All About Mini Aussies
General Information About Mini Aussies:
The Miniature American Shepherd is a descendant of the Australian Shepherd breed. They are a combination of smaller sized Aussies who were bred down to get a smaller sized version of the breed. So the only difference between the two is really their size. They are intelligent, small-sized dogs with strong herding and guardian instincts. They also are a delightful and loyal companion and/or great family dog. They love to be part of the daily hustle and bustle, and enjoy riding in the vehicle just to be with their beloved master. They are easy to train, easy to housebreak, and eager to please. Standard sized Aussies have been used as seeing-eye dogs, as utility dogs to the physically handicapped, hearing aid dogs, police and narcotics dogs, and search and rescue dogs. In the northern areas they have also been used as sled dogs. Even as Miniature Shepherds many go with their masters as volunteers to children's homes and nursing homes to do therapy work. Truly, the Australian/Miniature American Shepherd is a highly versatile dog. Aussies are also quite demanding of their owner's time and attention and want to be constantly with them, following them from room to room in the house, and going along in the car or truck on errands. They need love to make them whole which makes them such a perfect fit for a family environment. So they should never be left in the back yard alone for long periods of time. They really just love to be active and to learn new things all the time.
Colors Aussies Come In:
The Minature American Shepherd comes in four acceptable colors: black-tri/bi, blue merle (a marbling of gray and black), red-tri/bi (ranging from light cinnamon to liver), and red merle (marbling of red and silver or buff). A variety of white and tan markings may appear on the face, chest, front and rear legs. The outer coat is of moderate length, with a texture that is straight to wavy and weather resistant. The undercoat is soft and dense, and the amount varies with climate. Tails are naturally born bobbed or docked. Ears are moderately sized, and break forward and over, or to the side as rose ears. Males weigh approximately 25-40pounds, measuring from 14-18 inches, and females weigh about 20-25 pounds, measuring from 13 to 17 inches.
The eyes of the Miniature American Shepherd are perhaps one of his most commented on features because of the variety of colors. They may be any color or combination of colors from glassy blue, amber, hazel, to all shades of brown.
Occasionally a dog appearing to be solid black or solid red is a merle. One or two flecks of lighter merling on a solid dog will make him genetically a merle. These dogs will produce like any other merle and have been referred to as "phantom merles".
IDEAL coloring on a blue merle should be a base color of jet black with all merling patches some shade of gray. Merling that has a rusty appearance is not desirable.
IDEAL coloring on a red merle is a base color of liver or dark mahogany with all merling patches some shade of lighter red.
While there are many theories as to the origin of the Australian Shepherd, the breed as we know it today developed exclusively in the United States. The Australian Shepherd was given its name because of their association with the Basque sheep herders who came to the United States from Australia in the 1800's. The Aussie rose rapidly in popularity with the boom of western riding after World War II, becoming known to the general public via rodeos, horse shows, movies and television. Their inherent versatility and train-ability made them useful on American farms and ranches. The American stockmen continued the development of the breed, maintaining the versatility, keen intelligence, strong herding instinct and eye-catching appearance.
Australian Shepherds have been registered by various registries since the early 1950's. In 1990, the United States Australian Shepherd Association was established as the parent club of the Australian Shepherd representing the breed to the American Kennel Club. On September 1, 1991, the AKC recognized the Australian Shepherd breed and on January 1, 1993, accepted them into the Herding Group.
Furthermore, in the 1960s the Miniature American Shepherd was found working in the United states rodeo circuit where they were selectively bred to reduce their size even more. The American Kennel Club, in 2015 then recognized them into the Herding Group. So as we like to say, we are really excited to be part of this newly recognized breed and love these Mini Aussies!
Should I get a male or a female?
Although male and female Australian Shepherds share many of the same characteristics, there are also many distinct differences between the two sexes. Most of the personality differences between the two sexes are minimal or non-existent if the animals in question are spayed/neutered.
-The female Miniature American Shepherd will typically stand between 13-17 inches at the point of her withers and will on average weigh around 20-25 pounds. She does not usually carry the density and length of coat as a male, and her personality will generally be more sensitive and laid-back. Females will come into season approximately every 6 months and will need to be confined for 2-3 weeks during this time. You should consider spaying her after her first heat cycle so that all her hormonal changes can fully take place. But know that during her first heat cycle she is fully capable of getting pregnant and unless we dicussed breeding you will need to keep her away from any other male dogs.
-The male Miniature American Shepherd will usually stand 14-18 inches and will weigh around 25-30 pounds. As with most animal species, the male Aussie is the showier of the two sexes, carrying longer hair, heavier bone, and a more masculine head. He typically has a very regal air about him. Males do have a tendency to be territorial and do not always take well to having to share their space with other male canines. Again, you should think about having him neutered around one year of age to give his growth a chance. But know that he is fully capable to sire a litter at only a few months of age, so unless we discussed breeding you will need to be careful with him around other female dogs.
Should I get breed standard quality or companion quality?
-Companion quality puppies are those which are healthy and happy but are less than perfect when compared to the breed standard. Often these imperfections are minimal and are things that the novice would not notice. Nonetheless, these animals would not be likely to do well in the conformation show ring, and they should NOT be used for breeding since they will not contribute to the improvement of the breed. Companion quality animals are eligible to be shown in both obedience and herding competitions, even if they have been spayed or neutered. It is important to remember that just because a puppy is termed a "companion", it should not have any health or temperament defects.
-If you have any thoughts of showing advise the breeder of what your intentions are. In this situation you are going to want to buy the pup that comes the closest to the breed standard. Not every pup is a future champion and no one can guarantee you that any puppy will grow up to be a perfect specimen of the breed. But a knowledgeable breeder can spot puppies with potential qualities and will be honest with you in evaluating their puppies as future show or breeding prospects.
Are Aussies good with children?
Australian Shepherds are basically very good with children if they have been raised with children, and sometimes even when they have not been around them. One of the basic prerequisites for your children and your puppy to have a good relationship is to teach the child, as well as the puppy, what is allowed. Babies and toddlers should not be left unattended with your dog, no matter what breed. A child should learn not to handle the dog roughly or tease him. The parent, not the child, should be responsible for correcting the puppy if he gets too rough. Puppies and dogs have a tendency to look at children as "siblings" in the social order of the family, and the dog should never be allowed to get the upper position over the child. Something that sometimes occurs with puppies and kids is that, in play, the puppy may chase and nip at the heels of the child. This is because the dog is bred to herd and he is trying to "herd" the child because it is natural to herd something moving. In this situation, it is a good idea to have the child stop running and tell the dog "no bite." This should not be confused with actually trying to harm the child, but the game should not be encouraged.
Thanks from Socal Mini Aussies!