BaxterBoo Blog
November 3, 2013

Meet the Breed: The Miniature American Shepherd

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  • Height: 13"- 18”
  • Weight: 20-40 pounds
  • Historical function: Herding
  • Modern function: Herding, agility
  • AKC classification: Herding

Physical Characteristics:

The Miniature American Shepherd, also known as the Miniature Australian Shepherd or Mini Aussie is a compact dog of medium build, slightly rectangular when viewed from the side. The top of the head is slightly round or flat. There is a moderate and defined stop. The ears are triangular and set high, folding over. The almond-shaped eyes may vary in color, even from each other. The double coat of medium length and coarseness may be solid in color or merled, with or without white and/or tan (copper) markings. The accepted colors are black, blue merle, red (liver) and red merle. The coat is short on the face and the front of the legs. There is a ruff of fur around the neck and feathering on the legs, chest and tail. The Miniature American Shepherd traditionally has a docked or natural bobtail. 

History of the Breed:

The Miniature Australian Shepherd was bred as a herding and working dog down from the Australian Shepherd using smaller dogs with the goal of creating a smaller size that fits with modern space constraints without sacrificing the original working personality and character of the Aussie. This goal was undertaken in the late 1960's in California. Supporters of this size variance petitioned the American Kennel Club for inclusion in AKC. They were granted registration through the Foundation Stock Service provided they change their name to the Miniature American Shepherd and make no reference to the Australian Shepherd or history, which may account for the "coming soon" listed on the Miniature American Shepherd breed club website. After all, what does one write about if a breed's history has been forbidden to be shared? 


The Miniature American Shepherd is an intelligent working dog that has strong herding and guardian instincts. This breed is easygoing, courageous, loyal and affectionate. They make excellent companions for active children. Although watchful with strangers, this breed does not exhibit shyness. They are very lively, agile and attentive. They do best with a long daily walk and a job. This is a breed that is eager to please, often anticipating what is expected of them. Miniature American Shepherds are highly intelligent and easy to train. This intelligence can backfire at times with bored dogs becoming destructive. Socialize this dog well during puppyhood to avoid stranger suspicion. They need to be taught not to herd humans or ankle nipping will be a problem. 

  • Best suited for: Active, playful families, farm work. Excellent agility and flyball competitors. 
  • Preferred living conditions: This dog is adaptable to many living situations provided they get enough mental and physical exercise.

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: The coat is fairly easy to maintain with an occasional brushing and rare bath. This breed sheds moderately.
  • Exercise needs: Daily long walk as well as mental exercise.
  • Life expectancy: 12-13 years.
  • Health concerns: May be prone to hip dysplasia and eye problems. 

Breed Club Links: Miniature American Shepherd Club of the USA Perfect Pairings: Dog Agility Starter Kit

Have any stories about a Miniature American Shepherd? Please share!

Photo courtesy of Andrea Arden, (a fantastic dog trainer in the New York area.)

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This entry was posted by Mary.

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