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When I was a wee lad, I came across a stray puppy in a public park. 

Being scared, but also curious by nature, I decided to pet the little thing. After petting him for some time, my dad called me up. 

We had to go home. 

To my surprise, the puppy followed us to the car. I wanted to take him home, but my dad wouldn’t allow it. 

The memory of him following me, however, remained.

Fast forward to adulthood, and I am now a proud owner of an Australian Shepherd. They’re energetic, easy-going, natural people-pleasers, and loyal by their very nature.

But are Australian Shepherds good with kids

That’s a looming question within the Australian Shepherd community. Individuals looking to get the breed are often confused on this matter.

Being an owner myself, I get this question a lot. If you’ve asked this question, then this post is your definitive answer to that. 

The Australian Shepherd Dog: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Okay, so first and foremost, let’s get down to some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to the breed. 

Q: What’s the average height and weight of an Australian Shepherd? 

A: Refer to the following table: 

Height and Weight
Height (At Withers) Weight
Male: 28 to 32 inches Male: 50 and 65 pounds
Female: 25 to 29 inches Female: 40 to 55 pounds


Q: What are some distinctive physical features of Australian Shepherds?

A: Here is a shortlist:

  • Naturally floppy ears
  • Eyes vary based on genetics 
  • Natural herders 

 Q: Are Australian Shepherds Smart? 

A: A highly intelligent breed, Australian Shepherds understand their owners. You could say they’re natural people, pleasers. 

They’re natural herders, which means they know how to be protective. This behavior should give you the answer to the question, Are Australian shepherds good with kids?

Q: What’s the average life expectancy of an Australian shepherd?

A: The Australian shepherd’s life expectancy ranges from 12-to 13 years. 

Q: What are some common things to expect when owning an Australian Shepherd?

A: When owning the breed, be prepared for:  

  • Moderate exercise; less than 40 minutes/day. 
  • High energy levels, since the breed is famous for being energetic. 
  • Moderate drooling
  • They are low to moderate digging instinct 
  • Giving them a high amount of attention 

Q: Can you describe the coat of an Australian Shepherd? 

The dogs aren’t high-maintenance. Here’s a run-down:

  • Coat Length: Medium.
  • Colors: Black, red, blue merle, red merle, all with or without a tan, and with or without white
  • Overall Grooming Requirements: Moderate.

Word of warning: Don’t just brush them on grooming days. Take the time out of the week to brush their coat regularly. It’s a best practice in general which keeps your dog free from parasites. 

Common parasites: Fleas, ticks, lice, and termites. 

Q: What colors do Australian Shepherds come in?

A: The total number of Australian Shepherd colors is five. 

  1. Merle 
  2. Red Merle 
  3. Red Tricolor 
  4. Black Tricolor 
  5. Blue Merle 

But these were just the basic colors. There is so much variety when it comes to the Australian Shepherd. Here is a list of colors according to the American Kennel Club

  1. Solid Black Australian Shepherd
  2. Black Bicolor Australian Shepherd
  3. Black Tricolor Australian Shepherd
  4. Solid Red Australian Shepherd
  5. Red Bicolor Australian Shepherd
  6. Red Tri Australian Shepherd
  7. Blue Merle Australian Shepherd
  8. Blue Merle Bicolor Australian Shepherd
  9. Blue Merle Tricolor Australian Shepherd
  10. Red Merle Australian Shepherd
  11. Red Merle Bicolor Australian Shepherd
  12. Red Merle Tricolor Aussie Shepherd

As you can see, there is such a wide selection to choose from. 

Q: Personality-wise, are Australian Shepherds good with kids?

They’re active, energetic, and easy-going. Australian Shepherds are good with kids but can get the best of them with their energy. They’re easy to train, and flexible; which means you can align them to yourself. You won’t even have to work too hard since they’re natural “owner pleasers”.

Let’s talk about aggression. First off, how a dog behaves is accredited to how it’s raised. Taking care of your dog matters a lot in this discussion.

Being herder dogs, Australian Shepherds are protective of their owners and territory. However, this doesn’t equate to over-aggression. The most they’ll do is make you aware of a stranger’s presence.

The Australian Shepherd Dog’s Origin Story 

dogs and a kid

Let’s start with the name Australian Shepherd

The origins of Shepherd are simple. Like many other canine breeds, these dogs are excellent sheepherders. But what about the Australian part? 

