Are Australian Shepherds Good Guard Dogs?

There are many breeds of dogs that make an excellent guardian both instinctively and when trained for that very purpose.

On the other hand, there are certain dog breeds that will not make a good guard dog because of an overly friendly nature or temperament.

A good guard dog must be cautious and reserved with strangers. They must not be the sort to typically greet intruders with warmth and affection.

What about Australian Shepherds?

These dogs are widely known for their herding ability, willingness to work, agility, and intelligence.

Despite not being bred specifically for protection purposes, these dogs have potential due to the variety of qualities they possess.

But when choosing the best breed for guarding, how do Australian Shepherds in particular do in this role?

Are Australian Shepherds good guard dogs?


Are Australian Shepherds Good Guard Dogs?

Australian Shepherds are moderately good guard dogs.

They will not be as good at guarding as other breeds, as these dogs are good-natured and not typically aggressive.

However, they make good watch dogs who will keep a look out on any suspicious activity.

They may also bark at intruders or trespassers to alert their owner.

Australian Shepherds were originally bred for herding and to guard sheep. As a result, their instinct to guard had been passed down from generation to generation.

A herding Australian Shepherd would watch out for approaching wild animals which would poise danger to the sheep under his care.

In the home setting, Australian Shepherds will watch out for people which cross the boundary of his territory.

They are active dogs which will attend to their duty of guarding instead of resting many hours throughout the day like some other breeds.

Additionally, an Australian Shepherd is very affectionate and bonded with his owner.

To strangers, on the other hand, he will usually act rather aloof. In fact, he will be cautious and wary of them.

This makes him a good guard dog, as he will detect potential harmful activity in those with bad intentions.

Australian Shepherds are also very intelligent dogs with a sharp mind. As a result, they will respond to a situation with their intellect and react to it.

This can help them define danger or harm in another person or their actions.

Nevertheless, these dogs do better in the role of a watch dog instead of that of a guard dog.

Are Australian Shepherds Protective?

Australian Shepherds are a protective breed of dog.

In spite of not being a dog that is usually used for protection purposes, they do, however, possess some protective qualities.

What are qualities which make an Australian Shepherd protective of its owner?

The key attribute of theirs is that their guarding instincts incline them to watch out and bark at any intruders.

Even though they are not very vocal, they most often do bark when playing and to inform their owners when something is going on.

They are cautious around those they do not know, so will prefer to be reserved with strangers.

They may keenly observe any new visitors that come on their property, to ensure their owner is safe.

Australian Shepherds are extremely loyal to their owners and family, so they will naturally want to protect them from harm.

Since they are smart, they will realize when something bad happens to their owner.

However, they may not be as suitable for protection purposes like some other more aggressive breeds.

The Australian Shepherd is wary of strangers, but their good nature does not make them an aggressive breed.

As well as that, usually these dogs are not very large and strong enough to hold down a full grown person.

They may not be inclined to attack intruders, but will instead prefer to bark at them and perhaps lunge at them.

Sometimes even barking alone to alert may be very helpful to the owner to detect danger.

Nonetheless, Australian Shepherds are very intelligent, trainable, obedient, and willing to please their owner.

These assets make it easy to train the Australian Shepherd, and they can be taught to be an effective guard dog.

What Makes A Good Guard Dog?

What attributes or qualities will make a dog good at the role of guarding?


A dog must be alert, watchful, and responsive to things going on around him to be a good guard dog.

He must be observant and look out for any intruders or suspicious activity around his territory.

This will help him recognize danger and act upon it before it happens. He will also be able to inform his owner when something is wrong.

A dog that is lazy, inattentive, or sleeps a lot throughout the day will not make a good guard dog.

Strong And Fast

A dog which will make a good guard dog must be strong and fast. They will need strength and power to be able to take down an intruder and hold him down.

A good guard dog must also be fast, so that the intruder does not succeeds in running away from him.

Such attributes are vital, because a dog that is not strong and fast may not match the strength or pace of the interloper.

Or, he could be injured if he is an easy, weak target.


Loyalty makes a dog inclined to want to watch out for and protect their owner.

They will naturally be wary of strangers who act suspiciously toward their owner or family’s property.

Good guard dogs may also be highly observant of those talking or interacting with their owner. If they sense potential danger, they will not hesitate to act upon it.

Loyalty will also not impel a dog to want to walk off with strangers or respond to them.

In fact, a good guard dog must not be overly friendly to strangers, or else he could not recognize a person’s bad intentions.

Intimidating Appearance

A dog that is be a good guard dog will often be one that has a powerful and intimidating appearance.

This will ensure that an intruder is scared or fearful of him.

A dog that looks overly friendly or cute may not always be enough to intimidate another person.


A dog must be intelligent to be able to comprehend that something is wrong and act upon it.

He must be able to not only detect, but define and recognize potential harm on the part of a person.

