Miniature American Shepherd: Facts, Size, Traits & History

North American breeders developed the Miniature American Shepherd from a group of small Australian Shepherds. So, do Mini American Shepherds shed? Why aren't they called Miniature Australian Shepherds? Let's learn about that and more here.

Miniature Australian Shepherd.
Miniature Australian Shepherd. Photography by Kayla Bertagnolli, as captured at the 2018 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
Last Updated on November 17, 2023 by Dogster Team

Proud parent of a Miniature American Shepherd (sometimes referred to as a Miniature Australian Shepherd — but more on that later), or thinking about getting a Miniature American Shepherd? Learn the facts about this breed here:

Quick Facts on the Miniature American Shepherd

Miniature Australian Shepherd.
Miniature American Shepherd. Photography by Kayla Bertagnolli, as captured at the 2018 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

According to the AKC, the weight can be from 20 – 40 pounds. Males are slightly taller in shoulder height at 14 – 18 inches, with females at 13-17 inches.

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.

Miniature American Shepherd Traits:

  • High energy
  • Playful
  • Trainable
  • Dependable
  • Protective
  • Intelligent

Who gets along With Mini American Shepherds?

  • Active singles
  • Outdoorsy types
  • Families with older children
  • City dwellers

What Miniature American Shepherds Are Like to Live With

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 energetic, dependable playfulness in a much smaller package. With his intelligence, high energy and protectiveness, this is still a breed that must be well socialized and trained.

When it comes to their love of play, Miniature American Shepherds never really outgrow the puppy stage. They are good with older children — the more active, the better. Always monitor them with smaller children and teach the children how to respectfully act toward the dog.

They are 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.

Things You Should Know About the Miniature American Shepherd

Left alone indoors for too long, Miniature American Shepherds can go a little batty. They need a lot of exercise. 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.

Do Miniature American Shepherds shed? The breed does shed and needs a weekly brushing.

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.

The History Behind the Miniature American Shepherd (and the Breed’s Connection to the Australian Shepherd)

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.

Why Isn’t the Miniature American Shepherd Known as the Miniature Australian Shepherd?

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.

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Featured Image Credit: Kayla Bertagnolli, as captured at the 2018 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

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