There’s something extra special about bringing home a new dog, especially if you have kids that are eager to have a furry friend and playmate. However, if you do plan to add a dog to your family, there are always things you want to consider when you make your decision. Of course, one of the biggest deciding factors is how well your new potential pooch is with kids.
When it comes to Australian Shepherds, or Aussies as they are sometimes casually called, you likely can find a good match for your family. These pups are loyal and love to play, and this breed can make a great mate for older kids. If you have young children, it’s worth noting that this herding dog does have a tendency to let his natural instincts come out, and won’t hesitate to try and herd you kids by nipping at their heels.
All that being said, when it comes down to purchasing or adopting a dog, the best way to ensure you’ve found the one is to meet the actual pup that you will bring home. Every dog is unique with his own distinct personality, and the breed is only a broad suggestion of how a particular pooch will behave with children.
The Australian Shepherd: Family Dog and Companion
Australian Shepherds can be fantastic with kids, especially older kids, and there are many qualities that back up this statement. Still, as with many breeds, the more your Aussie is around kids, the better behaved he will be with children. It’s also important to address training and socialization early on to make sure your dog is comfortable and familiar with his environment and understands exactly what is expected of him.
If you’re thinking about adding an Australian Shepherd to your family, this pup can make a great member of your pack. Here are 6 reasons why an Australian Shepherd can be the best family dog:
- An Australian Shepherd is very loyal to his family.
- An Australian Shepherd loves to play and will make an excellent playmate for your kids, keeping up with them no matter how active they might be.
- An Australian Shepherd is very affectionate.
- An Australian Shepherd will look after your kids as members of the pack, letting their natural herding instincts kick into action.
- An Australian Shepherd is very intelligent and eager to please, making training a great way to bond and get your kids involved in the process.
- An Australian Shepherd is very tolerant, which is always a plus with curious kids.
Getting To Know the Australian Shepherd
An Aussie might have the temperament that’s right for a home with kids, but what about other important factors like size and exercise needs? It’s critical to look at the big picture with any dog that you are thinking about bringing home to your family.
For example, if your family tends to be laid-back and isn’t into doing a lot of physical activity, no matter how sweet an Aussie is, he won’t be a good match for you. This pup needs a lot of exercises or he can get pretty mischievous, so it’s always a good idea to look at every angle of your new potential pooch.
When you know the basics of the breed you are considering, you help safeguard you and your family from unexpected (and unpleasant) surprises down the road.
Here are some good-to-know facts about the energetic and sweet Australian Shepherd:
The Australian Shepherd stands roughly 18 to 23 inches tall and weighs between 40 and 65 pounds. As is common with most breeds, the females tend to be on the smaller end of these scales, so if you don’t want a very large breed you might want to opt for a female, although it is no guarantee that you’ll get a smaller pooch.
When trying to decide if you want to adopt a younger or older dog, it always helps to know the average lifespan of the breed. An Aussie lives to be between 12 and 15 years old, which meshes well if your kids are already around 4 or 5 years old.
This breed is pretty easy to take care of when it comes to grooming, needing only an occasional bath and regular brushings to get rid of loose hair. Of course, Aussies also love to spend a lot of time playing outdoors, so how many baths your pup needs will depend on how messy he gets during his playtimes. You also need to stay on top of regular dental care and nail trims and be prepared to brush your pup more frequently during the shedding season.
Overall, Australian Shepherds are healthy pups, and reputable breeders will screen their dogs for a number of issues including hip dysplasia, cataracts, and certain cancers. The National Breed Club recommends several exams and tests for this breed including hip, elbow, and eye evaluations. For more information regarding this breed’s health, you can check out the Official Breed Club Health Statement.
The Australian Shepherd needs an extreme amount of daily exercise, and ideally, would love a home with a large fenced-in yard that allows him to run and play frequently. This pup also enjoys accompanying his family on long hikes and any opportunity to work, like agility training, herding livestock (or your kids), or any number of other creative canine activities.
Use a leash early on to train your pup to stay by your side on walks and jogs, and provide him with a variety of interactive toys like the Rolly Cannoli to keep him occupied when you are not at home. The Aussie needs to be properly stimulated and have ample opportunities to be active or else he becomes unruly and can be hard to handle.
An Aussie is extremely smart and keen, and he needs to be thoroughly trained from very early in his life. Many of the times an Australian Shepherd ends up in a shelter or rescue situation, it is usually because his owner had trouble handling him due to improper training and socialization. However, if you put in the time and effort early on, then this pup can be a fantastic companion to you and your children. You can also teach him fun tricks that will help to keep him engaged as well as provide a wonderful way to bond.
Australian Shepherds and Kids
An Australian Shepherd can be a wonderful addition to your family unit, but it is of utmost importance that you are prepared to commit to the rigorous training program that will be needed. Make sure your kids understand how to interact appropriately with a dog, and also set clear expectations for your pup about how he must behave. It is also key to always follow through and be consistent. As with any breed, supervise young children with your pup and correct any issues as soon as they occur.Do you think you’re ready to bring an Australian Shepherd home with you? A great starting place is petfinder.com; you can find pups that meet specific sets of criteria from all over the country. If you think rescuing an Aussie is something you would be interested in, you can check out the National Australian Shepherd Rescue Groups to find a pup that is right for you. Check out the rest of our blogs for more helpful information and advice that can help you with your pets. The Neater Pets family wants you to have everything you need to be all that you can be for your furry friends.