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Toy Australian Shepherd: A Miniature Version of a Beloved Breed - PawSafe

Toy Australian Shepherd: A Miniature Version of a Beloved Breed

Photo of Tamsin De La Harpe

Written by Tamsin De La Harpe

Toy Australian Shepherd

Embarking on the journey of welcoming a Toy Australian Shepherd puppy into your home promises to be an adventure filled with energy, affection, and a dash of mischievous intelligence. The Toy Australian Shepherd, a smaller counterpart of the standard Australian Shepherd, packs all the vibrant characteristics of the breed into a more compact, manageable size.

This introduction to the world of Toy Australian Shepherds will guide you through the ins and outs of what to expect with these captivating puppies, from their boundless energy and sharp minds to their loyal nature and potential as both companions and pint-sized working dogs. Whether you’re considering adopting one of these dynamic puppies or simply curious about this miniature version of an American classic, you’re in for a delightful exploration of their spirited world.

Toy  Australian Shepherds are great family pets and love to play with children. However, due to their high energy, they require regular exercise and mental stimulation, as we are going to see with the help of professionals like  William Keansten in his  Toy Australian Shepherd guide.

Despite their small size, Toy Australian Shepherds are full of life and are known for their high energy and intelligence.  They are also known for their loyalty and affection towards their owners.

They are great companions for active individuals and families who enjoy hiking, running, and other outdoor activities.

They also excel in dog sports such as agility and obedience. With proper training and socialization from an early age, they make great pets for active individuals and families.

History and Origin of Toy Aussies

Close up of black and white Toy Australian shepherd lying on grass

The Toy Australian Shepherd is a smaller version of the Miniature Australian Shepherd, which is a smaller version of the Australian Shepherd breed. This Aussie was developed in the United States during the 1960s by breeding smaller Australian Shepherds together.

The Australian Shepherd breed has a somewhat unclear history. Despite the name, the breed is believed to have originated in the Basque region of Europe. They were brought to the United States in the 19th century to work as herding dogs on ranches and farms.

Over time, the breed gained popularity in the United States and was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1991. However, the smaller versions of the breed, including the Toy Australian Shepherd, are not recognized by the AKC, much like other mini versions such as the Mini Border Collie.

The breeding of smaller teacups, mini, pocket, and toy dogs such as Teacup Maltipoos,  Toy Schnoodles, Teacup Shih Tzus, and Toy Cavapoos has become a controversial topic in recent years. While some breeders claim that these smaller versions are simply a result of selective breeding, others argue that they are the result of breeding unhealthy dogs together.

What Does the Toy Australian Shepherd Look Like?

Toy Australian Shpeherd dog with bob tail standing next to manx cat

The Toy Australian Shepherd is a small, compact dog breed that is known for its athletic and agile build. They have a triangular-shaped head with a medium-sized muzzle and almond-shaped eyes that can be blue, brown or a combination of both. Their ears are high-set and slightly droopy, but stand erect when alert.

How Big Does the Toy Aussie Get?

The Toy Australian Shepherd, as the pint-sized version of the Australian Shepherd breed, usually grows to a height of 25 to 36 centimeters (10 to 14 inches) at the shoulder. Their weight can range between 3 to 9 kilograms (7 to 20 pounds), with males often being slightly larger than females.

Coat 

The Toy Australian Shepherd has a double coat, with a soft, dense undercoat and a longer, coarser outer coat. Their coats can be straight or slightly wavy.

Color

Toy Aussies come in a variety of colors, including black, blue merle, red, and red merle. They may also have white markings on their chest, legs, and face.

How Much do Toy Australian Shepherd Puppies Cost?

On average, a Toy Australian Shepherd puppy for sale can cost anywhere from $800 to $3,500 depending on several factors, including the breeder, location, and the puppy’s pedigree. However, it’s important to note that some breeders may charge significantly more for puppies with desirable traits or bloodlines.

Toy Australian Shepherd. vs. Miniature Australian Shepherd vs. Standard Australian Shepherd

When it comes to Australian Shepherds, there are three main sizes: Toy, Miniature, and Standard.

Each size has its own unique characteristics and traits that make them suitable for different lifestyles and living situations.

