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

Everything You Need to Know About the Miniature American Shepherd

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.
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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.

Thumbnail: Photography by Kayla Bertagnolli, as captured at the 2018 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

If you like the Miniature American Shepherd, you might also like:

19 thoughts on “Everything You Need to Know About the Miniature American Shepherd”

  1. Robert Mayville

    Not sure the mini is ready for full breed status when virtually every breeder sells puppies with the warning that size can't be controlled. When the range of weight varies from 30-80 lbs, it seems that selective breeding has been only marginally successful. I think the AKC jumped the gun…this "breed" isn't ready for prime-time.

  2. Lol. We lived with an Australian Shepherd for 14 years, when she died. We miss her so much. Not sure we want a miniature American though. The hair was something we got used to, but…..
    Did I say how much we miss her?

  3. I have a Toy Aussie, Molly, she is one yr old tommorow, Halloween. Such intelligence, beauty, and loyalty in a small pkg. We are hosts in a National Forest campground. We got her in the last of 12/2019 and she was held, cuddled and loved by all the campers. Then Covid-19 came and we were alone for a long while. Now she is afraid and anxious with everyone! I am going to have to get a trainer to help us. All Aussies need to be well socialized early on, this is a hard lesson for all three of us. Advice welcomed.

  4. It was interesting to know some of the history of the breed, particularly why you call it a miniature American Shepherd instead of miniature Australian Shepherd since there’s still debate about the standard. My wife and I have been looking for a dog we can have at our apartment with us that will enjoy going on walks out in nature. We love exploring nearby parks and forests, and this breed sounds like a great compromise between small and energetic for us.

    1. I met a lady with one hiking. My husband wants one. So we were asking about hers. A sweet beautiful small dog. Amazing breed!

  5. I have a miniature American Shepherd and let me tell you. Everything and I mean everything is better with dog hair. It must be a fact, cause it’s everywhere. LoL mine sheds enough to build two dogs a day.

    1. My Mini Auusie hardly sheds at all. I find little clumps around but not hairs all over the place. I think short haired dogs like Labs shed far more.

    2. I have two dogs that shed lots–Pomeranians. I spin the shed undercoat into yarn and make stuff, like woven belts. (The doggy odor, if any, goes away with a washing!) Brushing them regularly to get the loose undercoat means a fraction less dog hair on everything else.

  6. Where is a good place to get an Australian Shepherd ( miniature ) ?? Does it have to be a breeder ? Do any ever end up in a place that a person can adopt them ?

    1. HeRD of Wyoming Rescue online and on facebook. We adopted a 13 year old Aussie from them, they often have minis in need of loving homes.

  7. Thanks for the great facts!
    You might like my video of our family’s 2 Mini Aussie puppies. All that hair flowing in slow motion was too great not to share 🙂

    “Miniature Australian Shepherd Puppies Playing … So Much Flowing Hair!”

  8. There are Australian Shepherds and Mini American Shepherds. Please check your sources. The picture claims to be a photo from AKC Westminster show. There are no “Mini Aussies”.

    1. Leo a MAS from Phoenix Arizona was THE BEST IN BREED winner 4 years in a row at Westminster. He is our puppies father and I’ve seen the pictures and ribbons.

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