Are Australian Shepherds Good Guard Dogs?


I need a guard dog because of where I live. I happen to like the way the Australian Shepherd looks, but I don’t know much about them and if they might make a good guard dog for me.

With this need in mind, I did a little investigating this morning and found out some information that will help me. Hopefully, it will help someone else as well.

Are Australian Shepherds Good Guard Dogs?

Yes, Australian Shepherds are good guard dogs because, as a herding breed, they instinctually guard and protect those they consider family or part of their pack. They are typically wary of strangers, which is perfect for protecting and guarding. 

They are not aggressive by nature which might be necessary for a guard dog to protect their family in certain situations effectively. 

However, due to their herding background, they can be a bit bossy and might keep everyone in line. How this will play out in an aggressive situation where they need to guard or protect depends on the dog. 

They are generally friendly and good-natured without the aggressiveness of some dogs that were bred to protect. 

Still, since they are very protective of their loved ones, their reaction in an aggressive situation might go either way. They bond very closely with their human “pack,” and they will likely do what is needed to protect them. 

Their instincts, nature, and breed background make them excellent guard dogs, but training might be necessary for them to become the best guard dog they can be. 

This type of training prepares them for protecting their family if the need arises and should be easy to do with a qualified, professional trainer since they are intelligent and quick learners. 

Their physical traits make them an excellent watchdog too. While they are not the biggest dog on the block, they are solidly built medium-sized dogs that can hold their own. They have a lean body build and great strength, which add to their abilities as guard dogs.

Australian Shepherds are a surprisingly delightful dog breed. A mixture of energy, good looks, and strength has a lot to offer the right individual or family.

Historically bred to work and herd, they are versatile in the occupations they can occupy. 

From working as stunt dogs to working on ranches and holding other various positions, they are good as guard dogs. This is due to their breed background. 

As herding and working dogs, they have an innate nature and instincts that will have them protecting those they love.

Their instincts make them reserved and somewhat wary of strangers that aren’t a part of their human “pack.” Australian Shepherds are not usually aggressive as they have a happy-go-lucky, friendly nature, but that doesn’t mean they won’t bite someone when needed. 

They can be bossy at times, which is part of being a herding dog and vital to keeping whomever they are herding correctly in line and where they should be.

How these traits might play out in a hostile or harmful situation depends on the individual dog. While they might not be the first choice as a guard dog, like certain other dogs that have more aggressive tendencies, the Australian Shepherd should not be underestimated.

The love and bond that they share with their human family run deep. This will have them being fiercely protective of those they love, and if needed, might bring out the aggressiveness within based on that love.

Further training might be necessary if they are to be the best guard dog they can be. From as early on as possible, they should be trained by a professional who is qualified to train guard dogs. 

Thankfully, since they are intelligent and quick to learn new things due to their eagerness teaching them should be a breeze. 

When it comes to a guard dog, most people think size and appearance matter, and truthfully sometimes it does. However, one should not underestimate a deeply loving dog that is smaller who will do anything to protect its loved ones.

The Australian Shepherd is a medium-sized dog, but they have a strong, lean, and muscular body that makes them excellent for work and protection.

Why Does Being A Shepherd Making Aussies Good Guard Dogs?

To be a good herding dog requires certain instincts and attributes as well as a specific nature. It involves strength not only of body but mind and heart. Herding instills courage, intelligence, independent decision-making, and the confidence to make judgment calls, all necessary in a guard dog too.

When an Australian Shepherd herds livestock, they are required to keep a watchful eye on them, make sure they go where they need to go and keep them in line if they don’t do that. 

They also must protect that livestock to a certain degree. This can include warning their human “pack” of strangers or intruders in the area, which would likely mean wolves or bears.

While they are not aggressive by nature, they were bred to herd, and it is as much a part of who they are as their fur color and the sound of their barking voice.

They think on their feet because they have to pay attention to what the herd is doing and how they need to respond. This often means adapting to new situations and learning quickly.

This level of intelligence is combined with their heart as they share a close connection with those they care for, be it the herd they are tending or their human companions. 

Therefore herding provides diverse situations where they must adapt and a deep connection with the humans around them.

Herding also requires great endurance, strength, and physical abilities to deal with livestock that refuse to cooperate. When all this is combined, it makes for one well-rounded, capable, muscular dog. Which is what all working dogs are due to their breeding. 

On top of that, they are naturally wary of strangers, which most guard or protective dogs are anyway, which adds to their capabilities.

How this all relates to guarding and protecting those they love is easy, their herding background gives them the intelligence, physical abilities, and instincts to perform the tasks, a reserved mindset to be cautious of those they don’t know, and a heartfelt connection that drives it.

While some dog breeds are expressly bred for protection, some dog breeds do it from a detached heart, it is their job, and they do it well. 

Australian Shepherds have the spirit that comes from a strong connection with their loved ones that drives it, which can possibly make them even more relentless in a hostile situation that involved their loved ones.

This breed has all the right qualities for protecting those they love that are driven from all their qualities, but most of all from their loving heart.

What Special Training Will My Australian Shepherd Guard Dog Need?

If you want your Australian Shepherd to be a guard dog, they should receive training either from their committed and knowledgeable pet parent or from a trained, professional dog trainer. How much training they receive and what precisely will depend on duties your Aussie will take on.

While teaching a dog simple commands like “sit” and “stay” can effectively be taught by their loving pet parents, more in-depth training is sometimes better received when done by a professional.

The Australian Shepherd is an intelligent dog breed that will learn quickly. Still, depending on the unique family situation, professional training might be a good idea if they want a genuinely effective guard and protection dog.

Australian Shepherds tend to bark as a warning. This is instinctual and can easily be increased with words of praise and treats for when it is done right. 

That being said, training a dog to be an effective guard or protection dog requires more than the basics, like barking at strangers or intruders.

The Australian Shepherd has the instincts that make them good at what they do; training will teach them to act on their own instincts inappropriate situations for guarding and protecting. 

Professional trainers have experience managing and training dogs to be good at this task, and while some dogs are bred to do this, they learn early through training.

Obedience training and specialized training are always essential for any dog, regardless of breed, background, or what occupation or lifestyle they will have. 

Obedience training instills in them what is expected of them in diverse situations. The pet parent or family can teach obedience training, but professional trainers can be an option too.

Australian Shepherd Guard Dogs

A guard dog will have an Australian Shepherd guarding or protecting something, be it possessions like a house or their loving family.

While they have all the abilities to do so, training is necessary to enhance their strengths further while teaching them a few new things.

In truth, under the right circumstances, any dog could likely make a good guard dog, but some are better than others. The Australian Shepherd has all the right abilities due to their breed background, making for one special 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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