The Miniature Australian Shepherd is a breed that was developed by breeding smaller Australian Shepherds for the desired size. Miniature Australian Shepherds are increasing in popularity among those interested in a compact dog with a strong dog work ethic. They are especially popular in dog agility, and do well in other dog sports including herding, obedience, disc dog, flyball and many other activities. They can also serve well as service or therapy dogs.
The Miniature Australian Shepherd (North American Miniature Australian Shepherd) has a medium-length coat. It comes in blue or red merle, red or black tricolor, all with white and/or tan markings. The hair around the ears and eyes should not be white. The coat may be straight or slightly wavy, and should have feathering on the back of the legs, and a mane and frill around the neck. Hair on the head, front of the forelegs and on the outside of the ears is shorter than the rest of the coat. The hindquarters are the same length as the forequarters. The top of the skull is quite flat and clean cut. The feet are oval and compact. The lips do not hang over the lower jaw.
Miniature Australian Shepherds are easygoing, fun outgoing puppies that love to play. Courageous, loyal and affectionate, they are excellent children's companions that are great with active children. A devoted friend, and guardian. Very lively, agile and attentive, they are eager to please with a sixth sense about what the owner wants. Miniature Australian Shepherds are highly intelligent and easy to train. They can become nervous and destructive if left alone too much without enough mental and physical exercise. They need a job to do, as the breed is very intelligent, active and thus easily bored. Socialize your dog well when it is a puppy to avoid it becoming suspicious of strangers. Some like to nip people’s heels in an attempt to herd them. They need to be taught herding humans is not acceptable. A fine companion, it also enjoys working small stock. They are quiet workers. This breed is not usually dog aggressive. Always remember, dogs are canines , not humans. Be sure to meet their natural instincts as animals.
Toy Height: 10 - 14 inches
**Please Note: anything below 10" is consider undersize and would be registered as a toy aussie.
Miniature Height: 14 - 18 inches
Standard Height: 18+ inches
We do not guarantee size, ear set, or eye color.
The gene for the beautiful merle coloration also carries a blind/deaf factor. This may be expressed only in merle/merle crosses. The vast majority of merle North American Miniature Australian Shepherds are heterozygous merles (one parent is merle, the other is solid) and these merles are not at risk for any special health problems due to their coloration. Be sure to check the hearing on merle puppies. Hip and eye problems can occur. Ensure sire and dam of puppies have been tested and are certified clear prior to purchasing a puppy. Some herding dogs carry a MDR1 gene which makes them sensitive to certain drugs that are otherwise okay to give another dog, but if tested positive for this gene can kill them.
The Miniature Australian Shepherd will do okay in an apartment if it is sufficiently exercised. They are moderately active indoors and will do okay with a small yard. This breed will do well in cold climates.
The Mini Aussie needs to have exercise daily even if it’s a short walk and a little fetch in the park or yard. Although these are working dogs not all of them need to be herding all of the time some just like to be doing whatever you are doing at the time. The Miniature and or Toy Australian Shepherds are just as happy being in your lap getting love as much as working livestock in the pasture.
The coat of the Miniature Australian Shepherd is easy to groom and needs little attention. Brush occasionally with a firm bristle brush and bathe only when necessary. This breed is low in dander and if kept clean and groomed they shed very little.
A breeding program to develop the Miniature Australian Shepherd (North American Miniature Australian Shepherd) was begun in 1968 using small Australian Shepherds. Breeders today continue to strive to produce a mirror image of the Australian Shepherd in a size that fits well into today's lifestyle, without sacrificing instinct, ability or character.
MASCA, NSDR, APRI, ASDR, DRA and now accepted into the AKC as a Miniature American Shepherd.
The history of the Miniature Australian Shepherd actually begins with the history of the Australian Shepherd. Though most facts are shrouded in time, the most commonly held belief on the origins of the Aussie begin in the late 1800’s when western ranchers were importing sheep from Australia. During this period the most popular sheep were being imported into Australia from the Basque regions of Spain. When the herds were shipped, their shepherds were sent with them to manage and care for the flocks on the journey. As the Australian’s reputation for quality sheep grew, the demand for their sheep grew also and American ranchers began importing them. The livestock were shipped to the Americas, again accompanied by the Basque shepherds and their herding dogs. Ranchers of the American west were reportedly very impressed with the working ability of these "little blue dogs" and began interbreeding them with their own shepherd dogs. The result was the Australian Shepherd.
The Miniature Australian Shepherd was developed directly from the Australian Shepherd. Throughout the history of the Aussie, small (under 18") dogs can be seen in historical photographs. Many believe that the original Aussie was selectively bred larger as sheep ranching decreased and cattle ranching increased. Cattle ranchers preferred a larger dog to work the larger stock. Some Aussie owners have continued to prefer the smaller sized Aussie, while others prefer the larger.
In 1968 a horse woman in Norco, California, began a breeding program specifically to produce very small Australian Shepherds. Her name was Doris Cordova, and the most well known dog from her kennel is Cordova’s Spike. Spike was placed with Bill and Sally Kennedy, also of Norco, California, to continue to develop a line of miniature Aussies under the B/S kennel name. Another horseman, Chas Lasater of Valhalla Kennels, soon joined the ranks of mini breeders.
Cordova, Lasater and the Kennedy’s, together attempted to form the first parent club for the miniatures. Although the club never quite got off the ground, their stated purpose for developing the miniatures was to produce an Australian Shepherd under 17" who had the heart, intelligence and drive to work stock, and yet be small enough to travel easily to stock shows and be a "house" dog.
“The first registry to accept the Australian Shepherd of the miniature variety was the National Stock Dog Registry (NSDR): the same to first recognize the Australian Shepherd. Cordova’s Spike, a 15 inch blue merle male, was the first mini Aussie to be registered. Acceptance was next achieved with the now defunct Rare Breed Kennel Club (RBKC) in the 1980’s. Croswhite’s Miss Kitty Fox, a blue merle NSDR registered bitch of true Aussie type, secured the first Australian Shepherd of the miniature variety championship.
After the RBKC folded in the early 1990’s, the mini Aussie gained acceptance with the American Rare Breed Association (ARBA). Unfortunately, ARBA regulations stipulated that in order for a breed to qualify for Group and Best in Show competition, it could not have a name associated with an AKC breed. So in 1993, when the Australian Shepherd was granted full show privileges in the AKC’s Herding Group, one group of mini Aussie enthusiasts opted to change the mini Aussie’s name, a move which caused great confusion in the dog world and for the general public and eventually led to the development of a separate and distinct breed from the Australian Shepherd called the North American Shepherd.
Dissatisfied with the limited show schedule offered by any one club, enthusiasts attempted to secure wider recognition. However, it soon became apparent that acceptance could not be gained under the new name because it implied a new breed. In actuality, the mini Aussie remained a size variety of the Australian Shepherd, with a continuous gene-pool, and not a separate breed. Those concerned with maintaining Australian Shepherd heritage, instinct, temperament and type, and interested in pursuing further recognition formed an Australian Shepherd of the miniature variety parent club in order to attain these goals." As stated by the Miniature Australian Shepherd Club of America