| Pet Care Advice By Veterinarians |

Are Australian Shepherds High-Maintenance? (Answered!)



Reviewed By: Dr. Joel Robertson

Learn more about us.

Are you looking to adopt an Australian Shepherd but wonder whether they are high-maintenance dogs or not? I have cleared my afternoon and sat down on my laptop to do research. What I found out was very interesting.

The Australian Shepherd is definitely a high-maintenance dog breed. In fact, many sources consider the Aussie one of the highest-maintenance dog breeds there are.

Even though the Aussie is very favored, being the 13th most popular dog in America, owning a dog of this breed can be tricky and extremely time-consuming.

Key Takeaway

  • Australian Shepherds are considered high-maintenance due to their energetic nature, need for mental and physical stimulation, regular grooming needs, and potential health issues.
  • While Australian Shepherds are intelligent and active dogs, their high energy levels and need for an experienced leader often make them a challenging choice for first-time dog owners.

Are Australian Shepherds High-Maintenance?

Are Australian Shepherds High-Maintenance

Yes, Australian Shepherds are high-maintenance dogs. Australian Shepherds are intelligent and energetic dogs that were originally bred for herding livestock. They are still used for this purpose today, but they also make great family pets. Aussies are loving and loyal companions, but they require a lot of exercise and attention.

If you’re thinking of adding an Aussie to your family, be prepared to provide plenty of love and attention – these dogs are high-maintenance! Australian Shepherds are the perfect choice for active people who enjoy spending time outdoors. If you’re looking for a low-maintenance pet, however, you should look elsewhere.

This highly intelligent, high-energy pup demands lots of care. If you are a person who has limited time for a dog, the Australian Shepherd is definitely not a dog for you. Starting from their physical and mental health, down to grooming and feeding, we are going to break down every aspect of maintaining Aussie health and happiness.

Why Australian Shepherds Are High-Maintenance Dogs?

Are Australian Shepherds High-Maintenance

Do you have a high-maintenance personality? If so, you may want to consider getting an Australian Shepherd. These dogs are known for their high energy levels and demanding personalities. They require a lot of exercise and attention, and they are not the best choice for people who lead inactive lifestyles.

If you can provide your Aussie with plenty of love and exercise, however, you will be rewarded with a loyal and affectionate companion. Just be prepared to put in the extra work!

Here are the reasons why Australian Shepherds are high-maintenance dogs:

1. Physical Health

The Australian Shepherd is a dog with an almost endless supply of energy. Being classified as a working dog, this herding breed is used to spending lots of time around the sheep, thus, being physically active. And it’s in their genes, so there’s almost nothing their owner can do about it.

The Australian Shepherd requires daily walks, lots of running and playing. Although domesticated and adapted to living in apartments, the Aussie is still an outdoor dog. If you are an active person, you enjoy running, hiking, cycling, or other outdoor activities, you may have found your perfect companion.

But not providing an Australian Shepherd with its required two to three hours of daily activities, may make your dog destructive, nervous, sensitive, and angry. It is highly advised not to adopt an Aussie if you can not afford the time for their exercises. 

Also, the Australian Shepherd is naturally curious and might occasionally escape. Make sure to prevent this by securing your yard with a fence and walking your furry friend on a leash.

2. Mental Health

When it comes to mental health, the same rules apply to physical health. A happy dog is a healthy dog, and the Australian Shepherd needs a lot of attention to be happy. Besides physical activities, loneliness can also be a trigger of bad behavior for this breed.

Being naturally clingy and thriving in the company of his owners, the Australian Shepherd is not good when left unpatented or bored.  Boredom makes the dogs search for their own way of making fun, which means a lot of barking, chewing, and other destructive behaviors.

Teaching them new tricks or giving them puzzle toys is a great way to mentally stimulate an Australian Shepherd. Obedience and leash training is also very important, as well as discouraging their herding behavior. This can be achieved by constantly giving the dog various tasks or playing different games.

3. General Health Issues

With a life span of 12-15 years, the Australian Shepherd is generally a healthy dog. Its double coat of fur makes it a climate-adaptable animal. However, there are certain issues regarding their health.

Hip or elbow dysplasia is a common issue with Australian Shepherds. It can cause pain and may lead to a surgical solution. A healthy diet and regular exercise can help decrease the chances of dysplasia occurring.

Eye issues are also one of the common problems you may run into, as Aussies are genetically predisposed to eye diseases. Cataracts, and retina detachments of iris colobomas can often affect your dog. Regular ophthalmology exams are highly recommended.

Epilepsy is another occurring disease your pup may experience. Seizures can be caused by a variety of reasons, such as injuries, intoxication, or other diseases. Although one seizure does not mean your dog has epilepsy, a visit to the vet’s office is a must.

4. Grooming and Nail Care

As we mentioned before, the Australian Shepherd has double coat fur that protects the dog from all kinds of weather. The outer, tougher coat represents waterproof protection, while the undercoat which is fluffier, serves as insulation against hot or cold environments.

The fur of the Aussie needs to be brushed at least once a week, in order to remove loose hair or spread natural oils to the skin. Australian Shepherds are heavy shedders, excessively shedding twice a year: in spring and autumn.  Regular brushing also decreases the need for showering your dog too often.

Giving your dog a bath is something you need to establish in the earliest days, while your furry friend is still a pup. Always use dog products, since your Aussie is most likely allergic to human shampoos and soaps. Make sure you do regular ear cleanups, as the debris in your dog’s ear can lead to infections.

