Breed Information

Miniature American Shepherds & Toy Australian Shepherds

Miniature American Shepherds (MAS) are a newly (2015) recognized breed in the herding group of the AKC. Smaller Australian Shepherds began to show up in the U.S. rodeo circuit in the 1960s. These smaller Australian Shepherds were selectively bred to reduce their size, while retaining the personality and capabilities of their larger counterparts. Smaller Australian Shepherds were especially popular with equestrians as their loyalty, intelligence, and size made them great travel companions.

The MAS resembles a small Australian Shepherd in looks, personality, and behavior. Even with their compact size, Miniature Americans are still true herders, they are bright, self-motivated workers, endlessly loyal, and lively companions. Despite their smaller size, Minis are energetic, versatile, rugged, and extremely bright. Their flashy coats come in black, blue merle, red, and red merle. Merle can exhibit any amount of marbling, flecks, or blotches. MAS move with a smooth and agile gait developed to adapt to hard work on punishing terrain.

All Miniature American Shepherds are Miniature or Toy Australian Shepherds, but NOT all Miniature or Toy Australian Shepherds are Miniature American Shepherds.

Toy Australian Shepherd

Despite their name, Australian Shepherds were developed in the United States from dogs from the continental U.S. and Europe. Toys range in size from 9-14 inches tall and between 9-20lbs. Toy Australian Shepherds are intelligent working dogs with strong herding and guardian instincts. They are excellent companions.

Toy Australian Shepherds are easily trained to perform assigned tasks with enthusiasm, they want to please their owners. Training should begin at a young age to avoid herding behavior such as nipping at the heels of humans as they try to herd them. They are reserved with strangers, but not shy. Excellent companions for children, they are devoted friends and guardians. They are easy going, loyal, and courageous. They can become nervous and destructive without proper socialization and exercise; they are a working dog and want a job to do.

Left to Right: Red merle, Red Tri, Blue Merle, Black Tri

Webpage adapted from:


Miniature American Shepherd Dog Breed Information (

Australian Shepherd [American Stock Dog Registry]