Copyright © 2013 by Debbie Murray  •   All Rights reserved   •   E-Mail:
Debbie Murray
South Central Kentucky
What is a toy or mini Aussie? Australian Shepherds are divided into three size categories, Standard, Mini and Toy. Standard Aussies are above 18" at the shoulder, Minis are 13-18" and Toy Aussies are 11-13".  Miniature Australian Shepherds can now be registered by the American Kennel Club (AKC) under the new name “Miniature American Shepherd” or with National Stock Dog Registry (NSDR).
What is a toy or mini Aussie like? Aussies are herding dogs so they are very intelligent and like to work both mentally with obedience training and physically with agility or herding.
Aussies are very attached to their people pack and are slower to accept strangers. They should not be aggressive but also should be given time to get acquainted with new people. Socialization is very important with Aussies when they are puppies and young adults.
Are they healthy? Toy and mini Aussies are hearty dogs if bred from healthy parents. They are a smaller breed but are not fragile. A reputable breeder should do health clearances prior to breeding.
Why are toy and mini Aussies more expensive? The market pricing from a reputable breeder must include their costs for health evaluations and showing. In addition, litter sizes are relatively small so there are not as many healthy dogs available from reputable breeders. Do beware of very low prices. Ask questions and do your homework in order to not support a puppy mill and end up with a substandard dog with costly health issues.
How can I check out a breeder? Ask the breeder for the name of their veterinarian for references.  Look for them in the show ring which indicates they attempt to better the breed and for sound dogs.  Visit their home to meet the adults and see the surroundings.
At what age should I get a puppy? Most agree shipping after 8 weeks old is best so the momma dog and siblings help them learn to be a "dog".
Why do you recommend training with your puppy? An intelligent dog needs the stimulation of learning new things and is happiest when they get to work some each day. Boredom in a puppy can sometimes lead to bad behavior and frustration for you.  Mental exercise, even in the form of basic obedience practice, relaxes a puppy much the same as physical exercise.
Do you dock your puppies tails? Yes.  Toy and Mini Aussies can be born with a natural bob tail or a longer one.  Because the breed standard calls for a docked tail, I subscribe to that requirement.
What do you like most about your dogs? Each of my dogs has a slightly different personality which we find endearing.  Izzy is very loyal and a lap dog.  She is intelligent and wants very much to please so she is easy to train.  She is also athletic and fun to play with.  She lives to play Frisbee. Fancy is a funny, happy dog.  She is very comfortable in her skin and meets new people very easily.  She has awesome conformation and is fun to put in the show ring.  Rosie has the same happy demeanor of her dam, Fancy, times two.  She LOVES everyone.  Swagger is a pistol, what more do I need to say!!  Maddie and Clue are getting more used to being a part of our pack.  Both are easy dogs and don't make waves.
What are your favorite books about dogs? I read dog books like most people read novels so I have shelves full.   Dr. Patricia McConnell is a knowledgeable author and I have most of her books in my resource library.  I also like Another Piece of the Puzzle by Pat Hastings for help with giving my puppies a good head start on life as well as Before and After you Get Your Puppy by Ian Dunbar.
Where do you train your dogs? I train with my dogs in classes at my local training center in Obedience, Agility and Conformation Prep. I have trained under a variety of trainers and find some to be less desirable than others.  Be sure your trainer uses positive reinforcement with repetitiveness to be most effective. Turn away from aversive techniques because toy and mini Aussies are sensitive and do not respond well to reprimand. I am also a member of Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) and because of my membership have access to amazing training information in audio, video and written form.

If you have additional questions, send me an email or call me.  I’m happy to discuss my experience with the breed even if you are not in the market for a puppy at this time.
Frequently Asked Questions