The Australian miniature shepherd shares many of the characteristics of the full-sized Australian Shepherd, but not its size, being only about 14” to 18” in height. Despite being a relatively new variety of the breed, they are growing quickly in popularity.
Contrary to what one might think, these energetic and intelligent dogs are not a cross between the Australian Sheepdogs and a smaller breed. The miniature Australian Sheepdog found its genesis in the 1960’s, when breeders began breeding the smallest dogs of the litter. Working to ensure that the smallest dogs were bred with the smallest dogs, these breeders enabled the rise of the miniature Australian Shepherds, as well as the smaller toy and teacup varieties. The impetus behind this movement was a direct response to those living in cities or smaller spaces wishing to own a well behaved herding style of dog, but not having the capacity to own a regular sized Australian Shepherd.
When looking for a qualified breeder of Australian miniature shepherd puppies, you need to be cognizant of several key points that make this such an attractive breed. Firstly, the miniature Australian Sheepdog should have been bred down from regular-sized, champion lines. This is crucial to ensuring good bone structure and characteristics of a good working dog. One thing you need to be aware of is any faults in their genetic line, meaning that the breeder should be able to produce the results of such tests. The breeder should be checking for problems at the elbows, patella’s, thyroids, as well as having certification that their eyes have been checked. The breeding pair should be sent in for evaluations, to see if there are any genetic problems, as well as sending them in for MDR1 Drug Sensitivity testing.
A qualified breeder will also be looking for several things from you. Good breeders of the Australian miniature Shepherd think first of the happiness of their dogs, and are looking to see that they go to a home that will appreciate them. In light of the high energy that is common to these dogs – they require plenty of exercise and attention – breeders are looking to make sure you can supply these things before they sell you a puppy. As miniature Australian Shepherds are an intelligent dog, if left alone they will find ways to entertain themselves, though the outcome of this sort of action will most assuredly not be to your liking. Common methods of looking out for themselves involve continuous barking, digging and escaping, as well as chewing on anything that catches their attention. These dogs are breed from strong herding dogs, and the instinct remains despite their small size. The excitement and noise of people will be attractive to them, and they may resort to nipping at heels if they have not received their proper training. A question that the breeder will ask you, and one that you need to ask yourself; is if you are able to keep them busy enough to stay out of trouble despite how busy your life is. A dog will not understand that you are busy, or tired, and you should come to understand and be committed to daily walks and play times, even if it’s only throwing a ball or Frisbee in the back yard for a while. As with the larger Australian Shepherds, miniature Australian Shepherds comes with an ingrained, instinctual guardian nature, and they must be properly socialized. Otherwise you may find that they are too reserved with strangers.
With proper understanding of the breed, and a breeder that raises quality Australian miniature shepherd puppies, you can ensure to find a dog that fits the temperament and lifestyle of your family. As with all other sizes of this spectacular breed of dogs, the miniature Australian Sheepdog simply wants to do, and that encompasses most anything that you find yourself doing. These energetic, loyal, and intelligent dogs are the perfect breed for anyone on the go or that is willing to pursue an active lifestyle with their newest family member.