Good for Novice Owners:
- Average Size: Small
- Average Lifespan: 12-13 years
- Registered?: aca, akc
Miniature Australian Shepherd Dog Breed Information
Did You Know?
The Mini Australian Shepherd, abbreviated as MAS, and also referred to as a Miniature American Shepherd or Mini Aussie, is considered a small herding breed. The dog breed originated during the late 1960s in California when they were crossed with smaller, unregistered dogs thought to be Australian Shepherds.
One of the facts about Miniature Australian Shepherds is they are known by a few names. When they were registered with the National Stock Dog Registry in 1980, they were registered as Miniature Australian Shepherds. Although they attained nationwide popularity by the 1990s, they weren’t entered into the AKC Foundation Stock Service until 2011. At that time, the AKC recognized them as the Miniature American Shepherd.
These dogs are often a little longer than they are tall and are a little stocky. They are a hardy and rustic dog breed that finds themselves at home as a working dog and as a family companion. Due to their high energy, intelligence, and desire for a job, they are often used in agility training and other dog sports.
Mini Australian Shepherds love to be with their families and are great with children, other dogs, and other pets. They tend to be loyal and affectionate. Mini Aussies tend to retain a puppylike demeanor for life and love to play. Although they can be a little wary of strangers, they are not known to be aggressive with them. As long as they are well-socialized, they tend to warm up quickly once introduced.
MAS are typically very easygoing dogs, which makes them highly adaptable. Although they have a lot of energy, they can adapt to apartment living as long as they get enough exercise and mental stimulation every day.
They also thrive in homes with fenced yards where they can run to their heart’s content. As one of the best dog breeds for farms and known for their affinity with horses, they can adapt to sprawling acres full of livestock as well.
They do well in most climates, but are sensitive to excessive heat and cold. They also do not like to be left alone for long periods of time because they are affectionate dogs that bond closely with their families.
Potential health concerns to be aware of in a Mini Australian Shepherd include hip dysplasia, cataracts, and progressive retinal atrophy. Although the merle coat coloration is beautiful, the gene for it can also sometimes carry a blind/deaf factor. Because of this, it’s important to get an MDR1 DNA test done and to test a puppy’s hearing early when that coat color is present.
Good breeding practices make a big difference in the health of puppies. Reputable breeders will screen their dogs to avoid passing preventable issues to puppies. Make sure you ask about the health and genetic history of the parents and about any health tests or clearances that have been done.
Miniature American Shepherds are one of the smartest dog breeds. They are known for being highly intelligent dogs that learn very quickly and are eager to please. Despite their high energy and getting bored easily, they are still considered one of the easiest breeds to train and tend to be a good fit for owners of any experience level.
Even if you don’t necessarily need them, there are plenty of other benefits of puppy training classes. Not only do you reinforce training and bond with your puppy, but you can also often socialize them too.
Miniature Australian Shepherds have a straight to slightly wavy double coat. It’s medium-length with a longer topcoat and a denser undercoat. Common coat colors are blue or red merle, black, red, and tricolor, which includes a combination of colors with white or tan points.
A MAS will shed moderately year-round with heavier shedding as the seasons change. Brushing a few times a week, daily brushing during seasonal shedding, and the occasional bath will keep them comfortable and their coat looking great.
In addition to coat care, you will also need to take care of your Mini Australian Shepherd’s nails, ears, and teeth. Cutting nails once or twice monthly keeps them from growing too long. Weekly ear checks with careful cleanings as needed can help prevent ear infections.
As a small dog breed, the MAS is more prone to developing dental diseases later in life. Brushing teeth daily, along with cleanings at the vet when needed, is ideal dental care for dogs. Starting a good dental care routine early and keeping up with it consistently can help prevent painful dental diseases as your dog ages.
Mini Australian Shepherds have a lot of energy. Although they can sometimes adapt to your life and sit in a more moderate activity range, you should still be prepared for a high-energy dog. Daily walks plus some playtime and time to run are usually enough for these dogs, but they will likely be up for more activity if you are.
They may be small, but these dogs are easily bored and love to run, play, hike, and more. Making sure they get plenty of exercise and ensuring they have a job to do will keep their mind busy and help avoid any destructive behaviors that boredom might bring.
Fully-grown Mini Australian Shepherds usually stand 13-18 inches tall and weigh 20-40 pounds.
Miniature American Shepherds generally live for 12-13 years on average.
Mini Australian Shepherds were popular traveling companions around the horse show and rodeo circuit. Their ability to get along well with horses, their loyalty, and their small size made them a popular choice for dog owners in these environments. The Miniature American Shepherd Club of the USA credits this with spreading their popularity across the country.