The words Dog Breed Info with the letter D inside of a black paw print

The Purebred Miniature Australian Shepherd and Toy Australian Shepherd

Information and Pictures

Front view - A long haired, tricolored white, black and tan, fluffy little dog with ears that stand up and fold over at the tips, a black nose, dark eyes with its head tilted to the side smiling at the camera while sitting on the ground on top of small white stones.

"This is Lewis, also known as Lewey shown here at 1 1/2 years old. He is a jovial, good tempered dog and a fine companion. He is very intelligent and endearing. I have never seen a livelier, bouncier dog! He weighs about 10 pounds and has a small fleck of blue in one eye. Lately he had been helping our daughter with "herding" chickens back into their pen. "

Other Names
  • Miniature American Shepherd
  • North American Miniature Australian Shepherd
  • Mini Australian Shepherd
  • Miniature Aussie Shepherd
  • North American Shepherd
  • Mini Aussie
  • Mini Aussie Shepherd
  • Teacup Australian Shepherd
  • Teacup Aussie Shepherd

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The Miniature Australian Shepherd (North American Miniature Australian Shepherd) has a medium-length coat. It comes in blue or red merle, red or black tricolor, all with white and/or tan markings. The hair around the ears and eyes should not be white. The coat may be straight or slightly wavy, and should have feathering on the back of the legs, and a mane and frill around the neck. Hair on the head, front of the forelegs and on the outside of the ears is shorter than the rest of the coat. The hindquarters are the same length as the forequarters. The top of the skull is quite flat and clean cut. The feet are oval and compact. The lips do not hang over the lower jaw.


Miniature Australian Shepherds are easygoing, perpetual puppies that love to play. Courageous, loyal and affectionate, they are excellent children's companions that are great with active children. A devoted friend and guardian. Very lively, agile and attentive, they are eager to please with a sixth sense about what the owner wants. Miniature Australian Shepherds are highly intelligent and easy to train. They can become nervous and destructive if left alone too much without enough mental and physical exercise. They need a job to do, as the breed is very intelligent, active and thus easily bored. Socialize your dog well when it is a puppy to avoid it becoming suspicious of strangers. Some like to nip people’s heels in an attempt to herd them. They need to be taught herding humans is not acceptable. A fine companion, it also enjoys working small stock. They are quiet workers. This breed is not usually dog aggressive. Make sure you are this dog's firm, confident, consistent pack leader to avoid Small Dog Syndrome, human induced behavior problems. Always remember, dogs are canines, not humans. Be sure to meet their natural instincts as animals.

Height, Weight

Toy Height: 10 - 14 inches (26 - 36 cm)
Toy Weight: 7 - 20 pounds (3 - 9 kg)
Miniature Height: 13 - 18 inches (33 - 46 cm)
Miniature Weight: 15 - 35 pounds (6 - 16 kg)

There is overlap in wieght as a stocky Toy might weigh more than a slender Mini.

Health Problems

The gene for the beautiful merle coloration also carries a blind/deaf factor. This may be expressed only in merle/merle crosses. The vast majority of merle North American Miniature Australian Shepherds are heterozygous merles (one parent is merle, the other is solid) and these merles are not at risk for any special health problems due to their coloration. Be sure to check the hearing on merle puppies. Hip and eye problems can occur. Ensure sire and dam of puppies have been tested and are certified clear prior to purchasing a puppy. Some herding dogs carry a MDR1 gene which makes them sensitive to certain drugs that are otherwise okay to give another dog, but if tested positive for this gene can kill them.

Living Conditions

The Miniature Australian Shepherd will do okay in an apartment if it is sufficiently exercised. They are moderately active indoors and will do okay with a small yard. This breed will do well in cold climates.


The Mini Aussie needs to be taken on daily, long walks. This energetic little dog needs plenty of vigorous exercise to stay in shape, or better yet, some real work to do.

Life Expectancy

About 12-13 years

Litter Size

About 2 to 6 puppies


The coat of the Miniature Australian Shepherd is easy to groom and needs little attention. Brush occasionally with a firm bristle brush and bathe only when necessary. This breed is an average shedder.