He must also be able to think quickly and react to a current situation, especially when his owner is in danger.

An intelligent dog will further be able to learn commands and will be trainable. This will make it easy for the owner to teach him to be protective and how to react to danger.

Can Australian Shepherds Be Trained To Be Guard Dogs?

Due to their high intelligence, obedient and responsive nature, and their trainability, Australian Shepherds can be trained to be guard dogs.

Australian Shepherds already possess some of the attributes that make a good guard dog.

Therefore, with additional training, they can be even better and more efficient guard dogs.

To train your Australian Shepherd to be a guard dog, ensure you socialize him properly. This will help him learn more about people and the world, and what is normal human interaction.

This will ensure that when he comes into contact with a person acting suspiciously or harmfully, he will know something is wrong.

When your Australian Shepherd learns to define inappropriate human behavior, he will likely alert his owner if he senses something strange.

When he barks at what he considers an intruder, reward him for his alertness and for informing you.

A reward will make him want to continue barking at strangers entering your property

Your Australian Shepherd may bark at the postman, delivery man, visitors, or even cars and people on the street.

Although this may not be necessary, it could prove to be invaluable if someone happens to be a real intruder with harmful intentions.

4 Related Breeds – Better Guard Dogs Than The Australian Shepherd

Belgian Sheepdog

Belgian Sheepdog Groenendael. by Canarian (CC BY-SA 4.0)

The Belgian Sheepdog is a large, black colored type of shepherd with a highly alert and intelligent temperament.

These dogs, like the Australian Shepherd, were bred for herding, and these instincts make them a watchful and attentive guard.

Belgian Sheepdogs are also very strong and powerful, which enables them to take down an intruder.

Their loyal nature makes them protective of their owners and wary of strangers.

His intelligence also ensures he knows how to react in potentially dangerous situations, and recognize harmful behavior.

Anatolian Shepherd Dog

Anatolian Shepherd dogs make exceptional guard dogs, because they are a very bold and protective breed.

They were bred for herding and guarding, so they make excellent guard dogs, and their intelligence helps them recognize or define danger.

They are also very strong and have great endurance, so therefore can take down a powerful offender.

In addition, Anatolian Shepherd dogs are very loyal to their owners, all the while cautious around strangers.

Their territorial nature will incline them to guard the property of their family.

Belgian Malinois

Belgian Malinois are naturally one of the best guard dogs you could have, because of their many remarkable attributes.

They are strong, fierce, intense, agile, and fast all at the same time, which enables them to attack with efficiency and hold a human down.

They are immensely intelligent and loyal, alert, obedient, and can be trained proper skills to make them a protection dog.

Also, they have long lasting energy and will not tire out quickly from their guarding duties.

Their territorial and naturally protective instincts incline them to guard their home and be extremely cautious around strangers.

Bouvier des Flandres

Bouvier des Flandres by Eva Nordlund (CC BY-SA 2.5)

Bouvier des Flandres make for a first class guarding dog, due to their power, strength, and strong protective instincts.

They are very loyal and closely bonded to their families, and will naturally look out for those they love.

They are also excellent watchdogs, as they are extremely observant and will note any suspicious activity in their territory.

Their intelligence and power to reason also makes their guarding and protection skills even more effective.

This is because they can define when someone is a potential threat, and differentiate seemingly dangerous actions from normal human behavior.

How Do You Know If Your Dog Is A Good Guard Dog?

A good guard dog will be very alert, watchful, and observant of what is going on around him and his territory.

He will be very protective of his owner, and cautious or wary of strangers. He may look out for his owner when someone new comes to visit, and keep an attentive eye on them.

A good guard dog will also not show aggression or attack without cause.

He will be smart enough to define a normal, ordinary person from an intruder with harmful intentions.

He will react to actions which he thinks may put his owner or family at risk, but knows his balance.

A good guard dog will further be obedient and respond to your actions or commands.

He will attack when you ask it of him, and will be willing to let go whenever you tell him to.

As well as that, he will listen to you if you forbid him to go near a stranger that has no ill intentions.


Conclusively, are Australian Shepherds good guard dogs?

Australian Shepherds do possess a number of traits that make them a good guard dog, to a certain extent.

They are typically outstanding watch dogs, as they are alert and observe their territory keenly.

They are cautious around those they do not know and immensely intelligent, enabling them to sense a dangerous person or activity.

Australian Shepherds also have strong guarding instincts as of nature. This is due to the fact that herding and guarding flocks of sheep were their original primary purpose.

These dogs are also very loyal, inclining them to look out for their owners and protect those they love.

Aside from the Australian Shepherd, there are many other breeds that are perfectly suited for the job of a guard dog.

These include the Belgian Sheepdog, Anatolian Shepherd dog, Belgian Malinois, and Bouvier des Flandres.

These dogs are some of the best for guarding as a result of the qualities they possess which make them excel at it.

Authored By

Madeline Wright

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