All About The Purebred Miniature Australian Shepherd and Toy Australian Shepherd - Aussie University

All About The Purebred Miniature Australian Shepherd and Toy Australian Shepherd

They are often called mini Aussie’s. The Miniature Australian Shepherd is almost identical to the standard or full-sized Australian Shepherd in everything but size, Largely in cuteness.

What do Miniature Australian Shepherds look like? They have a medium-length coat. They can have blue or red merle coats, red or black tricolor all with white or tan markings. You won’t see them with white hair around their eyes or ears. Their coat will also be straight or slightly wavy. They will do well in cold climates because of all that fur! The body is longer than the dog is tall at the shoulders, and the ribcage and chest are moderately developed. The topline is very straight from the shoulders to the hips. The legs are straight, and the feet are slightly arched with the back legs having a well-defined stance that gives the dog its ready to jump into action appearance.

The neck is in proportion to the body and flows naturally into the powerful shoulders. The head is carried high and level when walking but often carried lower when working livestock. They eyes may be different colors including blue, brown, amber and flecked but are always slightly almond shaped and very clear and alert looking. The ears are carried high on the head and are full triangles with slightly rounded tips. The top one quarter to one half of the ear should fold forward and ears with no fold or ears that don’t stay upright are considered liabilities in show dogs.

The legs and lower body are covered with slightly longer hair known as furnishings. The Miniature Australian Shepherds are either born with a very short, stubby tail known as a natural bobtail or the tail is docked when they are a few days old. There is also a smaller version of the breed known as a Toy Australian Shepherd and a still smaller variety known as the Tea Cup will be less than 12 pounds when fully grown.


Toy Height: 10-14 inches

Toy Weight: 7-20 pounds

Miniature Height: 13-18 inches

Miniature Weight: 15-35 pounds


What kind of temperament do they have? Just like the standard Australian Shepherd, the miniature Australian Shepherd is a working dog. Miniature Australian Shepherds are easy going puppies that love to play. They are great for active children and will be the perfect companion for them. They are an athletic dog that should appear solid and sturdy without looking stocky. They are courageous, loyal and affectionate. They like to have a “job” to do and are extremely intelligent. This energetic little dog needs plenty of exercise. They are a great buddy dog for other breeds of dogs, even those that tend to be somewhat dominant or leading.

The Miniature Australian Shepherd is a good watchdog and will bark whenever someone unknown approaches. They are not yappy like some of the miniature breeds and can easily and quickly be taught not to bark or to stop barking on command. One of the differences in the Miniature Australian Shepherd and other herding or working dogs is that it is quiet when herding and does not yelp or bark at other animals.

The Miniature Australian Shepherd is a wonderful dog with children of all ages. They are very active dogs requiring lots of daily exercise and they will run and play with children if those kids are as busy. While a smaller dog they are not delicate and can handle romping and average types of play with kids of all ages. Since they are very compliant dogs and love to please the family they will listen to children and respond to commands from even the youngest of kids. They love to be with their family and it is not recommended for families where the dog will be left alone for long periods of time. They are very well-behaved dogs in the house and will quickly find a quiet out of the way spot to watch the family. For example, under an end table or side table in the living room. They also love to be the center of attention when everyone else is busy in the house. Training the Miniature Australian Shepherd is very easy, and they can learn to do amazingly complex tricks with ease. They are very playful and almost puppy like in their behavior right up until they are very old dogs. When they are not challenged or stimulated mentally they will turn their energy and natural curiosity into more destructive behaviors such as chewing and finding out how to get into cupboards and other areas of the house. With attention, lots of exercise and proper training this is very rarely an issue with this breed.

Miniature Australian Shepherds enjoy traveling and going new places. They are somewhat wary of new people and will often skirt around the edges of gatherings until they feel comfortable with the people. Socialization will help minimize this behavior, but it is important to never force the dog to interact as this can lead to distrust and fear of strangers or even fear of family members.

