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Why Australian Shepherds Make Good Apartment Dogs

Can Australian Shepherds live inside apartments? It’s a great question and something to consider carefully before getting an Aussie puppy or moving homes.

For such an energetic breed, are they able to live in a confined space, perhaps with no yard?… I’ll explain everything below.

Aussies are a very adaptable breed and can adjust to many different living conditions, including small-space living.


Can Australian Shepherds Live Inside Apartments?

Surprisingly, yes, Australian shepherds can live inside an apartment or small space, assuming they receive plenty of exercise and time outside.

Whether it’s possible or not actually comes down to you and your day-to-day schedule.

  • Aussies are fantastic at adapting to their environment, but you’ll need to take extra time out of your day to make it easier for them.

Of course, the size of the apartment does come into play here… but even still, it’s more dependant on daily routine, rather than size and space.

I know many owners successfully raising Aussies, Huskies, and even German Shepherds inside small apartments and they’re just fine.

Another point to mention, is that apartments typically don’t come with a yard, so you will need to be available often enough to take them outside for potty breaks, leg stretching, and exercise. More on this below.

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Making Australian Shepherds Comfortable Inside Apartments

The most important advice I can give to make this work is about spending adequate time outside.

In order for your Australian Shepherd to feel comfortable living inside an apartment with limited space, he’ll need to spend plenty of time outside of the apartment.

  • If you are able to take your Aussie out for at least an hour in the morning, at least an hour in the evening, with additional breaks outside throughout the day, he’ll be fine.

If this already sounds difficult to fit into your schedule, you may run into problems…

What you can’t expect is for your Aussie to be fine inside an apartment when he/she doesn’t get to spend adequate amounts of time outside.

Keep in mind, that Aussies were originally bred on huge, wide-open ranches, helping farmers and herding cattle. These dogs are the opposite of couch potatoes!

Related: How much exercise do Australian Shehperd puppy need?

Leaving Your Australian Shepherd Alone In An Apartment

Leaving your Aussie home alone for many hours each day, inside of an apartment with limited space is not advised. Even for those with large open spaces, it’s still not advised!

Australian Shepherds have strong social companionship needs and crave human interaction for most of the day.

Again, we find ourselves going back to your daily schedule and availability…

As you can see, your availability plays such an important factor in how well your Aussie will adapt to apartment life.

Potty Training With No Yard

Having a yard is a serious luxury when it comes to potty training! You can train your Aussie to pee and poop as much as he likes in a dedicated spot outside of your home.

With apartments, that’s not an option. So here are a few important tips to consider:

Take him out to your local park or communal yard as often as possible (several times per day)
Buy a potty pad and train him to use only that spot for pees and poops
Bring him to the potty pad after sleep, eating, drinking, playing, napping, or any other exciting moment.
Reward him with treats for using the potty pad

In an ideal world, potty pads don’t exist (really not a fan!), and dogs are taught to pee and poop outside of your joint living space.

But, living in an apartment without a yard, unfortunately, comes with this exact drawback.

Hopefully, you can take him outside enough times per day to avoid most potty mishaps at home, but there will always be exceptions, of course. And for these moments, having him trained to go in “his” spot is obviously important.

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Do Australian Shepherds Need a Back Yard?

Although this is already indirectly answered, I wanted to address it separately as it’s commonly asked.

  • Although having a yard is preferable for an Australian Shepherd, it’s not something owners must have. Sufficient exercise and adequate time spent outside of your house will make up for having no yard.

If you are able to keep up with this, then not having a yard, won’t really matter all that much!

The obvious drawback to not having a yard is unexpected potty breaks. But as explained in the previous section, for the moments you aren’t able to catch while you are outside, he should be trained to eliminate on a potty pad, inside.

I’ve spoke to many owners over the years about this, and here’s what a lot of them say: “Even though my Aussie has a yard, they are never interested in going out there unless I’m with them anyway”.

Interesting: 10 Ways Australian Shepherds show their owners love

Will Your Aussie Need More Exercise?

Exercise, both physical and mental will be crucial to keep your Aussie feeling satisfied, stimulated, and happy.

Without enough of either type of exercise, your Aussie will likely become bored, frustrated, and stressed. This can lead to an array of behavior issues and increase the chances of developing anxiety.

But does living in an apartment affect this? It will to a certain extent… The importance of exercise remains the same whether he’s living in an apartment or not, but the lack of a yard will put more responsibility on you to take him out for his exercise.

Having less room to run and play inside your home will mean more will have to be done when outside.

Mental stimulation is essential either way and fortunately can be achieved through frequent training exercises and interactive puzzle toys.


Can Australian shepherds live in apartments?

Australian shepherds can adapt to living in apartments just fine. This is providing they are well-exercised, mentally stimulated and spend adequate time outside of the apartment every single day.

Do Australian shepherds need backyards?

Although having a backyard is preferable, it’s not strictly mandatory. As long as you have the time to take your Aussie outside to the dog park for 1-2 hours per day, this will make up for not having a yard.

How long can I leave my Australian shepherd in an apartment?

Regardless of whether it’s an apartment or house, Australian shepherds don’t do well alone and shouldn’t be left for more than 3-5 hours at a time.

Is it unfair to own an Australian shepherd in an apartment?

No, it isn’t, as long as you are able to provide sufficient exercise (1-2 hours) and spend plenty of additional time outside with your Aussie, then it’s fine. However, leaving an Aussie home alone and understimulated in an apartment, would be unfair.

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Final Thoughts

Australian Shepherds can live in apartments. Although this will require more responsibility to provide adequate exercise, potty breaks, and time outside of the apartment in order for them to remain happy.

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