Do Australian Shepherds Like To Cuddle? (5 Signs Of Affection)

Australian Shepherds are one of the best dog breeds to own due to how much they like to cuddle. While this does depend on some factors like how they were raised and treated or their individual personality, the general Australian Shepherd is very cuddly.

Of course, there’s more to it than that. You might be interested in how to know if your Australian Shepherd loves you as an owner, why they’re not as affectionate toward you, and how to go about earning their affection. If that sounds like something that intrigues you, keep reading!

Do Australian Shepherds Like to Cuddle? 

It’s important to understand that, like people and many other animals, dogs all have a personality of their own. So, while most Australian Shepherds love to cuddle and be around their owner, others may take a while to warm up to you.

This depends a lot on how much they were socialized from a young age, both with other dogs and other people. How much they like to cuddle can also depend on how stubborn or obstinate your particular Australian Shepherd is, but for the most part, this is a cuddly and loving breed.

Are Australian Shepherds Affectionate?

The Australian Shepherd is a very active and loyal breed, so they love to be affectionate and receive attention from people they trust. In fact, one of the best ways to keep your Australian Shepherd happy is to pet them and play with them.

However, it’s important to know that Australian Shepherds are very strong-willed. This means that they like to choose to be affectionate and cuddle when they want to, so don’t be surprised if your dog shuts down your attempts to be friendly sometimes.

What Are Signs That Your Australian Shepherd Loves You?

In general, you can tell if your dog loves and trusts you when they bring you toys, roll over to expose their belly, nudge you with their nose, or show physical affection. These are all common signs that your dog genuinely cares about you, but the Australian Shepherd has one unique, tell-tale sign.

Bring on the Toys

Australian Shepherds are very playful and high-energy dogs, so if they bring you toys to play with them, often that’s a sign of love. While it may seem like something every dog does, Australian Shepherds are picky and don’t play with just anyone.

Belly Rubs

The majority of animals are very careful with who they choose to expose their bellies to, but Australian Shepherds are an extremely smart breed. If your dog rolls over, that’s not only a sign of love but of enormous trust.

This is a special bond that can take years of trust to develop, so return the favor by letting your dog know you appreciate it. Their heightened intelligence allows Australian Shepherds to sense emotion, so verbal praise can go a long way.

Being Nosey

When your Australian Shepherd comes over and rubs its nose against you, that’s a sign of love. It can even mean that they’re craving your affection, so feel free to pet them. Just be sure to stop when they want to leave because it can push them to avoid affection if forced.

Nudging can be accompanied by the dog version of a sigh, which is actually another sign of your dog’s love.

Physical Affection

Since Australian Shepherds are stubborn and decide when they choose to be petted, one way to know your dog loves you is if they’re physically affectionate. This can include licking, placing a paw on you, or leaning against you.

Another physical way to tell that your Australian Shepherd loves you is through eye contact. Because they can be stubborn, they also choose to give you their time and attention, so eye contact conveys love and trust.

Of course, if nothing else, there’s always the tail-wagging to know if your dog is happy. Across the board, every dog that loves its owner will wag its tail.


Being one of the most loyal breeds, Australian Shepherds will usually pick a “favorite” person in the household. When they do, your dog will constantly sit on you. This is a sign that your Australian Shepherd has chosen you and wants to be close.

It should be noted that this is a behavioral trait of the breed and can be problematic as they get older and bigger. As a puppy, it’s fun and cute when they plop onto your lap but fast-forward to a full-grown Australian Shepherd hopping up there, and it might knock the wind out of you.

You also have to consider if you have other members of your household if their legs can bear the weight, but just remember that your dog does it out of love. If you do decide to train it not to jump on your lap, make sure you use a calm voice and positive reinforcement.

Why Might your Australian Shepherd Not Be Affectionate?

It was mentioned earlier, but the common reasons for an Australian Shepherd not to be affectionate are either poor socialization from a young age, the age itself, there’s something wrong with their health, or they simply don’t want to be.

Social Puppies

  1. While the Australian Shepherd is one of the most active and playful breeds out there, they don’t always get along with other dogs and people. This lack of trust can come from not being exposed from an early age and becoming used to others.

