The intelligent and downright adorable Miniature American Shepherd captures trophies in agility and obedience and captures hearts at home. These good-natured dogs are affectionate companions ideal for active families.
Once known as the Miniature Australian Shepherd, these smart dogs developed through the selective breeding of small Australian Shepherds to further reduce their size.
These dogs, now known as Miniature American Shepherds, worked on the rodeo circuit herding sheep and goats. They've now become popular four-legged companions.
The American Kennel Club Foundation Stock Service included the Miniature American Shepherd in 2011, and the AKC fully recognized the breed in 2015.
The Miniature American Shepherd is a small herding dog developed in the United States. These are natural athletes with solid builds, and strength and stamina to spare.
Miniature American Shepherds are a double-coated breed with a unique trait: the texture of the undercoat's hair varies depending on the climate.
Their outer coats are medium length and texture, and straight to wavy in appearance.
The hair is short and smooth on their heads and front of legs; the backs of the forelegs and breeches have moderate feathering. Miniature American Shepherds have moderate manes and frills that are more pronounced in males.
The breed comes in several coat colors: black, blue merle, red, and red merle. The merle can be present in any amount, marbling, flecks, or blotches.
Miniature American Shepherds have solid bodies with firm, level backs and full, deep chests. Their almond-shaped eyes may be brown, blue, hazel, amber, or other color variations and often include flecks and marbling.
Miniature American Shepherds have triangular, moderate size, ears set high on their heads, and naturally bobbed or docked tails.
Miniature American Shepherds are working dogs with strong herding and guarding instincts. These dogs are reserved with strangers and make excellent watchdogs. Their strong herding tendencies could lead them to herd children or other pets.
The breed makes good-natured, loyal companions adaptable to various living situations from apartments to wide open spaces—as long as they get sufficient exercise.
Feed Miniature American Shepherds a high-quality dog food that is appropriate for their life stage (puppy, adult, senior) and consider a diet formulated for active breeds. Portion out their food with a measuring cup and limiting treats to no more than 10 percent of their daily calories can help keep them fit and trim.
Miniature American Shepherds have waterproof double coats that require regular grooming. Brush them at least once a week to remove dead hair and, during spring and fall when these dogs blow their coats, brush them with an undercoat rake daily. Keep their ears clean, and their nails trimmed.
Like all breeds, Australian Shepherds benefit from a regular dental care routine that includes at-home teeth brushing and professional cleanings.
Because of their athleticism, Miniature American Shepherds require regular exercise.
In addition to frequent walks, hiking, swimming, and trips to the dog park, these smart, agile dogs excel in dog sports such as agility, obedience, rally, and herding. Play games like fetch or offer puzzle toys to provide mental stimulation, too.
These intelligent, eager to please dogs are highly trainable. A consistent training program and early socialization can help them grow into well-mannered companions.
Focus on positive reinforcement and reward-based training. Repetitive activities could cause Miniature American Shepherds to lose interest in training, so fast-paced games and activities are best to keep them engaged (and help burn off energy).
The MDR1 gene mutation causes a defect to a drug pumping protein that plays an important role in limiting drug absorption and distribution (particularly to the brain). Dogs with the MDR1 mutation may have severe adverse reactions to some commonly used medications.
Canine Multifocal Retinopathy 1 (CMR1) is an eye disorder that can cause retinal decay which may impact vision, but very rarely results in blindness.
Cone Degeneration (CD), also called "day-blindness" is an inherited eye disorder causing light-sensitivity (photophobia) and an inability to see in bright light.
PRCD is a particularly common form of progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and is found in many breeds and mixed breed dogs. PRA is caused by the degeneration of photoreceptor cells of the retina resulting in progressive vision loss and eventual blindness.
Hyperuricosuria (HUU) is a condition that predisposes affected dogs to the formation of urinary stones, such as kidney or bladder stones.
Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA) is an eye disease where the layer in the eye supplying blood and nutrients to the retina is thinner than normal, resulting in visual defects in more severely affected dogs. CEA is most commonly found in breeds of herding descent.
Knowing if your Miniature American Shepherd is a carrier or at-risk for these conditions can help you and your veterinarian plan for your pup’s lifelong care. With Wisdom Panel™ Premium, you can get results for over 200 genetic health tests.
Reviewed July 26, 2020 by Annette Louviere, DVM