There is no clear route to find out the origins of the Australian Shepherd. However, there are some interesting speculations about their origins. 

They Came From Spain: 

There are two parts to this theory. The first one is based on the name of the Australian Shepherd before it came to the United States. Mexican Shepherd, Spanish Shepherd, and the California Shepherd were some of the names given to the breed. 

The second part of the theory discussed how it originally came from Spain. The Spanish herders who brought it to North America during migration brought it via Australia. This explains how the breed eventually became an Aussie, mate!

They Originated On The American West Coast 

This theory disregards any migration. It states that the Australian Shepherd breed originated in the west coast of America. Breeders realized the herding potential of these dogs and started breeding them to be sent to farms and ranches. 

But what about the word “Australian”? 

Well, the shepherd may have been the breed of the dog, but the Australian was the imported Australian sheep these dogs herded. So yes, Australian Shepherds. 

Similarity To Australian Dog Breeds 

The simplest theory about the Australian Shepherd’s origins is that it looks a lot like Australian breeds. Compare it with the Australian Cattle dog, and you have a similarity. 

Do you want my opinion? It’s a pretty dependable breed, regardless of where it came from. Period. 

Are Australian Shepherds Aggressive?


To reiterate, this dog is a loving dog whose glee and energy can rub off on you. In any normal case, they’re pretty happy, easy-going, and flexible. Only in certain cases (i.e. stranger danger) do they exhibit some form of aggression

What about kids? Are Australian Shepherds good with kids

They are loving and caring to the core, but there are certain things you need to consider: 

  • The Australian Shepherd is a herder dog, which means they can get bossy. 
  • If not supervised, they can start to herd your children as well. 
  • It’s a high-energy dog, so your children can tire out.
  • The herder instinct might make it seem stubborn and scary to your children. 

Supervision. That’s the keyword here. You need to look out for signs that show when the dog’s herding instinct is kicking in, and then act accordingly. 

Don’t like my word for it? This Subreddit discourse of Australian Shepherd owners is enough to give you an idea of what to expect. It’s truly a goldmine of information. 

Here are some highlights: 

“The biggest thing to consider with Aussies is that they need mental stimulation, not just a walk or run. They need to work their little brains. Because of this, they do best in a home that is interested in dog sports (agility, obedience, etc) or at least some kind of more advanced ongoing training. Even trick training is great.”

“Energy-wise, the first year was rough. 4-6 months was a handful and a half. She is almost 3 now and pretty easy now, but we have spent a LOT of time working on her “off switch”.”

Such a quick learner. She had 2 pee accidents total when we got her at 9 weeks, but never an issue since. She somehow learned “leave it” unintentionally. She is very redirectable and motivated. Her recall is better than our labs at this point. She loves household tasks and is eager to help. You can tell she wants to please.”

“My pup had pretty high energy throughout his first year and at about 1 year old he calmed down a lot. Now he’s able to sleep in with me and patiently wait for me to wake up, he sleeps for most of the day, and if he’s getting playful I can just spend ~15min playing with him or doing some sort of mental exercise and he’ll go back to sleep for a while.”

Training Your Australian Shepherd To Be Good With Kids

Still not convinced? These five training tips might give you the answer to the question, “Are Australian Shepherds good with kids?”

Post Workout Training 

If you’ve been following me till now, you’d know how amped up these dogs can get. They’re pretty good workout buddies since their energy seems never-ending. 

For adults, and fitness freaks, this might be good, but for children, not so much. In their tryst of hyperactivity, they might end up hurting children.

If not that, then this energy can scare some children away. All of this is no fault of the dog since that’s how nature built them out to be. 

The solution to this hyperactive nature is simple. Their exercise time is less than 40 minutes. Go for the full 40 minutes of exercise so your dog can get most of its energy out of its system. Introduce them to your children afterward. The dog will already be spent and will engage with kids in a calmer fashion. 

Socialization Training

The more exposure to children the better. The Australian Shepherd is pretty flexible and can adjust easily to your preferences. The quicker you introduce children of various ages into the dog’s life, the better it adjusts.

Let the dog play with children as often as possible. During that time though, you need to look out for signs of the herding mentality kicking in. 

