Having a puppy can be very demanding and as they get older it does get easier with potty training and other areas being solved like obedience and tricks. But Australian Shepherds do love attention and being active sometimes the best way to go about this is getting a good companion for the Aussie.
So what is a good companion dog for an Australian Shepherd?
The best companion dog for an Australian Shepherd is without a doubt another Australian Shepherd. Luckily they come in different colors and sizes. So if you are looking for a smaller dog you can get a toy or miniature Aussie. Four main colors are tri-color, blue merle, red and red merle.
A lot of people suggest waiting until your first dog is around 18 months to two years of age before getting a second dog. This is so the first is mature and trained so you can spend time working with the second puppy.
Other people suggest getting two pups at once so they can go through all stages and have a much easier life long bond. This isn’t a bad idea either except the initial amount of work you are going to have to put into training them until they are more mature.
We will be discussing these items along with male vs female and other companion dogs you should consider as well. We have gone out and done the research and gathered information from other Aussie owners so you don’t have too.
What Dog Breeds Get Along With Australian Shepherds?
We have gone through several different scenarios ourselves with having companions dogs or just our Australian Shepherd playing with other dogs in the family. These are dogs they have spent a lump sum of time with over the years.
- Labrador Retriever – this is our current situations with our two toy Australian Shepherds and they are doing for the most part pretty good considering our Gray Lab is still under a year old and ways over 60 lbs already. He is super active and can definitely keep up with the other Aussies so far. They do get annoyed and put the Lab in his place when need be.
- Heelers – Most heelers will get along great with Australian Shepherds as they love herding and working the farm. If you live in an apartment or don’t have room to move around this might not be the best case scenario.
- Golden Retriever – Golden Retrievers seem to get along well with most all dogs and that is no different with our Aussies. They are even tempered and will put up with a lot from other dogs. They probably won’t be able to keep up with your Aussie however.
- Jack Russells – this is one of the dogs we don’t have but our family owns a lot of. They do get along great with the smaller Aussies both our mini and toy sized and they are high strung just like Aussies.
- Border Collie – these are great dogs and can look similar to Aussies. We had a female border collie heeler mix that was great with all dogs including Australian shepherds. These are great farm dogs as well.
We love our Aussies and other companion dogs, but don’t take our word for it. We have gone out and curated information from real Australian Shepherd owners on what the best breed of dog is for a companion dog and if they actually need one.
The only thing we have changed is corrected some of the spelling and grammar where needed. Other then that all the answers have remained the same.
Here’s what owners have to say about companion dogs for their Aussies:
Real Owner Opinions
1. CrimsonGuardFred “Owner Of Two Aussies” – as an owner of two Aussies, i’ve got to agree with the other posters. Aussies are smart dogs, and smart dogs get bored if they don’t have
anything to do. and when they’re bored, they’re going to try and find something to entertain themselves.
that said, a second dog will provide some entrainment for the other dog. my two play together all the time and get some of their energy out that way. BUT A COMPANION WON’T SOLVE THE
BOREDOM ISSUE. it may alleviate it somewhat, but at the end of the day you’re going to have two bored dogs.
take your dog on walks, work on some training/agility, throw a frisbee (i highly recommend this. 15min of frisbee chasing is equivalent to a 45min walk for my two). you got yourself an Aussie –
one of the most intelligent, energetic breeds out there. until you solve your issues with your current dog, getting another is just going to add to it.
2. Becca723 “Loves her dog friends” – I had an Aussie when I moved in with my now fiancé. He had a German shepherd/rottie. We got a corgi rescue. My auss definitely runs the house. But I
think she’d be pupset without friends to do stuff with. But only on her terms. It went great when I first moved in though!
3. Court67 “Any herding breed” – I think any herding breed would be an excellent fit! If you’d like help with GSD lines and breeders, there are tons of GSD people here that I’m sure could
help you out!
I noticed that border collies aren’t on your list. Any particular reason? They’re definitely heralded as an impossible breed to own, with good reason, but if you’ve already got experience with an
Aussie, you’re looking for a sport dog, and want a dog that’s great off-leash, a BC might be a good fit.
4. Cpersall “Once you go Aussie that’s it” – Once you go aussie, how can you go anything but aussie? 😉
Tollers are kind of like the Aussies of the sporting breeds. I was actually surprised that I think there was about as many tollers as Aussies and BCs at our recent agility regionals. I don’t remember
that many last year. My friend with a 2yr old aussie is also on the waiting list for a toller for agility. If you want something other than an Aussie, that would be my top choice out of the ones you’re
interested in. /u/coyotestories has a lot of experience with tollers and could be a good source of info for you.
5. Skystar “Not a Doberman” – If you’re not looking for a dog that is prone to dog aggression DO NOT get a Doberman. They are very prone to same-sex aggression and dog aggression, but I
see SSA more often. Same with GSD with SSA. I’m not informed enough about the other breeds except Aussies to really recommend a breed, but it seems like another Aussie or ACD might be
best. Border Collie MIGHT be a good candidate, depending if you can handle their energy level. Spitz type dogs are fairly independent, so they won’t be the easiest to train.
6. Jeck17 “Icelandic Shepherd is a great fit” – We were the proud owners of an Icelandic Shepherd. Baxter was the perfect dog. High energy without being a pill, sweet to a fault, not an
aggressive bone in his body.
