Can Australian Shepherds Live Outside? (Is It Cruel?)

Australian shepherds are an outgoing, playful, and intelligent breed.  

They make great family pets because they are loyal and eager to please. They are a very active breed and enjoy a variety of activities.  

Australian shepherds are very outdoorsy and love to run, go for long walks and even go swimming. 

They also have very long, thick hair with an undercoat. All of these factors make Australian shepherds capable of being outside for long periods of time and being a great breed to take on your camping trips. 

Can Australian Shepherds Live Outside? 

In general, Australian shepherds should not live outside. Even though they are quite a hardy breed with a lot of fur, living outside is not suitable for their personalities. 

Australian shepherds become very attached to their owners, and having them live outside 24/7 may seem very isolating to them.  

This may result in your Australian Shepherd barking to come in, or they may even tear up the yard out of frustration when left alone for long periods of time.  

It is especially important not to make your dog live outside if you live in a cold climate. Even though Australian shepherds have thick coats, they would not be warm enough to sleep outside.  

Australian shepherds love to play outside and spend time with you outside but living outside may not be safe in certain climates and may cause your dog to feel isolated. 

How Long Should You Leave Your Australian Shepherd Outside at a Time? 

The length of time that you can leave your Australian Shepherd outside depends on a variety of factors, such as the outdoor temperature and access to shade. 

In The Heat 

On a very hot day, you can feel free to let your Australian Shepherd out into the yard but make sure that they have access to shade and water.  

If there is no shade and water, your Australian Shepherd can become overheated and become ill. Most dogs will sit by the door once they are ready to come in. The important thing is to respond to your dog’s needs and let them in when they are ready.  

Every dog is different, too – some may enjoy staying out and just lying in the shade, whereas others will want to come in as soon as they do their business in the yard.  

If your Australian Shepherd doesn’t tell you that they want to come in, it is still best to bring them in after an hour or two. Since they have such thick fur, you want to make sure that they don’t become overheated. 

Bringing them inside, especially if you have air conditioning, will help regulate their temperature and make them less likely to get overheated.  

In The Cold 

In cold climates, you can also let your Australian Shepherd out freely, depending on the weather.  

Australian shepherds have thick coats that will keep them warmer than some breeds, but they can still get frostbite on their paws or ears when left out too long. 

It is always best to monitor your dog when they are outside and not leave them outside if you are not home.  

As mentioned above, most Australian shepherds will let you know when they are ready to come in.  

Just like in the heat, it is best to bring your dog inside after about an hour in the cold, even if they don’t tell you that they want to come back inside. Your Australian Shepherd may love the cold, but you want to make sure that their paws are not getting too cold as they could get frostbite.  

 It is best to only let your dog outside when you are at home and let them back in when they are done in the yard. Some breeds are better adapted to staying outside than others. Australian shepherds love to be outdoors, but their thick coats could cause them to overheat in the summer, and their paws can become frostbitten in winter.  

They also love to be with their families, so leaving them outdoors alone all day may cause them to feel frustrated or isolated.  

Do Australian shepherds Like Cold Weather? 

Australian shepherds have thick double coats that make them able to tolerate cold weather.  

Most Australian shepherds enjoy playing outdoors in all weather, and cold weather is no exception.  

However, Australian shepherds’ paws are still sensitive to the cold like many other breeds. Some breeds, like Huskies, have evolved so that their paws don’t get as cold in the snow, but Australian shepherds have not evolved the same way. 

Your Australian Shepherd will likely love to go on snowy hikes, but you may need to put some boots on them if you plan to be out for a few hours in cold temperatures.  

Many breeds become uncomfortable when their feet get cold. They can also get snow stuck in between their toes. Having some boots for your Australian Shepherd in the winter will save you from picking snowballs out of their feet during your outdoor time! 

What’s The Maximum And Minimum Temperature Australian Shepherds Can Live In? 

Australian shepherds can handle a large range of temperatures, provided that they are given accommodations. 

Australian shepherds do well in cold weather (think winters in Canada) as long as they are brought inside when they ask to come inside.  

As mentioned above, boots may also be a good investment for your Australian Shepherd if you live in a cold and snowy climate. 

Australian shepherds can also manage perfectly fine in hot climates, as long as they are given access to shade and water when they are outside and are brought back into the house before they can overheat. 

If you live in a hot climate, you may also choose to shave your Australian Shepherd in the summer months.  

They are known for their thick and beautiful coats but shaving their hair may help them to stay cooler during hot weather.  

Australian shepherds were originally bred for ranch work in Western America, where temperatures rarely reach below 5 degrees Celsius, but today people have Australian shepherds all over the world in many different climates. 

