miniature american shepherd

Australian Shepherds are beautiful and affectionate working dogs.

But get ready for this!

Did you know that there’s a breed that’s strikingly similar to the Australian Shepherd?

That’s right. We’re talking about the Miniature American Shepherds!

This breed is smaller and can now fit not just in your pasture fields but in your houses too!

So for this blog, I want to talk about everything there is to know about the Mini American Shepherd breed.

We’ll be talking about:

  • Mini Aussie History
  • Physical Features
  • Care and Needs
  • Temperament and Personality

Are you ready to learn more about the Miniature American Shepherd or Miniature Australian Shepherd?

If your answer is yes, then let’s start!

mini aussie dog

Miniature American Shepherd History

Let’s start with the Australian Shepherd since the Miniature American Shepherd is closely related to this Aussie breed.

When immigrants first started bringing the Australian breed to America in the 60s, locals immediately favored the dog breed.

And who couldn’t resist becoming a fan of this breed?

Australian Shepherds, after all, are energetic and intelligent dogs that are equipped with a strong herding instinct.

They’re the perfect companions for farm and ranch owners!

As this Aussie breed became popular, especially in California, people began breeding a miniature version of the breed.

The result was a smaller breed that looked like the Australian Shepherd and was named the Miniature American Shepherd.

This mini-breed quickly became popular on rodeo circuits alongside its cousin breed.

And by the 1970s, the breed for Miniature American Shepherds was standardized.

Finally, the American Kennel Club accepted and recognized the breed in 2015, making it the 186th breed.

mini american shepherd

Miniature American Shepherd Physical Trait

The Mini American Shepherd is similar to the Australian Shepherd but is smaller.

Let’s learn the physical traits that make this breed different from its larger cousin and other dog breeds.

Weight and Height

The typical Miniature American Shepherd size falls in the small dog size category.

Male Mini-American Shepherds have a height range of 14 to 18 inches, while females can only reach a height between 13 to 17 inches.

Both sexes can reach a weight between 20 to 40 pounds.

Aussie dogs can reach a height between 18 to 23 inches and weigh 40 to 55 pounds.

This means the size difference between the two related breeds is not far apart.

In fact, based on their standardized size, a large Miniature American Shepherd can almost look the same as a small Australian Shepherd.


A Miniature American Shepherd has two layers of fur coat around its body.

The layers of fur coat regulate their body’s temperature in response to the current climate.

Mini Aussies also have shorter hairs on their head but a moderate length of mane around its neck.

Like its larger cousin, a Miniature American Shepherd has a primary fur color of black, red, red merle, and blue merle.

But the similarities between the breeds don’t stop there!

The American Kennel Club lists tan, white, or a combination of both as the breed’s color markings.

Pretty much like the Aussie dog!


One of the interesting physical traits of a Miniature Australian Shepherd is its eyes.

Mini American Shepherds can have the following eye color:

  • Brown
  • Blue
  • Hazel
  • Green
  • Amber

Miniature American Shepherds are also one of the few breeds that can have heterochromia.

But Dan, what is heterochromia?

Heterochromia simply means that one of the dog’s eyes has a different color than the other.

Because of this trait, a Mini Aussie can have two different eye colors, one color in each eye.

miniature australian shepherd temperament

Miniature American Shepherd Temperament

Let’s talk about the Miniature American Shepherd temperament.

The Miniature American Shepherd's personality traits are affectionate, intelligent dogs with strong herding instincts.

Since this breed is what you may consider a Velcro dog breed, Mini-American Shepherds may demand a lot of attention from their owners.

Miniature American Shepherd loves spending time with family members, regardless of the activity.

Cuddle is also a mandate for them as it can easily satisfy their need for affection and eventually brighten their moods.

In the worst-case scenario, their need for their owner’s attention can cause separation anxiety.

Since they are intelligent breeds, you may want to engage with them either through physical activities, training, or mental puzzle games.

Miniature Aussie dogs can easily get bored with the mundane, so you need to come up with ways to entertain them constantly.

One way to deal with their boredom is by giving them some tasks in the field.

Miniature American Shepherds love accomplishing tasks, so in this way, you’ll be stimulating its herding instincts.

Are Miniature American Shepherds Barkers?

Do Miniature American Shepherds Bark a Lot?

Yes, Miniature American Shepherds are known barkers because of their herding background.

While they don’t usually make a good sentry dog, they can still grow wary of new faces and strangers.

But spend ample time with them; they can be lovey-dovey with almost anyone.

RELATED: 20 Most Talkative Dog Breeds That Bark Often

Living with a Miniature American Shepherd

So what environment best suits a Miniature American Shepherd?

Well, this breed enjoys open areas like parks, your backyard, or even the front lawn.

