Let’s take a look at whether Australian shepherds are protective and whether or not they would protect their owners in a confrontation. Everything will be answered below.
Yes, Australian shepherds are fairly protective, especially over their owner and close family. Interestingly, despite being protective, Australian shepherds are not aggressive, and will rarely protect an owner with physical force.
Are Australian Shepherds Protective?
Not all, but most Aussies end up being fairly protective over their owner and close family. Especially if confronted quickly by a stranger or new dog.
That said, Australian shepherds are not ridiculously protective, and for some, this trait might be harder to see. I have friends whose Aussies are not particularly protective over them or their family, even when confronted by strangers…
The level of socialization your Aussie receives as a puppy can have an influence over this. Pups that are constantly meeting new dogs and strangers are likely to be less reactive in these situations when older.
Why Are Australian Shepherds Protective?
Since the breed originated in the 19th century, they’ve been used almost exclusively on ranches herding (and protecting) livestock. While most are well-aware that Aussies are herders, only few know that part of their responsibility was to protect the livestock too.
This is almost certainly the reason why Aussies have a protective streak in them today.
An additional reason can also be due to the fact that Aussies are highly intelligent, sensitive, and connected to their owners and family. Most breeds like this (even if they aren’t herders) tend to have some level of protectiveness over their loved ones.
Will An Australian Shepherd Protect Its Owner?
In most cases, no, Australian shepherds will not protect their owners. Although Australian shepherds will act protective, bark, and show teeth, it’s very unlikely they would follow through with actual physical protection.
It must be noted that Australian shepherds are not guard dogs, and they lack the aggression necessary to follow through with a physical attack.
For a dog to physically protect their owner, they must have at least some amount of aggression/guard dog qualities. And Aussies don’t have that naturally. Of course, I can’t generalize here, and some Aussies may very well have what it takes to protect their owner, but this is likely to be only very few.
Are Female Australian Shepherds More Protective Than Males
It’s believed that female Aussies are slightly more protective over their puppies and owners than males, but this is hard to back up.
The truth is that there is no substantial difference between females and males when it comes to protectiveness. Apart from when a female is nursing an offspring, to which there will be a heightened level of protectiveness coming from them.
But in general, the answer is no. More on the differences between male and female Aussies here.
Can I Train My Australian Shepherd To Protect Me?
While it’s possible to train an Australian shepherd to protect you with force, it’s not advised. Aussies are not guard dogs by nature, so this is not an appropriate role for this breed.
For those that want protection, it’s best to choose a breed that this comes naturally to. True guard dogs are far better suited and will be reliable when you need them to be.
A big problem when trying to train a breed to guard (that isn’t naturally like that) is that they can be unreliable when the time comes.
Do Australian Shepherds Turn on Their Owner?
Very rarely will an Australian shepherd turn on its owner. Aussies (when raised correctly) always respect and love their owners, and turning on them would be the last thing they do.
However, the chance of this happening increases when an Aussie is specifically trained to be a guard dog, or protect their owner. Again, yet another reason why Aussies should not be trained to be more protective than they already are. They aren’t guard dogs and shouldn’t be made to be.
Most Australian shepherds have a protective streak. But this only goes so far. While Aussies will typically act protective (barking, growling, snarling) when confronted, very few will actually back this up with an attack.
Australian shepherds may act protective, but remember, these dogs are not aggressive and they have no history of being guard dogs.
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