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Mini Australian Shepherd Guide. Let’s Meet This Amazing Breed

Mini Australian Shepherd Guide. Let’s Meet This Amazing Breed

The Australian Shepherd is, in our opinion, a dog breed that has the most beautiful coat colors and color combinations.

They are known to have eyes that are of different colors, and when you combine that with their coat colors, you get a magical combination.

Some of the colors that they can come in are blue merle and red merle, which you just need to check out. But, the Australian Shepherd is not just about looks. This dog is the full package.

Their beautiful appearance is equal to their beautiful temperament.

Australian Shepherd dogs are versatile. They are working dogs that love to be on the move, but at the same time, will have their moments when they will want to just lounge with their owner.

Aussies are amazing with kids and other animals, but you need to work on proper socialization when they are puppies. These dogs need a lot of mental stimulation, and they are perfect for learning new things.

Some people might be eager to get one of these beauties, but have a small issue with their size. Well, we are here to bring you good news! Australian Shepherds come in small sizes, and we would like to present you with the Mini Australian Shepherd.

Because they come in smaller sizes, don’t think that anything else about them is miniaturized. Their personalities and characteristics are the same as regular Australian Shepherds.

They can even come in an even smaller size than the mini, and that is the toy Australian Shepherd.

In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about the mini Aussie, and you will be able to decide if this is the dog for you. Buckle up, and let us start the magic ride, which is about the unique mini Aussie.

Mini Australian Shepherd: History

mini australian shepard puppy on white bed

Every dog has its origin story. This sounds like something from a Marvel movie, but in the doggy world, it is not that intense.

Every purebred dog started from a couple of different dog breeds, and over time, gained popularity and recognition as a purebred dog.

When it comes to the miniature Australian Shepherd, their story begins in America, which is shocking to some people since Australia is in their breed name.

We can thank a woman named Doris Cordova, in 1986, somewhere around California, for deciding on shrinking the standard Australian Shepherd in size, but keeping all of its characteristics.

She started the breeding program, which took some time to achieve and to get the perfect result, but in the end, she succeeded. When the word spread, a lot of different breeders liked the breeding program and started to use it by themselves.

This is the way the miniature Australian Shepherd came to life and gained its popularity.

It is believed that in the 1960s, the rodeo circuit was trying to breed a smaller dog that would be perfect for rodeos, and they started developing the small Australian Shepherd. It is believed that they became popular with travel horse shows.

There will always be a couple of stories when it comes to history so these two are connected with the origin of the mini Aussie.

They became amazing family dogs, which stayed the same until this day. Even though they are smaller in size, they are still used as working dogs and put in competitions.

Their herding skills are still the same even if their size is smaller. They can also be used in rodeos and in everything you desire because they have the discipline and the will to please their owner and learn everything that their owner will try to teach them.

Mini American Shepherd VS. Mini Australian Shepherd

There is a lot of different information that you can find on the internet about these two dogs, and it can get very confusing. We know that we were confused for sure. But, we decided to dig deep and do a lot of research.

After a thorough investigation, we concluded that the Mini Australian Shepherd and the Mini American Shepherd are, in fact, the same dog.

Why this is so confusing is because the miniature Australian Shepherd is recognized and registered by the American Kennel Club (AKC) under the name miniature American Shepherd.

For people who are wondering why these dogs look the same and have the same personality traits, it is because they are one dog breed that has two different names, which is the only difference. Some people like to call them small Australian Shepherds.

This is not wrong because they are technically just smaller dogs than the regular breed, but you have the toy Australian Shepherd as well, so saying only ‘small’ can be a bit confusing.

You can also see the abbreviation of their name being used often, which is MAS.

Mini Australian Shepherd: Temperament And Personality

mini australian shepherd puppy sitting on the lawn

A sure fact that can be said about the mini Aussie is that it is full of personality and temper. When picking a dog, you need to make sure that you are not choosing it just because of its appearance, which can be the case with these lovely dogs.

The most important thing is to see their personality. You have different dog breeds with different personalities, and not every dog will suit every person.

You have dogs that are on the lazier side, you have dogs that have medium energy levels, and then you have dogs that are high energy.

This is the main thing we like to advise people to keep an eye on because it is really important to the lifestyle that you are leading.

For example, the mini Aussie is a dog that has high energy, and if you are on the calmer side and want a lap dog or a cuddle buddy, this pooch might not be for you.