A breeding program to develop the Miniature Australian Shepherd (North American Miniature Australian Shepherd) was begun in 1968 using small Australian Shepherds. Breeders bred them down in size to produce a smaller dog and today continue to strive to produce a mirror image of the Australian Shepherd in a size that fits well into today's lifestyle, without sacrificing instinct, ability or character.

The major club in the US is the Miniature Australian Club of the United States of America. MASCUSA, as the parent club, has petitioned the American Kennel Club for inclusion in AKC. The process of acceptance into AKC starts with registration into the AKC Foundation Stock Service. The Australian Shepherd Club of America has accepted the Miniature Australian Shepherd ONLY if the Miniature changes its name and has no reference of any kind to the Australian Shepherd or its history. A lot of Miniature Australian Shepherd owners are registering with AKC FSS. The AKC's official name is Miniature American Shepherd.



  • ACA = American Canine Association Inc.
  • APRI = American Pet Registry, Inc.
  • ASDR = American Stock Dog Registry
  • DRA = Dog Registry of America, Inc.
  • MASCA= Miniature Australian Shepherd Club of American
  • MASCUSA = Miniature Australian Club of the United States of America
  • NSDR = National Stock Dog Registry
A perk-eared black with brown and white Miniature Australian Shepherd is sitting in grass. Its mouth is open and tongue is out. It has one blue eye and one brown eye.

Phoebe the Toy Australian Shepherd at 3 years old

Side view - A brown with tan and white Miniature Australian Shepherd puppy is laying on a carpet. There is a green dog bed behind it. The dog is looking to the right out of the corner of its eye.

Cooper, a Miniature Australian Shepherd puppy at 11 weeks old

A merle brown grey, tan, black and white Miniature Australian Shepherd is standing outside at the top of a staircase.

Vera the Mini Australian Shepherd at 6 months old—"Vera has a great personality. She is very keen and loves to play fetch. She is a great dog."

Two Miniature Australian Shepherds are sitting side by side under a tree in dirt. The dog on the left is tricolored and the dog on the right is merle tan, gray and white

Photo courtesy of Miniature Australian Shepherd Club of America

Close up head shot - A blue-eyed white with black and brown Miniature Australian Shepherd puppy is laying down outside. Its nose is pink and black in color.

This is Roo the blue-eyed Miniature Australian Shepherd from Wee Mini Aussies of Southern California at 8 months old.

A blue-eyed tricolor white and black with brown Toy Australian Shepherd is standing on its hind legs in a begging pose on a sidewalk. Its front paws are in the air.

"Zoe is a Toy Australian Shepherd. She is almost 9 months old in this picture. She is a very active little dog, and smart too! She will only do the tricks I've taught her if there is food involved. She loves to play with our cat Simba and our two-year-old Pug Bindi. Zoe loves to play with mini tennis balls, and would rather chew the carpet then a rawhide chew bone, which is one of her bad habits, along with climbing on my daughter's tiny picnic table and stealing food. In the picture Zoe is "waving," one of her newer tricks."

A merle tan with white Toy Australian Shepherd is sitting on a white tiled floor and is looking up. It has longer fly-away hair on its ears.

"This is my Toy Australian Shepherd puppy Jaxi. She is 4 1/2 months old in this picture, weighing 11 pounds."

A tricolor black with white and brown Miniature Australian Shepherd is laying in sand with a plastic yellow sand castle bucket in front of it.

Dakota the Miniature Australian Shepherd laying in the sand with a yellow sand castle bucket

A merle white with black and brown Miniature Australian Shepherd is sitting in grass with its head tilted to the left looking forward.

Dakota the Miniature Australian Shepherd

Two Tea Cup Australian Shepherd puppies inside of a black wicker basket jumped up on the side, a black, tan and white and a tan, grey and white pup.

Teacup Australian Shepherd puppies at 3 months old, photo courtesy of City Slickers Ranch

See more examples of the Miniature Australian Shepherd