Miniature American Shepherd
You probably know the Miniature American Shepherd more by his synonyms Miniature Australian Shepherd or Minie Aussie. What makes this small, agile working dog so special? What distinguishes it from its big brother, the American Shepherd?
The Miniature American Shepherd does not differ from the American Shepherd, except in size. At first sight you will recognize the dogs as miniature editions of the American Shepherd.
As typical herding dogs, the animals are bright, intelligent and eager to move. Despite the strong build, their movements are supple and nimble.
Bred as a pure working dog, your Miniature American Shepherd brings a lot of will to work. He learns quickly and wants to be challenged. Don't underestimate these dogs. Just because they are small, they are not lap dogs. Minie Aussies have just as much temperament and drive to move as their big brothers.
Ideal for your Miniature American Shepherd is if you train with him for a dog sport. The choice is now wide, try out which sport suits you best and is fun for both of you. Many Minie Aussies are avid agility athletes and are very successful there. Or you can try dog dancing or obedience.
As a family dog the small herding dog is suitable, if he accepts that mistress or master has the leading role.
Your pelt-nose feels most comfortable in a house with a yard or garden. You can keep the little bundle of energy in a city apartment if you keep him mentally and physically busy. Take long walks, ride a bike and play fun games with him. Then his pleasant nature will enrich your life.
Males should have a height at the withers of 35 to 46 cm. Bitches remain somewhat smaller. Their medium to long, sometimes slightly wavy coat shows in many colors. Underneath lies dense undercoat. This double coat protected the animals in Australia from blazing heat, dryness and cold at night.
You will find the colors Red and Black, both partly with copper and/or white markings. Popular are the Merle colors, Blue-Merle and Red-Merle, although they are caused by a genetic defect. The same defect sometimes results in different colored eyes, or two light colored eyes of the same color. These eyes are a
Fad. In the glaring sun of Australia, dogs with light eyes were at a disadvantage. The eyes easily became diseased and the animals went blind.
Never choose your puppy by the color of its coat. Look whether the little rascal is healthy, the breeding conditions at the breeder are right and he fits to you from the nature.
The right food
Since the Miniature American Shepherd is an active dog, he needs high-quality food. Especially if you exercise, jog or ride a bike with him a lot. Make sure he gets enough protein-rich food. Whether you feed your dog dry or wet food doesn't matter. Some dogs develop a preference for a certain food at an early age.
There are special foods on the market for each stage of your Miniature American Shepherd's life. Whether you have a puppy, an adult dog or a senior by your side, give him the food he needs at the time.
For the amount of food, follow the instructions on the package. This information is a guideline, each dog utilizes the food differently. What is too much for a cozy couch potato can be too little for a small whirlwind.
Your dog has the right figure when you can just feel the back ribs and the waist is clearly visible. If you can no longer feel the ribs and the waist is slowly disappearing, it is time for your four-legged friend to lose weight. Excess weight is as harmful for a dog as it is for a human. It not only puts a strain on joints, tendons and circulation, it also shortens the life expectancy of your little friend.
If a food change is necessary, proceed slowly. Every day, replace a larger part of the old food with the new one.
Health & Care
The coat care of your Miniature American Shepherd is not complex, you should brush it once a week. The coat will not mat and dirt will fall off by itself.
The little furry noses are very sociable. That is why many owners keep two or three of the lively fellows. If it is not possible for you to keep more than one dog, visit dog clubs with your protégé. Or go in search of a suitable dog club. Here your four-legged friend will find playmates and you will get help with his upbringing. In addition, most clubs offer one or more sports that you can train together with others.
Your Miniature American Shepherd is in his element on the herding trail. Herding sheep, driving them into a pen, that's what he was bred for, that's his world. Originally, the little dogs were only used to herd smaller animals, like sheep or goats. Self-confident, the little guy nevertheless dares to tackle large animals. With full body effort he makes them go exactly where he wants them to go.
Besides dogs, you love horses and riding? Your Miniature American Shepherd is the ideal riding companion dog. He gets along very well with horses. In the USA he is a popular rodeo companion dog and often works in show interludes at events.
Spend a lot of time with your dog, spend as much time as possible with him. It doesn't matter what you do together. The main thing is that you both enjoy it. This way you will develop a strong bond over time.
The Mini Aussie is not necessarily a dog for beginners. He is open, intelligent and has a lovely nature. Nevertheless, you need for his education a lot of patience and consistency with a lot of empathy. It is good if you already have experience in dealing with dogs.
Towards strangers your Miniature American Shepherd is reserved, to his humans he is always loyal and affectionate. Eagerly he works in training, always trying to do everything right.
Sometimes his herding instinct comes out. Then he can't help it and has to herd the children in the yard or joggers passing by. A lot of training is needed to prevent him from using his teeth.
The basic equipment for your Miniature American Shepherd includes a food bowl, which you must clean daily. In addition, there is at least one water bowl. Constant access to fresh water is very important for your dog, not only in summer. Place several water bowls for your pelt-nose in the apartment, in the yard or in the garden.
Whether your Mini Aussie lives indoors or out in the yard, he needs a resting place to retreat to. In his resting zone belongs a basket with a cozy blanket, a pillow or a comfortable bed. If your four-legged friend has gone to rest, you should only disturb him if there is no other way.
If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, build him a weather-protected, well-insulated kennel. Although your Miniature American Shepherd is naturally hardy, he needs protection from the heat in summer and the cold in winter.
For normal walks and for work, a collar or harness and a short, fixed leash are suitable. If you want your furry friend to have a little more freedom when going out, use a flexi leash. A transport box does a good job if your little friend is to travel in the car.
Then very important: toys! Let your dog decide which toys he wants to have. There are the hunters, who tirelessly chase after every projectile, no matter if ball, frisbee or whatever, and there are the tuggers. They love to hold on to everything that comes in front of their teeth and throw it around. If you have a Zerrer, give him lots of toys to chew on. This will save your furniture.
Origin & History
The Miniature American Shepherd has an exciting history. Its roots lie in Australia. British and Basque immigrants brought with them, besides their sheep, their herding dogs. By crossing Border Collies, Collies and Pyrenean Mountain Dogs, dogs were created that were perfectly adapted to the Australian climate.
Drought, extreme heat during the day and freezing cold at night, made the dogs robust. The appearance was varied. Color or size did not matter, only working performance counted. Ranchers who had large cattle preferred the larger dogs, sheep and goat owners the smaller specimens.
With Australian sheep, these herding dogs came to the southwest of the USA. Here the breed Australian Shepherd developed from it. When sheep farming declined in these areas, the dogs also almost completely disappeared. Until they celebrated a come back as a show star. Because of their intelligence and eagerness to work, they quickly learned tricks and showmanship. It did not take long and the Aussie came into fashion in the USA. Besides the big dogs, there was always the slightly smaller Mini Aussie.
In 1968, some dog lovers in the USA started the purposeful breeding of the small Miniature American Shepherds. In 2015, the breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club. The FCI, the international breeding association, does not recognize the independence of the breed. Therefore, there is no uniform breeding goal for these great dogs in Germany.