The Mini Australian Shepherd is an Australian Shepherd in a smaller package. It is more commonly known as the Mini American Shepherd.
These highly adaptable dogs can do just about anything that the Australian Shepherd can, but their small size makes them easier to fit into many different lifestyles.
This hardworking and loving companion is great for those who are not quite ready to let a larger dog into their home. They provide years of unconditional loyalty to any family willing to keep up with their high energy levels.
Is your family ready to take in one of these lovable farm dogs? Read our guide below on care, feeding, and much more…
Contents and Quick Navigation
- What is a Mini Australian Shepherd? (Overview)
- Pros and Cons
- Mini Australian Shepherd Appearance
- 6 Fun Facts About Mini Aussies
- Mini Australian Shepherd Personality and Temperament
- Caring for a Miniature Australian Shepherd
- How to Train a Mini Australian Shepherd
- Quick Breed Summary Table
What is a Mini Australian Shepherd? (Overview)
The Mini Australian Shepherd is a smaller version of the Australian Shepherd. Despite their name they do not come from Australia – they actually come from the United States.
This pooch began as a line of Australian Shepherds bred for their smaller size, but eventually, they became their own distinct breed (they are not toy sized dogs though).
Miniature Australian Shepherds are classified as herding dogs just like their taller counterparts.
These dogs were bred to tend livestock and help with work around the farm. Mini ones specifically have history as rodeo dogs.
Mini Aussies have a very big brain behind that adorable little face. These natural learners can be trained to perform all sorts of tasks, and they are up for learning any game that keeps their mind engaged.
Their helpful personality comes from their history as herders. Working is like a game to them, and they want to help their owners out as much as they possibly can.
- Overview: Purebred.
- Purpose: Herding.
- Weight: 40 pounds.
- Size: 14-18 inches.
- Temperament: Lively, focused and hardworking.
Pros and Cons
- Can be trained to perform all sorts of work.
- Great fitness partners.
- Obedient and intelligent temperament.
- Highly trainable and adaptable.
- Very loyal and protective of their family.
- High prey drive and chasing instinct.
- Can be destructive and obnoxious if bored.
- Needs lots of grooming.
- Training can be very time consuming.
- Not ideal for those who live alone.
Mini Australian Shepherd Appearance
Mini Aussies have a long, wavy double coat that comes in a variety of colors. They can be tri-colored, bi-colored, or just one color with white accents.
They have broad chests and shoulders set upon muscular bodies, and their heads should be proportional to the size of their body. Their attentive eyes can be brown, blue, or even heterochromia.
Their base color is dark, with lighter colored patches or spots. Their chests and undersides are always bright white.
Height and Weight
These dogs typically stand between 14 and 18 inches high. Females are only an inch or two shorter than males.
Both genders have a weight range of 20-40 pounds, with females weighing slightly less than males. According to the official breed standard, a Miniature Australian full grown should be over 12 but under 20 inches in height. They should not be small enough to be mistaken for a toy breed.
Breed Colors and Coat
The base colors for this breed are usually black or reddish brown.
White, tan, and beige colors appear in patches over the fur.
Merles are identified by a mottled appearance across a black or red coat, causing the base to appear lighter. In a merle pattern a black base color is faded to bluish grey, they are known as a blue merle Miniature Australian.
The breed’s double coat features a thick outer layer with a downy undercoat. The outer coat can be straight or appear in gorgeous waves.
6 Fun Facts About Mini Aussies
- As of 2018 the Australian Shepherd (and its miniature counterpart) was the 17th most popular dog breed in the United States.
- The breeds name comes from their original breeder’s country of origin. The breed itself comes from the state of California.
- Historically the breed has been known as the California Shepherd, Spanish Shepherd and New Mexican Shepherd.
- As well as the standard size Australian Shepherd, this breed is also closely related to the Border Collie.
- Occasionally the coat can sport a double merle pattern that causes the dog to appear nearly completely white.
- Other names for the breed include Mini American Shepherd, Mini Aussie or just MAS.
Mini Australian Shepherd Personality and Temperament
These eager little workaholics are only truly happy when they have something to do. As their owner it will be your main responsibility to keep them busy.
A bored Mini Aussie will be pushy and irritable. They may protest by destroying your furniture or making a mess of your house.
When kept happy and stimulated you will have an affectionate and loyal friend with a strong desire to keep your family safe. They are full of boundless energy and need to let it all out in daily work and play. They love to run and fetch and they make wonderful hiking buddies.
Unless they are alarmed or under-stimulated, they are generally quiet dogs. Excessive barking usually means that something is upsetting or alarming them.
Their alert nature leaves them cautious of people outside of the family. You will need to be patient when teaching them to recognize a friend from a threat.
Other pets may be difficult for them to get along with, as they were bred to herd. They may jump and chase at smaller pets or even larger dogs.
As a rule they pay more attention to detail than most other dogs.
