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Are Australian Shepherds Good Family Dogs? Facts & Considerations

Written by: Kerry-Ann Kerr

Last Updated on July 16, 2024 by Dogster Team

Australian Shepherd following a young boy

Are Australian Shepherds Good Family Dogs? Facts & Considerations

Australian Shepherds are beautiful dogs, and they’re pretty popular, sitting in the 12th spot on the American Kennel Club’s most popular breed list of 2023. So, you might be wondering which type of family this breed fits in best with. Australian Shepherds are great with children. They’re friendly, playful, and love being around people.

However, if you’re considering getting one, you will need to consider a few things about the Australian Shepherd beforehand. Below, we’ll look into everything you should know about this breed, so you can decide whether the Aussie is the right dog for you.

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Australian Shepherds and Their Families

Australian Shepherds are dedicated to their families, which makes them loyal companions to have at your side. Their boundless energy and playful natures are an endless source of fun that kids especially will appreciate. Aussies love to work as well. Whether you’re teaching them new tricks or taking them on hikes, they’ll be happy.

Because Australian Shepherds were originally bred for herding livestock, they can be pushy by nature. You might find them trying to herd your children or other pets, which sounds amusing, but it’s not a behavior you want to encourage.

As long as you take the time to implement basic obedience skills early, the bossy side to their nature should subside. If you socialize your Aussie early, they will get on with other pets.

australian shepherd sitting on his owner's lap
Image By: LightField Studios, Shutterstock

Are Australian Shepherds Aggressive Around Children?

Australian Shepherds are not naturally aggressive. Generally, they’re kind, and while protective of their families and territories, they will let you know if a stranger approaches. Aussies require daily physical and mental stimulation.

If these requirements aren’t met, their pent-up energy can present in undesirable behavior patterns, like their herding tendencies. They’ve been known to nip at their owners’ ankles when attempting to herd them, but if you have the time to meet their daily exercise needs, this shouldn’t happen. They need around 2 hours of exercise a day, but the more, the better for this breed.

Reasons an Australian Shepherd Wouldn’t Be a Good Fit

Just because a particular breed makes a good family dog doesn’t mean it will be right for your family. We’ve already mentioned their boundless energy, but you might be wondering if there’s anything else. So, what are the potential deal-breakers for an Australian Shepherd?


The Aussie is a particularly intelligent breed, which is a positive, but it can pose problems. They can be stubborn and resistant, and if they aren’t in the mood, they can be challenging to work with. So, if you’re someone who lacks patience or doesn’t have the time, this might not be the breed for you.

Close up Australian Shepherd
Image Credit: Thabisfotowelt, Pixabay


These dogs might not be ideal if you have a small home and a small yard. Aussies require the space and time to run and explore, and if you don’t have a safe environment for them to do that, they can become unhappy.


Thanks to their herding background, Aussies naturally chase after smaller animals like cats and squirrels, and they’re known to follow the occasional car. While they’re not an aggressive breed, they could harm another animal or themselves through this behavior. As a result, if you live in the country, you should keep them on a leash if you’re out for a walk.

Australian shepherd running in the grass
Image By: Luca Finardi, Pexels

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Final Thoughts

Australian Shepherds make excellent family pets, but it depends on your family. If you are an active family, your Aussie will happily participate in anything you’re doing. As long as you socialize your Australian Shepherd early, it will be okay with other pets.

If you’re thinking of bringing one of these beautiful dogs into your life, make sure you can meet all their needs first. Plenty of space, exercise, mental stimulation, and time with you will keep them happy and healthy.

Featured Image Credit: cottonbro, Pexels

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