weight, consult with the vet. You always need to have fresh, clean water available.


You will need to keep the ears clean to avoid any ear infections. Plus, trim your dog’s nails regularly to keep his feet healthy. Also, Aussies tolerate both hot and cold weather.

But they don’t adapt to apartment living very well because they need space to run and play throughout the day.

Educate Before You buy

If you want to adopt this beautiful breed of dog, do your homework first. Make sure that your lifestyle is the kind that an Australian Shepherd will adapt to.

They are vigorous, bigger than life, energetic dogs, and need the same type of owner.


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Aidan Lehane

I have been dealing with Dogs, Cats, Rabbits, Turtles and Guniea pigs in my house since childhood and I now have years of experience in caring for my own pets, I decided to put this site together to share my passion and help people find some helpful knowledge. Feel free to reach out and get in touch.

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