All About Miniature Australian Shepherds

miniature Australian shepherd standing on a fenced in patio

Miniature Australian Shepherds are just like the beloved Australian Shepherd breed, except that they are a more compact size. Though physically smaller, Mini Aussies still have big personalities and abundant energy. Are you ready to welcome one of these entertaining pups into your home?

Breed History

The history of Miniature Australian Shepherds is shared with the history of Australian Shepherds. This breed’s story began in Basque, a region between Spain and France. Shepherds in the area used Aussies as working and herding dogs since they excelled at both jobs.

Around the 1960s, this breed began making an appearance in California. Wanting a smaller version of this already wonderful canine, dog breeders began breeding the smallest Australian Shepherds together. The result being the Miniature Australian Shepherd.

Today, these dogs remain a popular choice for singles and families all over. These pups still prove their keen abilities at working on large properties with livestock while also being fantastic family dogs and excellent agility and sports competitors.

Did you know that Australian Shepherds aren’t from Australia? They were given this name because the shepherds of Basque who first began this breed were immigrants from Australia.

Attributes

There is much to learn about the Mini Aussie before welcoming one into your home. Although these dogs share many similar characteristics and traits with full-sized Australian Shepherds, there are still some differences between these two breeds.

Do Miniature Australian Shepherds Shed a Lot?

With one look at their thick, weather-resistant double coat, you can probably come to your own conclusion that Mini Australian Shepherds do indeed shed. Twice a year, you can expect shedding to increase when your pup ‘blows coat,’ which involves them losing their undercoat for the change of seasons. If you prefer to keep your home as dog hair-free as possible, it can be incredibly helpful to brush your dog multiple times a week.

Are Miniature Australian Shepherds Smart?

Miniature Australian Shepherds are incredibly smart. These dogs will typically catch on to new tricks and commands in no time. However, this also means that you should be mindful of what you teach your dog and if you slip them any table scraps because your Mini Aussie won’t soon forget.

How Much Exercise Does a Mini Australian Shepherd Need?

A Miniature Australian Shepherd requires a moderate amount of exercise—at least one hour per day. Luckily, these pups aren’t particular with how they receive their workout, so a walk, run, jog, or hike can all do the job. These pups also enjoy off-leash running outside (in a fenced-in area) and some indoor playtime.

Are Miniature Australian Shepherds Good Family Dogs?

Miniature Australian Shepherds are fantastic family dogs. These pups enjoy the company of children and can thrive in an active home. If you’re looking for a companion that can keep up with the kids, join your family for a hike, but then relax next to your feet at the end of the day, this may be the perfect breed for you.

Before adopting a Mini Aussie, there’s much to consider. For instance, it’s helpful to look at your lifestyle and see if it’s a good match for this dog breed. Mini Aussies do best with an active family.

It’s also worthwhile to think about the time and financial commitment of becoming a dog parent. Day-to-day, you will need to make sure you are not away from your home too long, so your Mini Aussie won’t get lonely or have an accident in the house. Long term, these dogs can live around 13 years.

Though it may be easy to look into the eyes of a puppy and want to adopt them on the spot, take a moment to consider your five-to-ten-year plan. Will you be moving and able to take a dog with you? Are your career plans compatible with a dog? Are you prepared to still have this dog in your life in a decade?

On top of the time commitment, dogs are also a financial responsibility. On top of initial adoption costs, you will need to purchase necessary items such as a leash, collar, bed, food bowls, and toys. If you plan to take your Mini Aussie to a professional groomer, you will need to consider those costs, plus the expense of yearly veterinary appointments. Don’t forget monthly food and treat costs, plus depending upon where you live, you may also have to pay pet rent.

Training

When the topic of training is brought up, most people’s first question is, “Are Mini Australian Shepherds easy to train?” It isn’t easy to have a definitive answer since every dog is unique. With that said, on average, most Mini Aussies are intelligent dogs that are relatively easy to train.

One way to help the training process go more smoothly is to begin training the day you bring your dog home. Be consistent, patient, and positive during training sessions, and don’t forget to reward your pup after a job well done.

Training is an ongoing process that should be continued throughout your dog’s life. Once you notice your dog mastering their commands, don’t hesitate to begin teaching them new and more complex commands—Mini Aussies will love the mental challenge.

On top of training, don’t forget to take time to socialize your dog. Socialization should also begin from a young age, though puppies do require some vaccinations before being in the company of other dogs.

Socialization is essential to raising a dog with a well-rounded personality.

miniature Australian shepherd smiling and sitting in a fenced in yard

Grooming

Keeping your pup well-groomed can help them look and feel their best. Miniature Australian Shepherds will need to be brushed multiple times a week. This not only helps keep their coat healthy, but it can additionally help catch the loose hair before it is shed throughout your home.

Throughout the week, you should also set aside time to brush your dog’s teeth. Using a canine-friendly toothbrush and toothpaste, practicing good dental hygiene can help reduce the risk of your dog developing periodontal disease.

On a weekly or every-other-week, basis you should check your pup’s ears, cleaning them out with a dog-safe ear cleaning solution and cotton balls whenever they appear dirty. Be sure never to use cotton swabs or to clean down into your dog’s inner ear, as this could accidentally cause pain or injury. If, while checking your pup’s ear, you notice unusual redness or a poor odor, these could be the signs of an ear infection. In which case, it is essential that you schedule your dog a veterinary appointment immediately.

Mini Aussies will need their nails trimmed on a monthly basis, though some dogs may need their nails cut more often. Your dog will also need a bath about every other month, but this can also be determined by your dog’s activities. For instance, if your best pal has a knack for running into muddy or stinky situations, then a bath more frequently may be necessary.

How to Care for a Mini Australian Shepherd

When caring for a Mini Australian Shepherd, there are three main areas to check off your list: food, exercise, and quality time.

All dogs require a nutritious and age-appropriate diet and Mini Aussies are no exception. It is best to measure out each of your dog’s meals and not allow them to graze all day long. Don’t forget to keep an eye on how many treats you feed your dog—too many can lead to unwanted weight gain. The same applies to any human food scraps you may slip your pup. Not only can all those extra bits of food lead to obesity, but there’s a long list of people foods that dogs shouldn’t consume.

A wonderful way to keep your pup at a healthy weight is to provide them with plenty of exercise. Your Mini Aussie will require a walk or run every day, plus some playtime. By staying active, your pup can maintain a healthy weight and burn off some of their extra energy.

Exercising your pup is an ideal way for you also to be active, and you can spend some quality time with your best pal. Mini Aussies adore their family and appreciate some one-on-one time with those they love. Plus, after a busy day of playing, working, and exercising, your best pal may be ready for a nice cuddle session.

Common Health Issues: Do Miniature Australian Shepherds Have Health Problems?

Miniature Australian Shepherds are considered to be relatively healthy dogs, but that’s not to say that they can’t develop some health issues. According to our pet insurance claims data,** the most common health issues that affect this breed are:

  • Gastrointestinal issues – average cost around $345 for Mini Australian Shepherds
  • Diarrhea – average cost around $300
  • Vomiting – average cost around $350
  • Eye issuesaverage cost around $170
  • Behavioral conditionsaverage cost around $125

By learning the signs for these common issues, you can stay a step ahead with your dog’s health. After all, a healthy pup is a happy pup.

Another great way to keep your Mini Aussie’s health a priority is to schedule them for yearly appointments with their veterinarian.

**Internal Claims Data, 2015-20

The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian.

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