Mini Australian Shepherd: What To Know Before Buying

Mini Australian Shepherd What To Know Before Buying Cover

The Mini Australian Shepherd is an intelligent, active and hard working dog.

They offer all the lively energy of an Australian Shepherd in a tiny package.

Whilst they were originally bred for farm work they are now kept as active companions for families all over the States.

Not only is this herding breed eager to please and full of boundless fun they are also an easy dog to care for.

Are you interested to learn more about this lovable pint-sized cowboy? Then keeping reading…

A Mini Australian Shepherd At The Beach

Mini Australian Shepherd At A Glance

  • Mini Australian Shepherd Puppy

This breed is an excellent choice for active individuals and families.

The Mini Australian Shepherd offers the best qualities of the Australian Shepherd in a smaller package. They are working dogs through and through and just love being in a high-activity environment where there is never a dull moment. Mini Aussies are best for active individuals and families that can handle their exercise needs.

  • Popularity: #17.
  • Speciality: Work and Companionship.
  • Weight: 15-30 pounds.
  • Price: $1500-$3000.
  • Personality: Smart, energetic and lovable.

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Lifespan: 10-15 years
Family Friendly: Yes
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Shed: Low
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Mini Australian Shepherd
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Price: $1500-$3000
Lifespan: 12-15 years
Family Friendly: Yes
Size: 15-30 pounds
Shed: Low
Activity: High

Mini Australian Shepherd Overview

Australian Shepherd

This breed is as adorable as can be.

They are a mini version of the loved Australian Shepherd and have a beautiful double coat.

Mini Australian Shepherds are highly strung in all the best ways possible.

They are hardworking to their core and belong to the Herding Group.

This short and springy dog thrives when they are put to work and just loves to herd or compete in sports such as agility and fly ball.

Although they are very lively and active their alert minds make training easy. This dog is a real athlete and if you meet their exercise needs you will be rewarded with a beautiful pooch that is loyal and obedient.

They are not lap dogs and should not be left alone for long periods of time.

Their high energy levels make them a playful breed perfect for homebodies with the time and energy to give this breed the attention they need.

If you can provide them with the proper enrichment then this breed is perfect for apartments aswell.


  • Very intelligent and trainable.
  • Fluffy but not too difficult to groom.
  • Tireless and hardworking.
  • Beautiful waterproof double coat.
  • All the attributes of the Australian Shepherd in a smaller package.


  • Can be highly strung.
  • Need lots of exercise.
  • Not suitable around other small animals.
  • Very mischievous if left unattended and bored.

A Day In The Life Of This Breed

If you let your Mini Australian Shepherd sleep in your bed, chances are they will be the first to spring into action at the sound of your alarm.

After showering you with kisses and going potty outside, expect this tiny pooch to follow you around the house – their beautiful piercing eye will look up to you as if to ask “what are we doing today?”.

Depending on your work schedule it is important to get your Mini Aussie’s zoomies out before you can head out for the day. No matter where you will be playing they will sit in the back whining with excitement for another eventful day.

Playing with them will be a sight to see. Whether he or she bounds out of the car door to run down the beach or patiently awaits your command, this swift and athletic dog’s energy will astound you as it does not slow down after a mere hour of fetch.

While you may be tired already the Mini Aussie will be ready for more.

If you work from home then consider giving your Mini Australian Shepherd a puzzle to play with. Perhaps a Kong with frozen treats inside, or something more challenging for your furry Einstein to play with. Thanks to the morning play session and the mental enrichment from your dog’s toys, working from home will be an easier ordeal as they are starting to mellow out a bit.

Whereas if you need to leave for work then you can leave them in a designated play area or a crate where they can relax.

Because of how small they are you can expect them to lay beside you with a toy in their mouth, or snooze in your lap as you finish a conference call.

From time to time you should expect to get up for a quick 15 minute walk around the block to give your pup a well-deserved break from the monotony of the day.

Once work is done you will need to go out for another play. After a tiring or stressful day of work, nothing beats a long stroll on your favorite trail.

After an hour or two of walking they will be calm and tired.

They are now ready and happy to curl up and spend the evening next to you.

No matter how you end the day you will find you and your Mini Aussie dozing off after a busy, but exciting day.

History And Origin

Mini Aussie

Contrary to popular belief the Mini Australian Shepherd’s history is mainly American and European.

The ancestor of the modern Australian Shepherd was developed by indigenous Basque shepherds in the Pyrenees Mountains (Europe).

This breed was known as the Pyrenean Shepherd.

As the Basque began immigrating to Australia in search of pastureland for their flocks, the dog itself began to develop further. Eventually these herding dogs and their flocks then immigrated with their shepherds to California.

Because the Basque had immigrated from Australia, these dogs were given the name Australian Shepherd.

