The Australian Shepherd is an intelligent, friendly dog that is devoted to their owner. Often used as farm dogs and herding dogs, these pups are good natured and like to be around people. The only issue? They can be a large breed that not everyone has the space for! This is where the Mini Australian Shepherd gains popularity. With all the lovable traits of the Standard Australian Shepherd, this breed is much smaller and looks like a puppy forever! If you’re interested in learning more about this breed, read on below to see whether this cute little dog might be the dog for you.
History Of The Mini Australian Shepherd
The Mini Australian Shepherd was bred to keep the agility, speed and intelligence of the Standard version, but transfer these traits to a much smaller dog. Breeders wanted to create a dog that was between 13 to 14 inches tall in size. It is thought they were first bred in the 1960s and have been a member of the American Kennel Club (AKC) since 2011. This means that they have a breed standard.
The Mini Australian Shepherd is also recognized by the American Rare Breed Association, but, because no two dogs can share a name, this dog is sometimes called the North American Shepherd.
To understand where the Miniature Australian Shepherd came from, we can take a look at the origin of the Standard size first.
The Australian Shepherd, also known as the Aussie, is a very popular dog and ranks at 17 out of 193 with the American Kennel Club (AKC). They were first seen in the 19th Century in South Western America. Their name is slightly misleading, as their ancestors came to the United States via Australia.
The Miniature version was first seen in the early 20th century and then first seen in California in the 1960s. They were selectively bred by taking the smallest dogs from each litter and then using those to breed further. This created a healthy population of puppies with little to no inbreeding.
Characteristics Of The Mini Australian Shepherd
The Mini Australian Shepherd looks exactly like their standard size counterpart, just in a much smaller size. These dogs are considered small to medium in size. Mini Australian Shepherd puppies are normally born in litter sizes of between 2 and 6, and you can expect to pay anywhere between $800 to $1,500 per puppy. You should always make sure you are buying from a reputable breeder.
The Mini Australian Shepherd is a dog that is slightly longer than it is tall. They are strong and muscular and have a bobbed tail and a short face. They also often have heterochromia (two different colored eyes).
The Mini Australian Shepherd usually stands between 13 and 18 inches tall, with males larger than females. They normally weigh between 20 and 30 lbs.
One of the distinct features of the Australian Shepherd, Miniature or Standard, is their big, fluffy, double coat! Fortunately, however, they actually do not shed that much. These pups only shed twice a year, so they may be a good dog to have if you suffer from allergies.
Due to the fact they don’t shed, they also don’t require much grooming. We will go into more detail about grooming later on.
The Australian Shepherd can come in a range of colors. The most common colors you will see are black, blue merle, liver red and red merle. They can also have tan and white markings.
Dogs that are black or blue will have a black nose, and dogs that are liver red or red merle will have a liver colored nose.
The Miniature Australian Shepherd was originally bred to be a smaller working dog. These pups love humans and their social nature means that they get on well with all people. They particularly bond with their owners and can sometimes be a little wary of strangers, which can mean they make excellent guard dogs and watch dogs.
The Mini Shepherd is a very active dog who loves to be outside. They will particularly like to be outside with you, and will thrive when given a job to do or when made to feel like they have a purpose. Their intelligence also means that they pick things up very quickly, making training and teaching them other tasks simple. For this reason, they also make perfect first time pets.
These dogs dedicate themselves to their family and really are a loyal dog. They are playful and fun to be around and get along with children and other animals, too.
The Mini Australian Shepherd has a relatively long life expectancy and normally lives to between 12 and 13 years of age. However, some have been known to live to 15 years old.
Known Health Issues
Unfortunately, as with any dog, the Mini Australian Shepherd is prone to some health problems. We have laid out the most common health concerns below.
- Hip Dysplasia — this is when the thighbone doesn’t fit snugly into the hip joint. Some dogs show pain and lameness on one or both rear legs, but you may not notice any signs of discomfort in a dog with hip dysplasia.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) — this is an eye disorder that eventually causes blindness from the loss of photoreceptors at the back of the eye.
- Osteochondritis Dissecans — this is an inflammatory bone condition. It is normally seen in older dogs. It can be treated with surgery.
- Deafness — this is commonly associated with the breed when they get to old age. It is not curable but it is manageable to live with.
Regular vet checkups and keeping an eye on your dog will ensure you can catch any of these issues before they become untreatable.
Remember — buy from a reputable breeder and the chances your dog will suffer any health conditions will be greatly reduced.
Now we have learnt all about the traits and characteristics of the Mini Australian Shepherd, we can take a look at what every day life with one of these pups is like. We will cover their food and diet, their exercise needs and their grooming requirements.
