Are Australian Shepherds Good With Kids? (Parent’s Guide)


Australian Shepherd is a loving, energetic, playful, and intelligent dog breed. For a family person, it is essential to check out whether the dog breed is affectionate & friendly before getting any dog. If you are living with your family, you have kids, and other pet dogs, then it is essential for you to know how friendly your Aussie dog will be with your people.

So the question is, are Aussies good with kids?

We exactly can’t say whether they are great with kids or not because this question has mixed answers. When Aussies are raised with kids, they can do well. The Australian Shepherd is a herding breed. This breed is also known to try to herd small children by nipping at their heels. They can be good with older children.

As each individual dog has its own unique personality, we can’t really say that all the Aussies will be great or bad for kids. The herding instincts of Aussies make them unsuitable for small children. The good thing is most Aussies can be trained. You can train your Aussie dog to stop its negative behavior with your kid(s). But, sometimes it can be difficult to train herding dogs like Australian Shepherds.

The dog breed is energetic and active. You need to make sure your Aussie dog is physically mentally active. Focusing on handling the instinctual needs of Aussies is very important. Failing in doing so may lead to negative and destructive behavior in your dog. The behavior of your dog would be like: barking for long hours, chewing excessively, chasing prey drive, etc. There are various to satisfy the instinctual needs of dogs. Some of them are chew, toss & retriever, tug, and comfort.

Are Australian Shepherds Good Family Dogs?

Aussies are intelligent, energetic, loyal, and affectionate. So if you are looking for a loving and loyal dog for your family, then Australian Shepherd could be a great choice. Aussies are very attached to their people. They playing and spending time with their people. So if you are a family person, this dog breed could be ideal for you.

If you are a family with kids, then Australian Shepherd may or may not be right for you. There are mixed views of people on whether or not Aussies are good with kids. Aussie is not considered a good dog breed for families with small children, however, an Aussie can be great playmates with seniors kids.

Due to the herding instincts of Aussies, they are known to try to nip at the children’s nip. This is when the importance of training comes in. Providing proper training to Aussie or any other dog breed changes the overall behavior of the dog and makes the dog more disciplined.

Apart from providing training to your Aussie dog, you will also need to satisfy instinctual needs. Not satisfying instinctual needs could lead to destructive behavior. The breed has high exercise requirements. So to keep your Aussie dog physically and mentally stimulated, it is essential to provide him high-energy exercise and involve him in different physical activities.

The Australian shepherd will always stay loyal and loving towards its people. If you have an active lifestyle and you can fulfill the exercise needs, then you can consider getting an Australian shepherd dog.

Are Australian Shepherds Good With Other Dogs?

Are you planning to adopt a new dog? Some dog breeds are good with their owners, but not with kids & other dogs, some are good with their owners & kids but not with other dogs, while some dog breeds are good with all of them. They get along with their owners, families, kids, other dogs and even with strangers.

Before getting any dog, it is important to check out whether the breed is friendly or not. The personality and behavior differ from one dog breed to another. You may be a family person, you may have kids or you may have other pets adopted. Before getting any dog, you need to make sure the dog breed you have selected is friendly and will get along with your people.

So are Aussies good with other dogs?

Basically, Aussies are friendly and loving with humans, but it is found that dogs that are loving with humans are not always good with other dogs. The behavior of an Aussie dog will differ based on its own individual personality. Some dogs love to bond with other dogs, while some are shy. Normally, Australian Shepherds don’t show any problems with other dogs. Due to the friendly and affectionate personality of Aussies, they rarely create problems when they are with other dogs.

Here, the important thing you need to keep in mind is that the opposite breed should also be dog-friendly. Getting two different dog-friendly breeds will ensure a better relationship between them avoid fights.

Dog Breeds That Get Along With Australian Shepherds

If your plan is to adopt two dogs, then you need to make sure the dog breeds you have selected are loving and friendly, not just with humans, but with other dogs as well. Here are some dog breeds that get along with Australian shepherds:

1. Beagle

Beagles are small, energetic, and loving. Adopting a Beagle with an Aussie dog could be a good combination. These two breeds will get along easily. There will be very low chances that these two breeds together will fight or create any other problems. The best thing about Beagles is they get along with almost anyone. They are great with families, kids, other dogs, and even with strangers. Before getting a Beagle dog, make sure you always have someone around him as this breed can’t tolerate being alone.

2. Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever is one of the most popular dog breeds out there. Goldens are intelligent, energetic, playful, and they have high exercise needs. Just like Beagle breed, this breed also gets along with everyone, families, kids, other dogs, and strangers. After getting a golden retriever, make sure to provide regular and enough exercise. Failing in doing so will lead to so many consequences. As they have a high energy level, not providing daily exercise will lead to destructive behavior. Apart from this, they also have a high potential for weight gain.

3. German Shepherd

German Shepherd is the most popular dog breed, especially in America. German Shepherds are intelligent, energetic, and playful. They are usually great with family pets, but sometimes they can get aggressive toward the dog of same-sex. The personality of each individual dog would differ. The great thing is they are intelligent and they easy to train. Providing enough training would keep them under control.

