Are Australian Shepherd Dogs Good for Hunting?

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As a dog owner and avid hunter, I have always been curious about the hunting capabilities of different breeds. One breed that has caught my attention is the Australian Shepherd. They are intelligent, energetic, and loyal, but are they good for hunting? In this article, I will explore Are Australian Shepherd Dogs Good for Hunting? and whether they make good hunting companions.

Introduction to Australian Shepherd Dogs

Before I delve into the hunting abilities of Australian Shepherds, let’s first discuss a bit about the breed. Australian Shepherds, also known as Aussies, are medium-sized dogs that were originally bred as herding dogs. They are highly intelligent, active, and trainable. They are known for their loyalty and make excellent family pets.

Are Australian Shepherd Dogs Good for Hunting?

Are Australian Shepherd Dogs Good for Hunting?

Honestly speaking Australian Shepherd is not for hunting tasks. But With proper training, you can make Australian Shepherds like champion hunting dogs. They are intelligent, have a strong work ethic, and are incredibly loyal. Aussies were originally bred to herd sheep, so they have a natural instinct to chase and capture prey. When properly trained, they can be excellent hunting companions. 

Aussies are relatively easy to train, but they do require patience and consistency. Like all dogs, they will need to be socialized from a young age to ensure that they are comfortable around other animals and people.

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How to Train Your Aussie Dog for Hunting

Australian Shepherds are known for their intelligence, agility, and herding instincts. However, they can also make excellent hunting dogs with proper training. Here are five methods you can use to train your Australian Shepherd to hunt.

Brace Method:

The Brace method involves training two dogs at the same time to hunt cooperatively. This method is suitable for Aussies who enjoy working with other dogs. To start with, two dogs are introduced to each other and trained to work together. One dog will flush out the game, while the other dog will retrieve it. The brace method is great for hunting birds or small games.

Force Fetch Method:

The Force Fetch method is an advanced method for training a hunting dog. This method involves teaching the dog to retrieve objects using positive reinforcement and operant conditioning. The dog is trained to retrieve objects, such as dummies or birds, and bring them back to their handler. This method is suitable for Aussies who have a strong prey drive.

The E-Collar Method:

The E-Collar Method involves using an electronic collar to train your Australian Shepherd. The collar emits a mild electric shock that is used to reinforce commands. This method is suitable for Australian Shepherds who have difficulty responding to verbal commands. However, it is important to use this method responsibly and ensure that the dog is not harmed.

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Freedom Method:

The Freedom method involves allowing the Australian Shepherd to use their natural instincts to hunt. This method involves training the dog to follow scent trails and track games. The dog is trained to work independently and make decisions on their own. This method is suitable for Aussies who have a strong sense of independence.

Tracking Method:

The Tracking method involves training the Australian Shepherd to follow scent trails left by the game. The dog is trained to follow the scent of the game and locate it. This method is suitable for Australian Shepherds who have a strong sense of smell.

Australian Shepherds are intelligent dogs that can be trained to hunt. The five methods mentioned above can be used to train Aussies to hunt birds or small game. It is important to choose the method that is most suitable for your dog and to use positive reinforcement techniques. With patience and consistency, your Australian Shepherd can become an excellent hunting dog.

Why Australian Shepherd Can Excel at Hunting

Australian Shepherds are a breed of dogs that can excel at hunting due to a variety of reasons.


One of these reasons is their intelligence. Aussies are known to be highly intelligent and easy to train, which makes them excellent hunters. They are also very loyal and eager to please their owners, which makes them more likely to put in extra effort when hunting. In addition, they have strong herding instincts, which makes them an excellent choice for hunting with other dogs.

Active Dogs:

Another reason These dogs are naturally very active and physically fit, makes they are well-suited for tracking games and chasing prey. Their agility, stamina, and strength make them ideal companions for long days out in the field. And since they love to explore, they are more likely to catch the scent of the game before other dogs.

In addition to their athleticism and intelligence, Australian Shepherds have a strong desire to work. They are highly eager to please their owners, so if you give them a task to complete, they will likely do it with enthusiasm. This is especially important for hunting, as you need a dog that is willing to work hard and stay focused throughout the hunt.

What Types of Hunting Are Best for Australian Shepherds?

When it comes to hunting, Australian Shepherds are one of the most versatile breeds. These herding dogs are intelligent, loyal, and highly trainable – making them perfect for a number of different hunting tasks.

1. Rabbits

One type of hunting that Aussies are particularly adept at is rabbit hunting, which typically involves flushing out rabbits from their hiding spots and herding them towards the hunter or into a designated net. This type of hunting requires quick reflexes, agility, and stamina – all qualities at that Australian Shepherds excel.

2. Waterfowl hunting

Waterfowl hunting is also an excellent activity for Australian Shepherds. These dogs are well-suited for retrieving waterfowl as they’re naturally good swimmers and have a keen sense of smell. Waterfowl hunting can be a great way to bond with your pup while also providing you with a delicious meal.

3. Raccoon hunting

Raccoon hunting is another type of hunting that Australian Shepherds are particularly well-suited for. These dogs can track raccoons with ease and can then be used to either bring the animal to the hunter or to keep it in a tree until the hunter arrives.

4. Fox hunting

Australian Shepherds are also well-equipped for fox hunting. However, as foxes are often quite elusive, it is important to have an experienced guide accompany you on these hunts. Fox hunting can be an exciting and challenging task, which can be a great way to test the skills of both you and your pup.

5. groundhog hunting

Finally, groundhog hunting is another activity that your Australian Shepherd might enjoy. Groundhogs can provide a challenge for both you and your pup as the holes that they inhabit are hidden and difficult to reach. Australian Shepherds are particularly well-suited for this task due to their intelligence and agility.

Are Australian Shepherds Good Family Dogs?

Yes, they certainly can be! With their intelligence and energy, Aussies are great companions for any family. They are very loyal and playful and will respond quickly to commands. They also get along well with children and other pets, making them a great addition to any household.

Potential Challenges When Hunting with Australian Shepherds

While Australian Shepherds can make great hunting companions, there are some potential challenges to keep in mind. Firstly, their herding instincts may lead them to chase after the game instead of retrieving it. Additionally, they can be prone to chasing after small animals, such as rabbits, which can distract them from the task at hand. It’s also important to note that their thick coats can make them prone to overheating in hot weather.


So, are Australian Shepherds good for hunting? The answer is yes, they can make great hunting companions. Their natural herding instincts, agility, and trainability can make them excellent at tracking and flushing out the game. However, it’s important to keep in mind that not all Aussies will take to hunting, and some may have challenges that need to be overcome through training.

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What type of hunting are Australian Shepherds best suited for?

Aussies are well suited for hunting birds, such as quail and pheasants.

Are Australian Shepherds good retrievers?

While they have the potential to be good retrievers, their herding instincts may lead them to chase after the game instead of retrieving it.

Do Australian Shepherds have a strong prey drive?

Yes, due to their herding background, Australian Shepherds can have a strong prey drive and love chasing and nipping at moving objects.

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