Mini American Shepherd Dog Breed Guide

Many people are looking for a smart travel companion. Most certainly the more recently recognized breed of the Mini American Shepherd fits the bill. While they were only registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 2011, they have been loyal companions to many for several years.

Today we look at the history of the Mini American Shepherd as well as what has makes this breed so popular.

History of the Mini American Shepherd

The History of the Mini American Shepherd is well known since it is such a recent entry in the AKC. The breed started in the 1960s in California. Back then, the breed was popular due to the dogs’ attitude and intelligence. It is a breed that is still known as a great companion.

People started taking the smallest Australian Shepherds and breeding them together. The thought was that they would get the same dog but in a more compact size. The thought paid off as well. The “Miniature Australian Shepherd” became a great companion and was popular with equestrians who would travel with their horses.

Hitting the road with their owners helped spread the popularity of this breed, but it also got the attention of Australian Shepherd owners who didn’t like being associated with the “Mini Australian Shepherd.” Due to the vocal complaints of Australian Shepherd fanciers, the new breed was renamed the Mini American Shepherd.

While the breed became popular with equestrian travelers, it was also popular on small farms and homes. They would often be found herding goats, and sheep, but they are also able to handle larger animals as well. They still have the work ethic and spirit of their larger relative, but they are compact enough to fit in a small home as well.

It was in 2011 that the breed was officially inducted into the American Kennel Club.

Miniature American Shepherd Physical Traits

The Miniature American Shepherd is not the first example of a breed being recognized by size alone. The Dachshund is another example of a dog that has different group distinctions based on size.

The Mini American Shepherd maintains the beautiful look of their larger cousin. The size is the key differentiator.

They are slightly longer than they are tall and stand 14 to 18 inches tall. But they are solidly built and have a smooth graceful air about them. Their double coat is smooth or wavy and built to take the outdoor conditions.

The Mini American Shepherd comes in unique colors as well. They run from black in color to blue merle, red and red merle. Each animals coat is a little different as well. They can be marbled, flecked, or blotched. Their undercoat is usually always lighter than their top coat as well. While those colors are their base, they can also exhibit tan or white marks.

The Mini American Shepherds eyes are one of the breeds most endearing qualities as well. Their eyes come in brown, blue, hazel or amber and may even show flecks or marbling. After looking in their eyes, it would really take a heart of stone to deny them what they want. 

Health Issues

Overall, the Mini American Shepherd is very healthy, though there are a few conditions to be on the lookout for if you are looking to bring a Mini American Shepherd into your home.

  • Hip Dysplasia – Hip Dysplasia is a skeletal condition that is relatively common in many breeds. It often occurs more in larger dogs though. The hip functions as a ball and socket, and hip dysplasia occurs when the ball and socket do not fit together correctly. There can be many causes, but most commonly it is based in genetics. A dog with hip dysplasia may have mobility problems or pain associated with movement.
  • Corneal Dystrophy – This disease results in abnormal material forming in the outer layers of the eye. This leads to poor vision, but the good news is that the condition is not painful. Though, if a Mini American Shepherd shows signs of corneal dystrophy, they should not be breed further as it is mostly considered genetic.
  • Retinal Dysplasia – This genetic condition can oftentimes be seen at birth. It occurs when the retina detaches in the eye leading to total blindness. Since this commonly occurs when the dog is very young, this trait is slowly being rooted out of the breed.

Most other minor health concerns for this breed have to do with the eyes. The best advice is to make sure you’re getting this dog from a reputable breeder to ensure they are taking all proper precautions to ensure only the healthiest of dogs.


The Mini American Shepherd has been classified as a header by the AKC, and for good reason. They easily can handle small farm animals, but they’ll also take charge even when dealing with larger animals.

This shows their tenacity. The Miniature American Shepherd is eager to please and wants to work hard. This sometimes translates to herding children, but the Mini is just taking care of business. They are very protective of their family and try to keep everyone together, but early socialization and training can go far in preventing this.

In the end, the Mini American Shepherd wants to work. They are used to high activity levels. This means they’ll be on high alert at home and provide you with a great watch dog. That is until you settle down on the couch. Look for your Mini American Shepherd to join you and give some of the best puppy snuggles. Their compact size makes them grate for fitting in your lap and providing plenty of warmth on cold nights.

Final Thoughts

While they can cuddle like no one’s business and will want to keep an eye on the house, the Mini American Shepherd requires a vigorous physical regiment. They are great companions, but only when they get enough mental and physical exercise.

Without their daily workout, they can become bored and destructive. They really are great athletes though, so there shouldn’t be no problem finding an activity this dog will excel at.

Their small size, beauty and love of their family is what has made them as popular as they are in such a short amount of time.

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