4. Poodle

The poodle is another dog breed that can get along with your Australian shepherd. Poodles are friendly with families, kids, and other dogs. They are intelligent, playful, energetic, and easy to train. Another benefit of having a poodle is it is low-shedding. Though Aussies are not hypoallergenic, poodles are. You do not have to worry about managing and dealing with shedding.

5. Labrador Retriever

Labrador retriever is a friendly, sensitive, smart, and energetic dog breed. The loving and friendly personality of labradors makes them a great combination with Aussies. The breed is very loving and affectionate towards families, kids, other dogs, and strangers. By getting a labrador retriever, the major challenge you have to face is shedding. The lab is a high-shedding dog breed and it sheds throughout the year.

Can Australian Shepherds Behave Aggressively Against Other Dogs?

It is possible sometimes. They may behave aggressively and misbehave with other dogs. The good thing is you won’t find difficulty controlling the situation. Aussies are smart, you can teach them to behave properly with other dogs. You can provide Respect training for that.

Your dog will not behave aggressively against other dogs without any reason. To calm down the situation, you have to first understand the behavior of your Aussie towards another dog. There can be various reasons for the misbehavior of your Australian Shepherd. Some of them are frustration, illness, jealousy, possessiveness, herding instincts, and fear.

The important thing is to understand the reason why your dog is misbehaving and becoming aggressive, and then control the situation. Based on the reason, you will need to control the situation.

How to Stop an Aussie from Herding Kids?

Due to the herding instincts of Aussies, sometimes they may try to herd small kids. The problem is Aussies have the herding instincts from their birth. But, you can provide training to your Aussie dog to behave well with your kid(s). Here are some of the best ways to stop your Aussie dog from herding kids:

1. Socialization with kids

One of the best ways to train your Australian shepherd dog to behave well with kids is by socializing him to kids of various age groups. You can let your child and Aussie play together. This will help to build a bond between them. The crucial thing is to supervise when your child and Aussie dog are playing together.

2. Socialize with kids after physical activity

As we know, Aussies are energetic. Due to such a great energy level and high excitement, it can harm a child, without any intention of doing it. So make sure you socialize with kids after the completion of the exercise session. Avoid socialization training especially when your dog has not got exercise or physical activities for a long time.

3. Providing training to kids

Another way to avoid your dog from misbehaving with your kids is by properly training kids on how to react when your Aussie dog is misbehaving. If the Aussie is trying to herd, your kid must not try to run away from there as it may result in more herding or nipping.

4. Your kids must be old enough

If you have a young or small kid, it can be risky to introduce your kid to an Australian shepherd. You can’t provide training to your kid when he is too young. So your kids must be old enough so that you can easily train your kids and also have a great socialization session.

How Aussies Act With Dogs and Kids (Other Aussie Owner Opinions)

Here we have gathered opinions from different websites and forums so you don’t only have to take our word on the information in this article.

We curated this information and only corrected any spelling/grammar where needed.

Real Aussie Owners Opinions

1. TheAdventureK9 “Unfortunately jumps all over people, kids and dogs” – have a 7 month old Aussie that I have had since she was 8 weeks. I have owned several different breeds and I can tell you I don’t know if I’ll be able to get anything else. I am just in love with my little girl! Just like all animals, even within their own breed there are big differences. I have seen differences even in Aayla’s litter between her and the rest. I think I got the best pick, but I’m biased.

She is wicked smart and easy to train. She was loose leash walking by 10 weeks, and now at 7 months has about 60 commands and behaviors trained on command. We are in a Rally Advanced class and she is doing phenomenally. She has a good sense of focus and is willing to please. She is very mature for her age. She loves everyone and everything. She loves small children and even the ‘scary’ man in a huge trench coat walking up and down our street. She loves all dogs, cats and hasn’t shown any aggression towards anything. She likes swimming, hiking, getting muddy, the snow, and enjoys everything. She is VERY athletic.

She also has a wonderful ability to settle. I take her to breweries, cafes, other people’s houses, UBER cars…camping and she does great. Sometimes she is a bit fidgity but hey she is a puppy. Most of the time when I sit down, she looks around for a couple minutes, then flops down and naps at my feet. Aayla is very attached to me, while she does love everyone she has bonded more heavily to me than my boyfriend who I live with. She is in whatever room I am in, outside the bathroom door until I come out (though honestly she just goes in with me most of the time), and gets a little too stressed for my liking when I leave her with friends. She is a lover and likes cuddling with me every morning, though when its hot she stays close but not touching. Yet she does good at home by herself. She has been fully potty trained since 5 months, and loose in the house for two months now.

A lot of these things I attribute to training. Every since I brought her home at 8 weeks I have been very consistent with training for at least an hour (spread out through small training sessions) every single day. I also exercise her every single day. Right now she gets an 1-3 hours walk every day, and at least one 20 minute training session 5-6 days a week. I have enrichment toys scattered around my house for her to entertain herself with. I also took her everywhere with me so she got A LOT of socializing and learning to settle anywhere.

