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Do Australian Shepherds Like To Cuddle? [Why & Why Not]

Australian Shepherds are a well-loved breed of dog. They are known for their intelligence and energy. But what about their temperament? Are they considered an affectionate breed and should owners expect to be able to cuddle with them? I decided to do some research into Aussies and their preferences for this form of attention. I’d like to share with you what I have been able to find.

So, do Australian Shepherds like to cuddle? Australian Shepherds do typically like to cuddle, especially with their owners or with family members that they live with. They may not be as cuddly with strangers or people they don’t know that well. Additionally, some Aussies are more open to cuddling than others; some are more independent by nature.

Aussies are friendly, affectionate dogs who enjoy spending time with their owners. But the keyword here is, owners.

While they are generally friendly with everyone, they are known for being quite reserved and cautious with strangers.

And then we have the individual variance to consider as well. Personality is something we need to consider, along with how they are raised.

This is why socialization is so important in this breed. Doing so early on in life will help them be more cuddly and relaxed in all situations. If thats what you’re after, of course.

Let us now take a closer look at the general nature of this breed and their preferences to cuddle, be, and receive affection from their owners.

Be sure to keep reading as I will even provide some suggestions to get your Aussie cuddling more if they do not seem to be the cuddling type!

Australian Shepherds Temperament

High energy by nature, Australian Shepherds love exploring and running around outside. 

Many people wonder about their temperament of this breed around the family; and rightly so. Its especially important if you have young children.

According to the AKC, Australian Shepherds are in the top twenty best breeds to own. This is because of their affectionate, cuddly nature and good temperament.

They thrive in families and are good dogs for kids. If you want a fun dog to play with, look no future than an Aussie.

They’re playful and ready to run around the yard with you. But then they’ll want you to pet them and give them a big hug.

Its no wonder they made the top twenty list of best breeds to own in the United States.

Australian Shepherds were first bred in Spain. Then they were taken to Australia by shepherds who later took them to the United States.

Americans christened them with the name Australian Shepherds because they worked with sheepherders from Australia. Its no surprise they are good around people and like to be in their company!

Here are some of the main characteristics of the Australian Shepherd breed:

  • Smart– Very intelligent, they watch you and seem to understand how to tell time because they always know when it’s time for you to feed them. They’ll stare you down while they wait, too.
  • Active and high energy – Aussies need plenty of exercise and playtime to keep them happy and out of trouble.
  • Loyal– Loyal to a fault, following you around constantly
  • Herding tendencies – Instinctively Aussies will herd their humans, running around them to keep them safe
  • Sheds a lot – Be prepared for shedding twice a year for several months
  • Likes to work – Keep your Aussie busy chasing a ball or frisbee. They love agility training classes that challenge them mentally and physically.
  • Easy to train – Aussies are smart and a breeze to train. They want to make their owners happy so they will try to obey you.

Are Australian Shepherds Affectionate?

Affectionate by nature, Aussies love people. These affectionate dogs need lots of petting and cuddling. Who doesn’t like that? 

Did you know that owning a dog can even make you and your family healthier? 

Studies show that owning a dog lowers the stress levels in both kids and adults.

Your affectionate dog will love and accept you all the time. That’s better than some people do!

Having a good friend like an Aussie will help you feel more relaxed during stressful times.

There’s something wonderful about petting their thick fur and cuddling with them.

It’s like good medicine.

Of course, this affectionate dog loves it as much as you do.

Why Do Australian Shepherds Like To Cuddle?

Aussies are among some of the cuddliest breeds. They love their owners and love to be with them all the time.

Of course, this causes them to be worriers. They’re prone to cling to their owners and almost need to have them around to ease their anxiety.

When you leave the room, your Aussie may want to follow you or they stand and watch for you to return. They love to be near their “pack” of humans.

This friendly dog is so loyal following you around the house or outside just to be near you. It’s a strong trait of this breed and owners enjoy having such a loving friend with them.

So while you Aussie wants to remain close to you, they may also appreciate a cuddle. Here are some of the main reasons why:

  • They cuddle you for warmth – especially if its cold outside or the temperature drops
  • They cuddle you to show, and express their affection – this could be by resting their head on your leg, or lying with their back up against you.
  • To relieve their own anxieties and stress – in fact, studies have shown it releases the happy chemical oxytocin in both you and your Assie alike.
  • To help them feel safe – especially when they feel uncomfortable or nervous
  • As a form and way to protect you – usually happens when you are around new people or other dogs

Why Might An Australian Shepherds Not Like To Cuddle

Aussies are very affectionate, that’ an understatement. 

But it is important to socialize your pup early on to help them feel more comfortable around people.

Some Aussies are shyer than others.

Lack of good socialization will cause them to be scared and shy around people.

They may become overly protective of you and your family.

Just be sure to give your Aussie pup lots of cuddles and time around people and dogs early on. This helps them learn that other dogs and people aren’t threats.