We will emphasize the personality and temperament traits that are the most fitting for this breed so you can then decide if this is the dog for you or not.

Don’t worry – every dog might sound overwhelming at first glance, but there is always something that will stand out and make you fall in love with a certain breed.

And, we hope we will make you do that with this beautiful breed.

Herding Dogs

These dogs are born with a herding instinct. In today’s world, their herding skills won’t just be demonstrated on cattle, but in other different segments of life. They are AKC registered as a herding breed or in the herding group.

The main thing that the herding instinct brings is the observation of their surroundings. They might not be the best fit for herders, but some herding traits will be amazing to their owner.

They pay close attention to everything, especially to their owner. They will need to always have one eye on you, and the other eye on whatever it is that they are doing. This is especially prominent if you have kids around.

You will be able to see them herding the kids in one room or in one specific place within the room. This is their way of protecting the kids and making sure that they are safe.

However, this can be a bit dangerous when it comes to very small kids.

Even though they are small in size, they can accidentally hurt babies by trying to get them to stay in one place so make sure you monitor the interaction between the two.

Problem-solving is also one of the characteristics when it comes to herding dogs. Small tasks throughout the day are perfect for this breed and for keeping them mentally occupied.

Working Dogs

They might be a bit small for herding cattle, and not be as good as standard Aussies in that field, but in anything else, they will be brilliant.

The smaller version of the Aussie will be amazing in any dog sport, and agility is something they thrive in.

You might not use them as working dogs, but a lot of exercise and playtime with other dogs and people is something they need on a daily basis.

Playing fetch, tug of war, and giving them commands like ‘sit’, ‘give paw’, ‘roll over’, etc. is a form of working for them.

This way, they are pleasing their owner, and showing them that they will do anything for their favorite human. They make amazing therapy dogs, watchdogs, and show dogs. If you don’t want to use them as any of these, it is perfectly fine.

If they are just a family member, make sure that you keep them occupied on a daily basis so they don’t become destructive.

Alert And Friendly

mini australian shepherd barking and lying in the grass

When comparing the standard Australian Shepherd with the mini Australian Shepherd, there is a slight difference when it comes to interaction with people that they don’t know.

They are a bit scared of interacting with new people, and they are fully alert.

They need to take some time to get to know you before they let you in their heart. They will not be aggressive towards strangers, but if a person crosses the line and gets too comfy with a mini Aussie that they don’t know, it might nip him.

This is just a form of protection, and their way of saying that they don’t feel comfortable with that person touching them.

Early socialization is very important, but even after socialization, they might show their alert and wary side.

The owner is the one who needs to prepare both the dog and the people entering the house to do socialization calmly, and let the dog do its thing.

When the mini Aussie gets to know you, you will have a best friend in dog form. They love to play and show affection to every person they know. Don’t worry – the owner will always have special treatment from their pooches.

Being around kids and other dogs is something they enjoy as well. Because of their size, playing with kids is something that is very fulfilling to them, but make sure that you are present when the dog and kids are playing.

They might accidentally get too playful and knock a child down so you need to be present to make sure that the playtime stays at a low level.


Mini Australian Shepherds are as intelligent as they are hardworking. We mentioned a couple of times that these dogs need to be mentally stimulated. When they are puppies, they need to be taught a lot of things.

This way, you will get them used to learning new things throughout their life, and even when they get older. “You can not teach an old dog new tricks” is a saying that does not apply to this breed.

When it comes to learning new things and being good at sports that require some teaching time, like agility, they are similar to Border Collies. Their mind needs to be occupied or it can lead to them developing separation anxiety.

This might sound like it has nothing to do with each other, but if a miniature Aussie Shepherd does not get its mental stimulation, it will automatically connect this with not being close enough to its owner.

Because of that, they will become attached to you more than usual, and will strive for attention. If you leave them for a long time, they will feel extra lonely and become anxious.

Some people might not think of themselves as good teachers for their dogs, but don’t worry. These dogs are super intelligent and eager to learn so you won’t have any problem.

If you use positive reinforcement and dog treats, you will especially be able to teach your miniature Australian Shepherd puppy anything.

High Energy

This dog will need a lot of exercise. They love to be on the move, and they need to let all that energy out one way or another.

If they don’t get enough exercise, they will most definitely become destructive, and this is something you will want to avoid.

The best way to provide them with exercise is by combining the two things they love the most… besides their owners, of course – playing, and letting them show off the things they know.