They know when something is not right and they will be very eager to protect you and your family.
Is The Mini Australian Shepherd A Good Family Dog?
The Miniature Australian Shepherd’s undying loyalty makes it an absolutely fantastic family dog. In fact, they are better for families than they are for those who live alone.
These dogs just love the rough and tumble play that children get up to. Your pooch will do a good job of entertaining and tiring out your kids.
Caring for a Miniature Australian Shepherd
Australian Shepherd Minis are high maintenance dogs that need to keep their big brains occupied at all times.
Most of the time can be spent training and playing.
They are great for families that are as active as they are, but will be difficult for singles or even couples to keep up with – they are also not the greatest for first time dog owners.
This breeds love of long walks comes from its history of farmlands. You can take yours out for an hour long hike, or split it into 2 brisk 30 minute walks each day.
They must be kept on their leash at all times as they may want to jump at people or chase other animals.
Each day they need an hour of walking plus 30 extra minutes of play time a day. Chasing and jumping are their favorite ways to play.
They love to help their owners and will want to be given daily tasks to do around the home. If you live on a farm or keep livestock they are one of the best four legged farmhands you can find.
- Number of Walks Per Day: 2.
- Total Exercise Needed Per Day: Minimum 90 minutes.
Grooming and Shedding
These dogs shed alot – especially during the spring and fall shedding seasons!
You will need to brush your dog every day and check their fur for dirt, fleas and ticks.
Special brushes and combs can be used for controlling shedding, which reach both layers of the coat. A fine toothed comb can pick out dirt or bugs that may be hiding in the fur.
It’s likely that your active pooch will wear their nails down naturally as they run. If your dog’s nails are curling it’s time to trim them down.
Feeding and Diet
While this is a very active breed, it is also a small one.
You won’t need to feed them as much as a standard sized Australian Shepherd.
An adult dog needs 2 cups of kibble a day, at 1 cup per meal. If you want to give them wet food, replace one of their cups of kibble with one can.
Both wet and dry food should be made from raw meat ingredients, with little to no additives or fillers. Meat should always make up the majority of any dogs diet, followed by natural sources of healthy fats. Carbs and grains should only be present in small amounts.
|Calories Per Day:||Cups of Kibble Per Day:|
Known Health Problems
- This dogs beautiful eyes are also susceptible to a variety of disorders. Vision problems and blindness are very common in the breed.
- They can be born with iris colobomas, which are the result of an underdeveloped iris. A colomba appears as a black mark on the iris, and causes varying degrees of vision impairment.
- The same gene pair that leads to the attractive double merle coat pattern can also cause microphthalmia (an underdeveloped eye). This can occur in one or both eyes.
How Long Does A Mini Australian Shepherd Live?
Your Miniature Australian will be a 11-15 year commitment.
How Much Does a Mini Australian Shepherd Cost?
At a breeder you can expect to pay about $1000 for a Miniature Australian puppy. The more sought after coat colors (such as merle) will be higher priced.
How to Train a Mini Australian Shepherd
Training these dogs is very easy because they want to please their owners. However, it will take a lot of time.
This is a team effort between you and your pup. Your puppy is smart enough to pick up on your attitude and they will become discouraged if you are distant, angry or irritable during training.
Your dog must learn to respect you as their good friend and mentor. They need to know that you are rooting for them no matter what.
Love and praise will be their best incentive to learn. When they get it right make sure you show them just how proud of them you are.
Your pup will be very uneasy around strangers, and should be socialized as early as possible. Enrolling them in obedience school or puppy daycare will get them comfortable with other people and dogs.
Keep them on their toes with small tasks to do throughout the day. These can be anything from carrying a bundle of sticks to finding hidden toys.
You can give the classic game of fetch a twist that Mini Aussies will love. When they bring the toy back, switch it out for a different toy or make them run a longer distance to fetch the next one – your pup won’t know what comes next!
Quick Breed Summary Table
|Coat:||Long double coat.|
|Color:||Black, brown, red, white, tan and merle.|
|Do They Shed:||Yes.|
|Temperament:||Lovable, loyal, hardworking, eager and helpful.|
|Socialization:||Uneasy around others (early socialization is needed).|
|Destructive Behavior:||Chewing, tearing or knocking over furniture.|
|People Skills:||Very devoted and protective to their families.|
|Good with Children:||Yes.|
|Activity Levels:||Very high.|
The Miniature Australian is a wonderful addition to a lively family. Like with standard size Australian Shepherd, if you can keep up with their high energy, you will have a friend for life.
If you have already cared for a Border Collie, Australian Shepherd, or another herding breed, you should have no problem with a Mini Aussie.
Apartment dwellers and the sedentary should steer clear.
Once one of these sweet souls has befriended you, they will shower you with unconditional love for the rest of their lives.
If you are looking for an energetic working dog, but do not feel ready to take on a larger breed, the Miniature Australian may be the perfect pick.
Let us know below if you have any questions…