Miniature American Shepherd: History, Training and Health

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Are you an Australian Shepherd fan? If so, you will love this smaller version. Read on to discover what makes the Miniature American Shepherd special and what you can expect from this breed.

Breed Characteristics:

As expected, the Miniature American Shepherd resembles the famous Australian Shepherd, known for its herding powers and high intelligence.

The Miniature American Shepherd, or shortly Minis, are all of this and much more.

Did you know that the Miniature American Shepherds have a strong affinity for horses?

This miniature shepherd shares many physical traits with its relative the Australian Shepherd, just in a smaller package.

Quick Facts

Real name: Miniature American Shepherd
Other names: Miniature Australian Shepherd, Berger Miniature Américain, Miniatur, Amerikanischer Schäferhund, Pastor Miniatura, Americano
Nicknames: Mini American, MAS
Origin: United States
Breed type: Herding Dogs
Weight: 20-40 pounds
Height: 14-18 inches (male), 13-17 inches (female)
Lifespan: 12-13 years
Litter Size: 5-9 puppies
Color: Black, blue merle, red, red merle, with or without tan and/or white markings in specified areas
Coat: Medium length double coat

Miniature American Shepherd History

The Miniature American Shepherd is relatively a young dog breed since it was developed in the 1960s.

Home to this breed is sunny California, whose breeders started breeding small, unregistered dogs that were thought to be Australian Shepherds.

These dogs have specially bred to maintain their small size, high intelligence level, and active nature.

The breed was first registered with the National Stock Dog Registry in 1983 and was originally called the Miniature Australian Shepherd.

By the early 1990s, the Miniature American Shepherd started gaining global popularity. This breed was the first to spot in the U.S. rodeo circuit.

They became popular with equestrians traveling to horse shows, due to their intelligence, loyalty, and size.

All in, they were perfect travel companions. Traveling across the country made it easy to popularize the breed.

Throughout history, the breed was used for herding smaller stock such as goats and sheep, but due to their small size, in no time, they became popular household pets.

Miniature American Shepherd Physical Appearance

As expected this dog is small. They are far from being teacup dogs in size and are closest to smaller medium-size dogs.

This small breed originated in the United States and from day one it was obvious that this breed will reach its peak in popularity in no time.

Movement is smooth and balances, while agility is seen in every move and run.

Overall, this is a versatile and energetic dog known for its athletism, superior intelligence, and willingness to please and be around people.

This hard worker has a double coat of medium length, with a docked or natural bobtail. The expression is always alert and attentive, while eyes are set obliquely and in proportion in the head.

This breed is acceptable in all coat colors, even eyes may be in different colors.

Ears are triangular, while the neck is firm. The loin is strong and board observed from the top, while the whole body is firm and well-balanced.

Hair is medium length, straight to wavy and weather resistant. The undercoat may vary depending on location. Hair may be trimmed on the ears.

Miniature American Shepherd Personality

The Miniature American Shepherd has a very diverse and vivid personality. Highly intelligent, this breed loves to be around people and learn constantly.

They are gentle with children and extremely polite with other dogs, pets, and even cats, especially if they are raised with them. Just like Australian Shepherd, this miniature version is hard-working and energetic.

They love when they have a job to do. Since this breed demands to be active, it’s best to think about dog sport, such as agility.

The Miniature American Shepherd enjoys training sessions and learning new tricks.

Always use positive-reinforcement techniques, because this breed can learn anything as long as you invest enough time and energy.

Miniature American Shepherd Training

As with all breeds, early socialization and puppy training classes are highly recommended when you want a well-behaved dog. Make sure that you start training as soon as you bring your dog home.

Once you are done with puppy vaccination, you should expose your puppy to new surroundings, fresh places, new people, and other dogs and animals.

They explore the world by smelling, so every walk should be like an adventure for your dog to explore.

Luckily, the Miniature American Shepherd is highly trainable, and with the right training sessions, this breed will master basic commands in no time.

Miniature American Shepherd Exercise

The Miniature American Shepherd is an active breed with strong athletic need. They need a moderate amount of exercise, just be careful not to overdo it until they are grown up.

