Miniature Australian Shepherd

Type: Herding

Height: 13 - 18 inches. TAS: Under 13 inches.

Weight: 15 - 30 lbs. TAS: Under 20 lbs.

Life Span: 12 - 13 years.

Litter Size: 2 - 7 puppies.

Country of Origin: United States

Activity: High. The Miniature Australian Shepherd is a working dog with enthusiasm and spunk.

Watch-dog: High. They are very alert and will bark to alert their owners of anything unusual.

Guard-dog: Medium. Although alert and wary with strangers, they should not ever be aggressive.


Description: The Miniature Australian Shepherd is a well balanced, athletic, and alert breed. The breed is sensitive, easily trained, a good guardian, confident, and devoted to their families. North American Miniature Australian Shepherds make fine companions and will also enjoy working small stock. They are used in search and rescue and as therapy dogs. They also have a playful side, and love to be around children. Mini Aussies are an exact replica of their larger counterpart, the Australian Shepherd, except for size. Some people consider the Australian Shepherd to have three separate sizes: Standard, Miniature and Toy. Other consider the Toy and Miniature to be in the same category. Regardless, they are all identical save for size. Mini Aussies have sturdy bodies with medium length covering the entire body, with markings and colors of blue merle, black, red, merle, totally red with or without white, with or without tan points. They are compact, quaint dogs with triangular drop ears. Their eyes can be of several different colors, including brown, blue, amber, or any combination of the three. Friendly, fun loving and hard working, the Miniature Australian Shepherd makes an excellent companion and friend.

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Other Names: North American Australian Shepherd, Mini Aussie, Toy Australian Shepherd. Note: The Australian Shepherd has been bred into three distinct sizes: Standard, Miniature, and Toy. Some consider the Toy and Miniature to be the same breed. Still some consider the North American Shepherd and the Miniature Australian Shepherd to be two distinct breeds as well.

Colors: Blue merle, black, liver, red (liver) merle and all red with or without white markings and/or tan points.

Coat: Double coat is medium length and straight to slightly wavy. It can be moderately harsh, with a dense undercoat.

Temperament: Miniature Australian Shepherd are highly trainable, and a versatile family dog and companion. They are wary with strangers but never aggressive. Mini Aussies are very playful and affectionate with their owners, and get along well with children. They have a high prey drive, however, and are not trustworthy with smaller animals. They do, however, get along well with other dogs. They are very intelligent, with a strong instinct to herd and guard. They have high problem solving abilities, and are very obedient when trained. They actually enjoy obedience classes. Mini Aussies are enthusiastic dogs.

With Children: Yes, gentle and playful with children.

With Pets: Yes, good with other same-sized-or-bigger animals and with dogs. They are not trustworthy with smaller animals as they have a high prey drive.

Special Skills: Working dog and family pet.

Care and Training: Regular brushing once or twice a week will help to minimize shedding of the North American Miniature Australian Shepherds' coat and keep the skin and coat healthy. As with any herding dog exercise is essential to maintain a healthy, well-balanced dog. Daily walks, obedience training or giving them a job to do is excellent exercise for this breed. An intelligent breed, they enjoy obedience training. Obedience should come easily. Early socialization is a must, however.

Learning Rate: High. Obedience - High. This breed loves to learn. Problem Solving - High. Mini Aussies love a challenge and do well to figure them out on their own.

Special Needs: Exercise and a job or activity to do.

Living Environment: A home with a fenced yard is essential. They would do better in a rural environment as they were bred to herd and guard the flock. The best owner for this breed would be an active individual or family who live in a rural environment. These are not apartment dogs.

Health Issues: Eye disorders such as Collie Eye Anomaly and PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy), hip dysplasia, and allergies. Other than these, they are a relatively healthy breed.

History: Australian Shepherds are not, in fact, Australian at all! They are believed to have been brought to America by the Basques who, on their routes, stopped by Australia and picked up good herding dogs on their way to America. The Australian Shepherd arrived in the United States by the late 19th century where the dogs’ qualities became recognized by local ranchers, who used the dogs to work cattle, sheep and other livestock. The breed is well-believed to have come from the Berger des Pyréneés, as well as Smithfield, Collie and Border Collie. The North American Miniature Australian Shepherd was developed in 1968, when two small Australian Shepherds were bred. They were a scaled down version of the Australian Shepherd. The goal was to develop a small herder and guardian who had the qualities of the larger Australian Shepherd but was smaller in size. In recent years, the Toy Australian Shepherd has been considered separately, even though they are still born from Miniature Australian Shepherds. If they are under 13 inches tall and under 20 lbs., they are known as Toy Australian Shepherds. The Australian Shepherd has gone on to be accepted by many clubs and in 2016 was recognized by the AKC as Miniature American Shepherd. Either way, the breed continues to be popular among Americans, and the Toy size has had a small but growing following.

Class: Herding

Registries: MASCA, NASCUSA