Food And Diet
The Mini Australian Shepherd loves food and therefore obesity can be an issue with this dog. You should monitor what they are eating to ensure they don’t overeat. On average, a dog of this size should be eating around 1 to 2 cups of dog food a day, split into two meals. Of course, you should always double check the back of the food packet to see the exact amount of a certain food you should be feeding your dog based on their weight.
You should always make sure that the food you are feeding your dog is high-quality and nutritious. This can also prevent them from unnecessarily gaining weight.
Best Dog Food For The Mini Australian ShepherdBUY ON AMAZON
We recommend the Pedigree Small Breed dry dog food for the Mini Australian Shepherd. This recipe gives 100% complete and balanced nutrition for small dogs of this size, with small kibble sizes that are perfect for small mouths. This food combines whole grains, proteins and vegetables that helps support the immune system of your dog as well as being easy to digest.
There are optimal levels of omega-6 fatty acid to nourish skin and to help keep your dog’s coat shiny, too, and the crunchy kibble pieces help to clean your Mini Australian Shepherd’s teeth as they chew, helping to prevent dental decay. There are also no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives in this food.
Miniature Australian Shepherd’s are active dogs who require around 30 to 60 minutes of exercise a day. Because they are so devoted to their families, they will like to accompany you on hikes or runs and make a perfect exercise buddy.
Because the Australian Shepherd is an intelligent dog, they do require mental stimulation on top of this physical exercise so they don’t become bored and start showing signs of frustration. A great way to do this is to give them a job to do. They can also learn tricks very easily and they excel at canine sports such as flyball and disc sports, so that is something to think about!
The Mini Australian Shepherd makes an excellent family dog and is a particularly good breed for first time owners. Their intelligence means they pick up commands well and are easy to train, so it does not matter if you don’t have previous experience of looking after a dog.
These dogs were originally bred to be working dogs for smaller yards, but in recent years have begun to thrive in the city and in family homes. They love to be around people and are very sociable, especially with their family members, and want to join in the fun.
The Australian Shepherd is an active dog, so you will have to make sure you have the time to dedicate to them to take them for walks. They love to be with you, so will accompany you on hikes and runs and will do well in an active family. Even better, they make excellent playmates for young children because their smaller size means they aren’t so boisterous, and they also get on well with other family pets.
Due to their intelligence, the Mini Australian Shepherd dog is an easy dog to train. They want to please their owners and enjoy the mental stimulation of learning new things.
Like any dog, they don’t do well when punished and so you should only use positive reinforcement techniques when training your Australian Shepherd. This includes verbal praise as well as treats.
Remember, these pups do well with obedience training and canine sports such as flyball and disc sports, they love interactive toys.
We have mentioned above that the Mini Australian Shepherd is very sociable and, while this is true, they can also be wary of strangers. While they dedicate themselves to their families, they can be unsure of people they don’t know which is why they make great guard dogs and watch dogs.
To ensure they are socialized properly, you should introduce your Mini Shepherd to new sights, sounds, places, smells, people and animals from a young age in a safe environment. This will show them that there is nothing to be afraid of.
Despite the big fluffy coat that the Australian Shepherd has, they actually do not require much grooming! Twice a year they shed their undercoats, and during this time they will need brushing every day. However, at other times of the year, they require minimal grooming and will only need to be brushed once a week.
The Australian Shepherd also does not need to be bathed often. Bathing can irritate their skin, so you should only do this when they are dirty. You should clip their nails as and when it is needed and try to brush their teeth often. You can use dental sticks to help with this if it is easier.
Mini Australian Shepherd FAQ’s
How much does a Mini Australian Shepherd cost?
A Miniature Australian Shepherd puppy can cost you between $800 to $1,500 per puppy. You should always make sure you are buying from a reputable breeder and always try to meet both breed parents before buying.
If this is too far out of your price range, you can always check your local shelter. These dogs are very popular so you may find one who needs a forever home. There is also a rescue organization called MARS who re-homes Australian Shepherds of all ages all over the country.
What is the difference between the Mini Australian Shepherd and the Standard Australian Shepherd?
One of the only differences between the the Mini Australian Shepherd and the Standard Australian Shepherd is the size! The Mini Australian Shepherd was bred by taking the smallest puppy from the litter of Standard Australian Shepherds, so there really is no other difference.
The Mini Australian Shepherd stands only between 13 and 18 inches tall, yet still has all the same characteristics and lovable traits as their Standard sized cousin.
A Mini Australian Shepherd shares all the same wonderful traits as the Standard sized version of this breed, just in a much smaller dog! Playful and friendly, these pups are dedicated to their owners and just want to be around you all the time. Due to their intelligence they are easy to train and also don’t have high grooming requirements, making them an excellent first pet. This breed also loves children and other pets, so you’ll have the perfect playmate at home. If you’re looking for a loyal companion who likes to feel needed, then a Mini Australian Shepherd might be the dog for you.