Is the Adorable Miniature American Shepherd Right for You?

Miniature American Shepherds (MAS), also known as Mini Americans or Mini Aussies, are one of the most recent yet loveable doggos in the canine world.

Despite its small size, this intelligent and energetic fido is an excellent candidate as a family companion.

Miniature American Shepherd portrait
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Still not charmed by the devoted Miniature American Shepherd? Keep reading, and get ready to fall in love with this purebred!

Where did the Miniature American Shepherd originate?

Miniature American Shepherd sitting in the woods
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Mini Americans are one of the recently developed dog breeds, and they were bred during the 1960s in California.

They were created to produce a canine with the amazing qualities of the Australian Shepherd but in a more compact size.

They were made from unregistered dogs that were thought to be small Australian Shepherds.

Because of that, they were initially named Miniature Australian Shepherd. It was changed in 1990 to “American” since they’re an entirely different breed from Aussies.

Their popularity as working dogs and pets continued to grow steadily across the United States and Europe despite the controversies about their creation.

Mini Americans even became a favorite travel companion of equestrians to see horse shows.

The first organization that this breed got registered with was the National Stock Dog Registry in 1980. Then in 1990, the Miniature American Shepherd Club of the USA (MASCUSA) was founded.

2011 was when Mini Americans joined the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) Foundation Stock Service. But back in 2015, they were assigned to be part of the club’s Herding Group.

What does a Miniature American Shepherd look like?

Miniature American Shepherd at the lake
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At first glance, some mistake this pooch for a Shetland Sheepdog or a Border Collie, but they actually share many physical qualities with its Aussie forebear.

According to their breed standard, Miniature American Shepherds have a longer body than a taller one with a solid build.

With full, deep chests and firm, level backs, their movement is balanced, easy, and smooth.

They have moderate-sized triangular ears set high on their heads, and their almond-shaped eyes that give a watchful expression can be amber, hazel, blue, or brown.

Some Miniature Americans have two eyes with different colors, while others have marbling or flecks.

Its tails can either be naturally bobbed or docked.

Size: How big does a Miniature American Shepherd get?

Mini Aussies can weigh anywhere between 20 and 40 pounds (9 and 18 kg), but their height can vary a bit based on gender.

Males can grow up to 18 inches (46 cm), while females stand around 13 to 17 inches (33 to 43 cm) tall.

With a compact dog, you might think that it’s perfect for all types of homes, and you’re right!

They’re adaptable to all kinds of living situations.

So whether it’s a ranch, farm, the suburbs, or an apartment, your Miniature American will feel at home, as long as the attention and daily exercise she requires are not neglected.

Coat: What colors are Miniature American Shepherds?

Cute Miniature American Shepherd puppies sleeping
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Like other working dog breeds, the Miniature American Shepherd has a medium-length double coat that’s waterproof and weather-resistant.

It’s made of a wooly undercoat and a long, coarse topcoat. Then, the fur on their head and front of their legs are short and smooth.

Their hair comes in various striking coat colors that can either be solid or merled, while some may or may not have tan points or white markings.

Mini Americans are mostly seen in black, red merle, red, and blue merle. For merles, it can be exhibited in any amount of blotches, flecks, and marbling.

Temperament: Are Miniature American Shepherds good family dogs?

Miniature American Shepherds make excellent family pets and companions. They’re also loyal and huge cuddle-bugs!

If you have kids, you’ll be happy to know that Miniature Americans are adventurous, loving, gentle, and are wonderful watchdogs.

When it comes to existing household pets like other dogs, cats, and small furry animals, they’ll do well with them, especially if they were raised together and your pup was socialized early.

Consider this breed’s background, though. Mini Aussies have strong herding instincts that if things get raucous, they tend to chase, run around, and nip at the heels.

With that said, always supervise interactions and playtime to avoid accidents.

We’re not saying that Mini Australian Shepherds are aggressive because they’re not. In fact, they’re friendly with just about anyone they know!

But since they’re always keeping a lookout for any threat or danger, your doggo may start barking to warn you or scare unwanted visitors away.

Do Miniature American Shepherds bark a lot?

Yes, but it’s expected when a vocal dog is alerting its owners. Another possible reason is if you left your fur buddy alone for too long.

An hour or two is tolerable for this breed, but any longer and it will lead to boredom and destructive behaviors like digging, chewing, and barking.

Luckily, Mini Americans are intelligent, devoted, and easy to train.

They’re fast learners and will proudly show it off, just like this one-year-old Miniature American Shepherd named Zola, doing all sorts of cool tricks in this video:

It’s evident why physical and mental stimulation is vital in keeping your canine friend healthy and sharp. Pair it with positive reinforcement and fun activities, like swimming, and your dog will thrive.

And with proper training and early socialization, Mini Americans can also be service dogs. After all, they are versatile, enthusiastic, and have a personable nature.

How to take care of your Miniature American Shepherd

Caring for any dog is no easy task, but that doesn’t mean you should leave your furry family member outside. Even with an outdoorsy pet, they’re still supposed to live inside your home.

And if she gets bored, your pup will bark non-stop and look for a way to escape, even in a safely fenced-in backyard.

So how can you keep your Mini American happy and healthy?

Keeping your Mini American Shepherd fit

Miniature American Shepherd playing in the dirt
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This mini’s energy level is moderate to high, so at least an hour of intensive workout every day should do.

