If you’re a first-time dog owner, you have so many fabulous breeds to choose from, but which is the right one? That all depends on your experience level. For example, maybe you had dogs growing up but not your own in adult life.
One of the most popular dog breeds right now is the Australian Shepherd, and yes, they are gorgeous. But are they the best match for your very first dog? Aussies have a very high energy level and require a strict training regimen, meaning that they acclimate better to active lifestyles and can be a handful for people that are new to dog ownership, especially if you don’t know the ins and outs of training a dog. Let’s go into more of what it means to bring an Australian Shepherd into your home so that you can decide whether it’s the best first time dog breed for you.
Australian Shepherd: What to Expect
Getting a new puppy can be such an exciting experience. Getting a dog that works best with your lifestyle is beneficial. Australian Shepherds are brilliant dogs with beautiful markings. It’s easy to spot an Aussie a mile away.
Perhaps you’ve had some awesome interactions with them, which has led to your curiosity and overall love for the breed.
Australian Shepherds are very fast-paced and incredibly intelligent dogs. Their energy levels are considered very high, and they are one of the most energetic breeds. If you pull up a list of the most on-the-go dogs, an Australian Shepherd is definitely going to come up in your search.
If you’re a person who lives for exercise and would love to have a jogging buddy, your Aussie will gladly accompany you on any run or hike. But if you prefer to live a more sedentary lifestyle, an Australian Shepherd can be too much to handle.
Australian Shepherds are incredibly intelligent dogs that will impress you every day with their thirst for knowledge. These dogs quickly pick up new training concepts, making them ideal candidates if you plan to do any advanced learning.
Even though Australian Shepherds have very high activity levels, this can easily be catered to appropriately with proper exercise. Ultimately, a healthy Australian Shepherd is one that has its physical and mental needs met.
Your Australian Shepherd will be plenty satisfied if they have tasks to accomplish.
On average, Australian Shepherds require approximately 2 hours of exercise per day. These dogs greatly benefit from professional training in obedience and agility. Often, these dogs will require extensive, strenuous activity to match their energy levels.
In addition to physical workouts, these dogs need to get enough mental stimulation. Playing games where they have to use their other senses is key to keeping all of their attention. The more focused and task-oriented interactions are, the more satisfied your Aussie will be.
On average, Australian Shepherds live between 12 and 13 years. These beautiful little dogs are generally very healthy, but some issues frequently pop up in the breed.
To ensure your dog lives a long and healthy life, diet, exercise, and routine vet care are of utmost importance.
Are Australian Shepherds Good with Children or Seniors?
Australian Shepherds are herders by instinct and can nip at small kids’ heels to keep them in line. A well-trained Australian Shepherd can work well alongside seniors and children. But these couplings require close supervision.
Australian shepherds can be incredibly challenging in puppyhood to calm correctly. Because of their vitality and unique quirks, it can be a stressful combination to have a very hyper jog around more vulnerable individuals.
However, a well-trained Australian Shepherd that has learned its manners and properly channeled its energy can pair very well with growing families.
Do Australian Shepherds Get Along with Other Pets?
Australian Shepherds can get along very well with other pets that match their activity level. These pups will match with high-energy breeds, loving to run, play, and chase. However, they might clash with slower-paced animals who’d prefer to relax.
Australian Shepherds can exhibit quite a high prey drive, making them questionable around cats and smaller pets. However, they can keep a barnyard in line with larger livestock. If you have chickens and other fowl on the farm, Aussies might want to turn them into a snack rather than protect them.
Do Australian Shepherds Do Well in Small Living Spaces?
Because of the physical requirements of an Australian Shepherd, they tend to fare poorly in small living spaces. These dogs prefer having lots of room to run around. If you are the family that is away for a significant part of the day, keeping your dog locked in a kennel, this breed is likely not for you.
If an Australian Shepherd does not have enough space to burn steam, they might exhibit destructive behaviors that can be hard to correct. Ensuring your Australian Shepherd gets the appropriate stimulation is key for successful companionship.
Do Australian Shepherds Need Formal Training?
In some cases, Australian Shepherds can be quite challenging to train. These brilliant dogs are known to outsmart their owners at every turn. As puppies, they can have very short attention spans and high energy levels, making focusing difficult.
If you find you’re having trouble training your newcomer, you can opt for professional help. There are several online classes where you can get training tips and guidance. There are also options to send your dog to a professional trainer for a set amount of time to get the ball rolling more quickly.
In any case, training is essential for both the owner and the dog. It teaches you how to interact with one another, creating a relationship of respect.
How to Get an Australian Shepherd
If you’ve decided that an Australian Shepherd sounds like a great first-time dog for you, it’s time to start puppy shopping. First, you will need to determine if you are going to get a puppy from a reputable breeder or adopt an adult from a shelter or rescue.
If you get a puppy, ensure both parents are fully accredited and the puppies come with health guarantees and previous vet exams. The last thing you will want is a sick puppy who can suffer from numerous health issues due to poor breeding.
If you adopt from a shelter, this cuts out a lot of the cost for you. All vetting, including deworming, parasite treatments, microchipping, and spay or neuter surgery will be complete before sending your new pal home. It’s a great way to give a wonderful dog a second chance at a better life.
If you have some canine experience, you could be a good owner, even if this is your first official dog. However, Aussies can pose some pretty challenging elements to owners, so we definitely wouldn’t say they’re the easiest breed to start with.
However, if you have a very active lifestyle, extensive patience, and willingness to train, the Australian Shepherd can be a fantastic choice for you. Contact reputable breeders if you think the Australian Shepherd sounds like a charming addition to your home.
Featured Image Credit: LightField Studios, Shutterstock