Can Australian Shepherds Sleep Outside? – An Owner’s Guide

can australian shepherds sleep outside at night

Are you wondering if your australian shepherd can sleep outside? You aren’t alone. Many new aussie owners often wonder if it is okay to let their dog sleep outside.

“Will my dog get too cold?”

“Is my aussie safe outside?”

All of these questions are normal. I’ve owned aussies for nearly all my life and personally, my aussies have slept outside a majority of their lives.

The reason?

I don’t have to worry about cleaning up dog hair inside the house and my dogs would rather be outside anyways.

I can’t blame them.

Australian shepherds are naturally outdoor dogs. And knowing this, we can confidently say, yes, australian shepherds can sleep outside.

However, there are some things you want to keep an eye on such as: weather, shelter, and how comfortable your dog is being outside. Plus, another important thing to consider is how old or young your dog is.

These are things I will be talking about in this article, so read on.

Australian Shepherds were Bred to be Outdoor Dogs

Australian shepherds are a working breed that were originally bred to herd livestock. During the 19th century, aussies were developed on American Ranches.

Because of this, aussies possess tons of energy and athletic ability in order to help them be great at their job. This is a huge reason why australian shepherds love the outdoors. It’s in their blood to be in the grass and dirt.

Aussies are also known for their beautiful thick coat. Not only is it pretty to look at, but it also does a great job in protecting Aussies against the elements.

The australian shepherd coat is double layered. The outer coat is water repellent while the inner coat works as insulation to preserve body heat during colder months.

Being a working dog, it would make sense that australian shepherds would be fine sleeping outside.

Can Australian Shepherds withstand the Cold?

Weather is important when it comes to letting your aussie sleep outside. If you live in a warmer climate like me, this is only an issue you need to worry about in the winter months.

Typically, australian shepherds can handle temperatures of 45 degrees fahrenheit and above pretty comfortably. If temperatures reach below 32 degrees fahrenheit, then it is a good idea to let your dog come inside to stay on the safe side.

I’ve personally heard stories of people’s dogs doing just fine in below freezing temperatures, but I wouldn’t want to risk it. Every dog is different. It’s important to keep an eye on your aussie.

If you bring him outside and he starts shivering, then it’s too cold for your dog to withstand that temperature all night long.

Providing Shelter for your Australian Shepherd

Shelter is very important as well. My dogs often just curl up in the grass and go to sleep, but you might find that your dogs would rather sleep in a dog house at night.

Providing some kind of overhead shelter would be a good idea to protect your aussie from rain or snow.

If you have a porch in your backyard that has good cover, this should work well.

Simply adding a dog bed back underneath the porch would be great too. I have a porch in my backyard that my dogs get under when it rains and it works perfect for them.

If you live in colder areas that hover around freezing, a doghouse will be a must to preserve body heat for your dog. Adding hay and or/ warm blankets inside the dog house would be a great addition as well.

How Comfortable is your Australian Shepherd with the Outdoors

My three australian shepherds were raised outdoors. Because of this, they are pretty comfortable sleeping outside. Like I mentioned above, they prefer being outside vs. being inside.

However, if your dog has been raised primarily indoors, then he may not be totally comfortable sleeping outside. He might whine and cry the first time you leave him outside for the night.

This is often normal and it’ll take some time for him to get used to it. The best way to stop your australian shepherd from whining or barking at night is simply by ignoring it.

This is what I do with my australian shepherd pups and eventually they learn that whining all night will get them nowhere.

What’s the Right Age to Let your Aussie Sleep Outside?

This one really depends on a number of factors. We usually begin letting our australian shepherds sleep outside once they are around 6 months to a year old. However, we are able to do this because we train our dogs very well.

If your australian shepherd lacks discipline or is too young, then you could end with some chewed up lawn chairs or dug up holes in your backyard.

If this is something you want to avoid, I recommend training your dog up until a year old and then you can start letting her sleep in the backyard.

Something you need to keep in mind is, this kind of destructive behavior usually occurs when your dog is bored or restless.

I highly recommend working and exercising your australian shepherd every day to keep her disciplined and smart.

Something you can try is fencing off an area for your australian shepherd that will keep her away from anything you don’t want to tore up – like your grass or any other valuables.

Personally, I leave the whole yard open for my dogs, but fencing portions of your backyard can be a good idea for younger dogs.
How Secure is your Backyard?

A secure fence is very important. You don’t want your australian shepherd finding a spot where she can escape and run away. Make sure to check every area of your fence before letting your dog sleep outside in the backyard.

Also, make sure your fence is high enough to where your dog can’t jump out. I have an 8 foot metal fence that secures my backyard, so I don’t have to worry about my dogs finding any loose wooden fence posts or jumping out.

Lastly, if your dog likes to dig holes then this is going to be a problem. You don’t want her digging herself a hole under the fence to escape. This is probably one of the most common ways a dog escapes the backyard.

Again, the biggest cause for this kind of behavior is boredom and a lack of discipline. Exercising and working your dog every day keeps her smart and will also free up all that energy insider of her.

Check out youtube for training videos, there are plenty on there.

Another solution you can try is using chicken wire or a similar structure to lay in the ground to keep dogs from digging. Google “how to prevent dogs from digging holes under the fence” and you should find some resources to help you out.

One last thing you need to look out for is dangerous chemicals or cleaning products you might have laying around in the backyard. Make absolutely sure there isn’t anything back there that can harm your best friend.

Backyard Water Access for you Australian Shepherd

Make sure to provide access to water for you aussie in the backyard. You want your dog to be comfortable staying outside at night and this is a good way to help with that.

Watch out for lightweight water bowls that are easy to flip over. I use a 5 gallon water jug for my dog’s water bowl.

I cut off a big opening on the top and it’s good to go . Filling this jug with water will give it enough weight to keep it secure from tipping over. Make sure to clean it every so often though.

I’m sure you can find stable water bowls on google if you can’t find something around the house.


There are many reasons why you might want to let your australian shepherd sleep outside at night.

Maybe your dog enjoys being outside rather than being inside. Or maybe you want to cut down on cleaning all the dog hair and dog smell inside the house.

Whatever the reason, it’s totally okay for australian shepherds to sleep outside at night if certain things are accounted for.

Having a well trained aussie is on the top of the list to avoid destructive behavior in your backyard. A secure backyard will also be a must if you want to keep your dog from running away. Lastly, and most importantly, always be aware of the weather to be sure your dog will be safe in the backyard.

Following these tips will ensure your Australian Shepherd is safe sleeping outside at night.


Hi, I'm the owner of Juniper Pets! You can often find me playing fetch with my dogs, working out or cooking up something legendary in the kitchen. Hope you enjoy my blog!

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