Hiking and running can be ok only when your veterinarian approves it. They can do fine as city dogs, as long as they have enough exercise and outdoor time.

They will be satisfied with an extra-long walk and dog park time. They enjoy and excel in many dog events and sports, such as obedience and tracking.

Miniature American Shepherd Grooming

The Miniature American Shepherd requires regular grooming to keep that undercoat and coat in order.

Since this breed has a double coat, brushing at least twice per week is mandatory, to keep shedding in balance. In shedding season you can expect more frequent shedding.

You can expect a fair amount of shedding all-year-round. During shedding season which occurs once or twice a year, you should have a vacuum cleaner on hand.

Also, make sure that you have a proper grooming tool in your home.

Weekly brushing is mandatory, but daily brushing would be the best option, to remove dirt and loose hair. If you notice any mats or tangles you should use a slicker brush or metal comb.

As with all breeds you should check gums regularly and trim nails. Longer nails can cause discomfort and harm your dog. The rest is regular maintenance:

  • Bath only when really needed
  • Keep teeth healthy by promoting healthy foods
  • Check ears regularly and learn how to clean them
  • Be cautious about paws in the winter

Miniature American Shepherd Health

The Miniature American Shepherd is overall a healthy breed. If you are adopting the Miniature American Shepherd you will always be informed about the dog’s health.

When adopting from a shelter you will always get a dog who is fully vaccinated, neutered, or spayed, and in most cases, they would microchip dog on your name for free.

If you are buying a dog, make sure that you only deal with registered breeders, and avoid puppy mills at all costs.

Responsible breeders will always give you only a healthy dog, with a medical history, and other medical documents proving that the dog is healthy.

Make sure that you teach your dog from day one to not be afraid of a veterinarian. Regular visits to the vet and firm parasite control help to ensure the god a long and healthy life.

If you notice anything unusual with your Miniature American Shepherd contact your veterinarian.

Miniature American Shepherd Nutrition

The Miniature American Shepherd can thrive on high-quality dog food, regular exercise, and a loving and safe environment.

You can use commercially manufactured food and even add a bit of home-prepared such as cooked carrots to mix up a bit.

If you are thinking about the raw diet, you should talk to your veterinarian about it first.

Make sure that you always adjust food choices to the dog’s age. For example, you don’t want to feed a puppy-like an adult dog, becuase puppies need different nutrients.

Learn how much you should feed your dog.

Learn which human food is safe for dogs and which is not. Use treats in a fair amount, and always as a reward.

If you have any concerns about your dog’s diet, weight or health, talk to your veterinarian. Always have clean and fresh water available at all times.

Miniature American Shepherd Fun Facts

The Miniature Australian Shepherd is a relatively young breed and one of the youngest ones in the AKC breed registry. This is a breed with lots of strengths, appeals, and advantages.

They have strong herding inspections, love to work, and are easy to adjust both to city and country life.

Here are more facts abotu this adorable small dog.

  • The AKD recognized this breed is 2015.
  • At first, people couldn’t understand why anyone would anyone want a Miniature Australian Shepherd when there was a standard Australian Shepherd. However, creators got things their way when they used Dachshunds as an example. Dachshunds came in different sizes and they are all registered and accepted by the AKC.
  • Mini Australian Shepherds can live up to 13 years, shorter than their bigger relative. The standard Aussie Shepherds can live up to 15 years.
  • Miniature Australian Shepherds are energy machines. They are one of the most active breeds alive. They need an average of 90 minutes per day.
  • Minis have a thich double coat so you might invest in a really powerful vacuum cleaner.

The Bottom Line

The Miniature American Shepherd is for you if you already have experience as a dog-owner.

Highly active dog breeds aren’t recommended for first time dog owners.

Active breeds are usually highly independent, and they love things to be their way. This is the main reason why certain breeds are better with experienced dog owners.

If you are an outdoor type and love spending time hiking or running, and you don’t mind frequent grooming and vacuuming, then this breed just might be for you.

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