You can take it a step further by taking your dog on large open areas like a ranch, a farm, or owned pasture lands.

Better, if you are a livestock owner, you can let your Mini American Shepherd do herding out in the field.

A Miniature American Shepherd is close to being a people pleaser, so it’s more than happy to receive any task from you.

This dog breed is for owners who want to engage with their dogs at work.

So, if you are a person that’s always at your office, working, then this dog is not for you.

Are Miniature American Shepherds Good Apartment Dogs?

Can you live with a Miniature American Shepherd in an apartment setup?

No, Miniature American Shepherds are not good apartment dogs.

These dogs are not suited for an apartment environment because of their high energy levels.

Since a typical apartment has a small floor area, a Miniature American Shepherd would feel constricted while moving around the space.

Miniature American Shepherds are also loud barkers when they have the chance.

So taking a dog who barks loudly can trouble adjacent neighbors, especially in apartment complexes.

RELATED: 30 Most Quiet Dog Breeds for Apartments

Miniature American Shepherd Health

The Miniature American Shepherd is a relatively healthy dog breed because of how active its lifestyle is.

If you give it enough love and care, the dog will live for as long as possible without serious health issues.

Who knows, they might be able to outlive their life expectancy!

That’s why here are some things that you need to know to keep your Mini Aussie healthy.


A Miniature American Shepherd's lifespan is expected to be at around 13 to 15 years.

That’s nearly a decade and a half’s worth of life, which is already a long life for dogs!

But while its life expectancy is amazing, its lifespan is relatively the same as with its bigger cousin, the Australian Shepherd.

If you tend to your dog’s needs and health concerns, you can help reach or extend your Miniature American Shepherd’s life expectancy.

Health Problems

Yes, the Miniature American Shepherd also suffers from health problems that are specific only to its breed.

Fortunately, Miniature American Shepherd breeds don’t suffer from a lot of breed-specific health issues like how Australian Shepherd does.

In fact, the only two major health problems that will affect your American Shepherd are Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) and Hip Dysplasia.

Hip Dysplasia on Miniature American Shepherd:

  • Is the uneven development of the ball and socket hip joint which loosens it
  • Is a condition that gives rise to more orthopedic issues like arthritis and degenerative joint diseases
  • There are no treatments for the disease, but vets can prescribe painkillers to relieve inflammations.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) on Mini Australian Shepherds:

  • Is a type of blindness resulting from the skewed development of the retina’s photoreceptor cells
  • Is a disease that starts with night blindness until complete eye deterioration
  • This leads to further eye complications like cataracts


It’s important to match the diet and nutrition to what the Miniature American Shepherd needs.

For starters, you should give this dog breed a sufficient amount of food to fuel its intense need for energy.

But you shouldn’t just focus on the quantity; you should also focus on the quality of the dog food!

There are many high-quality dog foods in the market that are formulated to fit your dog's nutritional needs.

Not only does high-quality food fills your dog up, but they also make them stronger and happier.

You can also resort to homemade dog foods to better control what goes into your dog’s diet.

Additionally, always provide fresh and clean water to your dog.

Since Miniature American Shepherds prefer warmer climates over cold ones, you must constantly rehydrate them.

Miniature American Shepherd Grooming

A Miniature American Shepherd has an eye-catching appearance that can turn all heads in the streets.

So it makes sense to preserve the beauty and maintain rather routine grooming of the dog.

But exactly how much grooming does a Miniature Australian Shepherd breed need to stay fabulous?

Let’s find out!

Bath Time

Do you need to bathe your Miniature American Shepherd frequently?

No, they don’t require frequent bath schedules.

Double-coated dogs like Miniature American Shepherds have a top coat which is important in making them clean.

Their top coats, also known as guard coats, are dirt-proof and water-proof that deflect dirt, debris, and smelly liquid from the fur.

Dogs also lick themselves or their pups clean, so you really don’t need to bathe your dog regularly.

However, you should maintain at least a once-per-month bathing schedule for Miniature American Shepherds.

These dogs may not often get dirty and stinky, but they still need a bath to loosen the furs that are clinging inside the coat.

Plus, these baths refresh your dog during the hot seasons of the year.

RELATED: How To Give A Dog A Bath

Seasonal Shedding

Did you know?

Double-coat dog breeds like a Miniature American Shepherds blow their coats on specific seasons of the year.

But what does blowing off the coat means?

Simply put, it’s where your double-coat dogs shed their dense undercoats to prepare for the upcoming season.

Dogs also blow their coat to mass replace the old furs and give way for new ones.

After all, a weak and damaged set of furs can’t protect the dog from the harsh weather.

So if your dog is blowing their coats, expect it to shed more heavily than normal.

Usually, Miniature American Shepherds blow their coats twice, once before and after the winter season.