The ideal thing would be for you to let them play with other dogs in the dog park, and after playtime, spend some time teaching them new things or practicing the things they already know.

This way, they let their energy out and still get to spend time with you.

Long hikes will be good for them as well, especially in nature. They will have the space and time to roam around and explore. This is really good for dogs that live in an apartment.

If you give them enough exercise, you will get a reward, which is a cuddle session with your cutie. They will feel tired and satisfied so they will let their energy build up by cuddling with you.

Mini Australian Shepherd: Appearance

mini australian shepard sitting by window indoors

We can all agree that the mini Aussie Shepherd is one beautiful dog. They might be small dogs, but they have a strong build.

This can be surprising for some people, but they are made to be working dogs, so developing muscles is their specialty.

Why people get surprised is because you can not actually see how strong and muscular they are because of their coat.

When you think of a muscular dog, a Pit Bull or a Rottweiler is more likely to pop into your mind rather than a small Aussie.

When it comes to their muzzle, they are medium-length and slightly rounded, and their nose will be either black or brown.

They have floppy ears that are rounded, and they are usually called rose ears. They sit just a little bit above their muzzle. Their face is really expressive. A lot of the time, it will look like they are smiling at you.

These dogs are elegant, and with every step they make, they do it with a lot of grace. It seems like they are galloping. Their beautiful coat makes their appearance even more elegant, especially if they catch a breeze of wind.

Their eyes can be light brown, light blue, or amber. The most interesting and mesmerizing thing when it comes to their eyes is heterochromia. This is a condition that makes their eyes two different colors.

This, combined with the color patterns of their fur, is a real genetic jackpot.


The most distinguished part of this breed is the color combination that their coat can have. Some of the most common colors that they can have are brown, tan, white, black, and gray.

The color combination that they are most known for is merle, which can be red and blue.

Even though merle is one of the prettiest color combinations, it comes with some genetic issues. It can be connected to deafness and blindness.

You have a red tri Australian Shepherd, and their mini counterparts can be the same. There are black Australian Shepherds, but they are a bit rarer, and unfortunately, they don’t stand out besides their other colors and color markings.

Since these dogs were used mostly on farms and for working outside, their coat needed to be protective, and that is exactly what their double coat did.

Their top coat is long, soft, and fluffy while their undercoat is wooly and dense. The outer layer can be either straight or wavy.

Like every dog that has a double coat, a mini Aussie will shed as well.

Height And Weight

This is the main, and well… the only difference between the standard Australian Shepherd and the mini Australian Shepherd. When it comes to the standard Australian Shepherd and its growth process, you can always check out the Aussie growth chart.

There will be a slight difference in size between a male and a female Australian Shepherd, and that will be the case with the mini Aussie as well.

The mini Australian Shepherd is one of the rare small dogs that is classified as a herding dog. These cuties will stay small, and some like to stay this size their entire life.

Height: males 14 to 18 inches, females 13 to 17 inches

Weight: males 25 to 30 pounds, females 15 to 20 pounds

They achieve their adult size in the period of one to two years of age. They will grow slower than the standard Aussies. They will grow around five ounces a week until they get to the nine-month-mark of age.

After nine months, their growth slows down, and they will slowly develop into their adult size. The biggest portion of your mini Australian Shepherd puppy’s growth will be in the first five to six months of its life.

There are some factors that can determine the size of the dog.

The weight and height should be within the range, but if it steps up or down a bit, it won’t be a big problem; however, they shouldn’t be much smaller than the standard because they would then fall into the toy category.

Some of the factors that can determine the size of your dog are:

– Litter size

– Nutrition

– The size of their parents

– Environment

Mini Australian Shepherd: Training

mini australian shepherd puppy playing outdoors

Working dogs are extremely intelligent and willing to learn new things, and this is no different with mini Aussies. The key is to start from a young age.

You can give your dog a couple of days to settle into its new home, but that is also a form of learning and adapting.

When you see that the puppy has settled down, you can easily start with the training sessions. The important thing we like to tell new owners is to isolate the puppy and themselves when a training session is on.

An empty room in which just the two of you are in is the perfect environment for the beginning stages. There will be no one and nothing in the room that could distract the puppy.

When they get a bit older, you can teach them things around other people and animals.

You will need to have patience and use a lot of positive reinforcement because these pooches can get stubborn and show off their big energies.

Don’t worry – when they pick up on the training etiquette, you will have so much fun teaching them things.