Here are some of the main reasons why they may not like a cuddle in the moment, or even in the long-term:

  • They’re hot and bothered – they have a thick coat and may just need some time to cool down.
  • You’re cuddling them wrong – You may be holding them too tightly, pulling on their coat etc. They generally don’t like to feel smothered.
  • They are in pain – it could be an injury that you touch when you cuddle – you may need to see a vet
  • Its just their nature – it could be your dogs personality – some are naturally more reserved than others.

How To Get Your Australian Shepherd To Like Cuddling More

Early socialization helps your Aussies to be a cuddly and happy dog. It’s very important that you put in the effort while they are young.

Equally, the more your Aussie pup is exposed to the world, the more they’ll be comfortable in it. They’ll be relaxed and less prone to being protective or territorial in these situations.

Here are some ways to socialize your Aussie while still a puppy.

  1. Expose your Aussie pup to sights and sounds of the world around.
  2. Take your Aussie pup out into the world. Walk them around the neighborhood or take them out in the car.
  3. Introduce your pup to other animals, especially dogs. Take them to dog obedience school or out to a park. Show them other animals, too, like: horses, rabbits, chickens, cats
  4. Expose your Aussie pup to all kinds of people. Be sure that your dog learns about speciifc objects and items so be sure to introduce them to: Men, Women, Kids, People with glasses, People with long hair or really short hair, Loud talking people, People with sticks or carrying things, People on crutches, Crying babies, People in wheelchairs, People wearing a mask, or face cover
  5. Take your Aussie different places so they’ll feel comfortable everywhere. These include: Playgrounds, Parks, Sports fields, Schoolyards, Shopping malls, Coffee shops, Tennis courts, Swimming pools, Lakes, Noisy streets, Cities, Neighborhoods. Just make sure you have permission!
  6. Expose your Aussie to noisy things: Lawnmowers, Cars, Trucks, Buses, Motorcycles, Sirens, Blow dryers, Thunder, Clapping, Singing

Most Aussies are really affectionate and should be cuddly naturally, but if you work hard to socialize your young Aussie, you’ll find they are less anxious in different situations.

This helps them relax and enjoy being petted and cuddled by your family and friends.

Do Australian Shepherds Have A Favorite Person?

Aussie’s will love playing with everyone in your family, buty they may develop a preference to one favorite person. This could be whom they end up going to for cuddles and pettings.

Usually this is their primary carer. The individual who feeds them, takes them for walks etc.

Your Aussie will view you as the pack leader which is a good thing since these dogs are so smart, they will take over if you don’t lead them.

They will want you to cuddle them, pet them and maybe even try to climb up into your lap, which is no small matter since they can weigh up to 65 pounds.

Therefore, if you want to avoid this from happening, its a good idea to ensure all of your family feeds, takes care of and walks your dog.

Are Australian Shepherds Clingy?

Australian Shepherds have a funny nickname – Velcro dogs. This is because of their clinginess. It can be down right hard to get away from them.

They’ll follow you around into your bedroom, living room then the kitchen, They may even want to follow you into the bathroom.

You will need to reassure your pooch that you’re okay without them. They have a strong instinct to protect you.

To them, you are their cow or sheep, that they need to protect and guide you. It’s in their nature and if you’ve never owned an Aussie you will be surprised at how clingy they can be.

Clinginess is cute at first, but it can lead to bad behavior if you don’t set limits.

You may need to gently resist your dog’s urge to follow you.

Find ways to give yourself some space, tell your Aussie to go lay down when he’s standing over you looking at you intently. Be firm but gentle.

It’s actually good for them to learn a little independence since Australian Shepherds are prone to separation anxiety and clinginess.

When you arrive home from work, don’t greet your dog right way. Ignore them purposely.  He’ll see you are home, but see you need space. After you’re home for a few minutes then you can give them a nice cuddle and tummy rub.


Australian Shepherds are one of the most popular breeds of dogs. They are in the top twenty most liked dog breeds. It’s no wonder they are so popular.

Naturally affectionate, these sweet-natured dogs are lovely to pet and hug.

For the most part, the Australian Shepherd loves to cuddle – its in their nature. They may cuddle for a number of reasons.

They’ll follow you around and worry about you if they can’t see you.

They will probably go with you anywhere you go, even to the bathroom if you let them.

If you aren’t ready for such attention, then get ready for it, because your Aussie is going to be your best friend.

Aussies are high energy so be prepared to keep him busy running, catching a ball, or frisbee. Enroll your Aussie in agility training is generally a good idea to keep them mentally challenged and happiest.

Equally, its important to note that not all Aussies are as affectionate and cuddly – it could be their own personality or it could be something more serious like an injury/illness. If you suspect the latter, get them checked by a vet.

However otherwise, you may just need to accept the fact that your dog is not as interested in cuddles as you would have hoped. And respect that.