As far as it goes to nail care, if you hear the nails of your Aussie clicking on the floor, it is time to clip them. Make sure to always use a dog nail trimmer. If you feel unsure, just take the dog to the vet.

5. Food Requirements

Being a highly energetic dog, the Australian Shepherd requires a well-balanced diet. As an extremely active breed, Aussies require more calories than lazier dogs. Puppies need to consume more calories than older dogs, too.

Being a medium-sized dog, as tall as 23 inches and weighing 45-65 pounds, the Australian Shepherd requires 3-4 cups of dog food a day, split into two meals. Be aware that Aussies love food and tend to become fat and overweight. Regular exercise is the best way to prevent this from happening says Hepper.

6. Costs of having an Australian Shepherd pet

Being a high-maintenance dog, it is quite normal for an Aussie to cause some damage to your financial well-being. However, having an Australian Shepherd pet won’t cost you much more than the average dog.

With food, toys, supplies, leashes, vets, and everything else, an average monthly cost of 150$ is expected. Normally, this cost might be considerably higher during the first year of the pup’s life.

Are Australian Shepherds Good For First-time Dog Owners?

While Australian Shepherds are intelligent, energetic, and loyal dogs, they may not be the best choice for first-time dog owners due to their high energy levels and need for mental stimulation and extensive exercise.

Australian Shepherds are a herding breed, originally bred for working on farms and ranches. They are known for their intelligence, agility, and eagerness to please, which makes them highly trainable.

However, these traits also mean they require a lot of physical exercise and mental stimulation to keep them happy and well-behaved. This can be overwhelming for first-time dog owners who are not used to providing this level of care.

Moreover, Australian Shepherds can be somewhat reserved and wary around strangers. They may require socialization from a young age to ensure they grow up to be well-rounded dogs.

This breed can also be prone to certain genetic health issues, such as hip dysplasia and certain types of eye disorders, so potential owners should be prepared for possible health care needs.

In conclusion, while Australian Shepherds are wonderful dogs with many positive traits, their needs and characteristics might make them a challenging choice for first-time dog owners.

It’s always important to thoroughly research and consider the needs of a breed before bringing a new dog into your home.

Do Australian Shepherds Require Extra Care During Cold Weather?

While Australian Shepherds are generally well-equipped to handle cold weather due to their thick double coat, they may require some additional care during extreme cold, including limiting their outdoor time and monitoring for signs of discomfort.

Australian Shepherds have a thick double coat that provides natural insulation against cold weather. This allows them to tolerate a wide range of temperatures and even enjoy the cooler conditions of a crisp winter morning.

However, when temperatures drop extremely low, they can experience discomfort, particularly in their paws. In such cases, walks or hikes may need to be shortened or adjusted to ensure their wellbeing.

Despite their resilience to cold climates, it is not advisable for Australian Shepherds to live outside in cold weather.

Even with their double-thick coat, prolonged exposure to very cold temperatures can lead to health risks such as hypothermia or frostbite.

Therefore, while they may not need a jacket for winter, owners should be mindful of their dog’s comfort and safety during the colder months, ensuring they have warm shelter and limiting their time outdoors in extreme cold.


Q: What is the exercise requirement for Australian Shepherds?

A: Australian Shepherds are an active breed and require at least 1-2 hours of vigorous exercise every day to keep them physically and mentally stimulated.

Q: Are Australian Shepherds good with children?

A: Australian Shepherds are generally good with children and can be great family pets. However, early socialization and supervision is important to ensure positive interactions.

Q: Do Australian Shepherds shed a lot?

A: Yes, Australian Shepherds are moderate to heavy shedders. They have a double coat that requires regular brushing to control shedding and keep their coat healthy.

Q: Are Australian Shepherds easy to train?

A: Australian Shepherds are highly intelligent and eager to please, which makes them relatively easy to train. However, they require firm and consistent training methods due to their independent nature.

Q: Do Australian Shepherds get along well with other pets?

A: Australian Shepherds can get along well with other pets if properly socialized from an early age. However, their herding instincts might lead them to try and control other animals, so supervision is important.

Q: Are Australian Shepherds good guard dogs?

A: Australian Shepherds are naturally protective and alert, which makes them good watchdogs. However, they are usually friendly and social towards strangers, so they may not make the best guard dogs.

Q: Do Australian Shepherds have any health issues?

A: Australian Shepherds can be prone to certain health issues such as hip dysplasia, epilepsy, and eye diseases. Regular veterinary check-ups and a healthy diet are important for their overall well-being.

Q: How much grooming do Australian Shepherds need?

A: Australian Shepherds have a medium-length double coat that requires regular brushing to prevent matting and keep their coat clean. They might also need occasional trimming around their paws and ears.

Q: Are Australian Shepherds suitable for apartment living?

A: Australian Shepherds are not typically recommended for apartment living due to their high energy levels and exercise needs. They thrive in homes with a large yard or access to ample outdoor space.

In Conclusion

Even though the Australian Shepherd is a high-maintenance dog, its love, affection, loyalty, and playfulness can make it worth the care. A mid-sized dog that can be easily transported in a car or walked on a leash, the Aussie is a great companion for the active person.

However, if you have never taken care of a dog before, experts suggest you opt for another breed. But if you are ready to handle the tons of exercise, shedding, barking, and herding instincts, the Australian Shepherd can be a wonderful pet for you and your family.

Please take the time and leave a comment below if this article helped you, or you have any additional questions.

Learn more about us.

Affiliate Disclaimer

As an affiliate, we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links on this website from Amazon and other third parties.

Latest posts

DMCA.com Protection Status