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Aussie Playing Ball

The Aussie Shepherd Breed: All You Need to Know

by Helen
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The Australian Shepherd, also known as an Aussie for short, is one of the most popular breeds in the United States.  Their endless energy and high intellect make them fun, entertaining, hardworking pets and service dogs.  Here is some information to help you decide if the Australian Shepherd is the right dog for you and your family to adopt or maybe your next pet.  The Aussie Dog is loyal, loving, active, and great with kids.

What is an American Shepherd vs Australian Shepherd?

The American Shepherd is typically larger and more muscular than the Australian Shepherd. American Shepherds can weigh up to 75 pounds and stand up to 23 inches tall, while Australian Shepherds usually weigh between 40-65 pounds and stand up to 23 inches tall.

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Aussie Shepherd Temperment

Australian Shepherds are good pets they are very good with children and tend to get along well with other pets. They have an easy-going temperament, which makes them great family pets and herding animals. I reiterate Australian Shepherds are very active, loving, fun, loyal, and energetic dogs.  If you are familiar with the breed or have ever been around an Aussie, you likely know they are recognized for their super high energy levels.  Since Aussies have such high energy levels, will they be good indoor dogs?

Yes, of course, an Aussie will make an excellent indoor pet!  Like most other working dogs, American Heelers, aka Blue Heelers, Catahoula, Border Collies, and Aussies and Mini Aussies, are active and love the outdoors.  But they are still best suited live indoors.  We recommend medium-large-sized homes with a yard and garden, but they can do okay in smaller homes, too.  Aussies will do fine in a smaller space if their daily needs are met,  loved, and healthy!  

Aussie Dog Characteristics

Typically Aussies have one brown eye and one blue eye, but my Aussie has two blue eyes.  There are red merle Aussies and blue merle Aussies.  Red merles are white and brown, while blue Aussies are black and white. Many people ask if Australian Shepherds are born with a tail.  The short answer is that around 20% of Aussies are born with a bobbed tail, and Australian Shepherds born with a long tail are often cut off after a few days old.  

Aussie Shepherd

Do Aussie Shepherds Like Living Indoors

Despite their working shepherd dog temperament, Aussie dogs are very loving.   Plus, they love to cuddle up on the sofa, sit on your lap or head, give kisses, and be part of the household and family life.  Further, they are incredibly friendly, family-orientated dogs, patient, and love kids, so they should live, play, eat, and sleep indoors in their Luxury Dog Bed or bed with their owners.

Australian Shepherds love to be in the mix in all aspects of family life; hence, try to include them wherever possible.  They are busybodies and happiest when they have a job or something to do.  Therefore, let them accompany you while you do daily chores and take them on long walks but be sure to use a no pull dog harness because Aussies are very excitable.  If you provide an Aussie with daily physical and mental activity, it can also live in an apartment.

Can Australian Shepherds Live Outdoors

Although Aussies like being outdoors, they are better suited for indoor living, like most companion pets.  Nowadays, many working Aussies live indoors.  Although Australian Shepherds can sleep outside when the conditions are right, they prefer to be indoors with their owners.   Addie, my Aussie, loves to be with us in the middle of the pack, even just laying her head on my foot.   She wouldn't do well outside alone or with other dogs, and she is very attached to us, especially me.   Since Addie loves to be in the middle of everything, we  nicknamed her “pick me.”

Is Australian Shepherd An Outside Dog

Remember that dogs that sleep outdoors should have appropriate shelter, a comfy dog bed, and always have access to clean drinking water.  Plus, they should be secure, unable to get out into the street; they should never sleep outside in temperatures above 68°F or below 45°F.  Aussies have a double coat and therefore get very warm quickly.

Even if your Aussie sleeps outside occasionally, no dog should live their whole life outdoors!  Dogs like wolves are pack animals and are happiest with their pack or families surrounding them.  The idea that Aussies are more content with their families applies to all sizes and types of Aussies (most dogs) – from Standard Australian Shepherds to Mini Aussies and tiny Toy Australian Shepherds.

Aussie Shepherd

Are Aussie Sheepdogs Hard To House Train

Australian Shepherds are an intelligent and trainable breed, and it's always best to start house training early.  They are so bright; they learn from other doggies in the home.  However, Aussies can be stubborn and intelligent.  Therefore, you must build a bond with them.  Spend lots of quality time with your Aussie to make them eager to please you!  If your Aussie has an accident, keep some green flushable dog doo bags handy, so you can pick it up and flush it down the toilet.  This way, you can easily get rid of the odor.

Aussie Puppy Needs

Aussie pups only a few weeks old tend to have to go to the toilet every hour or two, so begin with taking them outside every hour or about 15 minutes after eating.  Most dogs go out to poop right after eating.  This starts to decrease approximately by an hour every month until they reach 4-6 months old.  At that point, they should go 3-5 times daily. 

Start a routine, feed them, and take them outside around the same time daily.  If you have an enclosed backyard, you can invest in an electric doggie door it allows your pet convenient outdoor access.  Giving your pup easy outdoor access can provide some much-needed exercise.



