Since first being recognized in 1991, Australian Shepherds are quickly gaining popularity for their looks, of course, but also for their temperament around kids and other animals and their trainability. These dogs are great on the farm, as a working dog or in a home with a young family. Would you be pleasantly surprised to know that a miniature version of Australian Shepherds does exist and is available for adoption or to be bought in the US?
Miniature American Shepherds, also called MAS or Mini Australian Shepherds, are the miniature breed variant of the Australian Shepherd. The breed originates in California from smaller Aussies and has only been officially recognized by the American Kennel Club for the past few years since 2015.
If you’ve got your eye on the Miniature American Shepherd as your new furry friend, you’re in for a real treat! Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about the Mini American Shepherd.
How Big Do Miniature American Shepherds Get?
When you’re looking at getting a dog and the Miniature American Shepherd has caught your eye, the questions that come to mind should be, “How big is it? Is this the right breed for me?” But to answer that question, you’ll need to know a bit more about the breed, starting with their physical appearance and a bit about their temperament.
What Is The Miniature American Shepherd Breed Standard?
Your Mini’s physical appearance will look a lot like their ancestors, the Australian Shepherd. However, they will be much smaller, with a height range of 13 to 18 inches and a weight range of 20 to 40 lbs. Even with shorter legs, they move with as much agility and have as much endurance as any other herding breed.
Their coats come in 4 different colours: red, black, red merle, and blue merle. This coat is thick and tends to shed heavily, so If you’re allergic to dogs, the MAS is not for you.
Are Mini American Shepherds Good Family Dogs?
With their compact size and great all-around temperament, American Shepherds can make great family dogs. Minis have a great reputation for being very good with kids and other pets, too!
All it takes is proper training and socialization. For example, if you have a Mini American Shepherd and you’re currently expecting, it’s good to do some socialization with your pup around babies or even other dogs to make sure that when the time comes, your baby and your dog will get along just fine.
How Long Do Miniature American Shepherds Live?
The average lifespan of a Miniature American Shepherd is around 12 to 13 years.
Miniature American Shepherds are known to be healthy dogs, but like any other breed, there are some genetic conditions and breed-specific health issues that you need to look out for.
Common Health Issues In Mini American Shepherds
The health issues, which are common in MAS, align with the issues that can happen in Aussies. Hip dysplasia and arthritis are very common among working dog breeds. This can develop from genetics or after a lot of heavy activity throughout life.
Miniature American Shepherds are also known for a wealth of different eye issues like pinkeye, progressive retinal atrophy, and developing an eye cherry. And like other herd dogs, Minis are sensitive to veterinary treatments, like drugs and vaccines. This is caused by a mutated gene called the MDR1 gene.
Allergies And Food Sensitivities
Both Aussies and Mini American Shepherds are prone to sensitivities to certain ingredients like chicken, grain, and a lot of the preservatives that big brands put in their food. If your dog suffers from any nutritional deficiency, it is recommended to give them supplements like Glucosamine for joint health or even a multivitamin.
Leaving food out at all times, which is also called “free feeding”, is also not recommended for Miniature American Shepherds. These dogs gain weight pretty quickly and are only supposed to weigh 40 lbs, at the most.
There are foods like Pet Plate that have all of the vitamins and nutrients that your dog needs right here in freshly prepared and packaged meals. Each meal comes in a range of protein types to choose from, and is apportioned properly for your dog’s needs.
How To Take Care Of Your Miniature American Shepherd?
Taking care of your Miniature American Shepherd is not unlike taking care of any other animal. The basic responsibility is the same, including feeding, exercise, and staying in touch with your veterinarian.
Miniature American Shepherd Diet
MAS need to eat three meals a day from the time they’re born until they reach 6 months. After that, they can eat 2 meals like other adult dogs. The recommended feeding amount is half a cup to 1½ cup of kibble every morning and night.
If you choose to feed wet food, the recommended amount will go down to 1 cup twice a day because there is generally more fat and protein in wet food.
Additionally, you will need to stay away from cheaper food brands with a heavy percentage of grain, by-products, and preservatives to avoid digestive and skin issues. If you notice any unusual behavior, skin and coat reactions, or appetite loss, you’ll know that there is a problem with the food.
Consumption of food has always been a source of dental problems for MAS. If you find your pooch with bad breath or teeth issues, dental water additives are an easy solution towards maintaining good oral health for MAS. As a rule of thumb, you simply add one teaspoon to each daily serving of water and you are all set!
