Information about the Miniature Australian Shepherd
It was developed by breeding smaller Australian Shepherds for the desired size. Miniature Australian Shepherds are rapidly increasing in popularity among those interested in a compact dog with a strong dog work ethic. They are especially popular in dog agility, and do well in other dog sports including herding, obedience, disc dog, flyball and many other activities. They can serve well as service or therapy dogs.
The preferred height of the Miniature Australian Shepherds range from 14 to 18 inches (35 to 46 cm) at the withers and the weight is typically between 17 and 30 pounds (9 to 14 kg). Coat colors are blue merle, red merle, black, and red, all with or without copper as well as with or without white trim. Eyes may be any combination of brown, amber, hazel, blue, or marbled. Some Miniature Australian Shepherds have eyes that are two different colors or may be marbled.
The Miniature Australian Shepherds are easily trained, but their intelligence and drive require obedience training and plenty of interesting activity. They have a sixth sense about what their owners want and are easily trainable because they crave approval. Once given proper socialization they will thrive in a variety of environments, provided they have an adequate outlet for both physical and mental energy. If they are not allowed adequate stimuli they may become destructive. Because of their herding background, they also may have the tendency to try to herd people, especially small children, nipping at their heels. As long as this behavior is put in check when they are young, they will generally be fine. They are social dogs and form close attachments to their owner. As a result, some may suffer separation anxiety. Minis function well as a family dog, but their excessive energy may need to be checked around small children. They are generally great house dogs but do require a large amount of exercise.
In 1968 Doris Cordova, a horse woman in Norco, California, began a breeding program specifically to produce very small breed founded with Australian Shepherds. Her foundation stud was Cordova’s Spike. Spike was placed with Bill and Sally Kennedy, also of Norco, California, to continue to develop a line of smaller dogs under the B/S kennel name. Another horseman, Chas Lasater of Valhalla Kennels, soon joined the ranks of mini breeders. In the 1980s fanciers formed member clubs (North American Miniature Australian Shepherd Club of the USA and the Miniature Australian Shepherd Association) and registries to promote the smaller dogs in particular. Doris Cordova wrote a letter of explanation regarding the intent of developing the breed which was published in the National Stock Dog Magazine, Vol. 28, No.1 Spring issue of 1982.