Puppy Training, Be Consistent And Patient

When your pups go pee or poop, associative words you want them to learn and shower them with praise and maybe even a treat afterward.  My dog's keywords are “you wanna go potty” or “Outside.” They jump up and get very excited when they hear their keywords or phrase, even though they have an automatic electric dog door. 


Aussie Puppy Potty Training


Try investing in indoor pee pads for emergencies and when your pet tries to go potty indoors.  You must do your best to get them outside as quickly as possible.  But don't get upset if – and when your pup has an accident because they will have accidents.  If they have an accident, clean it up quickly and use a pee enzyme so they won't pee in that spot again.  That said, you can start using negative signals during early puppyhood, like the word “no,” which is a good idea to associate with “bad” behaviors. 


However, using the word alone will not work and will not work fast!  You consistently have to use it with a non-physical, non-threatening adverse association, like ignoring your pup, or crossing your arms, to let them know you are not happy with them.  Over time, they will understand and respond accordingly to the word. Although in the meantime, you will need to be patient and remember that they're still babies!

Australian Shepherd

Aussie Shepherds Boredom Indoors

Australian Shepherds can quickly get bored – but this isn't necessarily due to living indoors.  However, boredom can lead to separation anxiety and destructive behaviors, negatively affecting your home. 

Aussies get bored when underworked, and they may bark excessively and destroy furniture and soil in the home out of frustration.  They could even hurt themselves or, in extreme cases, be aggressive toward other dogs.  Intense, intelligent shepherd breeds like Aussies tend to form and cling to compulsive behaviors when stressed.  As an owner, you should do everything possible to prevent boredom with sufficient exercise and play.  

About My Aussie Dog Addie

While my Aussie Addie doesn't get aggressive with other dogs, she gets anxious and tears up my house shoes.  It is a behavior I didn't stop when she was a puppy, and I gave her a shoe she tore up as a toy thinking she would only chew it.  One way to help Addie with her separation anxiety is by giving her prescribed medication, Dog Safe CBD Oil, and CBD treats.  My first choice was only taking a holistic approach, but it wasn't enough for her.  Take the NuLeaf Naturals Product Finder Quiz to see what is best for your pet.

Does An Aussie Pet Dog Need Exercise?

Precisely how much exercise Australian Shepherds needs depends on their age and health.  Generally speaking, a healthy adult Aussie needs at least two hours of exercise daily– preferably closer to three!
Your Aussie's daily exercise should be split into two or three walks.  It's great to vary walks by going to different places and incorporating other things into them, like running, hiking, swimming, and playing fetch with balls and frisbees.  An Aussie Pet can help you live a healthier lifestyle.

It would be best to try to stop and interact with as many friendly strangers and dogs as possible.  As we mentioned, Aussies are social dogs and love meeting new people!

How Much Exercise Does A Aussie Shepherd Puppy Need

The general guideline for Aussie pups is that they need 5 minutes of exercise per month for their age.  For example, a 5-month-old Aussie would need 25 minutes of daily exercise.  This may not sound like a lot, but owners should avoid overexercising young pups, as it can cause irreversible damage to their developing bones.

Older Aussies should have their exercise routines made less intense with slower, shorter, but more frequent walks to keep joints active.  Vets will let you know when it is time to start slowing down at annual check-ups, and it's essential to follow this advice, as over-exercising can worsen deteriorating joints.

Aussie Playing Ball

Keeping Your Aussie Busy & Mentally Stimulated

As mentioned above, Australian Shepherds can become bored when they are underworked.  However, it's not just about walks.  Exercising the mind is just as important, if not more.  Brainy breeds like Aussies need their minds to be challenged and entertained regularly with fun games, tricks, and toys. 

Aussies love to play games that exercise their herding instincts, like fetch and chase, so incorporate them into your walks whenever possible.  Many owners even like setting up obstacle courses in their homes and gardens using household items to test those natural agility skills.

Toys For Aussie Pet

Toys are also a fab way to entertain and challenge your Aussie.  Why not try out some mentally stimulating interactive feeders, and treat dispensers?  Toys that stimulate the senses are also great, especially for pups.  We highly recommend the pet brand Outward Hound for its mentally stimulating dog toys.  For my Aussie, we must buy her toys she can't chew up and destroy; she is a heavy chewer.

Aussies Are Serious Shedders

Some it seems that my Aussie sheds twice a year, six months at a time.  Aussies are shedders; we brush, trim, and bathe our Aussie to help with shedding.  Plus, we have 2 Roombas and several Bissell vacuums for pet hair, including the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser, and we use dry mops to gather all the dog hair.

Final Thoughts

Australian Shepherds make fantastic family members and are great with kids.  They will only add to your household with proper training, exercises, fun, and games!  Your pet should always have a quiet place with a dog bed to go to when they feel overwhelmed, their safe place.

Aussies Have Many Jobs

Not only are Aussies known for being herding dogs, but Australian Shepherds also serve as Seeing Eye dogs, drug-sniffing dogs, hearing dogs, and search and rescue dogs.  Because of their extremely high intelligence, Aussies are well suited to live indoors and do various jobs.

 Read Next: 150 Modern, Minimalist & Farmhouse plus more Simple Living Room Ideas.

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