Both the Australian shepherd dog and the miniature American shepherd are exceptionally popular herding breeds, but because they likely have common ancestors, it's difficult to identify specific reasons to choose one breed over the other.
In this article, we will look at the pros and cons of owning each, try to identify key differences between them, and finally attempt to make a case for one of these breeds being a better family pet than the other.
Let’s dive in to get the answers we need, shall we?
Miniature American Shepherd
The Miniature American Shepherd is a herding dog that was developed by selectively breeding small Australian Shepherds for their desired smaller size. It is a compact dog with a strong work ethic. As such, they have been lauded by enthusiasts as an excellent choice for dogs sports such as herding, agility and flyball.
In June 2012 the AKC recognized the Miniature American Shepherd as a new developing breed and gave the breed Foundation Stock Service ("FSS") status.
Miniature American Shepherd Pros
- We know miniature American shepherds to be very easy to train
- They're considered a low maintenance breed as they don't require a high level of grooming
- When you talk about dogs who tend to drool the miniature American shepherd would be on the low end of the scale
- These are a very child-friendly dog
- They're also friendly to senior citizens
Miniature American Shepherd Cons
- There's some evidence to support the fact that miniature American shepherds have frequent health issues
- not suitable for anyone who suffers from allergies as they are hypoallergenic
- They tend to hurt both people and other animals and play-bite chew and nip
- Because of this breed, they have high impulses to explore wander and roam
- Known as a stubborn breed of dog they're not a great first-time pet
The Australian shepherd, commonly known as an Aussie, is a breed of dog that was developed on ranches in the western United States. Despite its name, the breed was not developed in Australia, but rather in the United States where they were seen in the West as early as the 1800s.
They have a similar look to the popular English Shepherd and Border Collie breeds. It often excels at dog sports such as dog agility, flyball, and frisbee.
Australian Shepherd Pros
- Australian shepherds are a highly intelligent breed
- They are very easy to train
- They're another example of a low drooling breed of dog
- They naturally excellent watchdogs
- We can trust them not to wander away or roam on impulse
- They're very adaptable and only need a very simple living environment
- They're both senior citizens and kid-friendly
Australian Shepherd Cons
- Because of their hypoallergenic nature, Australian shepherds are not advisable for anyone who suffers from allergies
- They have a high potential to gain weight.as they are herding dogs they chew, play-bite, and nip.
- Australian shepherds have a very low tolerance for being left alone they will need to be in the presence of a family member most of the time
- They're known not to play well with others and they're not welcoming of strangers
- As they will require a high level of maintenance and training, purchasing an Australian shepherd is not advisable for a novice dog owner
How to Choose
What is the Difference?
Although the Australian shepherd just like looks like the big brother of the mini American shepherd, there are some key differences between the two breeds:
Eyes – One of the first things that attract dog owners to these breeds is their exceptional eyes. They can be brown or blue and commonly tend to display Heterochromia. If you're not familiar with that term it just means that their eyes can be different colors are sometimes kind of two different colors in the same eye.
Height – Australian shepherds can stand up to 23 inches tall at the shoulder with males being the taller, Miniature American shepherds can reach up to 18 in height, making them a more compact dog.
Coat – Boot breeze very similar coats that can be wavy or straight I would be medium in coarseness and length. The most recognizable colors in both dogs are red merle blue merle red and black you will occasionally see these colors coupled with some white or tan markings. You may be lucky enough to pick up one of the rogue DNA color mutations that will give you a brown puppy well these are rare. That they only find this specific mutation in American shepherds and Australian shepherds adds a lot of credence to The view that American shepherd dogs are direct descendants of smaller Australian shepherds.
Weight – Male Australian shepherds can weigh anything from 50 to 60 lb and a female Australian shepherd will weigh anything from 40 to 55 lb Many American shepherds weigh 20 to 40 lb but their weight doesn't vary by sex having said that boys tend to be a little heavier than girls. Looking at this you can see that a smaller mini miniature American shepherd can be Just 1/3 the size of its Australian cousin.
Which Makes a Better Family Pet?
As we mentioned previously both these breeds are exceptionally smart breed that tends to hurt people and other animals and play-bite, they easily learn complex orders cues and routines as it trains them to confidently operate far away from their handlers.
If you have smaller pets or even small children in your home. Their basic instinct can sometimes cause problems as they will nip or play bite to get their way.
As part of their job is to protect whatever herd of animals they were guarding, either breed makes a great guard dog. But also remember that they may display these guarding tendencies regarding their territory toys and food and even the most valuable member of the family whoever that may be to them.
We know neither breed to be welcoming of strangers. I tend to be standoffish and suspicious. But once they bond with a family member, they are truly devoted and loyal pets.
Choosing one breed over the other will it be down to a matter of preference:
If you have more space to exercise you should probably choose an Australian shepherd.
If you're operating in a smaller environment and have less time to spend with your dog choosing the miniature American shepherd would make sense.
As you probably worked out, the Australian shepherd and the miniature American shepherd are the same dogs; they just come in different packages. Both are ideally suited for people who love the outdoors and have a lot of time to devote themselves to providing their pets with mental stimulation and training.
Anyone who enjoys sports, especially ones that involve their pets, would love either of these breeds. Both are exceptional breeds for several reasons. As we highlighted the only key difference between the two is their sizes. That Australian Shepards don't enjoy being left alone may be a deciding factor for some pet owners.
-  ^ YouTube video: This Is Why the Mini Australian Shepherd Is So popular!
-  ^ YouTube video: 10 Thing to Know Before Getting an Australian Shepherd