Proud parent of a Miniature American Shepherd (sometimes incorrectly referred to as a Miniature Australian Shepherd — but more on that later) who’s looking to learn more or thinking about getting a Miniature American Shepherd? Learn the facts about this breed here:
Miniature American Shepherds are a hardy and rustic breed — a little longer than tall. They have slightly rounded heads, medium-length muzzles and almond-shaped eyes. Their ears are triangular and set high, their chests are deep and their tails are straight. They have a medium-length, weather-resistant coat that’s slightly wavy, creating a little bit of a mane. Like their larger cousins, the Australian Shepherds, Miniature American Shepherds can be found in black, blue merle, red merle, solid-red or red with white and/or tan markings. Overall, Miniature American Shepherds have a rugged but cuddly look.
If you’re an apartment dweller who loves boisterous Australian Shepherds, take a look at Miniature American Shepherds, which deliver all of the Aussie’s easygoing, dependable playfulness in a much smaller package.
When it comes to their love of play, Miniature American Shepherds never really outgrow the puppy stage. They are superb with children — the more active, the better. But they have a gentle nature that prevents playtime from ever getting rough. They are also eager to work: Give them a job and they’ll finish it with loads of energy to spare.
Miniature American Shepherds have excellent guarding instincts and a strong sense of loyalty to their families. They will definitely cause a ruckus if anything suspicious happens around the house.
Left alone indoors for too long, Miniature American Shepherds can go a little batty. Take them out for a long run as often as possible — the activity and mental stimulation will result in a very content Miniature American Shepherd.
A healthy Miniature American Shepherd can live as long as 13 years. Common health issues include hip dysplasia and cataracts. Some may be born deaf, so test puppies early. Do Miniature American Shepherds shed? Miniature American Shepherds don’t shed very much, and they only need occasional brushing.
The modern Australian Shepherd has no real connection to Australia. Originating in the Basque region (between Spain and France) as a working dog and sheepherder, the breed drew the name “Australian Shepherd” because many of the Basque shepherds came from Australia. North American breeders developed Miniature American Shepherds from a group of small Australian Shepherds. Their intention was to create a more compact version of the dog without sacrificing its dependable character and keen instincts. They succeeded with flying colors with this dog, which is still sometimes (incorrectly) known as the Mini Aussie, Mini Australian Shepherd and Mini Aussie Dog.
The American breed club of the Mini Aussie sought recognition of the breed at the AKC. The name had to be changed to Miniature American Shepherd and the breed standard slightly revised, particularly regarding size, so there was no confusion with the Australian Shepherd breed standard. It was and can still be a highly debated issue, with some breeders continuing to use the name Miniature Australian Shepherd.
Thumbnail: Photography by Kayla Bertagnolli, as captured at the 2018 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.