Mini Australian Shepherd

Mini Australian Shepherd What To Know Before Buying Cover

The mini Australian shepherd is a small herding dog that weighs between 20 and 40 pounds and grows up to 18 inches tall. These dogs have a life expectancy of 12 to 13 years.

As its name implies, this dog is a small version of the Australian Shepherd.

This breed is popular because of its piercing eyes, attractive coat, and affectionate nature. If properly socialized, these dogs get along well with children and other animals.

Thanks to their intelligence and eagerness to please, mini Australian shepherds are easy to train. The breed’s high energy level means it needs a lot of exercise and attention throughout the day.

Mini Australian shepherds are officially known as miniature American shepherds, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC).

Mini Australian Shepherd Quick Summary

Common Names:Mini Australian shepherd, miniature American shepherd, MAS, mini Aussie
OriginUnited States
Breed groupHerding
Height13-18 inches
WeightUp to 40 pounds
ColorsBlack, red, blue merle, red merle, with white or tan markings
CoatDouble coat, medium-length
Life Expectancy12-13 years
TemperamentSmart, affectionate, energetic, eager to please, and adaptable
SheddingModerate to heavy shedder
Barking TendencyModerate

Mini Australian Shepherd Appearance

The mini Australian shepherd is a small dog with a medium-length double coat, agile build, and triangular ears. The breed has a tapered muzzle and is usually merle with white or tan markings.

  • Mini Australian Shepherd Puppy

Height and Weight

The mini Australian shepherd is classed as a small breed, reaching 13 to 18 inches tall and weighing 20 to 40 pounds. Females are typically smaller than males, but the dog’s exact size depends on activity level, diet, and genetics.

At three months, most mini Australian shepherd puppies are 6 to 9 inches tall and weigh 11 to 15 pounds. This breed reaches its full adult size within 12 months.


Mini Australian shepherds have medium-length, weather-resistant double coats that come in a variety of colors, including black, red, blue merle, and red merle. These dogs often have tan or white markings and moderate feathering on the legs and neck. The outer coat is made up of straight or wavy hair, while the undercoat is thick and soft.

Merle mini Aussies are more likely to experience health problems like blindness, deafness, and skin cancer.

Facial Features

The mini Australian shepherd has a rounded head, triangular ears, and a medium-sized muzzle that tapers gradually toward the nose. Like most herding breeds, this dog has an alert, piercing herding gaze.

The eyes are almond-shaped and appear in shades of brown, blue, hazel, or amber. Some dogs have bi-colored eyes, meaning each iris is a different color.

Mini Australian Shepherd Origins

Blue merle Mini Australian Shepherd

The mini Australian shepherd originates from the United States, where it was selectively bred in the 1960s to be a smaller version of the Australian shepherd. Aside from a size difference, there is little variation between the two breeds. Both breeds excel at herding, have similar temperaments, and make excellent companions.

The mini Australian shepherd was first recognized by the AKC in 2015 and is officially known as the miniature American shepherd.

Mini Australian Shepherd Personality and Temperament

Mini Australian shepherds are gentle, devoted, and adaptable. The dogs are easy to train, because of their intelligence, and they love having a job to do.

Mini Aussies make wonderful family companions and get along well with kids. While affectionate, this breed can sometimes be reserved around strangers.

These dogs require lots of exercise and attention to stay happy and healthy. If not given enough mental stimulation or left alone for long periods, this breed becomes restless and often engages in destructive behaviors like chewing and excessive barking.

Taking Care of a Mini Australian Shepherd Dog

Blue Merle Mini Aussie

Taking care of a mini Australian shepherd is moderately difficult because the breed has boundless energy and needs lots of attention throughout the day. The dog also sheds heavily and needs frequent brushing.

Food Needs

A mini Australian shepherd’s diet should consist of nutritious, protein-rich kibble formulated for small breeds.

Feed the dog 1.5 to 3 cups of food per day. Puppies need between 3 to 4 cups of kibble per day to support their fast growth. Ideal food amounts depend on metabolism, size, age, and activity level. Split food into two or three separate meals and feed around the same times each day to establish a routine.

Treats should make up no more than 10% of the mini Aussie’s daily calorie intake. Offer fresh water every day and clean the dog’s food bowl regularly to prevent the buildup of harmful bacteria.

Grooming Needs

Mini Australian shepherds have medium-length double coats that shed moderately all year round. These dogs also blow their coats twice a year.

Brush these dogs two to three times a week — or every day when blowing their coats — and use a slicker brush to tackle tough tangles and matts. Bathe these dogs monthly to reduce odor and keep their skin and fur healthy.

Check mini Aussies’ ears weekly for signs of infection, wax buildup, or inflammation. Brush the dogs’ teeth daily and trim their nails if necessary.

