Are Australian Shepherds Aggressive? (Truth from an aussie owner)

If you’re thinking about adopting an Australian shepherd as a pet it’s important to know what their aggression is like as a breed. Some Australian Shepherds may be more aggressive than others, but on the whole, they are not an aggressive breed. Under certain circumstances any dog can be aggressive but it’s rare to see an Australian shepherd act openly aggressive.

So no, Australian shepherds are not usually aggressive. They do however have lots of energy and can give off an anxious, nervous, or hyper mood which may seem like some sort of aggression but is not. They are working dogs after all and herding is one of their normal jobs.


Are They Aggressive Towards Humans?

Generally, no. They are not an aggressive breed and most Australian shepherds get along great with people. They especially want to please the ones they are close to and most of all their parents.

Food aggression or being uncomfortable would be that main reason an aussie might become aggressive around humans. However, they can be trained to reduce this aggression.

It’s also important to socialize your dog properly, especially when young. If not socialized they can become impatient or stubborn and react to certain things aggressively.


Aggressive Towards Babies or Toddlers?

This really depends on the individual dog. Are they good with children? Most aussies are but some may not have been socialized properly or may have too much energy around the kids.

It’s important you always keep an eye on your aussie when they’re around a baby. Babies don’t know how to interact with dogs. Aussies may feel uncomfortable around a baby or may accidentally scare them. Aussies are not dangerous but it’s best to be cautious.

Aussies are usually great with toddlers and young kids. They both have lots of energy and can have a lot of fun playing together. However, sometimes aussies will try to herd toddlers and young children. It’s in their nature, especially if the children are smaller than them. It’s possible to train your aussie to minimize this behavior but you’ll want to watch them while playing.

The best thing you can do is to introduce your baby or toddler to the dog slowly and make sure that the dog is comfortable with the situation. If you have any concerns, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and consult with a professional trainer or behaviorist.


Are Australian Shepherds Protective?

Yes, they can be. Aussies are loyal dogs and will protect their family if they feel they are in danger. They are also territorial so may bark at strangers or other animals that come into their space.

Australian Shepherds are protective of their families. They may even seem possessive of you at times. Aussies can show signs of aggression (like barking, growling, and/or herding) while being protective of their owner and families but protective and aggressive are different behaviors.

Remember Aussies were bred to protect their owner’s livestock, and similarly, aussies feel the need to protect their humans. Not to mention the fact that aussies get deeply connected with their owners and families so that will also be another reason they want to protect their loved ones.


Are Australian Shepherds Good Guard Dogs?

Yes, it’s possible that aussies can be good guard dogs. Aussies will bark to alert their family of any strangers or other animals that come close to their home. They are territorial so they want to protect their space. And as we mentioned before, they are also bred to be protective of their owner’s livestock.

However, since aussies aren’t that aggressive typically and don’t have much physical power (they have some) they are much better off as watch dogs instead of guard dogs. If you’re looking for a guard dog, you’re better off getting a German shepherd or other bigger, more aggressive dogs that are intimidating and have more physical power.


What Causes Australian Shepherds To Be Aggressive?

There are a number of reasons that may cause an aussie to become aggressive. It could be something as simple as being overstimulated or not socialized properly when they were younger. It’s important to look for triggers or things that may cause aussies to be aggressive.


Improper Socialization

One of the main reasons aussies may become aggressive is due to improper socialization. Socialization is key for any dog, but especially for aussies. Aussies need to be properly socialized when they’re young so they know how to interact with other people and animals. Without proper socialization, aussies may become uncomfortable or reactive to other people or animals.


Herding Instinct

Another reason aussies may become aggressive is due to their natural herding instinct. Aussies were bred to herd livestock so it’s in their nature. Sometimes this herding instinct can manifest in aggression especially if the dog is not trained properly.


Lack of Exercise

Another possible reason for aggression is lack of exercise. Aussies are high energy dogs and need a lot of exercise to stay happy and healthy. If they don’t get enough exercise, they may become restless, anxious, and sometimes aggressive. If you aussie doesn’t get close to 60 minutes of exercise a day, it could be a reason they may show aggression.


Pain, Illness, or Injury

Sometimes aggression in aussies may be due to pain, illness, or injury. If your dog is in pain, they may become aggressive when touched or handled. It’s important to take them to the vet to rule out any possible medical conditions.


Fear, Stress, or Anxiety

Fear, stress, and anxiety can also lead to aggression in aussies. If your dog is fearful of something or someone, they may become aggressive as a way to protect themselves. Stress and anxiety can also trigger aggression. If your aussie is stressed or anxious, it’s important to find ways to help them relax and feel comfortable.

Changes within their home or schedule can cause severe anxiety in an Aussie, causing them to act out in unexpected ways. Some of the most common causes of stress-related aggression include new pets in the home, the sudden disappearance of an owner, severe separation anxiety, new people in the home, and any other drastic shift in a dog’s life.


How Do I Stop or Prevent Aggression in Australian Shepherds

Australian Shepherds are usually friendly dogs, but it is best to know what triggers their aggression and how to deal with it. Here are some of the most effective ways to help our Aussies whenever they become aggressive or show signs of aggression.

  • Socialize them. It’s important to expose your aussie to as many people, animals, and situations as possible when they’re young. This will help them become comfortable and confident in new situations.
  • Exercise. It’s also important to provide plenty of exercise for your aussie. Aussies are high energy dogs and need a lot of exercise to stay happy and healthy.
  • Training. Training is also important for helping your aussie understand what is expected of them. Training can help with obedience, manners, and any behavioral issues.
  • Keep Boundaries with them. Aussies are herding dogs and may try to herd people or other animals. It’s important to keep boundaries with them and not allow them to become too pushy or aggressive.


Frequently Asked Questions

Do Australian Shepherds like to bite?

Typically no they don’t. The main reason for them biting or nipping is related to their herding instinct. They generally want to herd animals in certain directions. It may also be prey driven although this is very rare.

Are Australian Shepherds dominant?

Yes, they typically have a dominant personality. Especially around other animals, they will want to be the alpha. It also happens with their owners, they will push boundaries and act out. It will take some work to fill the role of being an alpha to an aussie.

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