Not long after their arrival to the US their popularity began to rise as these dogs stared in various movies and TV shows.

As the breed’s popularity increased people began selectively breeding for smaller sizes – this resulted in the Miniature Australian Shepherd being created.

They became well known as a pocket-sized alternative for lovers of herding breeds.

5 Fun Facts

  1. Despite their name the Mini Australian Shepherd is originally from Europe.
  2. While they are well known for their herding work recently they are also used for search and rescue, therapy and as aides for the disabled.
  3. This breed is also known as the Miniature American Shepherd.
  4. Tail docking has been primarily used to both identify working dogs and to prevent their tail from being stomped on by livestock. However these days, tail docking is becoming less and less common due to how painful the procedure is.
  5. Many double merle Aussie puppies end up with hearing problems so lots of pet parents use sign language to communicate with them.

Temperament And Behavior

Australian Shepherd Mini

The Mini Australian Shepherd is a workaholic in all the best ways possible.

Whilst they can be the perfect laid-back companion at times, this pint-sized cowhand does need daily mental stimulation and exercise.

They were bred to enjoy the fast-paced herding life and will thrive with owners who also have active lifestyles.

Aussies are extremely playful and will want to spend hours at a time playing. Games like agility, fly ball, rally and other dog sports really do help to keep them tired and satisfied.

As their energy levels are so high this breed is not recommended for sedentary owners.

This breed’s boundless energy can sadly be let loose in the form of destructive behavior if they are not kept busy. Sadly lots of Aussies end up shelters because their owners could not handle their high energy.

While every dog is different, this breed is known for barking.

They may howl or whine with delight as they see you return home for work or make yips and barks while playing with other dogs.

These dogs make excellent family companions and thrive in an environment full of fun activities. As they are a herding breed they should be kept away from very small children or animals as they have a strong tendency to herd.

Overall this is a very intelligent and active dog that should be guided by an experienced owner.

Their loyalty and high energy make them the perfect little adventure dog for active families.

How Much Does A Mini Aussie Cost?

Mini Australian Shepherd Puppy

You should expect to pay between $1500-$3000 for a Mini Australian Shepherd puppy.

The more expensive puppies tend to come from show winning bloodlines and will be known as shown quality. Whereas pet quality puppies will be cheaper as they generally cannot be shown. However both types of puppies will be healthy and make the perfect family dog.

For those simply looking for a companion regardless of age then adoption is the cheapest route.

Sadly lots of Mini Aussies and Aussies end up in shelters because of their high energy. This means there are lots waiting to be adopted into loving homes.

Age Price
Puppy $1500-$3000
Adult $700-$1500
Adoption $200-$300

Buyer’s Tips

  1. The Mini Australian Shepherd comes in four colors: red tri, black tri, blue merle and red merle. If you are purchasing from a breeder just remember that merles are more expensive.
  2. Whether you adopt or purchase from a breeder there is always going to be a risk. Make sure that the breeder can share with you all their health reports and screening tests.
  3. Make sure your Mini Aussie fits perfectly with you and your family’s lifestyle before adopting them. This will help prevent you from making an ill-advised investment.
  4. You will need to save some money back for food puzzles and toys to keep them active and prevent destructive behavior.
  5. Save money by avoiding professional groomers and doing the brushing and bathing yourself. This way you will have the cash to spend on more important things.

Mini Australian Shepherd Appearance

Mini Australian Shepherd Puppy

Just like their larger counterparts the Mini Australian Shepherd has a waterproof double coat.

This is a small but muscular dog.

They should be longer than they are tall and be well-balanced. The same attributes you look for in a purebred Australian Shepherd, should also be looked for with a Mini Australian.

Merle is the most common color however you can also find them in a beautiful white red tri color.


One of their best attributes is their smaller size.

These pint-sized cattle herders usually stand around 13-18 inches tall and only weigh 30 pounds.


While lots of breeds come in a rainbow of canine colors, the Mini Australian tends to keep it simple with a basic four set of colors.

  • Red Merle
  • Blue Merle
  • Red Tri
  • Black Tri

The red merle variety is not a solid red, but a speckling of varying shades of brown. While the blue merle variety is a mix of grey and black speckling. This coloring comes from a phenotype known as the merle phenotype.

When it comes to purchasing merle puppies make sure the breeder does not breed double merle puppies. Puppies with two merle parents often end up developing visual and hearing impairments.

The other two AKC recognized varieties are the red tri and the black tri.

Red tris will have a brown and white coat and will often have two light brown eyebrows. Meanwhile the black tri will have a black, white and tan colored coat.

Mini Australian Shepherd Care Guide

Miniature Australian Shepherd

The Mini Australian Shepherd is best suited for active owners and families that are on the go most of the time.

If you work from home then they are perfect to brighten up those long and lonely days.