She is very busy, its hard to eat when puppy is shoving toys in your lap. She gets restless a lot and gets way over excited for greeting new people and other dogs. She jumps all over people, kids and other dogs and its taking a while for her to learn manners. For this reason I can’t let little kids pet her because she would knock them over.

In other Aussies I have seen reactivity, fear aggression, prey drive, over bearing herding behavior, unable to focus due to high energy, destructive and very vocal tendencies. (Aayla isn’t super vocal, she very rarely barks, but does whine a bit) If you want to put in the work they make wonderful dogs. I am just love love love the breed and how Aayla is turning out. Yet its been A LOT of work!

2. Painter “Wouldn’t Recommend for small kids” – As a Aussie owner and dont get me wrong I love my boys but, I would not recommend them for small kids. Especially since your freind is concerned about the herding and nipping. This is a natural instinct for Aussies. They are highly intelligent and are high energy for 3-4 yrs. They need to be involved in a job and if not they will find away to occupy their time. Also They are more responsive to just 1 person in a house which could cause problems, they may listen to you but not the child or a spouse. Now If they chose to get an Aussie I would recommend a 3-4 month old over the adult only because of the child, they would need to be raised together. An older dog would be more unpredictable. With all that being said I too would say a golden would be a better choice, they are more family orientated and calmer with children.

3. Dashdog “They can be taught to be good with kids” – I agree the herding breeds are not usually the best dogs for families with small kids as herding and nipping the kids can be issues.You can teach them not to do this but it does take ALOT of work even with a puppy as it is such a natural part of them. They also tend to have high prey drives so kids high pitched screams and shreiks can get them really going. I think they usually have way too much energy as I know Phoenix ( aussie) gets what I call the zoomies when she gets excited and she takes off racing at full speed and if a kid got in her way she would knock it right over.

Jazz border collie cattle dog mix did well with my young nephews but she was a puppy when I got her and I made sure she got to spend alot of time with them. She did herd them and nip them but they were 3 wild boys who actually had fun with her herding them. She did play rough with the youngest but because she has a very inhibited bite she never bit him but she would grab his clothing a yank him all over and she would force him to do things her way as she is very pushy and bossy with kids . The youngest was rather frightened of her at times.

Dash border collie springer on the other hand was a perfect dog with kids so there are exceptions. I think some of the larger breed dogs do well with kids like my parents dog Henry who was 100lbs of collieX malamute . He loved being with small kids and they could do anything to him and he never even growled. Some of the large breeds are just gentle giants.It seems most labs and Goldens are that way .

4. KareyBear “No nipping just herding no big deal” – I got an Australian Sheperd last year. Yes puppies do nip and try to herd you at the beginning but you need to train your dog not to do that. Since she was 6 months old she doesn’t nip anyone in this family. She sometime try to herd when a friend comes over. My australian is a gentle dog and very smart. This breed are easy to train because they get it quick. You just have to be very patient with in the first year since it is all new to you and the dog.My oldest daughter used to cry when the puppy nipped at her never broke a skin and we got a tip to use a soda can with rocks in it and shake and it would make her stop. The only problem I have is she jumps. I have a 6 month old infant and she is fantastic with her. The baby will pull her fur and she just licks the baby hands. She really tolerate it. Like I said I have the best family dog.

5. PineTreeLover “Not a fan of the breed” – My sister has an Aussie who is tempermental and growls at young kids and some adults for no apparent reason. He is a one man (or in this case, lady) dog and doesn’t listen well to others. He sulks around, seems restless and is generally not pleasant and secure acting.

This nutty creature was well trained and has 30 acres and half a dozen horses to herd all day long. He is not bored, untrained or mistreated – just nuts.

Obviously, I am not a fan of the breed – much better choices out there!

Conclusion

Whether or not Aussies are good with kids has mixed answers. As the personality of each individual dog is different, their behaviors with kids also differ. If you have a young child, then it can be risky to adopt this herding breed if you aren’t going to put the time in to correctly train them.

Australian Shepherds can be great playmates with kids. Make sure your kids are old enough and you have provided the necessary training to both, your kids as well as to your Aussie dog. Apart from this, supervising the play session between the Aussie and your child is also important.

At the time of this writing we have two Aussies and a Silver Lab that all get along pretty well and my daughter has learned the limitations of each dog. She did get nipped once, but has since learned that she cannot be as rough on the Aussies as she is on the lab especially since the Aussies are much older. Herding dogs in general aren’t back dogs for kids and can be funny to watch with a bunch of young kids running around and watching them heard them up.

We have had border collies, heelers, Aussies, among others and they between the collie and Aussie they are are about the same.

 

Tab Winner

Hello my name is Tab Winner. My wife and I have been around Australian shepherds for 20+ years and we definitely love them. We currently have a pair of Toy Aussies one is a Tri-color and the other is a blue merle that are both 10 and 11 years old.

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