The Miniature Australian Shepherd, abbreviated as MAS and also referred to as a Miniature American Shepherd or Mini Aussie, is considered a small herding dog breed. The dog breed originated during the late 1960s in California when they were crossed with smaller, unregistered dogs thought to be Australian Shepherds.
When they were registered with the National Stock Dog Registry in 1980, they were registered as Miniature Australian Shepherds. Although they attained nationwide popularity by the 1990s, they weren’t entered into the AKC Foundation Stock Service until 2011. At that time, the AKC recognized them as the Miniature American Shepherd.
They are often a little longer than they are tall and a little stocky. They are a hardy and rustic dog breed that finds itself at home as a working dog and as a family companion. Due to their high energy, intelligence, and desire for a job, they are often used in agility training and other dog sports.
Miniature Australian Shepherds love to be with their family and are great with children and other pets. They are loyal and affectionate and do not like to be left alone too much. These dogs retain a puppylike demeanor for life and love to play.
They are not known to be aggressive with strangers, though they will be a little wary of them. Since they are a herding breed, they can sometimes attempt to herd humans. Early socialization and training will help curb these tendencies.
These dogs are typically very easy going, which makes them adaptable to change. They can adapt to apartment living as long as they get plenty of exercise. They display a moderate level of activity indoors, but are a high-energy breed that requires vigorous exercise to stay happy. Due to this, they are generally a better fit for homes with yards or large homes with sprawling spaces.
Because they have a thicker double coat, this dog breed does well in cold climates. They can be happy in warmer climates as well, but you may need to keep their coat groomed a little shorter. As with all dogs, it’s important to be wary of hot or cold extremes.
Overall, this is a relatively healthy dog breed without many breed-specific health issues. Hip dysplasia and cataracts are something to watch out for, but are less of a worry if the parents have been tested and certified clear. Although the merle coat coloration is beautiful, the gene for it can also sometimes carry a blind/deaf factor. Because of this, it’s important to test a puppy’s hearing early.
These dogs are one of the easiest breeds to train and are a good fit for owners of any experience level. They are highly intelligent, learn very quickly, and are eager to please.
They have a straight to slightly wavy double coat that is medium length. Common coat colors are blue or red merle, black, red, and tricolor, which includes a combination of colors with white or tan points.
Grooming is relatively easy. Brushing your Miniature Australian Shepherd with a firm bristle brush once or twice a week will help to remove loose hair to keep your pup more comfortable and minimize shedding.
Mini Australian Shepherds have a high energy level. They require a lot of exercise to remain happy and healthy. They love to run, hike, and play, but are easily bored.
Making sure they get plenty of exercise and ensuring they have a job to do will keep their mind busy and avoid any destructive behaviors that boredom might bring.
Miniature Australian Shepherds will generally measure 13 to 18 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 20 and 40 pounds.
Mini Aussies live for about 12 to 13 years.