Are Australian Shepherds Good Guard Dogs? (And 5 Other Choices)

If you are looking for a new furry best friend that can provide protection, you may be considering an Australian Shepherd. Initially bred for their shepherding ability, Australian Shepherds are known today for their intelligence, work drive, and athleticism.  

Along with their athleticism, Australian Shepherds also have a lot of energy. This makes them the perfect breed to be a running or hiking companion. They also perform very well in obedience and agility trials. But do they make good guard dogs? 

Because Australian Shepherds form strong bonds with their families, they tend to get territorial. Their fierce loyalty compels them to feel overprotective of their owners. While Aussies are generally very sweet and compassionate, they tend to get cautious around strangers. 

Australian Shepherds were bred for their herding instincts and their guarding instincts. This is because, as working farm dogs, they were required to not only gather the livestock but also keep them safe. However, just because they have an innate protective nature doesn’t necessarily mean they would make a good guard dog for you. 

Are Australian Shepherds Good Guard Dogs?

Because of their herding instincts, Australian Shepherds make excellent watchdogs. This is because they were bred to protect livestock. Even today, their protective nature remains.  

Even though they make excellent watchdogs, they may not be the best choice for a guard dog. This is because they do not have an aggressive nature. This, combined with their medium size (they usually weigh no more than 70 pounds) and friendly appearance, makes them seem more adorable than threatening. 

Will An Australian Shepherd Protect You?

When it comes down to it, the loyal nature of the Australian Shepherd will drive them to protect their owners. However, this does not mean they make good guard dogs. Aussies are known for their friendly nature. If you are looking for protection, you want a dog with a more aggressive personality. 

An Australian Shepherd will alert you to suspicious activity. So if you are looking for a watchdog, they would be a good choice. However, if you want protection, you need a guard dog. Guard dogs are more likely to attack intruders physically.  

As mentioned before, the non-aggressive nature of the Australian Shepherd means that they are not likely to attack. They will simply keep an eye out for suspicion and bark to alert their owners. 

How do you know if your dog is protective of you? Simple. They will be cautious of anyone that is not an immediate member of the family. This includes delivery drivers, mailmen, and anyone else who dares to knock on the door. But just because your dog is protective does not mean they are capable of protecting you.  

Can You Train An Australian Shepherd To Be A Guard Dog?

What Makes A Good Guard Dog?

A good guard dog should have the intelligence to understand which situations are dangerous and which are not. Along with intelligence, a good guard dog should be loyal. Their loyalty and attachment will drive them to protect their owners no matter what. 

Another requirement of a guard dog is an innately aggressive nature in case the time comes for them to attack physically. A large and intimidating appearance is also necessary to repel intruders. 

Training Your Australian Shepherd

Because the Australian Shepherd is such an intelligent breed, they are easy to train and are quick learners. After they have learned basic commands, it is possible to teach them to be better watchdogs or guard dogs.  

If you would like to teach your Aussie how to be a good watchdog, read the steps below. 

  1. Ignore non-threatening alerts – Your Australian Shepherd should not bark at any person, animal, or car they see. You only want your dog to bark at threats. To stop the unnecessary barking, you first have to show you are not worried about whatever your dog is barking at. If you consistently ignore the barking, your dog will eventually get the hint that the situation, whatever it is, is no big deal. 
  1. Stop the barking – Next, teach your dog the word “quiet.” Once your dog stops barking, simply say “Quiet.” Eventually, your dog will associate the word “quiet” with the action of actually being quiet. Combine this with praise after he stops barking. 
  1. Let your dog meet people – Another way to train your Australian Shepherd to be a better guard dog or watchdog is to introduce him to other people and animals. Take your dog to the park to meet new people and their dogs. This will help your dog differentiate friendly people from dangerous people. If you want your dog to be more comfortable around your friends or family, it is important to socialize him. The earlier you socialize your dog, the easier training will be. 

Want To Train Your Australian Shepherd With Peace Of Mind?

If you haven’t trained your Australian Shepherd properly, then this is the perfect time to start. Whatever bad behavior your Shepherd has, whether it’s barking at night or other bad behaviors, using the right training program is the key to having an obedient and happy pup.

The training program I love and highly recommend is Brain Training For Dogs.

With Brain Training For Dogs, you’ll save yourself a ton of time and effort. Instead of banging your head against the wall trying to figure out why your dog won’t listen, you’ll follow a path that has been tried, tested, and most importantly, that’s given proven results. Not to mention the fact, you’ll be able to fit the course around your schedule, not fit your schedule around a trainer or obedience class.

So instead of worrying about whether they’re going to be well-behaved or not, you’ll only have to worry about how much fun you’ll have with them!

And in most cases, it’s still going to be:

  • Cheaper than hiring a professional.
  • Cheaper than replacing everything they might break.
  • And definitely cheaper than a lawsuit against you, if they decide to bite someone.

Just imagine how great it will feel to finally be able to trust your Australian Shepherd completely and never worry whether they’ll be naughty or not. Instead, you’ll have the peace of mind that you have a well-behaved pup, and the boundaries you set for them will always be there, EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT. 

And the best part is it also has a 60-day money-back guarantee! So there’s no reason not to give Brain Training For Dogs a try!

So if you’re tired of your dog’s bad behavior or how they react around other people and pooches, then give it a try! You’ll be amazed by the results!

(You can also check out a full review here to learn exactly what the course has to offer!)

