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Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care
Guide To Australian Shepherd Training and Care

Aussie vs Mini Aussie

by Rob
(North Dighton, MA)

The Murph

The Murph

Hi... We recently lost our red merle Australian Shepherd of 13 years (Murphy)… he was such a great dog and we loved and miss him so (only dog my kids every knew) and are planning to get another puppy soon. We have been looking at both Australian Shepherds and Miniature Australian Shepherds and are not sure what direction to go.

We live on 2/3 of a acre in Southern MA (currently with chickens and couple of cats) and plan on doing obedience and agility training. I have heard from Australian Shepherd breeders that Minis are not considered an Aussie but a different breed (sometimes breed with Pomeranians) and should be avoided... my wife and I are just starting our 50's and are very active (lots of walks in parks all over NE) and want the right dog to share our lives... can you help. Thank you

Note from Anton: I know this can be a hot-button issue for many so please keep comments educational and civil.

You can find more info about Aussie vs Mini Aussie here.

Comments for Aussie vs Mini Aussie

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hope this helps
by: Wilda

I don't know why they say that mini and toy Aussies are NOT real Aussies, they look like them, they're smart like them, and they have most if not all of the same characteristic...we used to hve a standard Aussie, Luke, he lived only 5 years because of the eplilespy(if you want, read my story in the memoreals,under: "the best present ever"; anyway, we recently got a toy Aussie, wich is smaller than a mini(mini's can be a big as 35 pounds, as oppose to a toy whch should be about 20 pounds). We love the breed, but we couldn't really do the standard because of our chichuhua couldn't handle a big dog, and besides, we were hoping to give the Chi a playmate his size(we also have a chow/retriever mix that is 14 years old, and so we know she will probably be leaving us in the not so distant future). Everything about this little toy Aussie,we named Cooper, scream Australian ShepHerd. He has a great disposition, and he lays and sits, and "flops" just like our Luke used to. He reminds us so much of our boy Luke, only smaller. We too are in our 50's, and we find it great to be able to take him with us places,we couldn't take Luke before because of his size. oh and th bathe is a breeze.
P.S. I have a picture of him in one of the stories entitled "grateful to God" if you want to see him.

Mini Aussies
by: Anonymous

I have a mini aussie and know that they are not bred with pomeranians or any other breed than the mini aussie. Our dog is the most lovable sweet dog, they are just like the regular size just smaller. Call a reputable breeder and they will tell you about their mini aussies.

Go for the MINI!
by: Anonymous

I love my mini Aussie! She is the soo smart and loveable..couldn't have asked for a better dog :) And the perfect size to take her everywhere with me.

Mini Aussie
by: Nonnie

We have both a Mini-Aussie and a Toy Aussie. They are both adorable and have all the same characteristics of the full size Aussie.

Shelties are the best!
by: Anonymous

We have a sheltie that is AMAZINGLY SMART and VERY easy to train and all they want to do is please you. We wanted a 2nd Sheltie but also liked the idea and looks of a mini aussie. We just got a very small toy and have only had her a day but she is almost 4 months old and already I can see that she is not nearly as smart as my sheltie was at only 9 weeks! My Sheltie basically housetrained herself. She just got it and never had one accident. The toy peed in her crate the first night, and on her little bed. I am feeling like I made a mistake between the two. If you read websites on the intelligence of the two, you will see that many say the Shelties intelligence is almost human like. They main goal is to please you, they are very loyal and extremely obedient. I will post later how the mini aussie is doing with training but I would seriously looking into a Sheltie. They are AMAZING dogs and the size of a mini aussie and smaller. Our is a petite 14" and 18-20 lbs. They are great to be active with but then will settle right down at your feet while you watch TV.

smart little aussie
by: Patti

OMG!! I have a four month old toy Aussie and she is soooo smart! She understands so many words, you ask her where is her toy, she goes and gets it and brings it to you, if her big brother, Casey is outside and wants in, she barks and then comes to find us to make sure we let him in, she comes, she sits, she knows when we are getting ready to leave. She love everyone and is the joy of our lives. There is no doubt about her intelligence (and I have owned four Border Collies)!! These little ones are taking a bad rap, and I don't know why!

Who cares?
by: Lissa

I've read the arguments over the issue regarding miniature Aussies. I am an older woman, have always leaned toward big dogs but, since I can no longer lift them if necessary, had to consider a smaller breed. Through my researching, I discover a little dog called the miniature Australian Shepherd. A big dog in a little dog body! You just couldn't find a more perfect dog. You can argue and be indignant regarding the purity of the breed til the end of time. We don't care. My Rosie is an Aussie through and through in every way imaginable. Absolutely no evidence of other breeds whatsoever in her personality, temperament, appearance, behavior,,,,,except, of course,the fact that she weighs twenty pounds. You can be offended by her very existence if you like. But I get to enjoy her intelligent, energetic,loving, happy, clownster personality. She was herding everyone and everything she could find at the age of 6 weeks. Best behaved, smartest, most easily trained dog I've ever owned (and there's been more than a few). So back Tom your arguments, call her breed what you will, I will call her my Rosie.

