Among other things, first-timers are quite worried about the exact breed that they should be getting.
Thankfully, I have had quite enough experience with dogs to easily tell whether a specific dog breed is good for first-time owners or not.
So, are Australian shepherds good for first-time owners?
No, they are not. They can’t tolerate loneliness, they have an outdoorsy nature, they are intelligent, highly energetic, always in need of grooming, they may have poor health because of inappropriate breeding, and they are diet conscious.
Why Shouldn’t You Get An Australian Shepherd As a First-timer?
There are some very sound reasons explaining why Australian Shepherd ownership isn’t a good idea.
Before jumping to the reasons why they are not good for you being a novice owner, let me give you a quick tip. Other than Australian Shepherds, there are some more dog breeds like Akitas, Alaskan Malamute, Bloodhounds, German Shepherds, Dalmatians, Rottweilers, Siberian Husky, Dobermans, Corgis, and Beagles that are not suitable for first-time owners.
1. They Can’t Tolerate Loneliness
Yeah, it is surely cute to have your dog needing you all the time and being all protective and stuff, but things are quite the opposite of it when you are new to adjusting to pet dogs.
You would not like your dog licking you and coming with you to the toilet and these are exactly the kind of things Australian Shepherds do.
You would like some space and time to yourself when you are keeping up with this hefty responsibility of training a dog and being a dog dad/mom all the time with no experience.
Your Australian friends would not let you have even a single hour to yourself. Eventually, you’d either end up disliking the idea of having a pet dog or would simply give your first-ever furry friend away.
So, better get a well-mannered and decent dog that can respect your privacy.
Later in life, you can get a clingy Shepherd if you want.
2. They Are More Outdoor Oriented
You can’t initially take your first-ever dog to a park and keep it in the street all the time. However, your Aussies wouldn’t like being indoors too much and would cause you a lot of trouble.
Their wanderlust is beyond imagination, at least for a dog, and at least for a first-time dog owner.
But we can’t blame them really. Guessing from their breeding motives, they were bred to herd sheep, not stay inside and cuddle on your sofa.
They can do that very much and are fond of it, but you get the idea.
Therefore, as a first-time dog owner, giving them the necessary mental stimulation may wear you off.
I remember an old client getting one of these dogs only to find out later that she couldn’t get along well with their outdoorsy nature.
She was a senior. She wanted a stay-home dog but nope, this shepherd won’t do any good.
3. Intelligent As Hell
Some dogs are just aloof to their owners. They don’t care whether they are receiving enough training or not.
But some dogs, like these Aussie Shepherds, know how to get their own way.
A single mistake in your training sessions with them could cause major mayhem in their behavior.
They could switch to their own single-mindedness, not caring about your cues or giving you the good ol’ recall.
As a first-time owner, that could push you to limits. You could essentially be caught in their trap.
4. Highly Energetic
I certainly don’t recommend this breed to a household full of kids. These dogs aren’t that big, I agree, but they could still knock your children off because of the sheer intensity with which they do stuff.
They run at full throttle, bump into things, which is essentially a dog thing, and try to wear off their energy in any way possible.
Even biting, nipping, or howling like it’s turning into a werewolf may manifest in the process.
That could put you in line for many complaints by your neighbors. So, watch out.
5. Not Easy To Pamper
Grooming is a major hassle with shepherds as a whole, let alone Australian Shepherds.
They have dual coats with the top one serving as a barrier to the environment while the bottom one keeps the dog insulated.
Their undercoats could get matted if not kept well and the top one sheds like crazy.
No matter what kinds of futuristic vacuum cleaners you have around your house, you’ll still find it super hard to cope up with flying hair.
Not to mention, the investment into their grooming kit may take a toll on your pocket as well.
I’d also like to go further and say that the dogs make sure that their coats aren’t well-cleaned.
They roll in the grass, play in puddles, and do all sorts of shepherd things that could potentially mean cleaning them twice a day.
6. Poor Health
Getting a dog for the first time may put you in an unprecedented hurry.
I’ve seen owners regret doing that later because they get puppies that have inherited loads of genetic diseases.
The Australian Shepherds are prone to hip dysplasia, nasal problems, and the most dog-dreaded disease – epilepsy.
Not caring for them well enough could lead to the manifestation of these diseases in an early stage.
You could even end up with a diseased poop all its life.
Yes, there are ways to avoid that.
One way is to adopt from a well-reputed rescue center (my favorite one).
The other ways include seeking out certified breeders who have a reputation for breeding true breeds or adopting from one of your friends or family members.
7. Diet Conscious
Many dogs have a hearty appetite that may cause hardships for first-time owners.
Filling their bowls with the right amount of food, measuring it in the first place, and being a victim to their puppy-dog eyes are some of them.
The Australian Shepherds could eat a whole cow if they are left to do so.
But be wise enough not to let that happen because these dogs can put up a weight quite easily.
While obese shepherds are a treat to watch overweightedness is certainly not good for the dog’s health.
They could end up in vet clinics after developing heart and lung diseases, not to mention the complications arising from the debilitating situation of bones under that weight.
Here’s a video to further the idea!
People Also Ask
Sharing some important questions that people normally ask about Australian Shepherds
Are Australian Shepherds the worst dogs?
Certainly not! None of the breeds is the worst. Australian Shepherds are loyal companions, intelligent enough to be trained as you wish, and adorable to the point of wanting to swallow them whole.
Yes, they could get unruly when the training isn’t up to the mark but that’s true for other breeds as well.
A well-behaved dog will not be a nuisance, remember.
What to know before you get an Aussie?
You should know whether you are fit enough to own a feisty dog with the intelligence that could outrun many of your commands. They need high mental and physical stimulation.
Their shedding levels are insane and thus, you have to groom them more often.
They could get playful to the level where they knock off your children or disturb neighbors up to the point of complaints raining down on you.
Can Australian Shepherds be left alone for 8 hours?
Aussies cannot tolerate loneliness for more than 4 hours. You have to desensitize them for that, even. Therefore, I don’t advise you to leave them for 8 hours. Otherwise, they may develop separation anxieties beyond your control.
Is An Australian Shepherd A Good First Dog? Wrapping Up
From the traits laid out above, it’s easy to guess that Aussies are not suited for first-time owners. They could give you a hard time and make you regret the decision of owning a dog.
At the same time, however, if you have access to viable and trustworthy training resources that could help you train the dog, I guarantee that your life will be better.