The Miniature Australian Shepherd (a.k.a. Mini Aussie and Miniature American Shepherd) resulted from a breeding program that was begun in 1968. They originated in California with two small studs of Australian Shepherd type. The aim was to produce a scaled down version of the Australian Shepherd using the small progeny of Australian Shepherd lines. The smaller dogs were to be under 18", and exhibit the same intelligence, temperament and instinct to herd of the larger dogs, but be small enough to travel easily and be a "house" dog. The "Toy" Australian Shepherds are to be under 13" (in some breed registries under 14"). They also retain the intelligence, temperament and instinct of the larger dogs, but due to the much smaller bone structure, they are considered more of a companion pet than working dog.
Colors of the Mini Aussie include black, blue merle, red and red merle. All of these coat colors can also include copper points and white markings. Faults are white areas around eyes and ears, and white body or splashes of white throughout the coat.
The head should be clean cut with the top of the skull of equal length and width to the muzzle, which tapers to the tip.
Eyes can be brown, blue, amber, green or any combination of the four, including flecked or marbled. Often one eye will be different from the other.
The Miniature Australian Shepherd needs regular exercise, which can include outdoor play, walks, runs, or indoor fetch games. The smaller the dog, the less area it needs to play. They are a sensitive breed, responding to the tone of voice of the owner/family. They are good guardians, and are devoted to their families. They do well with other pets and children as long as they are socialized at a young age. They are often reserved at first, among strangers or in strange situations, but will warm up once they recognize there is no threat. Aggressive behavior in a Mini is not to be tolerated, and is a breeding fault.
Miniature Australian Shepherds have excelled in many performance events including fly ball, obedience, agility and herding. If registered through AKC as Miniature American Shepherds they are eligible for all AKC events.
Miniature Australian Shepherds can be registered in the National Stock Dog Registry (NSDR), Miniature American Shepherd Club of America (MASCUSA) Miniature Australian Shepherd Club of America (MASCA), American Stock Dog Registry (ASDR), International Miniature American Shepherd Club (IMASC) and AKC as Miniature American Shepherds.