You are here:

Australian Shepherds/Mini vs. Toy Aussies


ToyAussieLover wrote at 2006-06-25 18:18:16
I own a toy aussie.  She is 12 inches and just under 10 lbs.  She has the intelligence and the beauty of the larger dogs just in a smaller package, and she is active going jogging and hiking with me.  She was just perfect for me living in an apartment!  I firmly believe that these little dogs could help keep some of the larger dogs out of shelters by providing an alternative for people who are dead set in love with the aussies.  People who can't handle a larger, very boisterous dog will do better by a smaller version of their cherished breed.  

The quality of the small dogs will differ from breeder to breeder, so just do your research.

aussiesfirst wrote at 2006-10-20 04:29:47
I too have australian shepherds!  All sizes!  Yes, Viginia there are three sizes. If you follw the breed standards. The miniature aussie is the actual real original aussie.  When introduced to America in the 1800's they were smaller than the AKC accepted version of today.  The ranchers began breeding them to be larger due to the larger livestock that they were used to herd here in the U.S.  The long struggle to have the Aussie accepted by the AKC was worth all of  the trouble it took.  My answer to the original poster looking for a toy.  Do your homework.  Check the pedigrees.  Trace them back to a full size aussie of smaller stature.  Toys are new(well been around for years just not classified as a toy or a standard agreed upon by formal club) and if they have the pedigree and a reputable breeder and you like the temperament get one.  I love all of my aussies in all of their sizes.  Any breeder of any breed can be disreputable.  Know the breed you are interested in and pick the one that is right for you.  Be prepared for a lifetime committment and be finacially and emotionally responsible to the breed that you choose.  Love your poopers!

Oralia Hughes wrote at 2007-02-17 13:47:34
Could it be that you a just a little biased? I have both the toy and the mini. The toy makes a great companion and is easier to take care of than the mini. The mini goes hiking, biking, and fishing with my husband. So to say they do not exist is unrealistic. Keep in mind no matter which one you play with they both have the standard Aussie traits. My toy is the one who goes out and herds our goats from one field to the next. She weight all of ten pounds and is still able to do this on her own.

loveaussies wrote at 2007-04-05 00:45:41
There truly are full-blooded "toy" size australian shepherds.  I have had full size aussies for over 20 years. There are no outside lines to create the smaller dog, a smaller "standard" bred with another smaller "standard" eventually became "minis", and so on. I now have 1 standard (70lbs), 1 mini (32lbs), and 3 toys (10-12lbs).  I have full five generation pedigrees on them and can attest that they are everything a standard is just smaller. It is a fact that it is much easier to travel with 12lbs than it is with 80.  Same temperament, intelligence and herding instinct.

brit wrote at 2007-04-25 18:22:09
That isn't true, there ARE toy aussie breeders. They will breed a 14" male and a 13" female and they will come out with a 12" female then they will buy a 11" and breed those two together and so on. Toy aussies are recognized by the AKC and UKC.

shaykett wrote at 2007-05-23 21:25:08
There are many fine reputable breeders of Toy and Miniature Australian Shepherds. There are Standard Aussie breeders that are having issues with the fact that the Toy and Mini breed are taking business away from the Standard. The Standard Australian Shepherd is a wonderful dog and certainly one to consider. The Miniature and Toy is equally a great dog depending upon what you are looking for and the size that you desire. The Toy is the newest of the breed. The previous response does have some truth to it. The Toy Australian Shepherd has become such a popular breed because of the ease of their size that everyone wants to breed them. Many back yard breeders and puppy mills that will do anything to make a dollar are trying to take advantage of the popularity of the breed. Any time a new breed becomes as popular as this breed has it usually is a detriment to the breed until those are culled out. There are many very reputable breeders that are working very hard on this breed. I stress that a true Toy Australian Shepherd is pure Australian Shepherd blood. Please go to and visit some of the breeders of the TOY AUSTRALIAN SHEPHERD ASSN. OF AMERICA. There is only Australian Shepherd bloodlines in the dogs that are found on the breeders directory.  

joshnemma wrote at 2007-05-30 06:27:18
Hey folks. Like most of you, I am an aussie owner (std, 3 yo), she comes from a working line of dogs and with her broad shoulders and barrel chest she is very trim at 55 lbs. More importantly, she is the coolest dog I have ever had the pleasure of chilling with. the way she attacks a frisbee in flight inspires me, lol.

I don't personally have a problem with the existence of a miniature/toy version of this breed. I see the arguments for them, and they are adorable dogs.  That being said, I have concerns with the mechanisms of miniaturizing any  naturally large breed. If these are aussies bred small by selective breeding, than only the smallest of the litters have commercial value as the breed gets smaller. Since the breeders are selling in a market of small-dog buyers, the pups that aren't as small are often very difficult to move. And we all know what unscrupulous (and some 'legitimate') breeders do with hard-to-sell pups. I also wory about hip displaysia in small aussies since even in the "standard" breed the effort to create show-aussies with delicate rear-end bone structure has resulted in a drastic increase in hip displaysia in the breed in the last 8 years.

I love hearing the thoughts of all you folks with aussies of every size. my above comments are mere philosiphizing. If you have found a companion in a tiny aussie, then more power to you. The persoanalty of this breed is a huge draw for many of us. Emma is begging for a game of frisbee now, so tata.

