Are Australian Shepherds Good With Kids? [What Parents Need to Know]

Young kid sitting between and hugging two Australian Shepherds

Australian shepherds are an incredibly intelligent and high energy breed, well known for their shepherding skills as well as being obedience dog champions. Possessing boundless energy, while weighing in at 50-70 pounds it’s only natural to be worried that they might knock kids over. Are they safe around young children and what things does a parent need to know? Pondering such questions, I am drawing from my research and personal experience with this wonderful breed to find out the answers.

So, are Australian Shepherds good with kids? Australian shepherds can make great playmates for older children, who can fully appreciate their energy and intelligence. While Australian Shepherds love all kids, younger children could have difficulties with their high energy. It is important that the Australian Shepherd have lots of exercise and training so that they can be on their best behavior around the kids. In addition, children should also be taught how to behave around the dog.

With their high energy and tendency to herd, an Australian Shepherd could accidentally hurt younger kids by knocking them over. In addition, they may nip at the heels of running children in a playful manner, which could cause unfortunate accidents.

This may happen only occasionally but it is a good thing to be on guard against.

While your Australian Shepherd will likely get along great with kids, you should never leave them alone together unattended. This isn’t as important with older children but it is with young kids.

The most important thing is that you make sure that your Australian Shepherd receives obedience training and you should socialize them as much as possible. The younger you can start this the better. With training and socialization, the dog will be able to read the situation better and respond appropriately to kids.

Now, let’s take a closer look at this breed of dog and how they act around children. I will teach you some strategies for how to ensure they your Australian Shepherd and kids get along well. Be sure to read on!

Are Australian Shepherds Kid- Friendly?

Australian Shepherds are very family-oriented dogs and love to be around people of all ages including kids. A smart and energetic breed they will love playing with your kids all the time. With their high intelligence they can be trained to play many different games and to solve puzzles.

Older children could have lots of fun playing frisbee with these dogs and trying to see just how far their learning capabilities can be taken. Only to find that there is practically no limit to the things that Australian Shepherds can learn.

A friendly and obedient breed, they do however require lots of excersize both physically and mentally. Prone to boredom without stimulation, they can develop neurotic habits such as digging, chewing, and tail biting. You must give them a job, otherwise, they will pick their own job which you probably won’t like.

Teaching Your Kids How to Act Around Australian Shepherds

Most children adore dogs and they really want to run up to them and give them a hug.

Kids shouldn’t do this, however, especially if the dog doesn’t already know them. Even though Australian Shepherds usually love kids they can be wary around strangers. So children should be taught to not go up to a dog until their owner has properly introduced them.

Since kids can have a short attention span you should teach them this multiple times, until they can remember on their own. Unless your certain your children know how to behave around dogs, don’t leave them alone with a dog.

Kids like to be playful and want to run and will want the Australian Shepherd to join them in play.

Fortunately, Australian Shepherds make a very playful companion for kids. But you do need to be careful with small children as the dog may want to chase them and bite their heels.

Few breeds are a better family dog than these dogs, particularly if you’re looking for a dog that is very intelligent and can be taught tricks.

Here are a few basic rules that children should be taught when interacting with dogs.

Make sure they understand that every dog is different. Some are friends, while others are not, some dogs are even dangerous which is why they shouldn’t approach a dog they don’t know.

Teach your children that they shouldn’t bother the Australian Shepherd while their eating. Nor should they wake them up when they’re sleeping. Any dog aroused suddenly from slumber could lash out accidentally.

It would be a good idea to have your child join in on training the Australian Shepherd. That is if they’re old enough to have good discernment. This can be a lot of fun and will teach your kids important things about the dog. Such as their body language and habits.

Kids also need to know that any growling or baring of their teeth from a dog should be heeded as a clear warning to leave them alone. While an Australian Shepherd will rarely do this, it’s good for kids to understand the dog’s boundaries.

Are Australian Shepherds Dangerous to Kids?

When an Australian Shepherd is untrained they could easily pose a danger to kids. This is doubly so when the kids also don’t know how to behave properly around the dog.

It is usually accidental and rarely does the dog have any actual intention of harming the child.

For example, in the case of Australian Shepherds, they can have incredibly high energy levels. They also have a tendency to want to herd. These two things combined could easily lead them to knock down a child in play or to nip at their heels in an effort to herd them.

A bored Australian Shepherd could be immensely destructive without physical or mental stimulation. Most likely this will be focused on household items but without proper training, it could happen to the kids as well.

Luckily Australian Shepherds are very easy dogs to train. So if you give them training and make sure they have productive uses of their energy then your Australian Shepherd should get along with the kids fine.

Training Your Australian Shepherd for Kids

The best time to train an Australian Shepherd is when they’re young. You should start their training as soon as you get them though regardless of what their age is.

An untrained and poorly socialized Australian Shepherd is a true waste. As these dogs are so intelligent and without that training then they could develop tragic behavioral issues.

Unlike certain other breeds, Australian Shepherds can be a true pleasure to train due to their high intelligence and willingness to learn. You should try to specifically train them to be around kids. Even get the children involved with training them if they are old enough.

Here are a few particular things that you should train your Australian Shepherd to do around kids.

Teach them not to chase running children. This is probably the most dangerous aspect of these dogs around kids.

They should understand that a kid’s heel is not a toy, you should also train them not to jump on kids or adults for that matter.

Do these things and your kids and Australian Shepherd should quickly become the best of friends.

Things to Consider When Owning an Australian Shepherd and Having Kids

The first thing to consider when owning an Australian Shepherd and having kids is the high energy level of the dog. While they are medium-sized dogs weighing around 60 or so pounds, they can get easily excited and knock a small child over.

For this reason, Australian Shepherds are best for families that have older kids. Preferably big enough to stand their ground and not get easily bowled over.

The other thing to consider is that you shouldn’t leave your kids alone with the dog. Unless you know that they’re old enough and responsible enough to be able to handle the Australian Shepherd on their own.

Get your kids involved in training the Australian Shepherd and teaching them games to play. These dogs can become marvelous fetchers which can be an awesome game for kids to play.

If you can try to gauge what your dog’s parents are like. While not guaranteed the parents can give you a good idea of what your Australian Shepherd will be like personality-wise.

You should observe the interactions between your kids and your Australian Shepherd closely. This is the best way to know what kind of dynamics are at play. Then you can see where problems arise and respond accordingly.


Australian Shepherds were originally bred to be sheepherding dogs. Due to this, they have incredible intelligence and a capacity for learning. They are family-oriented dogs and love to spend time with and play with children. they shouldn’t be left in a yard as a lack of socialization and mental stimulation will lead to destructive habits.

With their high intelligence, an Australian Shepherd can compete in obedience trials as well as agility competitions. Very energetic they can make amazing playmates for older children who will appreciate their willingness to please and their cleverness.

Training and socialization is essential with this breed. As an untrained Australian shepherd may be prone to chasing and biting the heels of young kids. They can also get overly excited and knock a child over without meaning to.

You also need to make sure the kids behave properly around the dog. Australian Shepherds can get along great with kids but both of them need to be trained on how to be around each other. Kids should never pull the dogs tail, take away their food, or awaken them from a deep sleep.

Without giving your Australian Shepherd enough physical and mental stimulation can lead to them becoming bored and destructive. Chewing, digging and tail-chasing are just a few of the activities that a bored member of this breed might do. If you don’t give them a job then they will pick their own one. Which you won’t like.

If you train them well though an Australian Shepherd can make a great member of the family, an excellent playmate for the kids, and an all-around great dog.

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