Toy Australian Shepherd

Close up of red tri color toy Australian Shepherd puppy with blue eyes

Toy Australian Shepherds are the smallest of the three sizes, standing at only 10-14 inches tall and weighing between 7-20 pounds. They are perfect for those who live in apartments or small homes, as they require less space to run around and exercise. 

Miniature Australian Shepherd

Miniature Australian Shepherds are slightly larger than Toy Australian Shepherds, standing at 13-18 inches tall and weighing between 20-40 pounds. They are still suitable for those living in smaller homes or apartments, but they require more exercise and mental stimulation than Toy Australian Shepherds.

Standard Australian Shepherd

Standard Australian Shepherds are the largest of the three sizes, standing at 18-23 inches tall and weighing between 40-65 pounds. They are best suited for those who live in larger homes or have a lot of outdoor space for them to run and play.

In terms of temperament, all three sizes of Australian Shepherds are loyal, intelligent, and trainable. They are also great for families with children, as they are intelligent and cooperative.

Temperament and Personality Of Toy Australian Shepherds

A small Australian shepherd with black, tan, and white coat in snow

Toy Australian Shepherds are known for their loving and loyal personalities. They are highly intelligent and eager to please, making them easy to train. This breed is also very active and requires plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to prevent boredom and destructive behavior.

Despite their small size, Toy Australian Shepherds have a big personality. They are often described as playful, outgoing, and affectionate. They love to be around people and make great family pets.

Health and Lifespan of The Teacup Australian Shepherd

According to the Australian Shepherd Health & Genetics Institute, Australian Shepherds (including toys) are generally healthy dogs, but like all breeds, they can be prone to certain health issues. Double merle toy Australian Shepherds may also have a higher likelihood of deafness and eye issues.

Some of the most common health problems that Toy Australian Shepherds may face include eye issues, hip and elbow dysplasia, allergy, and epilepsy. 

One study identified a few specific common hereditary conditions in Australians Shepherds that can impact their health and quality of life, which can be crucial for breeders to monitor and control.

  1. Collie Eye Anomaly (9.71%):
    • This is a congenital, hereditary condition that affects the development of the choroid, leading to possible blindness.
  2. Canine Multifocal Retinopathy Type 1 (0.53%):
    • A rare condition that can cause raised lesions to develop on the retina, potentially impacting vision.
  3. Hereditary Cataract (11.64%):
    • This genetic condition leads to the clouding of the lens in the eye, causing a decrease in vision and could lead to blindness if untreated.
  4. Progressive Rod-Cone Degeneration (1.58%):
    • This degeneration of the cells in the retina can lead to night blindness initially, progressing to total blindness over time.
  5. Degenerative Myelopathy (11.77%):
    • This is a progressive spinal cord disease that results in muscle wasting and coordination loss, eventually leading to paralysis.
  6. Bob-tail/Short-tail (31.74%):
    • This is a condition where the dog is born with a shorter tail due to a genetic mutation. While this is often seen as a breed characteristic, it can be associated with spinal issues in some cases.

Implication for Breeders:

This information is crucial for breeders, allowing them to make informed breeding decisions to reduce the prevalence of these genetic conditions in Australian Shepherds. By selecting against these traits and having their Aussies genetically tested, breeders can support the overall health and longevity of this breed. 

How Long do Toy Australian Shepherds Typically Live?

Toy Australian Shepherds have a lifespan of 12 to 15 years on average. However, some Toy Australian Shepherds may live even longer with proper care and attention to their health. To help ensure a long and healthy life for your Toy Australian Shepherd, be sure to provide them with regular veterinary care, a nutritious diet, and plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.

Grooming Needs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXuXX1_Xywg

The Toy Australian Shepherd has a  high grooming requirement. They have a double coat with a soft undercoat and a longer, coarser topcoat. They shed moderately year-round and heavily twice a year during shedding season.

