- Activity Level: moderate
- Grooming Level: moderate
- Trainability: high
- Adaptability: high
- Kid/Pet Friendly: often
- Average Size: Small
- Average Lifespan: 12-13 years
- Prey Drive: low
- Watchdog: aware
- Registered?: aca
Toy Australian Shepherd Breed Profile
Did You Know?
The Toy Australian Shepherd originated in the United States. They are a smaller version of the Miniature Australian Shepherd, or Miniature American Shepherd as the American Kennel Club now recognizes them.
The Miniature Australian Shepherd was bred specifically to maintain the beauty and desirable qualities of a Standard Australian Shepherd while also getting the size down to a small companion breed. The Toy Australian Shepherd is essentially a Miniature Australian Shepherd in a slightly smaller package.
They still tend to exhibit some of the herding and working dog tendencies of their Standard and Miniature counterparts. They also tend to be lovable lap dogs!
Toy Australian Shepherds are often described as “perpetual puppies” due to their small size, playful personality, and easygoing nature. These little dogs are loyal and devoted to their families. They are true companions that are affectionate and love to cuddle.
Toy Aussies also tend to get along fabulously with children and other dogs. They can be reserved with strangers, but do not usually exhibit shyness or aggression unless they are poorly socialized.
The Toy Aussie is a highly adaptable dog breed. They do well in apartments as long as they get enough exercise and mental stimulation. They will also adapt just as well to larger homes with room to roam.
As with any dog breed, they are sensitive to extreme heat or cold. Due to their small size, they may need a little extra insulation to help keep them warm as the temperatures drop. They are also happiest when they are with their family, so they do not like to be left alone for long periods of time.
This is a relatively healthy dog breed. As with any breed, there are some potential health issues to be aware of. For the Toy Australian Shepherd, some of these health conditions include hip dysplasia and eye disorders. Deafness or blindness can also occur, especially in Toy Aussies with a merle coat coloration where both parents have the merle coat coloration.
Reputable breeders will screen their dogs to avoid passing on preventable conditions to puppies. So, don’t be afraid to ask the breeder about the history of their parents or to see any relevant health clearances. Testing a merle puppy’s hearing can also be a good idea.
You will also want to test your Toy Aussie for the MDR1 gene. This is a gene present in some herding dogs that can make them sensitive to certain drugs and you will want to know whether your dog has it before your veterinarian has to prescribe medications for any reason.
Toy Australian Shepherds tend to be highly trainable dogs. They are highly intelligent, eager to please, and seem to have a sixth sense that allows them to respond to their owners intuitively. This makes them a great fit for owners of any experience level.
It also means that they can be easily trained into undesirable behaviors too. So, you want to make sure you are keeping training consistent and are not inadvertently rewarding bad behavior.
A Toy Australian Shepherd tends to have a medium-length coat that will shed moderately year-round. They may shed a bit more as the seasons change.
In general, grooming their coat is relatively easy. Brushing a couple of times a week is usually sufficient to keep your Toy Aussie comfortable and their coat healthy. Bathing is on an as-needed basis.
In addition to coat care, you also need to cut your dog’s nails, check their ears, and clean their teeth. In general, trimming your dog’s nails on a monthly basis is sufficient to keep them from getting too long.
Checking your dog’s ears weekly and carefully cleaning them as needed can help prevent ear infections. Additionally, brushing your dog’s teeth or using an enzyme toothpaste every day helps prevent painful dental diseases like gum disease and tooth decay.
Toy Aussies have a moderate activity level. They do need a job to do to stay happy and they will need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. They may have bursts of high energy, but they are also small dogs and will get tired.
Daily walks plus some playtime and activity are generally sufficient for this dog breed, but your Toy Australian Shepherd will also likely be up for more activity if you are. You can even try to take them hiking with you – just keep an eye on them to make sure they aren’t overexerting themselves trying to keep up with you!
A fully-grown Toy Australian Shepherd generally stands 10-12 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs 7-20 pounds.
Toy Aussies generally live 12-13 years.
Despite their small size, Toy Australian Shepherds can do well in several dog sports. They may not be able to compete in official competitions yet, but they tend to be a good fit for agility courses and herding tasks. Plus, they love learning new things and playing games!