Young and the Ruffless

The age of your Australian Shepherd is a good indicator of how they’ll act, too. The older an Australian Shepherd gets, the more they’ll like to cuddle, but a puppy will likely not be interested and prefer to just run around and play.

Health Issues

One of the best ways to know your Australian Shepherd isn’t feeling good or that there’s something wrong is if they stop being affectionate. It’s harder to tell with puppies since they already don’t care much for cuddling, but you might consider a vet visit.


Once again, Australian Shepherds are strong-minded dogs. They might just decide not to be affectionate except when they want to be, so you’ll probably have to do some behavioral training.

australian shepherds looking up

How to Get Your Australian Shepherd to Be More Affectionate

The best ways to train your Australian Shepherd to be more affectionate are through socialization, positive reinforcement, and behavioral adjustment.

Social Atmosphere

Socializing an Australian Shepherd is one of the most important things you can do as an owner because their loyalty will cause them to distrust strangers and be uncomfortable around other dogs.

Be sure to take your Australian Shepherd for walks through the park or around the neighborhood to get them accustomed to being out with people. This will also allow them to get used to loud noises and unusual places.

These socializing walks will also build time with your Australian Shepherd, so it’s a win-win, but encouraging social interaction is one of the best ways to increase affection and how accepting your dog is to being pet.

Positive Reinforcement

When your Australian Shepherd allows you to pet it and cuddle, it’s important that you give positive reinforcement. In this case, it can be mostly verbal with the occasional treat but make sure you express how happy you are with your dog.


The behavioral adjustment that needs to take place is on your part as the owner. Australian Shepherds will decide when you get to pet them and be affectionate, so you need to play hard to get.

Try to always be the first one to disengage contact, so stop petting your dog before they get tired and walk off. Never force affection on your dog because that will just reinforce its dislike of being affectionate.

This kind of goes hand-in-hand with socialization, but one of the best things you can do as an owner to spend more time with your Australian Shepherd without being affectionate is to play outside. They love spending time even if they’re not as cuddly as other Shepherds yet.

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!)


Are Australian Shepherds Clingy?

Depending on the personality, they can be extremely clingy. While some don’t like to be as close, the majority of Australian Shepherds are very loyal and will cling to their family members. As mentioned earlier, one of their unique ways to convey love is by sitting on you.

Their affections can come off as being very clingy, to the point that they’re known to have an unhealthy level of separation anxiety if you aren’t careful. This is especially true if they pick a “favorite” person.

Do Australian Shepherds Get Attached to One Person?

Australian Shepherds will be loyal to their family, but they do tend to single one person out as their “favorite.” They’ll seek out as much time with that person as possible, sometimes to an extreme. They’ll typically follow you from room to room or whine if you’re away.

Socialization will help ease this issue if it becomes too claustrophobic, but you’ll definitely be able to tell if your Australian Shepherd has chosen you as their “favorite” in the household.

Do Australian Shepherds Need a Lot of Attention?

Again this depends on a few underlying factors, but for the most part, Australian Shepherds love attention. Unless their health is in decline or they’re just stubborn, this breed enjoys playing with toys, going outdoors, and having their belly rubbed.

This is especially true with Australian Shepherd puppies because even the ones that don’t cuddle as much will still love to be played with.

Do Australian Shepherds Like to Be Held?

There are two temperaments with Australian Shepherds: Extremely affectionate and invasive of personal space or somewhat cold due to a strong-minded stubbornness. Which one your dog has will decide how much it likes to be held, but the majority are the former personality.

Since the Australian Shepherd shows love by sitting on your feet or lap, if your dog verges on the more affectionate side, it will love being held and cuddled.


By now, you’ve figured out that Australian Shepherds like to cuddle for the most part. While there are certainly some that are more ornery, the majority of this breed likes to be close and clingy to their owner and family.

You’re also aware of how to know if your Australian Shepherd loves you and how to gain their affection if they’re on the colder side. The key is to always give positive reinforcement and appreciate the ways that they show their love for you!