Australian Shepherds As Guard Dogs

Each dog will behave differently in times of danger. Not just different breeds, but individual dogs of the same breed. Does your dog stay back from strangers or act shy around them? Or does he become aggressive and bark at them? This is an indicator of how your dog might react when there is a real danger. 

The level of protectiveness Aussies display varies greatly. The clinginess of your Australian Shepherd can give you a sense of the level of attachment they have to you. Do they always follow you around and beg for your attention? Are they aloof as to whether you are even there? It is safe to say that the more attached your dog is, the more protective he will be of you. 

Some Australian Shepherds will bark at house guests or cars driving by, while others have a more calm temperament. How you want your dog to react to certain situations depends a lot on training. If your dog does not behave the way you want, teach him. He will be happy to learn what you want from him. 

Keep in mind that every dog needs time to learn. You must be patient with your dog and let him learn at his own pace. Most Australian Shepherds love to learn and are eager to please.  

If you decide to get an Australian Shepherd, whether he is a watchdog, a guard dog, or simply a pet, be sure to exercise him frequently, socialize him with people and animals, and give him attention and mental stimulation. Aussies can be high-maintenance, but they are worth it. 

Five Good Guard Dog Alternatives

While an Australian Shepherd can make a good watchdog, they are not the best guard dog. They might protect you from danger, but other breeds are better for providing protection. Consider the following dog breeds if you are looking for a guard dog with an aggressive nature that is willing to attack an intruder. 

Doberman Pinscher 

Doberman Pinschers have the intelligence and athleticism to make the perfect guard dog. Along with their highly trainable nature, they also have the dominating appearance of a threatening dog.  

This high-energy breed is also known to be affectionate towards its owners and can even be gentle enough to play with children.  

(Find out more about Dobermans as guard dogs.)


This breed makes a more calm guard dog. They are also a low-energy breed, but they must have sufficient exercise to keep their muscle tone. 

The fierce loyalty of the Bullmastiff makes them very protective of their family. They are also territorial by instinct, meaning they will protect your property.  

Great Dane 

Their impressive height, intimidating appearance, and loud bark, as well as their gentle, family-friendly nature, make them an excellent choice for a family guard dog. They are affectionate, easy to train, and get along with (non-threatening) strangers. 

Despite their happy and friendly nature, Great Danes become defensive if they detect a threat towards their owners. While they are not the most aggressive breed, their size can be intimidating to an intruder. 

German Shepherd 

German Shepherds are one of the most intelligent dog breeds. They are also very obedient and willing to learn. This means they are highly trainable. Their trainable nature, along with their (sometimes exaggerated) aggressiveness, makes them an excellent choice for a guard dog.  

Not only do German Shepherds make great pets, they also have been used in the Police Force and even the Military. This shows just how intelligent, obedient, and loyal this breed is. 

(Find out more about German Shepherds as guard dogs.)


With the makings of a great guard dog ─ intelligence, loyalty, protective instincts ─ the Rottweiler is an eager-to-please breed. They are known for their muscles and extraordinary strength. All of these factors combined make for an intimidating guard dog. 

Rottweilers are capable of showing affection to their owners and are even able to live with children. However, they must be socialized around children, preferably while they are still a puppy. If Rottweilers are not raised properly or have not had frequent exposure to children, they can be unsafe for your family. 

If you ever have children in your home, whether they are yours or not, you must be careful about which dog you choose as a pet. Never leave a child under the age of ten alone with a dog, no matter how much you trust your dog.  

If you choose an aggressive breed, ensure that the dog has been socialized and has had frequent exposure to children before allowing a child to go near your dog. 

(Find out more about Rottweilers as guard dogs.)

Do I Need A Watchdog Or A Guard Dog?

There is a difference between a watchdog and a guard dog. Do you simply want to know danger is present, or do you want protection from that danger? Australian Shepherds use their herding and guarding instincts and their sensitive ears to watch for danger, making them an excellent choice for a watchdog. 

Because the Australian Shepherd was bred as a working dog, they can think for themselves. This means that they have the ability to quickly learn what a threat is and what is not. This is another trait that makes them good watchdogs. 

While the Australian Shepherd is loyal and protective, they make better watchdogs than guard dogs. Your Aussie is more likely to simply bark at an intruder rather than physically attack. If you want a guard dog, this likely isn’t the kind of protection you were looking for.  

Guard dogs also act as watchdogs. They are on the lookout for anything threatening. The difference is that they will take action. If your guard dog decides a situation is dangerous, you can expect them to bite, scratch, and bark at whoever is posing a threat. 

Is the Australian Shepherd the breed you are looking for? This very popular dog breed is medium-sized, intelligent, and loyal ─ not to mention incredibly adorable. The variations in the color of their fur make each Aussie unique. They are generally very obedient and have lots of energy. If they are well-treated, they will show you unconditional love. 

While it is possible to train your Australian Shepherd to be a better watchdog or guard dog, they do not have the aggressive nature of other breeds. If you are looking to be protected, a more aggressive breed may be necessary. However, make sure you choose the right breed for you and your family. 

Other breeds may be more suited for you or your family if you are looking for a dog that will physically attack an intruder. If you are looking for protection, consider other breeds such as German Shepherds or Doberman Pinschers.  

If you have an Australian Shepherd that barks at things that aren’t dangerous, you can train them, and with time they will learn what you want. You want your dog to alert you to someone breaking into your home, not a car driving by. You have to teach your Aussie what is a threat and what is not. Reward good behavior with treats and remember to be patient. 

If you are looking for a friendly, energetic, attention-seeking pup who will be your shadow, alert you to danger, and love you no matter what, an Australian Shepherd is the way to go.