The Miniature Australian Shepherd is a smaller version of the Australian Shepherd. The two breeds are incredibly similar, with the main difference being their size. Miniature Australian Shepherds stand between 13 and 18 inches tall. Adults should weigh between 20 and 40 pounds. This breed has a life expectancy of 12 to 13 years.
Miniature Australian Shepherds are excellent family pets, and they are also very hard workers. The breed is designed for herding and other jobs. Though they may not do as much of this today, they are still incredibly athletic and energetic. This breed loves being active and spending time with its humans. It also enjoys training exercises, and it is a very easy breed to train.
Miniature Australian Shepherds are a relatively new breed compared to their ancestors' Australian Shepherd. Australian Shepherds have a somewhat uncertain history. We know that they developed in the United States, not Australia. But exactly what breed(s) they came from is unknown. Spain, England, and Germany are just a few of the possible leads on the Australian Shepherd's history.
Regardless of where they came from, we know that Australian Shepherds are an American breed developed in western states. More specially, they are most often credited to California breeders. The Miniature Australian Shepherd, also called the Miniature American Shepherd, was developed in California. The two names of the breed are used interchangeably, but Miniature Australian Shepherd was the first official name.
The process started in the 1960s by breeding miniature Australian Shepherds. By the mid-1970s, breeders had accomplished the desired size for a miniature version of the breed. The breed was first officially recognized in 1980 by the National Stock Dog Registry. You cannot register these dogs with the American Kennel Club under the Miniature Australian Shepherd name, but you can register them under the Miniature American Shepherd breed. The AKC designated the Miniature American Shepherd Club of the USA as the national parent club for the organization.
Like their predecessors, these dogs were bred to be working dogs. They are used mainly in herding, but they make appearances in competitions throughout the nation. Because of their loyal and protective nature, they also make excellent therapy pets. They may be a little too energetic for this at times, though. So, if this is a route you want your Miniature Australian Shepherd to take, they must get a lot of training. As long as they are adequately trained, they can do pretty much any available job to a dog.
More than anything, this breed can be described as hard-working. They maintain their herding instincts, and they love to have a job to do. They are enthusiastic and very easy to train. Because of their herding nature, these dogs are also very loyal and protective over their family. Also, because they are herding dogs, they are very high-energy and playful. They enjoy physically and mentally stimulating games.
Patience and consistency are essential when it comes to puppy training. Between 8 and 16 weeks, you should work on basic cues and setting rules. They will need a good amount of socialization at this stage. The earlier you can start socializing them, the better. You can accomplish this by introducing them to various members of your family, taking them for walks around the neighborhood, taking them to your local dog park, and more. This is not an aggressive breed at all.
Interestingly enough, aggression is a disqualifying factor under the AKC. However, it is still a good idea to supervise introductions to kids and other animals since you never know how they'll interact with your Miniature Australian Shepherd. As far as their social skills go, they are not necessarily opposed to strangers, but they also aren't going to run up to them immediately.
Miniature Australian Shepherds are fairly adaptable to new environments, routines, people, and other animals. It does take them some time to adjust to changes, but not much. They tend to go with the flow and are eager to please. They're pretty much down for whatever you want them to do.
This is not a breed for a small apartment. Despite being a miniature version, the Miniature Australian Shepherd still needs a ton of space to explore and play. The ideal home for them would be lots of space and a large backyard. Although highly recommended for any breed to have a fence, it is not completely necessary for Miniature Australian Shepherds as long as they are trained well. Because they are loyal and protective, they are not likely at all to stray far from home. Also, while they do well with strangers, they are not expected to run out of the yard to go up to them.
Like their personality, their bodies adapt to all kinds of weather conditions and environments. Many Miniature Australian Shepherds seem to enjoy inclement weather. This is because of their nature. They are designed to be outdoors even in the toughest conditions. They have a double coat that keeps their temperature regulated in various weather conditions. Though it seems like it would just make them hotter during the summer, it keeps them cool. Alternatively, it helps to keep them warm in the winter.
Miniature Australian Shepherds shed a good amount. They are not the worst shedders out there, but they shed more than your average dog. They shed more in the summer than they do in the winter. Double coat grooming can be a lot of work, but keeping your pet feeling good and looking gorgeous is worth it.