Exercise Needs

Mini Australian shepherds need at least 90 minutes of exercise per day — ideally split into two separate walks — to stay fit and healthy. These dogs are intelligent and love having a job to do. Its intelligence makes this breed ideal for high-intensity activities like herding, agility, and tracking.

Despite their small size, mini Aussies aren’t suited to apartment living because they’re lively and prefer the outdoors.

This breed has a high herding drive and should be supervised around livestock and young children — who the dogs often consider their flock.

Mental Needs

Mini Australian shepherds are smart, people-oriented dogs that require at least 60 minutes of mental stimulation daily. Excellent activities include puzzle toys, scent work, training, and interactive games like fetch and tug-of-war.

Avoid leaving mini Australian shepherds alone for long periods because these dogs will become bored, restless, and anxious.

Common Health Concerns

Mini Australian shepherds are relatively healthy, with an average life expectancy of 12 to 13 years. However, the breed is prone to hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, epilepsy, and multiple drug sensitivities. Merle-colored mini Aussies also have an increased risk of eye and ear problems.

  • Hip dysplasia: An abnormal formation of the hip joint, causing pain, mobility issues, swelling, and lameness. Hip dysplasia can be treated with surgery, anti-inflammatory medication, and physiotherapy
  • Elbow dysplasia: An abnormal formation of the elbow socket, with similar symptoms and treatments as hip dysplasia
  • Epilepsy: A condition that causes the dog to experience repeated seizures. Symptoms of a seizure include convulsions, twitching, jerking, and sudden behavior changes. Epilepsy can be managed with antiepileptic drugs (AED) and by reducing stressors in the dog’s life
  • Multiple drug sensitivity (MDR1): An inherited condition that causes the dog to be sensitive to certain drugs
  • Congenital Deafness: Hearing loss that is present at birth. Signs of deafness include not responding to noise, difficulty learning verbal commands, and ears not flicking or twitching. The Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response test (BAER) can determine whether a dog is deaf
  • Cataracts: Cloudy patches that develop over the eye lens, leading to vision problems. Cataracts are treatable with surgery
  • Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA): An inherited disease where the cells in the retina gradually deteriorate
  • Coloboma: Improper development of the iris. Aside from an unusual iris shape, symptoms include light sensitivity, squinting, and mild discomfort. There is currently no known treatment for colobomas in dogs
  • Collie eye anomaly (CEA): An inherited disease that causes eye defects

Take your mini Australian shepherd for monthly vet checkups and only buy puppies from reputable breeders that have carried out all the necessary health tests. Feeding the dog an appropriate amount and exercising it daily will help this breed live a long, healthy life.

How to Train a Mini Australian Shepherd

Red Merle Mini Australian Shepherd Puppy in Dog Bed

Mini Australian shepherds are eager to please, devoted, and intelligent dogs that are easy to train. Establishing rules early and using positive reinforcement helps these dogs grow into well-behaved, confident adults. Be consistent, clear, and reinforce taught commands regularly.

Training can begin as early as eight weeks. Start with name training, socialization, and basic commands like sit, lie down, and recall. These dogs should also be taught impulse control and how to behave around young children to help curb their high herding drive. Make sure to expose mini Australian shepherds to a range of environments and other animals and people.

Mini Australian shepherds love being challenged and will enjoy learning advanced tricks and tasks, like retrieving items, opening doors, and packing away toys.

Never punish these dogs, as punishment-based training is less effective than positive reinforcement and can cause dogs to become anxious or aggressive.

Mini Aussie Price

Tricolor Mini Australian Shepherd Puppy Lying in Grass

Mini Australian shepherds are relatively expensive dogs to buy and care for. The exact cost of ownership will depend on the dog’s lifestyle, health issues, and whether you adopt an adult dog or buy a puppy from a breeder.

How Much is a Mini Australian Shepherd?

A mini Australian shepherd costs between $1,000 and $2,500 on average. The price depends on appearance, breeder, bloodline, and age. Mini Aussie puppies with merle coats and bi-colored eyes typically cost the most.

Adopting an adult mini Australian shepherd from a shelter costs around $150 to $300, making adoption a more affordable option than buying a puppy from a breeder.

How Much Does it Cost to Raise a Mini Australian Shepherd?

The cost of raising a mini Australian shepherd is typically between $90 and $130 per month. This estimate covers basic expenses like food, vet trips, grooming tools, treats, and toys.

First-year expenses are significantly higher than subsequent years because of neutering, puppy vaccinations, and initial supplies.

Extra costs to consider include dog walkers, pet sitters, professional grooming, training, and agility classes.

Should You Get a Mini Australian Shepherd?

Mini Australian Shepherd Puppy

The mini Australian shepherd is affectionate, intelligent, and loyal. However, the dog’s activity level means it’s not well-suited to all families and lifestyles. The breed thrives with an owner that can provide it with plenty of attention and meet its exercise needs.

