Dogster is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

How Long Do Mini Australian Shepherds Live? Average Lifespan, Data & Care

Written by: Chris Dinesen Rogers

Last Updated on July 23, 2024 by Dogster Team

Mini Australian Shepherd

How Long Do Mini Australian Shepherds Live? Average Lifespan, Data & Care

Several factors affect the lifespan of various dog breeds. Some are controllable, such as diet or veterinary care. Others will play out because you can’t (typically) affect the outcome, like genetics. Reputable sellers will invest in pre-breeding health screenings to avoid mating pups with a heightened risk of congenital defects and other heritable conditions. So, how long do Miniature Australian Shepherds live?

Let’s preface this discussion with clarification about the Mini Australian Shepherd. You may also see this dog called the Mini American Shepherd. The reason is that the canine was selectively bred from Australian pups in the United States. Usually, the American Kennel Club (AKC) and the Foundation Stock Service don’t accept variations on existing breeds. The allowance is due to the support of the Australian Shepherd Club of America.

While the Australian Shepherd earned recognition in 1991, the Mini Aussie didn’t get it until 2015. If you’re comparing the Mini Aussie, the Australian Shepherd, and the Australian Cattle Dog, know that those are different breeds altogether, though all three are in the Herding Group (AKC recognized the latter in 1980). Another difference between the two breeds is that Australian Shepherds live 12–15 years, while Mini Australian Shepherds have a lifespan of 12–13 years.

dogster face divider

What’s the Average Lifespan of a Mini Australian Shepherd?

The average lifespan of the Mini Australian Shepherd is intertwined with their larger counterpart. Both breeds show similar health factors. The Australian Shepherd can live up to 15 years, which is respectable for a medium-sized dog. You’d expect the Mini Aussie to live longer, which we typically see with smaller pups. However, that’s not the case.

Instead, the Mini Aussie lives between 12 and 13 years. Remember that this dog was selectively bred to this size, which may have inadvertently set the stage for a greater propensity of heritable health conditions that could affect the breed’s lifespan. The pool of Mini Aussies is also smaller than the more popular Australian Shepherd. That can heighten the chances due to fewer breeding adults being available.

Miniature Australian shepherd
Image By: Pixabay


Why Do Some Mini Australian Shepherds Live Longer Than Others?

Many things can affect a pet’s lifespan. However, it’s often a combination of factors that you can identify with all dogs. A study by the University of Helsinki goes so far as to say all dogs have unwanted health risks, some of which can be inherited. Still, for the Miniature Australian Shepherd, we can point to flexible elements, like diet and healthcare, with a twist that looks at the Mini Aussie effect.

1. Breeding History

The Miniature American Shepherd Club of the USA publishes an official history of the breed on its website, but the breed’s beginnings aren’t clear, as the parent stock was unregistered pups. We don’t question the integrity of the enthusiasts who champion Mini Aussies. However, there are unanswered questions about the breed’s history and their lifespan due to genetic factors.

2. Heritable Health Conditions

We must look back to the Australian Shepherd and their health risks to assess how these may impact the Mini Aussie. Sadly, the former must contend with several conditions. Hip and elbow dysplasia top the list, which isn’t unusual for most breeds, no matter their size. The incidence of collie eye anomaly, for example, occurs in many similar breeds. Health screenings can usually catch it early.

Other heritable health conditions associated with the Mini Aussie include other eye problems, heart issues, deafness, and von Willebrand’s disease. Any of these things can affect the quality of life and consequently, the lifespan of the Mini Aussie. We strongly urge you to question a seller about their pre-breeding health screenings before buying a puppy.

3. Veterinary Care

Veterinary care always affects a pet’s lifespan. However, it’s particularly true with a breed like the Mini Aussie and their litany of heritable health conditions. It’s also worth noting that some issues may develop later in your pup’s life. That makes regular monitoring imperative for ensuring your pet lives to their full potential.

4. Merle Trait

The merle trait can affect many breeds that have this color in their genetics, such as the Shetland Sheepdog. It’s most noticeable in pups with a blue or piebald coloration with blue eyes. Health risks can occur if it’s present in one or both alleles of the gene. Its presence accounts for the high incidence of auditory or visual issues with the Mini Aussie. Luckily, a genetic test exists to screen for it.

Mini Australian Shepherd
Image By: Mr_niceshoot, Pixabay


The 3 Life Stages of a Mini Australian Shepherd

The life stages of the Mini Aussie are similar to those of every other breed. However, the breed’s genetic factor can create potential health issues early in a dog’s life, which can directly affect their quality of life and longevity.


One thing to pay attention to with Mini Aussie puppies is the development of sight or hearing issues. Hopefully, a screening will catch most problems. Still, it’s essential to work with a veterinarian who understands the health risks of this breed and can recommend the optimal schedule of testing. Remember that the breeder you bought your pup from is another valuable resource.

Photo credit: Fluff Media, Shutterstock


Continued monitoring is vital for adult dogs, especially if something develops early in your pet’s life. They reach this life stage around 12 months. You can switch your pup to an adult diet and adjust their food intake accordingly. The Mini Aussie is an active dog, so it’s essential to ensure that they get enough exercise and mental stimulation to avoid weight gain.


A decrease in activity isn’t unexpected as a dog ages. However, the Mini Aussie seems to retain their enthusiasm for exercise and play even as they get older. Pay attention to your pet’s comfort level, and adjust the intensity as necessary. Remember your pup’s propensity for heart issues too.

How to Tell Your Mini Australian Shepherd’s Age

Activity level isn’t a reliable indicator of age for most dogs. It’s one trait that makes the Mini Aussie such a desirable pet, especially for families with children. They will always have a willing playmate with this pup.

Teeth wear is often a useful indication of age, particularly in pets that are fed dry food throughout their lives. Your veterinarian can help you assess how old your pet is if you don’t know.


Final Thoughts

The Mini Aussie has many desirable traits that many potential owners want in a pet. They’re a happy dog that enjoys interacting with people. They’re also intelligent and easy to train, making them an excellent choice for families.

This breed is relatively long-lived if you invest the time in their exercise and veterinary care. You’re sure to have many years with your loving pup if you make their health a priority.

Featured Image Credit: Tanya Consaul Photography, Shutterstock

PangoVet Image Speak With A Vet Online

Get Dogster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.
Dogster Editors Choice Badge
Shopping Cart


© Pangolia Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.