The first step in grooming your Miniature Australian Shepherd is bathing. Use a shampoo specifically formulated for dogs. Work in through the fur and down the skin as much as possible. Make sure you wash it out fully. Once the shampoo has been washed out, apply a conditioner for dogs. This helps to prevent matting and will make brushing much easier.
There are a few steps to the brushing process. After the fur is dry, you can brush them out using a slicker brush or undercoat rake. This removes the loose hairs from the undercoat. Next, you can use a dog comb to detangle the hair and remove any remaining loose hairs.
Shedding can be stressful to deal with, but daily brushing can significantly help to alleviate it. You never shave a double-coated dog. Again, their coats are essential for temperature regulation. If you take that away, they will be unable to control their body temperature, leaving them very vulnerable to heat and cold. If you can't brush them daily, you should brush them weekly at the very least. In addition, take them to a professional groomer once a month.
Ears, eyes, and nails are another big part of grooming. Like their larger counterparts, Miniature Australian Shepherds are prone to ear infections. Clean their ears using a specially formulated ear cleaning solution. You can apply this with a cotton ball or soft cloth. Simple wipe around the outer edges of the canal and ear to ensure that you get any visible wax and debris off their ear. Do not go into the ear canal, which can push wax and debris further down.
To clean your Miniature Australian Shepherd's eyes, you can use a similar method, just without the cleaning solution. Take a soft, damp cloth and wipe around the edges of the eyes. This eliminates any debris and discharge that may build up in their fur.
Nail maintenance for Miniature Australian Shepherds is typically minimal since they likely spend a lot of time outside. The more time spent outside, the more the nails will file down naturally. A good rule of thumb, with any breed, is to cut your dog's nails once they touch the floor. Get a pair of dog clippers and trim the tip of the nail. Be especially careful with this and consult with your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns about clipping their nails. A professional groomer will clip their nails, and doing so monthly may be sufficient for this breed.
According to the AKC, miniature Australian Shepherds do not need as much exercise as full-size Australian Shepherds, but they are still at the highest energy level. What this means for you is that you need to be active if you get a Miniature Australian Shepherd.
When it comes to physical exercise, Miniature Australian Shepherds need several sessions throughout the day. They also have a lot of endurance. Physical exercise can consist of a variety of activities. Remember that this breed loves the outdoors, so nature-related exercise is a great idea for them. For instance, full-grown Miniature Australian Shepherds can easily go on a hike that lasts for one or two hours. They can also go on a run or jog a mile or two long. Puppies will not have nearly as much endurance, so be sure not to push them too hard.
In addition to physical exercise, Miniature Australian Shepherds love mentally stimulating activities. You can set up an obstacle course in the backyard to entertain them. This is a great bonding activity as well. There are also toys available on the market that are mentally stimulating, such as the ones you can hide treats in. Agility training is a great way to combine the two.
Like with any breed, the nutritional needs of Miniature Australian Shepherd puppies differ from that of Miniature Australian Shepherd adults. The main difference between puppy food and adult dog food is the protein content. Puppies need a higher protein content than adults do. Make sure you buy puppy food, specifically for the first six months of life. For both adults and puppies, you should avoid foods with a high number of grains and starches. These do nothing for your Miniature Australian Shepherd, and they can damage their health.
In addition, the amount and meal frequency between puppies and adults differ. Free feeding, where the bowl is left out, is fine for a short time while they are puppies. However, it is ideal for them to have specific mealtimes and amounts. Four meals per day are recommended for puppies less than twelve weeks old. Three meals per day are recommended from twelve weeks to six months old. Once they are adults, they can eat one or two meals per day. Some dogs prefer two smaller meals, while others are fine with one large meal. Pay attention to your dog's behavior throughout the day to determine which is best for them.
This breed is fine to eat dry kibble. They should get wet food for the first few months of life, as they may have difficulty eating dry food. Once you start to give them dry food, it is best to mix wet and dry together to start. That being said, it is perfectly fine to treat your adult Miniature Australian Shepherd to wet food now and then.
Water is also incredibly important for active breeds such as the Miniature Australian Shepherd. Many dogs do not drink as much as they should, so you should take special care to encourage them to drink water throughout the day. They should always have a cool bowl of water available to them throughout the day. It is also a good idea to change the water once a day to prevent bacteria from food and other debris that may spill into the water. You should use metal food and water bowls. Plastic bowls can leak chemicals into the water. While most dogs are fine with this, some are very sensitive.
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