Brushing Fur

If you don’t want a dog that’s a regular shedder, then a Miniature American Shepherd is not for you.

Because these canine creatures shed. A lot.

That’s why you should make it a habit to brush your dog frequently.

Brushing your dog’s coat catches the loose fur that was supposed to fall off the coat.

Essentially, this regulates the amount of furs that your dog sheds at a given time.

We recommend an ideal once a week of brushing to reduce the amount of shedding at the given time.

Increase the amount of brushing that you need to do during your Miniature American Shepherd’s blowing coat season.

Trimming Hair

Should you shave your dog’s hair during grooming sessions?

No, you shouldn’t shave your dog’s fur when you groom your pet.

Shaving your pet’s fur is a sure way to destroy their beautiful coat since it won’t grow back to how it was before.

Further, your dog will have trouble regulating its skin temperature now that an area of its skin is exposed.

Instead, you should just trim your dog’s hair whenever it gets long or at least once every two months.

Miniature American Shepherd Agility Course

Miniature American Shepherd Exercise

Don’t be fooled by its miniature size!

As a dog breed from AKC’s herding group, the Miniature American Shepherd is packed with energy that needs wearing out.

And what better way to exhaust your dog than with some physical activities and exercise?

Since Miniature American Shepherd dogs are intelligent breeds, we recommend that you pick activities that are challenging and mentally stimulating too.

It will also help if the activities and exercise require interaction between you and your dog.

In this way, all these activities help better foster lasting bonds between you two.

Some of the activities that I recommend are dog sports and jogging.

Dog Sports

Are you looking for activities that also challenge your dog’s ability to follow commands?

Look no further than dog sports.

Dog sports are sets of physical activities that involve dogs.

What makes these sports mentally stimulating is that many of these activities require the dog to learn it first.

Owners have to train their dogs first before they are able how to do the activity first to do it p properly.

Some of the famous dog sports for your Mini American Shepherd without turning it into a competition are:

Jogging Partner

A dog walk won’t cut out for your Miniature American Shepherd; jog with your enthusiastic partner!

Jogging is a beneficial exercise for your dog.

This activity enhances your dog’s cardiovascular endurance because it’s a prolonged activity with your dog.

It also strengthens your dog’s limbs the more you jog with your canine friend.

Miniature American Shepherd Socialization

Miniature American Shepherd dogs are great at socializing.

They’re also people-pleasers with their owners, and they easily get along with other people, given you spend enough time with them.

On the other end of the spectrum, Miniature American Shepherds also like being the center of attention.

That’s why many of these breeds make it into dog shows, sports, and competitions.

RELATED: 8 Scientific Reasons to Socialize Your Dog

Do Miniature American Shepherds Make Good Pets?

Are Miniature American Shepherds good family dogs?

Yes, Miniature American Shepherds are great companions to have in the house because they show great affection to their owners.

But take note that they might not be suitable for kids indoors because they carry their herding instincts indoors.

And the last thing that you want to happen in your house is these small dogs bossing around your toddlers.

RELATED: Dogs and Kids: 17 Rules to Keep Kids and Dogs Safe

Miniature American Shepherd Training

Talking about their training, Miniature American Shepherds are creatures that long for a guiding figure in their lives.

They’re not just willing participants in training sessions, but they want to do it for the sake of pleasing you.

Because of their temperament, you won’t run into problems while training them.

This makes housebreaking easier and more effective as they’ll be more willing to respond and obey you.

If you don’t have a general idea of what to train your dogs, you can utilize their herding instincts and train them to herd better.

In this way, they can become efficient in herding even livestock that are larger than them!

You can also train these dogs in some tricks, poses, and sports to help them become contenders in dog competitions.

Are Miniature American Shepherds Rare?

Are Miniature American Shepherds Rare?

No, they’re not.

They’re a common breed in the country since they are native dogs in the US.

This dog breed also ranked 31st in AKC’s most popular breed, so expect a lot of owners who will adopt them.

That being said, some Miniature American Shepherds are rarer than others based on their color and marking combinations.

The rarest Miniature American Shepherds are those who have solid red fur colors.

Miniature American Shepherd: Key Insights

Small but mighty, the Miniature American Shepherd is basically just its larger Australian breed, but smaller.

The Miniature American Shepherd retained a lot of the Aussie dog’s traits.

From their physical features down to their personalities and traits, they’re the cuter replicas of the Aussie dog.

That’s why its needs are strikingly similar to the Australian Shepherds.

Remember to give these dogs copious amounts of love, and they will surely reward you with their lovely gestures.

But wait!

If you think a Miniature American Shepherd dog is not for you, you might want to check out its larger counterpart instead: the Australian Shepherd.

Additionally, go check out these other purebred dogs that are stored for you below!