For many people, adopting a dog isn’t just about having a loyal companion and a pet to curl up with on the couch when watching Netflix. It’s also about having a dog around that helps your family feel protected.
If you’re looking for a sweet, loyal, yet protective dog, then you might be considering the Australian Shepherd.
In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about this breed and whether this breed will make a good protective dog for your family.
Are Australian Shepherds Protective?
Australian Shepherds are protective of their immediate family and property. In fact, outsiders may cause your Aussie to be guarded and cautious, especially if your pet isn’t socialized properly as a puppy, and they can become aggressive if feels his owner is threatened.
Will My Australian Shepherd Protect Me Without Training?
The Australian Shepherd breed is naturally a protective dog. He comes from herding stock, so being protective is genetic.
While most Australian Shepherds will be somewhat protective without training, it is also easy for this breed to move into aggression if not properly trained.
There are many different reasons this breed can become aggressive instead of protective, so it’s best to get your Australian Shepherd the proper training early on in their life.
As with any breed of dog, you need to start socializing and training your dog at an early age so that they will be comfortable around strangers and even other dogs.
It’s recommended that you start socializing and training an Australian Shepherd at around eight weeks of age once they have received all of their vaccinations. Luckily, this breed is easy-going and easy to train, so you shouldn’t have much of a problem.
Are All Australian Shepherds Protective?
Yes, Australian Shepherds are generally protective. This is one of the reasons that Aussies make good watchdogs.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, most Aussies were bred to work on farms, herding livestock back into corrals. They were fearless and stood up to everything from bears to packs of wolves!
Though most are family pets now, they still have that herding instinct, which makes them want to protect whatever they consider theirs.
At What Age Do Australian Shepherds Start Guarding?
Australian Shepherds generally start guarding at around six months old.
Guarding is where your dog will act in a manner intended to keep someone or something away from something they care about. Often times this is exhibited by lunging, growling, and potentially snapping at the perceived threat.
5 Signs Your Australian Shepherd Is Protective
As with any other breed, there are signs to watch for to determine if your Australian Shepherd is protective and will protect you if the need arises.
We’ll list a few of the signs to watch out for below.
1. Natural Protective Instincts
Some dogs have more natural protective instincts than others. Given that the Australian Shepherd was bred for herding, they have a natural protective instinct over what they consider to be theirs. This includes you!
2. Placing Themself Between You and the Perceived Threat
Another sign your Aussie is protective is if they place themself between you and a perceived threat. This instinct can also be traced back to their beginnings where they herded livestock away from danger and into a corral.
Placing their body between you and a threat is their way of trying to herd you away from danger.
Growling is a common sign that your dog is trying to protect you. The growl not only warns you of impending danger, but it’s also a warning to the threat to back away.
4. Going on High Alert
If your Australian Shepherd feeds that a threat is coming your way, they will go on high alert. This means that your dog will keep their focus on the area where he feels the threat is coming from, their ears may be more alert, and fur may stand up on their back.
Barking is our dog’s way of communicating with us. Although dogs can bark for many reasons, one of the reasons they bark is to alert us to potential threats. If your dog is barking it is always good to pay attention because they could be trying to warn you of something they think is dangerous.
Australian Shepherds are protective of their owners because of their herding instincts. However, though they will protect you and your family and make excellent watchdogs, they aren’t recommended as guard dogs due to their loving friendliness. If you want a guard dog, it’s best to go with another breed.
However, if you want a protector that’s a great family pet as well, then the Australian Shepherd could be the right choice for you.