As long as you take proper care of your Australian Shepherd and make sure that you are not leaving them outside in extreme weather, they will get along just fine!  

How to Keep an Australian Shepherd Warm Enough Outside in the Winter 

If you live in a cold climate, you can still let your Australian Shepherd outside.  

Letting Them Outside 

Some Australian shepherds will enjoy being outside in the yard in the winter. They may find the cold weather refreshing. Others will want to come in immediately after doing their business. 

Make sure to monitor your Australian Shepherd when you let them outside in the winter, and call them inside after an hour or so if they don’t tell you they need to come in.  

Exercising Outside 

If you are exercising your Australian Shepherd outside in the winter, you should not have a problem keeping them warm. If they are moving and playing, they will likely be happy to stay out all day. 

As mentioned above, you might want to protect their paws with special boots for dogs as their paws will become cold a lot more quickly than the rest of their bodies.

Looking Out For Signs That They’re Cold 

For the most part, as long as your Australian Shepherd is exercising outside, they shouldn’t get too cold. 

If your Australian Shepherd is out in the yard and is shivering, make sure to bring them in immediately and get them warmed up.  

Other cues that your Australian Shepherd might be cold are if they are sitting in a hunched posture with their tail tucked. If you see this, make sure to bring them inside right away.  

As mentioned previously, their paws will likely get cold before the rest of their bodies. If they begin to lift their paws off the ground, their paws are probably cold and sore. 

Get your Australian Shepherd inside right away if their paws are cold as they run the risk of getting frostbite on their feet. 


Can Australian Shepherds Sleep Outside? 

In general, it is not a good idea to make your Australian Shepherd sleep outside even in good weather. 

They are very social and loving with their families and prefer to be inside with you. If you try to get your Australian Shepherd to sleep outside, you may end up listening to them bark or whine all night. 

That being said, your Australian Shepherd will love to sleep outside if you are with them. 

This makes them a great breed to have if you are outdoorsy and like to go on camping trips. Your Australian Shepherd is happy to be wherever you are and will sleep outside happily as part of camping excursions. 

What Weather Do Australian Shepherds Like? 

As mentioned previously, Australian shepherds were bred in the Western USA with moderate temperatures. 

It is safe to say that Australian shepherds can adapt to just about any temperature, and they are pretty much always happy to be outside and be active.  

Australian shepherds are not fussy or picky when it comes to the weather as long as they have proper accommodations such as access to water and shade and the ability to come back inside when they are too hot or too cold.  

When it comes to exercising outside, the weather doesn’t seem to matter to them. Of course, they may get very hot because of their coats in the summer, so taking them swimming is a great summer activity to keep them cool. 

Their warm coats will keep them warm during winter activities.  

Do Australian Shepherds Need A Fenced Yard? 

Unless you are living on a ranch and your Australian Shepherd is a working dog, it is best for them to live in a fenced-in yard. 

Australian shepherds are herding dogs and may want to chase after people or dogs that they see outside. For this reason, the best case is to have them in a large yard that is fenced in. 

Australian shepherds need a lot of exercise, so it is best to take them on long walks and get their energy out by playing with them. 

It is worth it to note that Australian shepherds may try to escape from the yard if they are bored, so making sure that they are properly exercised is very important.  

If your dog is expending their energy and is tired, they are less likely to be concerned about what is going on beyond the fence.  

Interested In Training Your Australian Shepherd The Right Way?

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!)

Final Thoughts 

Australian shepherds love to be outside and active, no matter what the weather.  

Some dog breeds will do well living outside 24/7, but Australian shepherds are not one of those breeds. 

Australian shepherds are very loyal and are very attached to their owners. If you leave your Australian Shepherd outside all the time, they are likely to feel isolated. 

An isolated Australian shepherd is likely to become very frustrated and destructive in the yard. This may lead to them digging up flowers, chewing on plants, or trying to dig under the fence.  

They may also then spend a lot of time barking or whining to come inside.  

It is especially important not to expect your dog to do well sleeping outside in extreme weather. Very hot or very cold temperatures are not good for Australian shepherds, and they likely would not be comfortable enough to get any sleep in these temperatures.  

When it comes to things like camping trips, your Australian Shepherd will be happy to sleep outside as long as you are with them. 

Because they are so active, Australian shepherds make a perfect pet for an active person who enjoys things like running, camping, hiking, and swimming.  

It is always best to pay attention to your Australian Shepherd’s needs. Dogs are very good at telling us what they need when we pay attention. 

If you see your dog panting hard in the heat or hunching over and lifting its paws in the cold, it is time to bring them in!