They will learn fast, and will have a side of them that will love to show that off, which is a big plus for the owner. Because of the eagerness to please their owner, they excel in sports like agility.

When they are puppies, you should set aside around 90 minutes for exercise and training. Approximately 45 minutes will be perfect for walking while the other 45 minutes should be spent half playing and a half training your pooch.

Some of the things that are the most important for your dog to learn are:

Basic Commands

Commands like ‘sit’, ‘paw’, ‘roll over’, ‘play dead’, ‘speak’, ‘stop’, ‘come’, etc. are important for your puppy’s mental development, and will also be useful for the rest of its life.

‘Stop’ and ‘come’ are the main commands that you will need for the rest of your dog’s life. This is good for your dog to know because you will be at ease knowing that if you let him off the leash, he will for sure come back to you.

‘Sit’, ‘paw’, ‘roll over’, and those kinds of commands are more to teach him discipline and to have some fun with your doggy.

‘Drop’ is also important, and it can potentially save your dog’s life. This is useful when your dog puts something in its mouth that looks suspicious.

Potty Training

cute mini australian shepherd puppy

Sometimes, it amazes me as to how much these small pooches can pee. It feels like every five minutes, they need to go relieve themselves.

This is one of those things that can be overwhelming to teach your puppy, and it might seem impossible for them to ever pick up on where they need to go to the bathroom.

We assure you that those times will pass, and that you just need some patience and free time. This is a bit easier when you live in a house with a yard. You just open the door so your pup can go outside.

When you live in an apartment, that is when things get a bit more difficult. The thing I did when I was teaching my Lagotto Romagnolo is that I put a big piece of plastic material in part of my hallway.

Every time he started to pee, I would pick him up and put him on the plastic part. Once he got a hold of it, we started to go outside.

This means that every time he would pee, I would take him out. It was a bit of a hassle since I live on the 4th floor: I even had to take some time out of school to teach him this.

But, don’t worry – it doesn’t last that long. We already saw that these pooches are smart and love a challenge, so teaching them to go to the bathroom outside will be a breeze.

Don’t get mad if your puppy makes an accident in the house… this will happen in the beginning stages. When they are transitioning from one type of food to another, they might poop a lot, and that is not that concerning.

They might even get diarrhea, which can be a bit of a problem at first when they still don’t know where to go to the bathroom. Even though diarrhea is hard to clean from a carpet, try to stay calm and not get mad at your puppy.

It is important to keep track of your dog’s pee and poop because you never know if there might be something wrong. We prepared a pee color chart for you to know if there might be any problem with your pup.

RELATED: Puppy Won’t Poop Outside: Advice For Worried Puppy Parents


This is very important if you want your dog and you to live a happy and carefree life. If your dog doesn’t get used to other animals and people, you might have a problem… and a scared dog. That type of being scared can easily develop into aggression.

They can be quite alert even when they are properly socialized, so imagine what would happen if they don’t get the right socialization.

We understand that the socialization process can be scary and nerve-wracking because you never know how your dog will react to others. However, try to make it a fun experience, and try to be relaxed as much as you can.

Dogs can sense our energy, so if they feel that you are nervous and scared, they will pick up on that energy. That will set back their socialization skills. Just take a couple of deep breaths and enjoy the process.

Getting them used to sound and different environments might be a bit of an easier task. This is also important because if you get your dog used to quiet and one environment, they will probably turn into scared dogs when they grow up.

RELATED: Why Do Dogs Bite Each Other’s Neck? Dog Neck Biting Behavior Explained

Leash Training

Besides potty training, this is one of the first things that you will need to teach your dog. Some of the puppies won’t be that happy when you put a collar and a leash on them. They will feel like they are trapped, and will most likely try to escape.

It might last for a longer time with stubborn puppies, but they will get a hold of it eventually. Other puppies might not have any problem with a leash. They won’t mind it, but they might show just a small resistance.

When they get older, a good thing is to teach them how to behave and listen to you without a leash. This is when the commands, ‘stay’ and ‘come’, are important.

Behaving without a leash is good when you want to let them play with other dogs.

Mini Australian Shepherd: Health Issues

miniature australian shepherd dog lying indors

Small dogs usually have a longer lifespan than larger breeds, but this is not the case with this breed. Both the standard Australian Shepherd and the mini Australian Shepherd have a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years.