Mini Australian Shepherds are Suitable for:

Mini Australian shepherds are smart, loving dogs that get along well with children and other animals, if properly socialized. Because of their energetic nature, mini Aussies make ideal companions for people that lead active lifestyles and have a backyard.

Mini Australian shepherds are well-suited to experienced dog owners that can teach their dogs new things daily. The best owners, for this breed, should be prepared to groom, exercise, and train these dogs regularly.

Mini Australian Shepherds are NOT Suitable for:

While easy to train, mini Australian shepherds aren’t suitable for first-time dog owners because the dogs have abundant energy. The breed also needs frequent attention, training, and mental stimulation to stay healthy and happy.

Mini Australian shepherds aren’t suitable for people that lead a sedentary lifestyle, aren’t at home for most of the day, or have mobility issues. These dogs also have double coats and shed heavily, so people who want low-maintenance grooming should avoid this breed.

About John Woods 300 Articles
John Woods is the founder of All Things Dogs, member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, graduate in Animal Behavior & Welfare and recognized author by the Dog Writers Association of America.


  1. My Mini Aussie, Karma Kai Ling just passed away this summer, at the very old age if 17. I miss her dearly but I’m glad to have spent all the best years of my life with her. She was the best dog I’ve ever had, extremely smart, fun, cool and beautiful liver and white with Amber eyes.

  2. We saved our mini aussie from being euthanized at only 1 1/2 years. She is very smart and is so much fun. She is now 8 and this past year has begun to have eye problems. She is loved dearly and has returned that love and more. For anyone thinking about this breed to bring into their family … go for it. You won’t regret it.

    • Do you think is should go for it? It would only happen in a years time, so I have a lot more time to research about the breed. How much exercise do you give her daily and what about mental stimulation? Thanks!

  3. I just got an 8 week old female, very pretty girl. We drove 2 hours, she slept the way home. When she got home, she started playing with balls and toys. Went pee-pee on the floor, wiped it up and showed her where the paper towel was. When she went again it was on the towel – very smart pup! Can’t wait to start working with her.

  4. I am a dog lover. I live alone in a townhouse. I am interested in a mini aussie. I am 60. I work 2.5 days a week. I am familiar with dogs and the responsibility of them. Helped raise pedigree german shepherds and have had many dogs in my life. Now that you know all that do you think a mini aussie is a good dog for one person in a townhouse?

    • Hi Karen,

      Making the decision to bring home a new addition is a big one, but you seem to be taking your time to think things through. MAS are an active breed; they love their exercise and thrive when their minds are kept occupied. I would be considering what they will be doing whilst you are at work on the 2.5 days per week. Do you have a friend/family member who can pop in to see them, walk them and play for a short time? The rest of the time, what are your interests or hobbies? Are you quite active? Do you enjoying walking? This would be a bonus with a MAS! They are pretty intelligent; they often pick their training up quite quickly so house-training shouldn’t be too challenging. Are you aware of local puppy classes or play sessions where you could take them to socialize? MAS are great companions so we’re sure you’d find a true friend if you’ve considered how to meet their needs. Good luck!

      • Hey! If I were to get one, I have a year to do my research so I’m not rushing into it, I know it’s a Big decision!, Would I have to bring the mas to puppy classes? I’m a very shy person and would hate to train/fail in a class full of people and and amazing cute pup’s. I would train the mas in different environments such as my house, the garden and dog parks but I’m not keen on puppy classes. Thanks!

        • Hi Izzy, puppy classes aren’t essential for every dog. You would have to train in different environments (like you identified) and make sure your pup is being well socialized with other dogs too. If you do this, then you won’t need puppy classes.

  5. I am about to get this breed for my daughter who is 13 for the first time and I am very excited about it..

  6. Izzy,

    You will not regret it. Research the breed and what breeders are in your area so you can learn more about them, I’m sure the more you’ll read, the more fascinated you’ll become. As for exercise, they definitely need a lot of it. As long as my mini aussie, Kodak, gets about an hour of running around a day, he’ll usually be good but anything short of an hour, doesn’t work well with him – & trust me – he can go over an hour too. This isn’t anything to be scared of though, just simply letting them out in the backyard to run around and catch a ball is enough. For mental stimulation, this breed literally BREATHES to PLEASE you. We are constantly learning & working on new tricks & he’s so eager to get them down. They want to learn & have challenges; do activities, make obstacles, get them puzzle toys. There is so much to offer for them & eventually, once they’ve learned enough from you, YOU will start to learn from THEM. I love my mini aussie, he’s the sweetest, more caring, loyal, & intelligent dog I’ve ever come across in my life!

  7. I’m watching my brother assume for three months, he is 2 years old. I have two dogs and three cats. Everything I was reading states they are not good around small animals. Is this true? The assie has never been around other dogs, any suggestions on how to make this a easy transition?

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