Baxter was my, then 10 year old son’s shadow. Always up for a swim in the pool, he loved climbing up into the “tree house”, a run in the woods or sleeping as my son did his homework.
Baxter was a very healthy dog. In his 15 years he only required annual check ups and vaccines. A voracious eater, watching his weight was my job. Low calorie treats and careful monitoring of his
meals kept his weight in check.
Baxter was very dog, cat and people friendly. He was sensitive and intuitive, he did his absolute best to do what you asked of him. Baxter possessed a zest for life that was difficult to ignore, he was
the perfect dog for our active family.
This pic is the only one I have, he was born in 1997, smart phones were not part of my lexicon at the time.
Just my two cents, for what it’s worth. Good luck in your search for you new canine companion!
7. Cpersall “Not until mature” – I do not recommend getting a 2nd dog until the 1st is mature, which is around age 2. Lots can change at maturity including tolerance of other dogs. You have
lots of training ahead of you yet. And puppy will pick up any bad habits from older dog.
My older aussie was 7 years when I added another. I think he was at a good age because he was well trained enough that I could put him on the back burner while I focused more on training the
puppy and he didnt suffer because of it. Since he was a mature adult, I knew exactly how he would be living with another dog. My dogs only play together for maybe 5-10 min out of a day, which is
pretty typical for adult dogs. They do not tire each other out. They do provide some company for each other, but since my puppy was crated while I was out, it didnt really matter anyway. They
still have one on one “dates” or training sessions, but now we do most things all together. But to start was a lot of one on one with puppy.
They are currently ages 10 and 3, and I would probably start to consider adding another dog when the younger one is about 5.
8. X3LilPiggies “Might make Aussie very hyper” – I have a year and a half old Aussie and two weeks ago I decided to add a 7 month old husky to our home in order to help her release some
energy.. Oh my ‘lanta my Aussie has never been so hyper before. She wears that poor husky out and can both out-run and out-jump him constantly. He hides in the bathroom just to get a little bit
of sleep. I don’t regret getting my husky but I wasnt prepared for the difference in energy levels. It is a lot of work to try to train to dogs who just want to wrestle and play. Just something to think
Deciding on what to get as far as a breed can be very tough then you have to decide on female and male which is a whole other set of circumstances. We always highly suggest you look at your local pound to get a dog that needs a home first then expand to local breeders and only out of state when absolutely needed.
Two Male Australian Shepherds
Having two male Aussies can work and they will keep each other busy. As long as one male is the dominant more alpha male and they other more laid back and passive they will succeed at being lifetime buddies.
But more then likely they will battle it out from time to time for position in the so called house pack. So you may have issues with marking territory among other things. This might not be the be case for the household but I have seen this succeed mostly with males of different ages.
They can work things out at first, but they things can also go haywire at any moment if either wants to change the pack order. They are also likely to fight more over toys and human affections.
My Aunt has always loved dobermans and had two male ones unfortunately I was caught between the dogs having a battle over that pack position and my face was torn badly. It did heal fully as I was young and it was all my fault why I got caught in the middle. But just keep this in mind when getting two male dogs.
Getting the males both fixed of course will help a bit with this situation as well.
Two Female Australian Shepherds
Two female instead of two male Aussies can be better or worse depending on who you ask. As long as you are getting fixed you will have less of an issue then if not fixed.
Just like with males you will get a pack order going and one of them may want to change that down the road. It may happen 6 months from now or 2 years from now. So keep that in mind for this.
Again getting them fixed will help keep both a little more laid back with each other and less aggressive with things like toys.
One Female and One Male Australian Shepherd
This is the best route you can take calculation wise. This goes for all breeds as they will not be fighting for rank as much and have a bit of different personalities and won’t clash as much. They also won’t be marking each others territory unless they are both very dominant then this might come up.
Do Australian Shepherds Do Well With Other Dogs?
Yes Australian Shepherds do great with most other dogs large and small. Especially at meetups like the dog park. Your Aussie will run around and keep up with any dog out there. And usually will outlast that dog as well which makes it a great fit for all dogs and multiple dogs at once.
The main scenario you may run into is if they dog is of the same sex they may not get along as well as if they are opposite sexes. This is just the case more most all breeds.
Do Australian Shepherds Need A Companion?
No Australian Shepherds definitely do not a need a companion outside of their owner or owners. You can definitely keep them more then busy with your attention and training. Australian Shepherds are very smart dogs that just want to be challenge. That challenge is both physical and mental so you can do one or the other or both at the same time.
Setup some agility courses for them or simply taking for long walks and they will love.
If you are looking too get a second dog for your Aussie the options are pretty much limitless. You can put the odds in your favor of them getting along by getting a dog of the opposite sex and another herding dog.
Doesn’t have to be another Aussie but why not. If you are looking for a smaller or bigger dog you can have your pick with the different sized Australian Shepherds including a toy, mini and regular sized.
We definitely recommend starting at your local ASPCA to adopt a dog in need if possible. Yes you can even find Australian Shepherds there at times, but be patient if you can. A lot of people will find a dog they love and that needs a new home now and take without even thinking about how that dog is going to get along with their current Aussie down the road.
If you have a male or female you should get a dog of the opposite sex as it will be less stress on one or the other in many ways. They are more likely to get along and one will most likely be dominant while the other is passive.
Good luck on your search.