Shelties versus Mini aussies
by: Anonymous

I read the post Shelties are best. I raised Standard collies and dabbled with Shelties. I will argue that they are best. You couldn't pay me to own another. I found them to be barking, jumping, hyper, dogs. Most people who own them have to resort to debarking to make peace with their neighbors. I am sure a bark collar may also do the trick in a more humane manner.
I now have my first mini aussie. Unbelievable little dog. So smart. Picks up on words so fast and listens to us talking as if it is totally understandable to his little self. As far as house training, never ever went in the crate. You must remember how small their bladder is and if you expect at nine weeks for them to go all night , you are asking too much. I took mine out after four hours at night and gradually increased the time with age. Their bladder is so tiny in the toy and mini size. Don't give up on yours and don't compare to a Sheltie. They are not the same at all!

Mini Aussie
by: Anonymous

I recently got a mini aussie. She was eight weeks old when I picked her up. From the get go she barked at the door to go outside to do her "business". She is now ten weeks and knows sit, stay, and the word she loves most is "treat". I took her to the vet yesterday and was afraid she was going to be jumping around, etc. Instead she just laid her tiny body down beside me and observed all that was happening around her. Everyone commented on how well behaved she was during our hour wait. She is precious. And she gets along with my 8 year old Cairn Terrier. I do agility with my Cairn and plan to do so with the my mini aussie, Skye, as soon as she is old enough.

Toy Aussies are the problem
by: Standard Aussie Breeder

As a breeder of the Standard Aussie, I will always prefer the Standard Aussie to the Mini. I just like the bigger size. But I will admit, most mini's I've been around do act like Aussies and are intelligent. The problem is the Toys. They are not Aussies. Half of them look ill, their bones are so brittle. They yap like small dogs, and have pencil faces like Pomeranian's. Aussies just weren't meant to be that small, and it's obvious they had to mix the Mini Aussies with some crappy small breed to create the toys. If you're wanting a true Aussie, I always say go standard, but the mini's are usually fine too. If you want a mix breed that breeders con people into spending $3000 on, get a toy.

Toys, minis, standards
by: Anonymous

I’ve raised all sizes of Aussies. I now work only with the minis and toys. MY Toys are the runts of my mini breedings and ABSOLUTELY NOT the product of mix breeding an Aussie with "some crappy" little breed. I usually get one or two toys out of a litter of 6 typical mini Aussie puppies. They are brilliantly smart puppies, but they are still puppies, and as such have to be taught in order to learn. I’m not going to debate aussies vs shelties because I’ve never raised any shelties. However, I could NEVER ask for nor expect to have puppies any smarter than my mini and toy aussies. They are eager and ready to learn and please from the time they can see you, and, in my experience, they are fast, very fast, learners.

Anyone that says that a nine week old puppy can go all night without pottying in his crate is either not feeding/watering that puppy or just lying. Puppies physically can not go that many hours because their bladders and colons are not mature enough at that age to hold it that long. Their central nervous system is also not developed enough at that age to coordinate with their brains and even allow them to control their pottying.

Some pet owners are now feeding puppies grain free food because they don’t eat as much, and thus, they don’t poop as much. However, that is not a healthy alternative for a puppy. Please don’t feed grain free puppy food to those babies. The last puppy I actually purchased was on grain free and would not eat nor poop regularly. I was feeding her the food the breeder gave me until I researched it and found that grain free food will actually damage the internal organs. My vet agreed that no puppy or even adult dog should be on grain free unless they have a specific medical condition requiring grain free food, which is very rare. Responsible pet parents will feed with a good (not necessarily expensive designer brand) puppy chow complete, and will clean up behind the puppy a couple of times a day. At around 14 to 16 weeks they will stop peeing and pooping in their crates on their own, when their little body systems have matured to the point where they can control their bladders and colons. As far as potty training in the house, you have to take them outside every 30 to 45 minutes, and teach them some type of signaling before you take them out each time. I keep small wind chimes on each of my exterior doors, and would take my puppy’s paw and slap the chimes with the paw before I opened the door each time I took him out. With time, he learned to signal me with the wind chimes when he needed to go out.
Please don’t rush or punish a puppy when it comes to potty training, and remember they are canine babies. Would we punish human babies for having a potty accident?

Lastly, the best dog breed is one of personal preference. Please don’t be critical of one breed in an attempt to uplift your particular choice breed. The best dogs are a product of the time, effort, care, and love given them. Even shelties and aussies can turn out less than desirable if a human being has not put in sufficient time with them.

To the “shelties are better” blogger
by: Anonymous

You are going to judge a 4 month old puppy based on what it did on its first night with you???? You don’t know what time if any has been spent with that baby, and you are comparing her to a puppy you have had since it was 9 weeks old. I hope you don’t judge children this way. That Aussie will become as great or bad of a dog as you have time to spend with her. Give her a chance and certainly more than 24 hours before you start passing judgements and voicing your regrets. I’m sure you will have no problems rehoming her if she does not work out in your home. I don’t think you actually thought about your comments before submitting them. Don’t say shelties are better than aussies based on your one day experience with an Aussie puppy thrown into a new environment. How cruel of you!

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