Breed of the Month–Miniature Australian Shepherd

1July 2013

Miniature Australian Shepherd

Color:  Blue merle, red merle (liver), solid black, solid (liver) red, all with or without white markings and/or tan points.
Height:  14-18 inches
Weight:  20-40 lbs
Life Span:  12-15 years

Breed Health Concerns:  epilepsy, hip dysplasia, cataracts, Collie eye anomaly (CEA), persistent pupillary membrane (PPM), and patent ductus arteriosus (PDA).

Coat:  Double coat of moderate length.  Straight to slightly wavy, medium-textured, weather-resistant under and outer coat.
Country of Origin:  United States

Visit the American Kennel Club for breed standards and more informations.

The exact origin of the breed known as Australian Shepherd is not known, but these working dogs were developed in the western United States, not in Australia as the name may suggest.  As the link to my former blog states, breeds such as the Pyrenean Shepherd, Collie, Smithfield, and Border Collie contributed to the breed known as the Australian Shepherd.  The miniature version of the breed began to develop in the 1960s.  A breeder named Doris Cordova enjoyed working with smaller versions of the Australian Shepherd and began breeding them to continue a line of dogs under 18 inches.  The Miniature Australian Shepherd Club of the USA (MASCUSA) was formed in 1990 by Cordova and several other breeders.

Just like the standard sized Australian Shepherd, the Miniature Australian Shepherd is friendly and smart,  adept at herding livestock, excels in obedience training, and works with enthusiasm and grace.

The Miniature Australian Shepherd is a high-energy working dog, and needs plenty of daily physical and mental activity.  As with any working-type breed, the Miniature Australian Shepherd needs some sort of job, from playing to herding, or even baby-sitter of the house.

To keep shedding under control, the double coat of the Miniature Australian Shepherd must be given consistent care.

Using positive reinforcement training can teach this breed pretty much anything.  The Miniature Australian Shepherd is highly intelligent.  With the proper motivation, the breed can learn almost anything you might be able to think of.  This breed (and its close relatives the Australian Shepherd and Border Collie) excel at agility, competitive obedience, and trick performances.