Are Australian Shepherds Good Apartment Dogs?


I live in an apartment, and I want to get a dog. I really like the activity level of the Australian Shepherd as it fits my lifestyle because I am very outdoorsy.

I am not sure that this breed is the right breed for me, but I figured I would do a little research and see if I could uncover any details that point to one way or another.

Are Australian Shepherds Good Apartment Dogs?

Australian Shepherds are not good apartment dogs because they are highly active and do best with easy access to an outdoor space. An extremely active family that can take the Aussie out for adventures frequently may be able to keep an Aussie in an apartment, but that introduces new possible issues.

It is possible that an Aussie could make a good apartment dog, but this depends mainly on their pet parent and what their lifestyle is from day to day. 

Australian Shepherds adopted by active, athletic, and enthusiastic pet parents who love life and live it as much as they do may have no problem adapting to life in an apartment. 

They will need lots of outdoor adventures and a lot of diversity in activities which an active pet parent will naturally do. This can mean that life in an apartment will be a breeze where the Australian Shepherd is more than happy to relax, chew a few toys, and take a snooze when they are home. 

Some dogs also don’t do well in apartments because they need a lot of mental stimulation. The Australian Shepherd is one such dog that requires a lot of mental stimulation as well. This can be a double-edged sword in certain instances, depending on the apartment and neighborhood. 

Some Australian Shepherds might delight in the sights from a patio window, like a squirrel running by or a neighbor’s music playing in the background as entertainment while they go about their day. 

It is also possible that these situations may cause more stress than good because they can see or hear something outside their home environment but can’t thoroughly investigate it and satisfy their curiosity and zest for life. 

This breed can suffer from separation anxiety, and while apartments can provide neighbors close by and diversions in the form of outside sounds and sights, it is unlikely that will be enough for this breed to feel content. 

If a pet parent is active and lives in an apartment, they should be well prepared for issues that may arise if their Australian Shepherd has separation anxiety.

Regardless of breed, apartment life with a dog can come with its own set of challenges even when the landlord allows for a dog in the apartment. For pet parents who have a fur baby that is an Australian Shepherd or another outdoorsy, active dog breed, this can spell trouble.

Australian Shepherds are active dogs that like to work hard, play hard, and will likely have more energy than their pet parent does. 

For this reason, this breed is not usually a good choice for apartment life. A small living space or one that doesn’t have access to a backyard or outdoor area can spell serious trouble for pet parents who are not adequately prepared and active themselves.

This breed has tons of energy, which is naturally best expelled outdoors, whether at the park or a fenced backyard. If they don’t have a good outlet for their activity level, it can become problematic with them acting out and misbehaving to compensate for the stress this causes them.

Pet parents who are often jumping from one activity to another, whether for work or play, will naturally be better equipped to handle their lifestyle while living in a smaller space. This can make them better suited to handling an Australian Shepherd while calling an apartment their home. 

This might be the only case where the Australian Shepherd would thrive in this home environment.

If they are seniors or have health problems, they might not mind living in an apartment without a yard or outdoor space as they will be more restful and move slower.

For Australian Shepherd pet parents that have no choice and find themselves living in an apartment for whatever reason, being prepared is helpful. Providing plenty of activity in your pet’s day can tire the Australian Shepherd out and reduce problems.

For instance, a morning trip to a local park where they spend the day walking, tossing a frisbee, and sharing playtime is a good place to start.

After that, a ride to the hardware store and a visit to the lake for some water fun before returning home would be good. 

However, this is unlikely to tire the Australian Shepherd out completely, so carefully selected toys that stimulate their mind can make things easier when the pet parent needs a break and to sit at home in the apartment.

Eventually, more activity will be needed again later in the day or evening. As you can see, it would be likely that working a job with an Australian Shepherd in an apartment would spell trouble for most of us.

While apartment life can have its diversions that can provide interest and excitement for many dogs, the Australian Shepherd will probably become stressed because they cannot fully explore the sound they are hearing or what they are seeing.

Apartment living is also not usually a good fit for dogs that suffer from separation anxiety. Australian Shepherds suffer from separation anxiety, and this will likely become an issue if they are left alone to their own devices in a small apartment.

Another reason Australian Shepherds might not be a good choice for an apartment is the fact that they can bark a lot. Due to their breeding, they were used to herd livestock, and they did this in various ways, including loud barking.

The nature of apartment living has pet parents and their dogs living in close quarters to their neighbors, which can spell disaster for an Australian Shepherd owner. Their barking, if not properly managed, can be disruptive to those around them.

Training can help with this, but since this trait is breed-specific and ingrained in who they are as a dog, it may never completely go away. They might learn to only bark at certain times, like when the delivery person drops a package, but this cannot always be counted on to work and might make for poor friendships with others if it becomes a problem.

What If I Have To Move My Australian Shepherd Into An Apartment?

Making extra time to get your Aussie out of the apartment during the day. Enlist friends, neighbors, and pet sitting and walking services and set a schedule that your Aussie can get used to and rely on. Know that it’s going to be a difficult adjustment, so be prepared to make some tough choices.

Local sitters, neighbors who love dogs, and family with free time can be a great help for those who must live in an apartment with their Australian Shepherd. 

They can provide extra walks and outdoor adventures while helping the pet parent get some relief to do other things like work and rest.

While this isn’t always the best-case scenario for the Australian Shepherd, it can be a positive way to learn and adjust to a new lifestyle.

It can also be helpful to have a set schedule that the pet parent and Australian Shepherd stick to every day. 

For instance, grandma comes on Tuesdays to take the Australian Shepherd to her country house for the day, returning the dog after dinner for some reconnect time with their owner and snuggles before bed.

Suppose this option doesn’t work for whatever reason. 

In that case, it may be best to find another housing alternative for both pet parent and Australian Shepherd together, or for the Australian Shepherd at least temporarily until the pet parent’s lifestyle is better suited for having a dog.

This can be a challenging situation to handle. Therefore it is always best to be prepared in advance. 

For instance, if the pet parent finds that they must move, searching for alternative options that will keep them and their pet happy is always best.

Training helps dogs learn what is expected of them, but we, as pet parents, are responsible for doing the right thing for our dogs and meeting their needs. 

Physical activity and room to roam are vital to this dog breed’s health and well-being. Therefore it is a pet parent’s responsibility to ensure those needs are met.

When that happens, all things are possible, even living in an apartment for an Australian Shepherd that is active and energetic.

Australian Shepherds In Apartments

Apartment life is not for everyone, but in most cases, it is definitely not for the Australian Shepherd dog breed.

With an energetic personality that loves playing and working hard, this breed needs a place for that energy which an apartment doesn’t usually provide.

Schedules and a solid plan that take into account friends, family, and local communities’ businesses can be helpful. In some cases, this simple situation doesn’t work out. Therefore thoughtful planning is a must for everyone’s happiness, including your dog!

Ella Grey

Ella loves all pets, big and small. She has a passion for learning and sharing through the written word and has contributed to Embora Pets since 2018.

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