The Miniature American Shepherd resembles a small Australian Shepherd. True herders in spite of their compact size, Minis are bright, self-motivated workers and endearingly loyal and lively companion dogs who have an affinity for horses. The Miniature American Shepherd shares many physical traits with its forebear the Australian Shepherd’¿only on a smaller scale. Females stand between 13 and 17 inches at the shoulder; males range from 14 to 18 inches. Despite their size, Minis are every inch a true herding dog: energetic, versatile, rugged, and extremely bright. The eye-catching coat comes in black, blue merle, red, and red merle. (The merle will exhibit in any amount marbling, flecks, or blotches.) Minis move with the smooth and agile step of a dog built for hard work on punishing terrain.
In the 1960s, small-size Australian Shepherds found working the U.S. rodeo circuit were selectively breed to further reduce their size. The new breed was originally called the Miniature Australian Shepherd. ‘They became especially popular with equestrians traveling to horse shows, as their intelligence, loyalty, and size made them an excellent travel companion,’ the experts at the Miniature American Shepherd Club of the USA say. ‘In this way their popularity spread across the country.’
Miniature American Shepherds are generally healthy dogs, and responsible breeders test their stock for health conditions, communicating with other dedicated breeders to work together for breed health and preservation of the breed’s unique qualities. Regular visits to the vet for checkups and parasite control help to ensure the dog a long, healthy life.
Recommended Health Tests From the National Breed Club:
- Hip Evaluation
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy, PRCD (PRA-prcd, PRCD) – DNA Test
- Multidrug Sensitivity (MDR1) – DNA Test
- Ophthalmologist Evaluation
The Miniature American Shepherd has a double coat, with a longer outer coat and a wooly undercoat. The breed sheds a fair amount, even more so during shedding season, which can occur once or twice a year. Weekly brushing’¿daily during shedding season’¿will help to remove dirt and loose hairs and keep the dog looking his best. Mats or tangles can be worked out with a slicker brush or metal comb. As with all breeds, the nails should be trimmed regularly, as overly long nails can cause the dog discomfort.
Miniature American Shepherds are active and athletic, and they need a moderate amount of exercise but are also very adaptable to their family’s way of life. They do well as city dogs as long as owners provide sufficient exercise. They enjoy outings with their people that will occupy both their mind and body. They enjoy and excel in many canine events, including obedience, agility, and tracking.
As with all breeds, early socialization and puppy training classes are recommended and help to ensure that the dog grows into a well-adjusted, well-mannered companion. Intelligent and willing to please, the Miniature American Shepherd is highly trainable and will reach his best potential as a companion when taught at least basic obedience.
The Miniature American Shepherd should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.