  • Brushing their coat daily  is recommended to prevent matting and tangling.
  • Bathing should be done every 2-3 months. Over-bathing can strip their coat of its natural oils, leading to dry skin and coat. When bathing, it is important to use a dog-specific shampoo and conditioner to avoid skin irritation.
  • Their ears should be checked regularly for signs of infection or debris buildup. Cleaning their ears with a dog-specific ear cleaner and a cotton ball can help prevent infections.
  • Trimming their nails every 4-6 weeks is recommended to prevent overgrowth, which can cause discomfort and even lead to joint problems. 

Training a Toy Australian Shepherd

Toy Australian Shepherds are eager to please and respond well to positive reinforcement training methods. However, like all dogs, they require consistent and patient training to develop good behavior and obedience.

Learn everything you need to know about the charming Toy Australian Shepherd breed, from their history to care tips, in our comprehensive guide.

Though Tiny, Toy Aussies maintain the high energy levels of their larger counterparts. They must have a job to do and commands to follow, or else they’ll turn destructive and try to herd the household. 

Basic Training

The first step in training a Toy Australian Shepherd is to establish yourself as the pack leader. This means setting rules and boundaries and consistently enforcing them.

Basic training commands such as sit, stay, come, and heel should be taught early on and practiced regularly in short training sessions throughout the day. Consistency is key, and it is important to be patient and persistent.

Socialization

Socialization is an important part of training for Toy Australian Shepherds. These dogs are naturally friendly and outgoing, but they can become shy or anxious if not properly socialized. It is important to expose them to a variety of people, animals, and situations from an early age.

Puppy classes and dog parks are great places to socialize Toy Australian Shepherds. It is important to supervise interactions and to reward good behavior with treats and praise.

Advanced Training

Toy Australian Shepherds are highly trainable and excel in advanced obedience and agility training. Advanced training should be introduced gradually and only after basic training has been mastered. It is important to use positive reinforcement techniques and to make training sessions fun and rewarding for the dog.

Dietary Needs

Toy Australian Shepherds have specific dietary needs that should be addressed to ensure their health and well-being. In general, they require a diet that is high in protein and low in fat. 

This is because they are an active breed that needs plenty of energy to keep up with their daily activities. Avoid overfeeding foods that contain fillers, artificial colors, or flavors, as they can lead to obesity, which can cause a variety of health problems.

Provide your Toy Australian Shepherd with plenty of fresh water at all times to prevent dehydration, which can lead to a variety of health problems, including kidney damage.

Living Conditions

Toy Australian Shepherds are a small breed that can adapt well to different living conditions. They are suitable for apartment living as long as they receive enough exercise and mental stimulation, but they can be prone to barking, so it may be better to provide them with more space.

These dogs are not suited to living outdoors all the time. They need to be with their family and should have a warm, comfortable place to sleep indoors. Toy Aussies can be sensitive to extreme temperatures, so it is important to keep them in a climate-controlled environment.

How Do You Get a Toy Australian Shepherd?

Finding a toy Aussie puppy can be a struggle as they are very rare. However, there are two main ways to go about it.

Finding a Breeder

When looking for a Toy Australian Shepherd breeder, it is important to do your research to ensure that you are getting a healthy and well-bred puppy. Here are some tips to help you find a reputable breeder:

  • Check breed registries: Look for breeders who are registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC) or other reputable breed registries. This can help ensure that the breeder is following ethical breeding practices.
  • Ask for referrals: Talk to other Toy Australian Shepherd owners or breeders and ask for referrals. Word of mouth can be a great way to find a trustworthy breeder.
  • Research the breeder: Look up the breeder online and read reviews from other puppy buyers. Check to see if the breeder has any negative reviews or complaints.
  • Visit the breeder: If possible, visit the breeder in person to see the living conditions of the puppies and their parents. This can help you determine if the breeder is ethical and caring for their dogs properly.
  • Ask questions: Don’t be afraid to ask the breeder questions about their breeding practices, the health of their puppies and their parents, and any genetic testing they have done.
  • Get a contract: A reputable breeder will provide you with a contract that outlines the terms of your purchase, including any health guarantees and return policies.

Adopting a Toy Australian Shepherd

When considering adopting a Toy Australian Shepherd, there are a few things to keep in mind. These dogs are known for their intelligence, loyalty, and affectionate nature, making them great family pets. However, they do have some unique needs and characteristics that potential owners should be aware of.

