Red Cattle Dog

Australia's Most Loyal Dog Breeds

Written By Eloisa Thomas | Canine Coach, Double M.A in Anthropology.
Edited & Fact Checked By Renae Soppe | B.A Journalism & Science. 
Last Updated: 9th January 2024

Are you looking for a pup to round up your family? Would you rather have a fiercely faithful dog to enjoy spending time with? We’ve got you covered!

Today we’re covering a few of the most loyal dog breeds found in Australia.

Our experts rounded up the smartest, most family-oriented dogs that will love sharing your life. Ready to find your forever companion?

What Makes a Dog Loyal?

We could argue that, generally speaking, a well-adjusted dog regardless of the breed will also be a loyal dog. Of course, there are some nuances that will depend on your dog’s unique personality: some pups will be surprisingly loving and dedicated to their family, while others can come across as more aloof.

In general, loyal dogs will enjoy spending time with their family and want to share their everyday life. They’ll also want to defend their people if they feel threatened, and have a strong personality overall.

It’s important to remember that a dog’s personality goes beyond its breed, and there’s a lot of variability even within the same litter! To figure out if a dog is loyal, it might be a good idea to consider rescuing and adopting an older dog. These pups already have a clear personality, and in many cases, rescues will let you spend time with them before actually going through any paperwork.

Plus, you’ll be saving a life and they’ll be grateful to have a family again!

Most Loyal Dogs in Australia

Border Collie

Loyal Border Collie

Dog breed group

Herding Dog Group (1)


53 cm for males, around 50 cm for females


14-20 kg for males, 12-19 kg for females

Life span

12-15 years 

Of course, we couldn’t do a list of the most loyal dog breed without mentioning the Border Collie! This popular Australian dog breed is considered one of the smartest dogs in existence. Here’s what you should know about them:


These affectionate dogs love to spend time with their owners, particularly if you’re work buddies! While not particularly outgoing, once a border collie recognises you as ‘theirs’, they won’t want to leave your side.

A well-adjusted, socialised border collie is warm with their family, and wary of strangers. This breed shouldn’t be shy or aggressive, they’d just rather survey the action from afar.

Because they are very sensitive to noise and movement, hosting gatherings at home or going to very crowded places isn’t always enjoyable for Border Collies. If you do want to host, it’s important to provide your pup with a secluded space where they can retreat if they feel overwhelmed. An over-stimulated Border Collie won’t respond quickly to cues, and might get hyperactive or nippy.

Related: Border Collie Breed Profile

Are Border Collies loyal?

Yes! Because of their working background, they develop very strong bonds with their handler through everyday interaction. Once they recognise you as part of their family, a Border Collie will trust you completely and look up to you to determine the safety of people and new environments.


This is common knowledge, but it bears repeating: Border Collies are very smart! This means they’ll quickly get what’s asked of them… but they’ll also try to outsmart you. A Border Collie will want to solve problems themselves, after all, that’s what they were born to do!

As herding dogs, they were given a task and they were in charge of accomplishing it, regardless of the method. Because of it, training a pet Border Collie can pose very specific challenges. According to different rescue groups, not every household is the right fit for this breed!

Border Collies need consistency, positive reinforcement training, and structure. They’ll thrive with mental challenges and daily exercise sessions.

Who is this breed for?

If you love the outdoors, already spend a fair amount of time exercising, and don’t particularly enjoy large gatherings, a Border Collie could be a good option. This breed is great with kids and will enjoy being their playmate, but an adult or responsible older teen needs to be their main handler. Training is essential, so experience adopting other working breeds or a willingness to take classes will make owning this dog easier for everyone.

Border Collie Rescues in Australia

Still think this is the right choice for you? Then consider adopting an older pup! Adult dogs and older puppies are very frequently found in pounds and rescues because many people don’t understand the difficulties that come with raising a Border Collie.

We recommend getting in touch with your local RSPCA or rescue. They’ll probably have a few adoptable pups for you to meet!

Blue Heeler

Loyal Blue Heeler

Dog breed group

Herding Dog Group (2)


50 cm to 35 cm tall


13 to 25 kgs

Life span

10 to 13 years

The Australian Blue Heeler, or Australian Cattle Dog, is an energetic shepherd fit for active families. If you want a dog to spend every day with, this is the right pup for you. Here’s what you should know before taking the leap:


These hardworking dogs have become a family favourite because of their loyalty and smarts. These compact, muscular pups were made to run for hours on end under the harsh Australian sun. Because of it, they have seemingly endless energy to run and play.

Despite their strong prey instinct, Cattle dogs are very loving and get along well with children and other pets once properly socialised. This breed stays alert all day long, and will only cuddle on the couch after a long day at work. Cattle dogs are demanding and like to have your attention, so bringing them with you to work and run errands is your best option.

Blue Heelers enjoy independent work that’s mentally challenging. However, this kind of stimuli can be pretty hard to reach through your typical puppy training session. Because of it, many Blue Heeler owners choose to enrol in herding training, agility and other physically demanding tasks that also use lots of mental energy.

