“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” -Roger Caras
From time to time, we get calls from folks all over wanting to know about the Miniature Australian Shepherd, in which we try to explain that they are the same as the Standard Australian Shepherd…only smaller! The Miniature Australian Shepherd was developed directly from the Australian Shepherd. Throughout the history of the Aussie, small (under 18″) dogs can be seen in historical photographs. Many believe that the original Aussie was selectively bred larger as sheep ranching decreased and cattle ranching increased. Cattle ranchers preferred a larger dog to work the larger stock. Some Aussie owners have continued to prefer the smaller sized Aussie while others prefer the larger. We…love both the mini, toy and occasional Teacup!~!
The second question we often hear is “how big do they get”? The size standard with the NSDR for both dogs and bitches is 14 to 18 inches at the top of the withers. Toy’s, which we are occasionally “blessed with”, are 14″ and under, finer boned than the Miniature, more of a house pet and/or working small livestock or fowl. Other questions will pertain to temperament and if they are suitable as “family pets”. The Mini Aussie, like the Standard, is by heritage a herder and guardian. Sometimes their instinct to herd can be mistaken as “aggressiveness” when they are trying to herd other animals and/or children. Nipping at the ankles is not an uncommon trait in young Aussies with herding instinct, but is easily discouraged with appropriate correction. Properly trained and socialized, they do make wonderful companions and family pets.
They are highly intelligent, loyal, affectionate and protective of their human family and property. But then again, they are not for everyone. Their high energy makes them serious candidates for lots of daily exercise and play. Just as being a wonderful ranch or cow dog, Aussie’s can excel in the show ring, in agility trials, in obedience as well as in Frisbee or Fly ball. Our Aussie’s are great with kids and love our daughter and are especially good natured around our one Bengal cat. With strangers, they can be aloof and show reserve but this should not be taken as “shyness”, they are generally just sizing up the new person making sure they are acceptable before making them a new friend.
We have also been asked if Mini Aussies have many health problems. Reputable breeders will OFA for genetic hip problems and CERF for eye problems, their breeding dogs…and without good results, should not be bred. Generally, a good diet in addition to vitamin supplements, and regular exercise along with regular vet checkups, vaccinations (in moderation), and worming is what is necessary to keep your mini in good health. All our dogs are healthy and sound and come with health guarantees. Our main sire Boomer, is still going strong at age 15!
We wish to re-emphasize that a rural or suburban lifestyle is best for a miniature Aussie and should include a large fenced yard. They should not be allowed to run free, their herding instincts will just get them into trouble if they are not kept in their own area. New puppy owners should take their pups to obedience training as soon as possible, possibly finding a source through ones vet or pet supply store.
At Southern Cross Kennels, our Mini’s & Toy’s are our companions. Our dogs are not kenneled and are free to run and play within the confines of our ranch. Puppies are born, center stage, in our house and are lovingly handled and socialized from birth. Please note: We do not ship our pups but would gladly assist in your arrangements to either come for the pup or have a courier hired to hand deliver.
If you are new to the breed and considering a puppy, then we highly recommend you spend some time researching the breed and talking to other breeders that are available through the internet for additional information which can be found on our Links page. That is how we started…and one dog…was not enough!