Firstly, it’s important to consider whether a Toy Australian Shepherd is the right breed for your lifestyle. These dogs are active and require daily exercise and mental stimulation to stay healthy and happy. They are also known to be vocal and may bark frequently if not properly trained.

Find a reputable breeder or rescue organization. Look for breeders who prioritize the health and well-being of their dogs and who are knowledgeable about the breed. Rescue organizations can also be a great option, as they often have dogs available for adoption who need loving homes.

Potential owners should also be prepared for the grooming requirements of a Toy Australian Shepherd. Their thick, double coat requires regular brushing and occasional grooming to prevent matting and keep them looking their best.

Best Names for a Toy Australian Shepherd

Merle toy Australian Shepherd Puppy outside in garden

Choosing the perfect name for a Toy Australian Shepherd can be a fun and exciting task. It’s important to choose a name that suits the breed’s unique characteristics and personality. Here are some of the best names for a Toy Australian Shepherd:

1. Blue

This name is perfect for a Toy Australian Shepherd with blue eyes. It’s a simple and easy-to-remember name that suits the breed’s charming and playful nature.

2. Bandit

If your Toy Australian Shepherd has a mischievous and playful personality, Bandit is a great name option. This name also suits the breed’s herding instincts, as they have a tendency to chase after things.

3. Scout

Scout is a great name for a Toy Australian Shepherd that loves to explore and go on adventures. This name also suits the breed’s loyal and protective nature.

4. Bella

Bella is a classic name that suits the Toy Australian Shepherd’s elegant and graceful appearance. It’s a great name for a female Toy Australian Shepherd.

5. Max

Max is a popular name for male dogs, and it’s a great choice for a Toy Australian Shepherd. it suits the breed’s energetic and playful personality.

6. Coco

Coco is a cute and fun name that suits a female Toy Australian Shepherd’s adorable appearance.

7. Charlie

Charlie is a timeless name for a male that suits the Toy Australian Shepherd’s friendly and sociable personality.

8. Luna

Luna is a beautiful and unique name that suits the Toy Australian Shepherd’s mystical and enchanting nature. It’s a great name for a female Toy Australian Shepherd.

9. Rocky

If your Toy Australian Shepherd is tough and resilient, Rocky is a great name option. This name also suits the breed’s athletic and agile nature.

10. Daisy

Daisy is a sweet and charming name that suits the Toy Australian Shepherd’s gentle and affectionate nature. It’s a great name for a female Toy Australian Shepherd.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the average weight of a Toy Australian Shepherd?

The average weight of a Toy Australian Shepherd is between 10 to 18 pounds. However, some Toy Aussies can weigh up to 20 pounds. The weight of a Toy Australian Shepherd can vary depending on gender, diet, exercise, and genetics.

Where can I find reputable Toy Australian Shepherd breeders?

To find reputable Toy Australian Shepherd breeders, you can search online for breeders in your area or ask for recommendations from local dog clubs or veterinarians. It is important to do your research and choose a breeder who is knowledgeable, ethical, and responsible. You can ask to see health clearances and pedigrees to ensure that the breeder is breeding healthy and genetically sound puppies.

What are the pros and cons of owning a Toy Australian Shepherd?

The pros of owning a Toy Australian Shepherd include their small size, intelligence, and loyalty. They are great family pets and are good with children and other pets. They are also easy to train and excel in obedience and agility competitions. However, the cons of owning a Toy Australian Shepherd include their high energy levels and need for daily exercise and mental stimulation. They also have a tendency to bark excessively and can be prone to separation anxiety if left alone for long periods of time.

Do Toy Australian Shepherds have a tendency to shed?

Yes, Toy Australian Shepherds do have a tendency to shed. However, their shedding is minimal compared to other breeds. They have a double coat that sheds twice a year, but regular grooming and brushing can help to minimize shedding.

Final Thoughts

The Toy Australian Shepherd is a delightful and affectionate breed that makes an excellent companion for individuals and families alike. They are intelligent, loyal, and energetic dogs that thrive on human attention and love to be active. While they are small in size, they have big personalities and require plenty of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy.

Meet Your Experts

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Tamsin De La Harpe

Author

Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.

Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.