Are Blue Heelers loyal?

Like other herding pups, Cattle dogs are incredibly loyal. These dogs form strong forms with their families, protect their food and toys, and tend to be wary of new people. While this is great if you’re looking for a loyal dog, it also means you need to socialise early and consistently to limit animosity towards strangers.

Blue Heelers also make our list of the best guard dog breeds.


These are smart cookies, so you won’t have any issues making them understand new cues. On the flip side, they do get bored pretty fast, so providing consistent mental stimulation is just as important as a daily exercise schedule.

Try to incorporate training sessions after a good workout, to make sure your Heeler is slightly tired and they have an easier time focusing on you. Without proper exercise, Cattle dogs tend to misbehave and will destroy your home. If left unattended, the problem can grow and Cattle dogs can start showing aggressive behaviours, particularly towards new people or those they just don’t like, such as neighbours, mail workers and visitors.

Who is this breed for?

Experienced dog owners with a fenced yard, and would love to share their active lifestyle with their Cattle dog. These dogs need consistency, positive training and commitment to lifelong learning from their owners. If you’d rather snuggle on the couch than go for a hike, this isn’t the dog for you!

Cattle dog rescues in Australia

Because of its rising popularity, more and more Blue Heelers end up abandoned in rescues and shelters. If you’ve researched this breed and are sure it’s the right fit, we recommend adopting an older dog. You’ll find from 5-month pups to retired farm dogs in need of a forever home!


Loyal Kelpie

Dog breed group

Foundation Stock Service (AKC) (3), Herding Dog Group (UKC)


40 cm to 34 cm tall


13 to 25 kgs

Life span

10 to 13 years

Looking for an active, hardworking pup with fun a personality? Then the Australian Kelpie could be for you. These Aussie natives are the local version of the old ‘working collie’, and have all the personality of an independent, smart herding dog.

Despite their great disposition, Kelpies might not be the right choice for most people. Here’s what you should know about them!


Bred to withstand the harsh Australian weather, Kelpies are a very hardworking breed with lots of energy. Since they were raised to handle sheep and cattle without supervision, they tend to work independently. Nevertheless, working alongside their owner is something they enjoy.

Keep in mind Kelpies are still bred mostly as working dogs, so these independent, hardworking traits are a priority. Because of it, when adopted as pets, new Kelpie owners can have a hard time adapting their lifestyle to this unique pup.

This breed doesn’t like staying at home for hours on end and will thrive with daily activity. Office workers with long schedules and not a lot of outdoor hobbies won’t be able to provide enough mental stimuli and physical activity this breed needs. If you don’t offer both mental and physical stimulation, Kelpies can get destructive and even aggressive. Get ready, you’ll have to give them at least one long walk per day, and Kelpies do best when they can be part of your everyday life.

Overall, this breed is great for people that enjoy having dogs with lots of personality, some sense of humour and very active.

Related: Kelpie Breed Profile

Are Kelpies loyal?

Yes. Like other working dog breeds, Kelpies develop very strong bonds with their families and will go to great lengths to protect their own. On the flip side, this breed isn’t at all aggressive and shouldn’t be trained as a guard dog.

As long as you treat your Kelpie with kindness, reward their good behaviour and laugh with them -  you’ll be happy.


These dogs are very smart and were bred to work independently. Out of all Australian working breeds, this is the one that can come across as more stubborn, simply because they’d rather do things their way. Of course, this isn’t always the case, so training and early socialisation are key to help them trust you. These are very sensitive pups so using positive reinforcement and praise is the only way to get results during training. You shouldn’t have too much trouble teaching them new cues, since they are extremely smart!

While Kelpies are good-natured, their herding instincts are very strong. As pets, they can become avid chasers and run after kids, cars and everything that moves. To avoid it, you’ll have to get them used to the noises and movements of a home, while also providing a safe place where they can stay if they feel overwhelmed.

If you’re interested in adopting a Kelpie, you’ll have to figure out a daily exercise schedule. Mental stimulation is also very important, and without it, Kelpies can develop behavioural issues. In general, this breed is easy to train but they get bored fast, so challenging them with new tricks or special abilities like agility training is the best option to keep them busy.

Who is this breed for?

Families with or without kids that love to spend time outdoors and are willing to socialise their Kelpie from a young age. Gentle redirection and positive reinforcement will go a long way, while patience and some humour are great to deal with their creative antics!

Kelpie rescues in Australia

Kelpies have become more popular as family dogs in recent years. However, this is still mainly a working breed and many families aren’t ready for that kind of commitment. Because of it, many Kelpies end up at rescues and without loving homes.