They can suffer from all the potential health problems as a standard Aussie, but yet have some that are not connected to the standard breed. Some of the health issues these cuties can face are:


– Deafness

Progressive retinal atrophy

– Elbow and hip dysplasia

– Spinal defects

– Luxating patella

When it comes to epilepsy, we know it sounds scary. You can detect epilepsy if your dog suffers from two or more seizures within 24 hours. You will see stiffness in your dog, and he might faint as well.

Take your dog to the vet as soon as you notice your dog having any problems. The sooner you take him, the sooner your dog will start with the needed treatment.

When it comes to breeders, make sure that they care about their dogs’ health. A reputable breeder will breed healthy dogs within the breed standard. Unfortunately, this isn’t a guarantee that your pooch will be healthy for the rest of its life.

This is where you step in. Taking him to the vet regularly will help keep your dog in good health condition.

When it comes to your dog’s diet, you will give him the same food as you would give a standard Australian Shepherd, only in smaller portions. This is a cup and a half a day that is divided into three meals. The biggest meal should be given in the morning.

You can always check the Australian Shepherd feeding chart if you want to know how much they eat, and based on that, know how much food you should give to the smaller version.

RELATED: My Dog Is Gagging And Not Throwing Up: Six Possible Causes

Mini Australian Shepherd: Grooming

mini sustralian shepard puppy on couch in living room

These pooches are not that demanding when it comes to the grooming process. The thing that is a bit difficult when it comes to them is their shedding levels. They shed quite a lot, and because of this, daily brushing is needed.

Their coat is dense, and you will regularly need to check if they have any fleas, alive or dead ticks, or any other pests that can hide in your dog’s coat.

If you keep your dog active, especially if they spend a lot of time in nature, their nails will be worn down naturally.

If you see your dog’s nails starting to curl a bit, then you need to cut their nails immediately or take them to the vet or groomer to cut them for you.

Bathing should not be that often. Once a month or once a month and a half will be just fine. If your dog gets dirty, then you will give him a bath, of course.

Their dense coat protects them from a lot of things, and if you bathe them often, their natural oils might come off.

When it comes to grooming appointments, they will not be needed that often. Their hair doesn’t grow that quickly, especially if your dog has wavy hair. Once every three months or even longer is enough for these dogs.

Never shave your mini Australian Shepherd. They need their coat to protect their skin. The only case this breed should be shaved is if it has been neglected and is full of matts.

Shaving your dog to make him cooler in hot weather might cause more damage than good.

The sun can burn their skin and leave them in a lot of pain. They don’t have a coat to make different types of hairstyles with, but we think that the color patterns on their coat make up for that.

You also need to check your dog’s ears. There is a possibility of black gunk forming in their ears, which can cause some infections. You need to pluck your dog’s ears regularly.

RELATED: Dog Ear Wax Color Chart: Everything You Need To Know

Mini Australian Shepherd: Cost

mini australian shepherd sitting on a rock on the beach

A mini Australian Shepherd will cost you anywhere from $700 to $1200 from a reputable breeder. The price can depend on the color of their coat and their gender.

The females tend to be cheaper than the male mini Australian Shepherds. The ones that have the merle coating will be more expensive as well because there is a big demand for them.

Never shop from an unlicensed breeder. Australian Shepherds can come with some health problems, especially if they are not bred correctly. Places like puppy mills should be avoided at all costs.

Besides the price of the puppy, you need to know that you need to set aside some money for all the necessities that your puppy will need. Some of those are food, a bed, toys, a leash, a collar, grooming tools, vet bills, etc.

On some of these, you should not skimp. Pick only the best quality, and that includes dog food. They are smaller, so they eat less than the standard Aussie, so you will save some money there, but always pick better-quality food.

To Sum it Up

Mini Australian Shepherds are amazing dogs, but they might not be for everybody. Their high energy and will to play might just be too much for somebody to handle.

But, if you are a person with a bit more of an active lifestyle, then this is the perfect dog for you.

They are loyal, and they love to please their owner by showing them affection and listening to their every order. Besides being super intelligent, loyal, and loving dogs, they are beautiful as well. Their coat is just an eye-catcher.

This will invite a lot of people to pet them, but they have their alert and scared side. You need to make sure that no stranger touches your mini Aussie until the pooch gets to know them, or at least, sniffs them.

They have some health issues that are connected to their breed, but with regular vet checks, you won’t need to worry.

If you liked what you read in this article, and fell in love with this breed, please find a reputable breeder who cares about his dogs and puppies.

If you end up getting one of these cuties, we wish you all the luck and happiness in the world, and many long years spent together.


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