Caring for them can be a bit intense if you are not used to owning an energetic breed. However as long as you keep up with their physical and mental stimulation needs then the other responsibilities will fall into line with your daily routine.

If you are busy and do not have much time then consider looking for a breed with lower energy requirements.


This is a dog with the brain and body for herding.

If it is your daily goal to meet 10,000 steps then having a Mini Australian Shepherd is sure to have you walking well over that goal.

They will need at least 90 minutes of daily exercise and their favorite thing to do is herding.

Do not worry as you do not need to own a farm to do this activity.

There are plenty of facilities that teach dogs to herd and many sports events that offer chances for your pooch to compete.

In addition to this, several 15 minute walks will help tire your pooch out.

  • Total Daily Activity: 90+ minutes.
  • Activity Level: 4/5.
  • Favorite Activity: Herding


Fortunately the Mini Aussie is a very easy dog to groom.

A weekly brushing session with an additional undercoat rake during shedding season is more than enough.

Because they spend so much time outside you may find that they end up dirtier than you left them. So alongside the basic bathing and brushing make sure to clean their ears (especially important if your pup loves playing in the water).

This helps to prevent wax buildup and infections.

Finally remember to brush their teeth or provide them with dental chews. Dental hygiene is a crucial step that many owners ignore. Failing to brush your dog’s teeth or not maintaining good dental hygiene overall can result in tooth loss.


The Mini Australian Shepherd is a bit smaller than its standard counterpart the Australian Shepherd.

A good rule of thumb is 1-1.5 cups of food per day.

However you may need to increase this if they are very active and compete in a sport.

Depending on how big they are, it is recommended to feed this breed small to medium sized kibble.

The nutrients your dog needs will depend on their lifestyle however studies recommend giving working dogs high fat and high protein diets.

Height Weight
Male: 14-18 inches 20-30 pounds
Female: 13-16 inches 15-20 pounds

Health Concerns

Overall this is a very healthy working breed.

However there are certain conditions it can be prone to:

  • Hip Dysplasia: This is a common skeletal condition that is mostly seen in larger breeds. Hip dysplasia occurs when the ball and socket of the hip joint grind against the bone instead of sliding smoothly as it should. This is a mainly genetic condition and is often screened by responsible breeders.
  • Epilepsy: This is a neurological disorder that causes seizures. Epilepsy can come out of nowhere or it can be a genetic issue. While this condition does not have a cure, dogs with epilepsy can live full and healthy lives when treated correctly.
  • Blindness and Deafness: There is always a risk to buying a merle dog if you do not know the breeder well. Dogs with parents who are both merles are known as double merles and can develop blindness or deafness.
  • Muscle Tears: Muscle tears are often caused by some form of trauma – whether it is by overstretching a muscle or from getting cut by a fragment of a broken bone. Luckily most tears are treatable with either physical therapy or surgery.

Many of these conditions can be prevented by working with a breeder who knows this breed and have already screened their puppies for these health concerns.

While it may be more expensive to buy a puppy from a breeder who takes extra care to produce healthy puppies, it is well worth the money considering the vet bills you will not have to pay down the line.

How Long Does A Mini Australian Shepherd Live?

When well cared for you can expect a Mini Australian Shepherd to live for 12-15 years.

How To Train A Miniature Australian Shepherd

Full Size Australian Shepherd

The best way to train a Mini Australian Shepherd is to start your training session after a play session.

Tiring them out before you start training will help them focus better and make it easier for you to harness the power of their bright mind.

During these training sessions you should use positive reinforcement.

While shock collars may seem like an easy alternative to long training sessions, studies have found that dogs overall respond better to positive reinforcement. It can result in fearful or submissive behavior.

The only type of punishment you should use is negative punishment.

This is something you may already have done – if you ignore your dog when it jumps on you, that is negative punishment.

Following that with positive reinforcement (giving them praise when they do not jump) will help to cement good behaviors in your pup.

Socializing them is fairly easy.

There are many methods you can use to socialize your dog. Just remember the main thing is to keep sessions short and positive. If you do not know where to start then introduce your dog to other dogs and get your puppy used to having their food bowl or toys taken away from them.

You can also consider group exercise.

Fly ball is the best game and sport to compete your dog in.

This encourages socialization as they meet other dogs and also utilizes their speed and athleticism.


While they may not be the best companion for homes with small animals they are loving and loyal through and through.

They are an intelligent dog that needs an owner who can harness that intelligence and energy in a productive manner

Mental stimulation and exercise is a must.

When given the proper stimulation they are easy to care for and only need daily brushing during the shedding season.

Overall the Mini Australian Shepherd is a wonderful active companion and an entertaining breed to be around. While life for this breed may always be on the move, these dogs really understand the love and care you put into them.

We hope you enjoyed learning about the tiny cowboy pooch. Let us know in the comments section below…

About John Woods 282 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!

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