Supervision is essential, both during and after socialization training. If left to its own devices, the herding mentality might just make your Australian shepherd overreact. 

Get Your Kids Up To Speed 

There is a power dynamic to owning a dog. The dog needs to know who the owners are. For adults, establishing that dynamic is easy, but kids need to learn that as well. 

You kids must understand the kind of dog breed you’ve brought into the house. Take some time to give them the run-down of what to expect. 

This leaves little room for surprises. If the dog starts to act upon natural impulses, your children will know how to assert dominance by saying “NO”. 

If the kids get scared of him and start running away, then it just ruins the power dynamic and can lead to the dog reinforcing its herding mindset next time. 

Australian Shepherds are pretty smart and know when the owner is displeased with their attitude. They’ll quickly understand who the boss is. 

The “Leave It” Command Training

Similar to the previous tip, training your dog to “leave it” also establishes your dominance. Australian shepherds are quick learners. They’ll quickly learn to leave something when they hear their owner express the command. Here’s how you can train them:

  • Put their favorite treat in an enclosed case or box 
  • Tempted, they’ll try to reach out for it
  • They’ll fail to get the treat. When they do, you have to give them positive reinforcement.
  • Take the treat in your hand, and get your dog to notice it.
  • When it does, say “Leave It” and wait till they stop looking at it.
  • When they’ve given up, give them the treat as positive reinforcement.

The more you train their mind to “leave things” as they are, the quicker they learn. With that training, you won’t be asking the question, “Are Australian shepherds good with kids?” They’ll be fully trained to leave things when you say “leave it”.

Buy A Dog After Your Kids Turn A Certain Age 

There is a certain age when kids should be introduced to dogs. 

While younger children might not face too much of an issue dealing with them, you can’t say the same for toddlers and babies. Exposing the dog to children so young can go both ways. 

With a hyperactive dog like the Australian shepherd, you could put your children in harm’s way. The opposite also holds true if you introduce a puppy Aussie to young children. 

Not knowing how to respect the dog, they might end up bullying it, which can be a traumatic experience for the canine. It goes both ways. 

If you fear that your children aren’t old enough to be exposed to a dog, then the ideal scenario would be to wait for some time. 

Pros and Cons Of Owning An Australian Shepherd


  • Personality: They’re personable dogs that can adapt well to family systems even with their high energy. All you have to do is train them well, and your Australian Shepherd will adapt. 
  • Training: They’re easy to train and with the right trainer, your dog can learn all sorts of tasks and tricks. 
  • Loyalty: Being herder dogs, Australian Shepherds come with a protective side. While it may border on the overprotective oftentimes, with the right socialization, your dog can learn to be a lot calmer. 
  • Climate Adaptable: Aussies come with the right amount of fur coats, making them adjust to all sorts of climates. For regions with climate variances, these dogs are perfect. 
  • Manageable size: Weighing 40-65 lbs., and reaching a maximum withers height of 23 inches, these dogs are quite manageable for families. They can fit in your car with ease. 


  • High energy levels: Australian shepherds are herder dogs, which means their energy levels are more than that of regular dogs. Exercise is important for this canine because if left to its own devices, it can get boring and cause a ruckus indoors. It’s also a great solution that calms them down.
  • Shedding: The dog isn’t too high maintenance per se, but you have to take care of its fur since Australian Shepherds do shed a lot of furs. Don’t just limit the brushing to grooming days. Instead, take the time out each week to brush their fur thoroughly. In addition to that, make sure that you’re giving them frequent baths. 
  • Eye Problems: Stay in touch with your veterinarian for regular eye check-ups since Australian shepherds are genetically predisposed to serious eye diseases. This doesn’t mean that it will happen. I’m writing this to mentally prepare you for the event if it does happen. 
  • Hip Socket Dysplasia: Another problem these dogs face is a genetic issue at the hip socket. This is common in Australian Shepherds. If left unchecked, it can cause arthritis which might require surgery. When deciding to own the dog, you must ensure that the breeder provides you with all the medical information related to the dog.

Final Words

Australian Shepherds are known to be loving and friendly dogs. Though they can get amped up due to their high-energy levels, it doesn’t mean they’re aggressive.

Australian Shepherds are good with kids, and when exercised and managed properly, they can prove wonderful companions.