We encourage you to look into adopting an older Kelpie puppy or an adult dog, since they’ll have a more established personality and you’ll be able to gauge whether you’re a good fit. Here’s a small list to start with:

Golden Retriever

Loyal Golden Retriever

Dog breed group

sporting group (4)


40 cm to 54 cm tall


28 to 35 kgs

Life span

10 to 12 years

We couldn’t do a list of the most loyal dog breeds without mentioning the devoted Golden Retriever. This classic family dog became a worldwide favourite for a reason! However, they might not be the right choice for everyone. Here’s what you should know about them:


This smart, even-tempered dog is great with kids. They have the patience of a monk, even if grabby hands are pulling on their hair! Goldens are kind, smart and generally mellow, so they fit into a variety of lifestyles.

A well-adjusted Golden Retriever will be friendly with everyone and will retain that puppy happiness for the majority of their lives. Since most Goldens are eager to please, they make great first pets for children or even for busy families without a lot of time to train.

Are Golden Retrievers loyal?

Yes! Goldens are very dedicated to their family and love spending time together. While they aren’t good guard dogs, they love to follow their people around and make friends with neighbours, mail workers, visitors and passers-by.


Considering their smarts, it’s not a surprise this breed is so easy to train. They love to please and will tend to do as told. Of course, some issues might need specific attention, such as excessive jumping to greet people and mouthiness.

Overall, Goldens only need some consistency and patience to learn the basics. While they can enrol in agility and more complex work training, they also do well in a more relaxed family environment where their only job is playing with the kids.

Who is this breed for?

Anyone! Unlike the breeds we mentioned previously, Golden Retrievers aren’t especially difficult to handle and with some training, they’ll be great family dogs. Of course, you’ll still need daily walks and weekly runs, but it’s significantly less exercise than herding breeds.

If you’re looking for a friendly, responsive dog with lots of patience, this is probably a good choice.

Golden Retriever rescues in Australia

Despite their calm and friendly nature, Golden Retrievers and Golden Retriever mix breeds are fairly common in rescues and shelters. Many people don’t consider the shedding and dedication needed to train a dog.

Plus, the proliferation of puppy mills and irresponsible breeders results in many puppies being thrown out. Consider adopting a pup and offering a forever home to a lonely dog!

French Bulldog

Loyal French Bulldog

Dog breed group

non-sporting group (5)


20 cm to 25 cm tall


less than 14 kgs

Life span

10 to 12 years

Looking for a small loyal dog breed to keep you company? Then the French bulldog might be the right choice for you! Here’s what you should know about this pup:


These little goofballs are one of the most popular dog breeds for a reason, mainly their adaptability to city living. Playful, loyal and alert, the French Bulldog packs a lot of personality in a little bundle. Perfect for those with limited space!

This is a smart dog breed. Yes, Frenchies tend to stay alert but rarely bark, so many apartment-dwelling families choose them as a result. Due to their flat snout, also called brachycephaly, they cannot physically do lots of outdoor exercise. This means that a couple of walks around the block will be enough to fulfil their exercise needs.

Frenchies love human interaction and always want to be the centre of attention. On the flip side, they don’t think of themselves as smart, and won’t back down if they encounter a fight. Socialisation is key to let them know other dogs aren’t a danger to them or their family.

Are French Bulldogs loyal?

Yes! Like other Bulldog-type pups, they tend to guard and protect what they consider ‘theirs’. And, considering they enjoy humans so much, their people become property pretty soon! In general, Frenchies are more interested in spending time with you than getting to know new dogs.


Frenchies are smart, so getting them to understand new cues isn’t too hard. Getting them to do as they’re told might be another story! Since they are so smart, French Bulldogs want to push boundaries and enjoy making you laugh. Once they get the gist of any new cue, they’ll try to do it their own way, or get bored too fast.

With some consistency and positive reinforcement, they’ll soon learn what you need them to do. Of course, use praise and treats to kick start the process!

Who is this breed for?

People living in small spaces who want a calm, relaxed dog to snuggle with.

French Bulldog rescues in Australia

Looking for a Frenchie of your own? Adopting a French Bulldog in Australia is possible and very recommended. By getting an older puppy or adult dog, you’ll understand their personality better and will be giving a second chance to an abandoned dog!

Here are some rescues to check out:

Final Thoughts

Your search for a loyal dog breed is finally over! We hope today’s roundup helped make up your mind and you’ll soon find the right companion for your lifestyle. Let us know how it goes in the comments below!

  1. "Border Collie". American Kennel Club. Retrieved December 19, 2023.
  2. "Australian Cattle Dog". American Kennel Club. Retrieved December 19, 2023.
  3. "Australian Kelpie". American Kennel Club. Retrieved December 19, 2023.  
  4. "Golden Retriever". American Kennel Club. Retrieved December 19, 2023.
  5. "French Bulldog". American Kennel Club. Retrieved December 19, 2023.

Eloisa Thomas

Eloisa Thomas is Gentle Dog Trainers Canine Coach & Anthropologist.

With a double master's degree in Anthropology and awarded a Chancellor's International Scholarship to pursue a PhD in History at the University of Warwick (UK), she's well equipped to write well written and factual canine information that will actually help people understand their dogs better.

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