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Toy Australian Shepherd: Info, Traits, & More

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on April 18, 2024 by Dogster Team

Toy Australian Shepherd sitting by the window

Toy Australian Shepherd: Info, Traits, & More

You may be familiar with the Australian shepherd, which means you already know quite a lot about the Toy Australian shepherd. They’re practically identical, which might make you wonder why you wouldn’t just stick to the breed you know.

Breed Overview


10–14 inches


12–17 pounds


13–15 years


Blue merle, red merle, black, and red

Suitable for:

Families, active owners, homes with a garden, first-time dog owners


Playful, protective, energetic, affectionate, loyal, brave, and intelligent

We’ll dive into this query and look in detail at what makes this breed perfect if you have children or are a first-time dog parent. So, while they’re very similar to the Australian shepherds, these pups are smaller, live longer, and have fewer health risks.

The Toy Australian shepherd’s size may lull you into a false sense of security that they require less work, but smaller does not mean less energy. To save you time, we’ve gathered all the information you might need to make an informed decision. We must warn you that once you see these puppies, you might not be able to resist bringing one home!

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.


Toy Australian Shepherd Puppies

Image Credit: Fluff Media, Shutterstock

Toy Australian Shepherds aren’t a recognized breed. So, it’s important to note that this makes it easier for scammers to sell fake puppies at exorbitant prices, only for the puppies to grow up to be full-sized Australian Shepherds. So, before you rush out to get your new pup, take the time to find a reputable breeder. Remember that Australian Shepherds are not cheap dogs.  To help you find a highly-rated breeder, the American Kennel Club has a referral page.

The rise in demand for tiny dogs has led breeders to use bad breeding techniques to create smaller and smaller dogs. This includes breeding runts, inbreeding, and malnourishment. Remember to always ask a breeder for health documents and visit the puppy in person before you make a purchase!

Temperament & Intelligence of the Toy Australian Shepherd

Toy Australian shepherds are extremely intelligent and fiercely loyal, and they think it’s their job to protect their family. They’re enthusiastic, eager to please, and not known to be aggressive, making them a perfect addition to a family with children.

Toy Australian shepherds are in their element if they have a job to do, and they’re packed full of energy. With their high energy and intelligence, they can get bored easily, and this can result in destructive behaviors. Make sure they’re taken on their daily walks and are mentally stimulated when at home to counteract this.

Image By: John Hoehn, Shutterstock

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

Toy Australian shepherds love all aspects of family life. They’ve been known to be playful and affectionate with their families and are fantastic family dogs.

One thing to remember is their herding instincts can make people hesitant to own them when they have small children. Be assured that they aren’t trying to hurt a child; their instinct is to control where the kids go, especially if they think a child might be in danger.

As long as you have time to train them, though, you’ll be both fine. Your Toy Australia shepherd is a clever canine, after all, and they take to training really well.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets? 🐶 😽 

Toy Australian shepherds get along with other animals, but early socialization is critical. Thanks to their instincts, they may try to herd your other animals, which will not go down well with your other pets, particularly cats. With a little training, your new family member will realize your other pets are not part of the herd.


Things To Know When Owning a Toy Australian Shepherd

Just because they’re small doesn’t mean they’re somehow easier to take care of compared to their larger counterparts. We’ve collected everything you’ll need to know so you can make an informed decision about whether or not a Toy Australian Shepherd is suitable for your family!

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Your Toy Australian Shepherd puppy should eat at least 20 grams per 1 kilogram of its weight per day. An adult should have between 1 and 1.5 cups of food per day, depending on weight, age, and activity level.

Choose a high-quality kibble that will provide balanced nutrition. Because the shepherds are so active, try to select dog food with moderately high-fat content and natural sources of lean protein such as chicken and fish to support their active muscles. They should also eat fiber-rich fruits and vegetables to support healthy digestion.

Exercise 🐕

A fully grown Toy Australian shepherd should get around an hour and a half of physical exercise a day. Keep your Toy Aussie stimulated with varied toys and games; they love to play fetch and tug of war. There’s lots of energy crammed into that tiny package, so you must ensure it’s all burned off to avoid destructive behavior.

Image Credit: Wolfgang Hasselmann, Unsplash

Training 🎾

Toy Australian shepherds are eager to please and highly trainable, but don’t be fooled into thinking training will be easy. They have a stubborn streak, and you will have to work hard to hold their attention. Keep training sessions short and fun to combat this low tolerance for boredom.

However, the focus should be on positive reinforcement in the form of pats and praise. If the training is fun, your dog will want to participate, and you will actually enjoy the experience.

With this breed, you may need to deal with nipping, excessive barking, and separation anxiety. These habits should be tackled quickly as, with this breed, they’re tricky to get rid of once the habit sets in.

Grooming ✂️

Dogs with double coats need care and attention to keep them healthy, and Toy Australian shepherds have long double coats. Try to brush them two or three times a week, and they’ll need baths every few months.

Like other breeds, oral hygiene is very important. You’ll want to brush their teeth a few times a week to remove tartar buildup. Caring for your puppy’s teeth will avoid pain and discomfort and a hefty vet bill down the road. The shepherd will also need its ears cleaned often and its nails trimmed.

Grooming doesn’t need to feel like a chore; take advantage of building up this bond with your dog when they’re a puppy.

Health and Conditions 🏥

Toy Australian Shepherds are generally healthy, but all breeds are susceptible to certain conditions. When making a puppy purchase, check on the health of the parents. This will give you an indication of what to expect. Apart from that, keep your dog active, serve a healthy diet, and if you’re ever concerned, contact your veterinarian.

Minor Conditions
  • Eye Problems
  • Obesity
  • Deafness
Serious Conditions
  • Epilepsy
  • Heart Disease
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Multi-Drug Sensitivity


Male vs Female

There aren’t many differences between male and female Toy Australian shepherds, but there are three we think are worth noting. Males tend to get a little bigger than their female counterparts, which isn’t surprising, but as you’re paying extra money for a small version of this dog, it’s worth being aware of.

Males can be more playful, and regardless of age, they’re a little sillier than females. Males can also be clingier. Of course, all of these traits are somewhat generalized. Like people, each dog is an individual and has its own quirks and idiosyncrasies. However, if your aim is for a clingy, slightly bigger goofball of a dog, get a male Toy Australian shepherd, and your chances are higher than with the female.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Toy Australian Shepherds

1. They’re Intelligent

Just like their larger counterpart, the Toy Australian Shepherd is considered to be one of the most intelligent dogs in the world. They’re easily trained but also easily bored as a result.

2. More of a Companion Than a Herder

The Toy Australian shepherd is very similar to its larger cousins, the large and the Mini Australian shepherds, but one noticeable difference is that they tend to be companions rather than working dogs.

3. Their Coat Is Water-Resistant

Toy Australian shepherds are fairly water-resistant, thanks to their dual coat. Unfortunately, we don’t mean they’re waterproof, which means you’ll still have that lovely wet dog smell in your life.

divider-dog paw

Final Thoughts

Toy Australian shepherds are beautiful dogs with the perfect temperament for young families and the energy to keep up with any avid outdoorsman. They’ll be your protector and best friend, and they’re loyal, playful, and one of the smartest canines you’ll ever meet. However, they are expensive, and they will require a bit of patience to train. If you have the money and time, these dogs are worth it.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Fluff Media, Shutterstock

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