Exercise Needs For A Mini American Shepherd
Again, Mini American Shepherds are an overall healthy dog breed, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take proper measures to make sure that your Mini is happy and healthy. Of course, you will need to feed your pup the kind of diet, while also providing the required exercise time of 45 minutes daily.
Exercise is so important to any type of Shepherd breed, whether it’s German, Australian, or American. Your Australian Shepherd will need intensive exercise, which means these dogs are runners, not walkers, so be prepared to get a good daily workout with your furry friend.
Do Miniature Australian Shepherds Like To Be Held? Temperaments Of Miniature American Shepherds
Another question on everyone’s mind is how affectionate the American Shepherd is, especially because of their size. Miniature Australian Shepherds do love to be held and cuddled, like most dog breeds of their size. They have a great reputation for being social and very affectionate.
Can Mini American Shepherds Be Left Alone?
Minis can be left alone, but you must remember that it always comes down to the individual dog. Even littermates can have different social needs. Miniature American Shepherds are not typically prone to separation anxiety. They are very affectionate and loving, but as working dogs, they are usually fine on their own with the right training and enrichment.
However, being related to the anxiety-prone Aussie, it’s not rare for a Mini American Shepherd to bark loudly or even become destructive when left alone for too long, beyond 6 hours. Your pup will need certain training and lots of things to do while you’re gone in order to prevent this behavior.
Training Your Mini American Shepherd
Miniature American Shepherds are extraordinarily easy to train. They have a high energy level, but they’re very intelligent and eager to please you, whether it’s herding your livestock, doing agility courses, or basic obedience training. MAS have even been said to learn how to read.
The two most important parts of training your Mini are consistency and structure. That’s it! Make sure that you’re putting in the time, and being consistent with your commands and positive reinforcement. When your pup misbehaves, make sure that you catch it and always reprimand with the firm “No” and redirect your pup’s attention with something positive to do.
Do Mini American Shepherds Need Haircuts? Grooming Tips For Miniature American Shepherds
Your Mini American Shepherd will not be needing regular haircuts, unlike Poodles which require a higher level of maintenance, but they do need regular grooming.
MAS have a heavily shedding double coat that helps keep their body temperature regulated. This coat will only need to be bathed and trimmed as needed, but daily brushing is mandatory.
The Mini American Shepherd Coat
First things first, Miniature American Shepherds are not hypoallergenic dogs. In fact, they’re far from it. They have a thick coat that is made up of two layers: a short, woolly undercoat and a layer of longer and softer hair on top.
This coat is dense and sheds steadily throughout the year, so you’ll want to have a good brush on hand to help them deshed loose fur.
Recommended Grooming Tools For Miniature American Shepherds
Having a Mini American Shepherd means you’ll be brushing a lot of furs on a daily basis. These dogs were made for outdoor life in rugged conditions, so this coat helps them to keep warm and to cool off when they need to.
For easier grooming, you should use an undercoat brush, also called a shedding rake, to get all the loose hair from underneath, to prevent matting and skin issues. We recommend the Furminator Undercoat Tool for this purpose, and it comes with an ergonomic handle for better handling and a smoother brushing process.
- For Large dogs with long hair: designed especially for dogs that weigh more than 50 pounds.
- Removes loose hair: reaches through the topcoat to remove loose undercoat hair without cutting skin or damaging the...
- FURejector button: just push the button to release hair with ease.
And, if your pup loves to get dirty, it’s very important to use gentle shampoo on their skin to keep it moisturized and healthy. The Pro Pet Works All Natural 5 In 1 Oatmeal Shampoo comes highly recommended for this use case, as its oatmeal ingredient helps relieve itchy skin, great for skin-sensitive pooches, like MAS.
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How Much Is A Miniature American Shepherd? First off, before the purchase, you need to research reputable breeders or adoption programs in your area. There isn’t a set price for Miniature American Shepherd puppies, but don’t be surprised to pay anywhere from $2,700 to $5,700, depending on the breeder and the pedigree of the parents. Adoption fees are usually around $280 to $400, depending on the specific dog’s needs.
What Is The Difference Between Mini Australian Shepherd And Mini American Shepherd? Despite being closely related on the pedigree, the one difference is that the AKC recognizes the Mini American Shepherd, but not the Mini Australian Shepherd as an official breed. In fact, many experts and breeders widely regard the both of them as the same dog breed.
Do Miniature American Shepherds Like To Swim? Mini American Shepherds love the water and swimming too! Minis are truly lovers of the outdoors and will spend as much time as they can out of the house! They actually make great retrieving dogs for hunters too.