Are Australian Shepherds Cuddly Or Affectionate Dogs?


As you can probably guess from their name, Australian shepherds are herding dogs bred to work on farms with sheep and cattle.

Even if you raise them at home, they’ll still grow up with the basic instinct to herd your cats, dogs, and even your children. But does their herding nature mean they aren’t naturally cuddly?

Australian shepherds may have been bred to work, but that doesn’t mean they don’t make excellent family pets. They are extremely loyal to their families and will gladly cuddle and be affectionate with the people they know.

You can even look for signs that your Aussie wants some extra love. You just have to know their signals.

Let’s take a closer look at this beautiful dog breed and explore what makes them ideal family pets (even getting along with cats!). We’ll also give you some tips for how to show your dog affection and look out for the affection your dog gives you.

Can You Snuggle With An Australian Shepherd?

In short, yes! While no two dogs have the same personality, you can cuddle your newly adopted Australian shepherd without worry. They are instinctively loyal canines who stick close to the pack and protect their families.

Therefore, your dog will develop a strong and affectionate bond with you as long as you take the time to play and train it.

However, your Aussie may be shy around strangers. Australian shepherds typically take some time to warm up to new people and could be defensive if left alone with people they don’t know.

Be sure to introduce your dog to your friends so it can sniff them out and become acquainted.

Therefore, don’t worry about whether you can cuddle your new Aussie. It will love receiving affection from the people it knows and trusts.

4 Reasons Why Your Aussie Might Like Or Dislike Cuddles And Affection

The odds are you aren’t looking to adopt an Australian shepherd to work on a farm. You want it to be an affectionate companion and member of the family.

Fortunately, your shepherd will enjoy playing and cuddling with you from a young age. Over time, if your shepherd begins to change how it reacts to affection, it could be a sign of deeper changes:

  1. A change in ageYou’ll likely find that your Australian shepherd mellows as it gets older. This breed typically has a lot of energy when they’re young and love to play. As they age, though, they’ll become to calm down and want to cuddle more often.
  2. A health issueAs Australian shepherds grow older, they’re prone to developing a condition called hip dysplasia. It can cause them a lot of pain. Other common health issues include cataracts and other eye problems. If your pup isn’t feeling well, they likely won’t want to cuddle. If you notice a sudden change, take your dog to the vets.
  3. They’re just not into itAussies can be pretty stubborn dogs. Sometimes they’re not just into cuddling. Depending on your dog’s mood, it may not want affection. Leave it be and when it’s ready, your pup will come to you.
  4. Trust issuesIt may seem silly but dogs can have trust issues too. If you adopted your Aussie late in its life, it may be distrustful of humans. Take things slowly and build trust by showing your dog that you are a member of its pack. Over time, things may change and your new shepherd will accept your affection.

Remember, cuddling and getting close to you puts your dog in a vulnerable position. If it’s not feeling comfortable or trusting, your Aussie will likely balk at any affection. 

4 Ways Your Aussie Says “I Love You”

Even if your Australian shepherd isn’t a buddle of hugs, it doesn’t mean that it hates you. Dogs just show their love in a different way. Keep your eyes open for some of the common ways your pet says that it loves you:

  1. Offering to playIf your Aussie starts bringing you toys or its favorite objects, it means your pup likes you enough to play and have fun. Your dog is happy and wants to enjoy its favorite things with you. Consider this an invitation to your dog’s inner circle.
  2. Rolling on its backDogs are predators by nature. They hunt and protect themselves by staying in large packs. Rule number one of being a predator means always staying on your guard. If your Aussie is willing to roll on its back and expose its soft fluffy belly, it means your dog trusts you and doesn’t feel threatened by your presence.
  3. Rubbing you with its nose Just as you pet your Aussie, your dog also pets you! The only difference is that your Aussie doesn’t have hands. Instead, it will use its nose and its body. If you notice that your dog is nudging you with its nose, this is a sign of affection. It shows that your dog is comfortable being close to you, wants your attention, and is also getting a good whiff of your scent.
  4. Your dog’s body languageSometimes dogs forget their size and revert back to their inner puppy by sitting on top of their owners. If your Australian shepherd likes to sit in your lap or even right next to you, this is a sign that your pup has chosen you as his go-to human. Consider this a big honor!

Use these signs to gauge your Australian shepherd’s moods. If notice that your pet is no longer showing affection and seems defensive, your dog may be injured or ill. Sudden behavioral changes are a sign you should take your dog in to see the vet.

Concluding Thoughts On Australian Shepherds

Although they were originally bred to work outdoors on farms, Australian shepherds’ naturally loyal and pack-oriented mentality make them wonderful family dogs.

As you begin to build a strong bond with your new pup, you’ll be able to shower your canine with all the love and affection you want.

However, be sure to read your dog’s body language and if you notice any sharp behavioral changes, consider speaking with a vet. These could be a sign of illness or other changes.

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