Miniature American Shepherds won’t demand you to give up being a couch potato, though. They’re happy to adapt to their humans’ way of life. Just ensure that they get to do their daily routine.

You two can play fetch in the yard and visit the doggy park, but if you have a Miniature American Shepherd puppy, wait until she’s two years old before letting her do strenuous activities.

Making her go on long hikes or jogs when her bones aren’t fully developed yet can lead to severe joint problems like hip dysplasia and patellar luxation.

Once she’s all grown up, you can have her join conformation events and exciting dog sports like agility, obedience, flyball, rally, tracking, flying disc, and dock jumping.

You’ll be surprised at how competitive and athletic this breed is.

If the weather doesn’t allow your puppy to go outside, let interactive toys and puzzles give her company and mentally engage her.

Do you have a pool or an oceanfront house? Some enjoy a splash or a quick dip to cool off, but others don’t like the water at all. But keep a close watch because Mini Aussies aren’t strong swimmers

Grooming: do Miniature American Shepherds shed?

Mini American Shepherds are NOT hypoallergenic. They shed moderately all year-round, but you can control the amount of fur on your clothes and furniture by brushing your dog’s hair once to thrice a week.

When the seasons are changing, and your Miniature Shepherd is shedding heavily, daily brushing is best.

Equip yourself with a metal comb, a slicker brush, and an undercoat rake. These will help you deal with the tangles or mats on your pet’s fur.

Baths can be done once a month or when necessary because their water-resistant coat repels dirt, so if your doggo has little mud on her hair, just wait for it to dry, then brush it off.

When washing your Mini American, only use a dog-friendly mild shampoo.

If your canine buddy doesn’t wear her nails down naturally, do a weekly trim to avoid painful splitting.

You should also check her ears and clean them every week with a pet-safe ear cleaner. Don’t forget to brush her teeth daily to keep those pearly whites in tiptop condition!

Feeding: How much should the Miniature American Shepherd eat?

Miniature American Shepherd chewing bully stick
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Generally, Miniature American Shepherds require ½ to 1 ½ cups of high-quality dry kibbles daily twice a day.

Most paw parents know that the amount of dog food to give their pets is based on their weight, age, and activity level.

Prefer to feed your dog based on her daily caloric needs? Here’s a calorie calculator you can use.

What health problems do Miniature American Shepherds have?

Bored Miniature American Shepherd lying on the carpet
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The Mini American is a generally healthy breed. But like most purebreds, they also suffer from many health conditions. In fact, they can develop the same genetic health issues that Aussies are predisposed to.

Eye problems like Canine Multifocal Retinopathy 1 (CMR1), cataracts, day-blindness or Cone Degeneration, and Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) are very common.

If you see a merle-patterned Miniature American Shepherd, it may inherit recessive genes for blindness and deafness. This is why it’s never a good idea to cross merle dogs together, known as double merles.

We mentioned joint issues, but they can also have MDR1 Medication Sensitivity – usually seen in herding dogs.

Other diseases to watch out for are spinal abnormalities and Hyperuricosuria (HUU).

MASCUSA, the national parent club of Miniature American Shepherds, requires breeder club members to have their dogs undergo individual health screenings.

Some of those are MDR1 DNA test, PRA Optigen DNA test, Ophthalmologist eye evaluation, and OFA hip evaluation.

If everything is well-accounted for – healthy and tested parents to the pup’s current care, then a Miniature American Shepherd can enjoy a lifespan of 12 to 13 years. Some reach a life expectancy of 15 years!

How much is a Miniature American Shepherd puppy?

Young Miniature American Shepherd walking on the snow
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Miniature Australian Shepherd puppies cost $800 to $1,500. This price range can still go up depending on the breeder’s location and popularity, the parent breeds’ bloodline, as well as the gender and coat color.

Even the pup’s availability will play a role in this.

Mini Americans have a litter size of 2 to 6 puppies, so if the kennel’s reputable, be ready to go on the waiting list because they don’t have available pups all the time as they also care for their breeding stock.

Breeders: Mini American Shepherd puppies for sale

Ensure you’re buying your Mini Aussie puppy from a reputable breeder by doing your research.

See what previous clients had to say about them, request to visit the kennel, and ask for a copy of the puppy’s and parents’ health documents before signing any contract.

Feel like you’re ready to browse the available Miniature American Shepherd puppies online? Check out these websites:

You can also look at the breeders’ directory of the MAS breed club or visit the AKC Marketplace.

Adopting a Miniature American Shepherd

Alternatively, there are plenty of dogs who are waiting to be rescued or rehomed.

Drop by your local shelter and see if they have any Mini Americans for adoption.

Rescue organizations for Australian Shepherds also take in their mixes and other size variants, like Lone Star Aussie Rescue in Cedar Hill, TX and Aussie & Me Animal Rescue located in Sarasota, FL.

You can also drop by the Mini Aussie Rescue & Support’s (MARS) Facebook page.

Should you get a Miniature American Shepherd?

Miniature American Shepherd chillin' at the beach
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Miniature American Shepherds are herding dogs that double as a loyal companion for active owners.

Grooming and feeding may be manageable, but you have to make an effort when it comes to their physical and mental exercise.

You also have to be prepared to deal with their personality quirks like barking, being aloof with strangers, and the possibility of being destructive when bored.

Have you decided if the Miniature American Shepherd is the right pet for you? Let us know what you think of this fido in the comment box below.

Further reading: Other herding breeds like the Miniature American Shepherd

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