Are Miniature Australian Shepherds prone to any health problems? There are few health concerns with the Miniature Australian Shepherd other than conditions of the eyes and joints. In cases where a merle colored male and female are crossed the puppies may carry a recessive gene for deafness and blindness. Merles should never be crossed with other merles. Canine hip dysplasia is also found in the breed although breeders are working to eliminate this problem.

What is the history behind them? The Miniature Australian Shepherd is not a cross between an Australian Shepherd and another breed, it was actually developed in the late 1960s, mid 1970’s by breeding the smallest of the Australian Shepherds. The constant breeding back to the smallest of the litters produced a consistently small breed that is even being further reduced in size to the toy variety. They were bred first in the United States. This was largely in response to the dog owners desire for a well-behaved herding type dog with the coat variations found in the miniature Australian Shepherd that would be more suited to smaller living spaces and yards in cities. In many areas the Miniature Australian Shepherd is still used as a working breed in competitions, and many people feel that the term miniature is a bit misleading as the smaller dogs are only miniature in size to the standard and are not petite and tiny like other “mini” breeds.

How should I groom a Miniature Australian Shepherd? The thicker, slightly coarse and straight outer coat is simple to brush using a pin brush or stiff bristle brush. Pay attention to the hair around the neck, the furnishings on the legs and the hair on the rump as these can be areas for matting and tangling. Typically, the Miniature Australian Shepherd is an average shedder however they will shed their coats heavily in the spring and fall. During these times the inner coat will come out in chunks or clumps and can become very matted. Daily brushing will both help speed up the shedding as well as prevent these mats from forming. If mats do form in the hair that is being shed, they may need to be cut out.

Do Miniature Australian Shepherds need daily exercise? This breed is ideal for an active family that loves to walk, hike, run and play. A Miniature Australian Shepherd is considered a high exercise breed but doesn’t need to be busy all the time if the exercise is regular and long enough in duration and challenge. Just taking these dogs for a walk is not likely to give them the stimulation that they need to get a mental workout, but having them work through an obstacle course, taking them on new routes where they are seeing and smelling new things, playing fetch with them as well as having them work through some training exercises will usually provide the right balance of physical and mental work.

The Miniature Australian Shepherd is an ideal dog for obedience, swiftness and herding trials. Many people trail their Miniature Australian Shepherds in one of these events and take them to various events in their local communities or even in larger more national competitions and events. These wonderfully behaved, and very social dogs make ideal event dogs as they rarely fight or show any signs of aggression.

How do you train them? The Miniature Australian Shepherd is really a treat to train. They are one of the very easiest dogs to housetrain and are extremely neat and clean. Even as puppies they naturally stay beside their owners and quickly learn what pleases the family. The very best possible training for these dogs is positive rewards in the form of verbal praise and petting. They loved to be petted! They will work as hard as they can to keep people in the family happy and love to be given commands and tasks to do. They also love to think and solve problems and are great at games of hide and seek with their favorite toys.

This breed has an amazing ability for word recognition and therefore can be easily taught a huge number of tricks and training exercises. They excel at agility, obedience and trial type competitions including herding. They do not need socialization in their training to avoid being somewhat nervous of new people or places. A Miniature Australian Shepherd should never be treated harshly or spoken to in a rough tone of voice as they can become timid and coward if treated poorly.

The miniature Australian Shepherd is very loyal to their family and will bond very quickly with all people in their house. They often do not do well if re-homed or left with people they do not know. If you do have to leave your Miniature Australian Shepherd with someone else, be sure to introduce the dog and the family first and allow the dog to get to know them to help the transition. Overall, The Miniature Australian Shepherd is very similar to our beloved standard Australian Shepherds.








Hi there! My name is Erica and I am absolutely in love with Australian Shepherds. These pups have been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember, and I have learned so much about them over the years. I am now excited to share all of my knowledge and experiences with you through my writing for Aussie University. When I'm not typing away, you can find me out and about with my own Aussie crew, exploring all that nature has to offer or participating in fun dog-centered activities. I can't wait to connect with all of you fellow Aussie lovers out there!

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