Mini Australian Shepherd Vs Standard

Mini Australian Shepherd Vs Standard

You might wonder if the difference between the mini Australian Shepherd and the standard is only in size. These two breeds belong to the American Kennel Clubs herding group and differ in appearance. However, they have different personalities and breed standards.  

This article will help compare their history, health issues, temperament, appearance, training, and exercise needs.

Brief Histories of Mini and Standard Australian Shepherds

Standard Australian Shepherds

Australian Shepherds did not originate in Australia. They were developed as herders by the Basque inhabitants in the Pyrenees Mountains between France and Spain.

Many Basque shepherds relocated to Australia in the 1800s and continued to modify and advance the breed.

When some of these Basques later immigrated to California with their dogs, the Californian ranchers called them “Australian Shepherds” because they were so impressed with their demeanor and herding skills.

Mini Australian Shepherds

Image credit: AKC

Some breeders in California began producing unregistered Australian Shepherds in the latter half of the 1960s in an effort to reduce the size of the breed while maintaining its intelligence and personality.

The American Kennel Club fully accredited the miniature American Shepherd in 2015, giving it the designation “Miniature American Shepherd” for the little Aussie. In addition, the American Stock Dog Registry lists the same dog as the “Miniature Australian Shepherd.”

Although the AKC chose to refer to the breed as the “Miniature American Shepherd,” most people refer to it as the “Miniature Australian Shepherd.”

Mini Australian Shepherd vs Standard: Appearance & Size

According to the Australian shepherd breed standard, males should stand 20 to 23 inches tall, while females should be 18 to 21 inches tall. The standard does not specify a minimum weight, but according to the AKC, male dogs should weigh between 50 and 65 pounds, and female dogs should weigh between 40 and 55 pounds.

The breed standard for the miniature Australian Shepherd stipulates that male dogs must be 14 to 18 inches tall and female dogs must be 13 to 17 inches. These dogs often weigh between 20 and 40 pounds.

The two breeds share other breed appearance requirements outlined in breed standards. Both breeds have four primary colors: blue merle, black, red merle, and red. White markings are permitted, but only if they do not spill across the body or take over the dog’s primary color.


These active dog breeds are renowned for being protective and won’t hold back if it perceives a threat to you or their “flock.”

Additionally, they are ready to please, strong-willed, incredibly energetic, attentive, and simple to train.

These dogs need mental stimulation to thrive, so teaching them tricks, retrieval games, or dog puzzles can definitely help.

The little Aussie is typically friendlier with her human family and other dogs than the Aussie. However, they are not very friendly to strangers.

Exercise Needs

Minis and standards both require the same level of physical activity. They were bred to be working dogs that could spend the entire day herding sheep at high altitudes. They may become destructive if they do not receive at least 30 to 60 minutes a day.

The mini Aussies are less hyperactive than other mini breeds compared to the standards. While the Miniature Australian Shepherds need the same amount of exercise, they take up less room.


Mini Aussies are wiser than normal Aussies. They succeed in agility and obedience events because they enjoy interacting with their owners and picking up new tricks. Both dogs can be trained fast, and they pay close attention to and properly obey instructions because they are still working dogs. For these dogs, early obedience training is extremely advantageous.


Australian Shepherd prices usually range from $650 to 850, but they can go as high as $1800 depending on lineage.

Although the average cost of a miniature Australian Shepherd is $800, top-quality breeds can cost between $2300 and $10,000.

Shedding and Grooming

The same coat type and level of maintenance are needed for both mini and standard Aussies. These dogs will require weekly or more hand brushings.

Australian Shepherds have thick coats that can become matted if not properly maintained.

Both breeds have a double coat. This means that both small mini and standard Aussies shed their coats twice a year, in the spring and the fall. Therefore, owners will need to brush their dog’s fur once a day or more during these times.

Barking Tendency

Barking is a common trait in Australian Shepherds. Despite their high energy levels, Australian shepherds usually bark at strangers, passersby, loud noises, or animals in the yard. However, they can be trained to be quiet on command. Mini Australian shepherds bark more compared to standard Aussies.


Before  buying a puppy you should confirm that they are tested for specific genetic health issues in both full-sized and mini breeds to guarantee their health.  Testing for hip and elbow dysplasia as well as an annual eye exam are necessary for Australian shepherds. Additionally, they should have a drug  sensitivity test.


Mini and standard Australian Shepherds have a common lineage which makes them have similarities. However, they have differences in size, ease of handling, and grooming.

Your lifestyle greatly determines your choice. When given the right care, they make great companions and working dogs.

Read Also: Doberman Golden Retriever Mix Guide

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