Kim wrote at 2007-06-13 22:21:45
Hi, Shelly.  I just purchased a small miniature Aussie.  Her pedigree goes back to AKC and NSDR(which is older then AKC.  There are other registries that allow you to register any puppy that meets their requirements.  Because of this mixed breed puppies are intering their gene pool.  When buying a Mini or Toy Aussie make sure you stick with the AKC, NSDR, or MASCA reg.  These are more regulated so you can get a true Mini or Toy Aussie.  Also the biggest problems I have seen with the toys are more conformation problems (Pirky ears, round eyes, and just not quite Aussie looking)  So for now I would try to find a smaller Mini. with good bloodlines.

toysminisareheretostay wrote at 2007-07-05 13:15:14
I have a mini aussie and a toy aussie.  They both are wonderful dogs.  My mini is all of 15 pounds and my toy is 8 pounds.  

Both dogs are great companions and still do what the larger dogs do as far as herding.

These are not mixed-up gene-pool breeding... these are pure bred aussies who happen to be small.  Personally, I like the smaller version much better because they travel so much easier than an 80 pound dog!

Karla wrote at 2007-10-24 14:05:16
I am a toy and mini aussie breeder that totally disagrees with this person. I got my first one just because she was smaller and was a better fit in the cab of the truck, my camper and my bed. These are great dogs and are not cross bred with any thing. I know it happens, so shop with caution, not all breeders are underhanded.

Aussie not Shetland Sheepdog or a Corgi. There are huge differences in personality.

queenb wrote at 2007-10-24 16:11:59
I have two mini/toy aussies and they are wonderful indoor dogs. The only problem that I see with the smaller aussie is that they do shed like the larger ones. I have to brush mine every other day to keep the shedding to a minimum. I love my two babies. One is a little over two and the other is 9months. The older one goes everywhere with me and everyone loves him. If you love the big ones, you will love the smaller ones. They have the same kind of personality.

I gr8maddog wrote at 2008-05-12 18:35:46
I am a hobby breeder of mini and toy Australian shepherds. I have a toy that is breathtaking in her beauty and conformation, yet gets in trouble for always getting in with the livestock to work them. She goes riding on the trails with us and is an extreme aussie in a small package. Our male has a natural bob tail and his sire works the sale barn penning cows. Now are there disreputable breeders out there "YES"!!!! But don't dig a whole unit as the same. I got my start with a "standard" whose parents are both WTCH's and she came from a hall of fame kennel. She stands 16 inches. The AKC larger framed "show" dogs are not what the breed is about. It should be about the intelligence, the form to function in herding and movement. Our toys and minis excel at agility. My 11 inch toy jumps almost as high as my standard!!!

Shade Tree Aussies wrote at 2008-11-27 10:47:41
I find it interesting that the Standard Breeders feel so threaten by this. I grew up on a sheep ranch in Northern Idaho. As a small child I hung out at the sheep camps most of the summers. The Aussies there were not nearly as large as what the Standard is today. Some of them had prick ears and more refined faces. These dogs came from the Spanish families that worked the sheep. Once the breed was discovered by the cattle industry there was a huge push to increase the size of the breed. I belive they breed them to larger breeds to decrease the time it took to make them larger and cause the current, fashion only ear set as the ear set does not make them better or worse stock dogs.

My research has lead me to belive that first people to try to preserve the smaller version started with some of the old stock that was untouched from the original breed that the sheep herders in North America developed.

The person who wrote the first answer here says they have 7 large Aussies in town. I am sure they get great care, however my 8 mini's and toys can all nap with me on the bed, at least 3 of them will sleep with my husband and I nightly. I show my babies, I can get all 8 in my mini van no problem. They cost less to feed, they still work, play ball and Frisbee.

The suggestion to look for a legitimate and reputable breeder is a good one. A better suggestion is to add to that, a knowledgeable breeder of these great little dogs. The problem here is that the standard breeders don't want these little guys competing with them. The truth of the matter is they don't. Each size brings different abilities and serves different proposes much like the Poodle breed does.  

Don't overlook the smaller version of a great breed. Just understand all Aussies are very active and intelligent. Left alone all day with nothing to do day after day makes them do things to entertain themselves you may not appreciate. They are people dogs and require human interaction, lots of exercise and mental stimulation on a regular basis. If you can provide that you will never find a more loyal and loving dog that will help you raise your kids, keep the critters in line or just herd you when ever possible. They are a joy to have around no matter what size you choose to live with you.

Cheryl wrote at 2009-02-06 00:25:05
Sorry but there are Miniature & Toy Aussies .

I have them and breed them from full size aussies

That I also own .... They are just like any other breed that has been bred down the size.

I have not crossed any of my aussies with any other breed of dog. Thats not to say others may or may not have.  You need to be careful from whom & where you get your pup. But you should do that any way ..

My toys herd the goats just like my mini & full size aussies. They don't know they are toy size they have a big heart and a big attitude with lots of spunk just like mini & full size aussies.

Just because AKC says there is no such dog .. doesn't make it so .. up until about 7 years ago they said that Austraian Shapherds were not a bred ...

Anne Williamson wrote at 2009-05-18 14:40:50
Actually, there is such a thing as a toy aussie.  They were bred down from the mini, over the past 60 years.  There are many reputable breeders, who breed for a totally aussie look, with a wider face, almond-shaped eyes, and good bone.  Just do a search online for toy aussie or toy australian shepherd, and you should find them just fine.  Like their larger counterparts, they are great at frisbee, agility, and sleeping with you on the couch.

lquinsd wrote at 2009-07-28 22:06:01
The person who responded to your question obviously has a attitude regarding mini/toy aussies.  They are corrected in indicating that the AKC does NOT recgonize toy/mini however, there are several registries that do.  The comment regarding the mini and toy being better suited for urban life is INCORRECT responsible breeders have chosen breeding stock that have shown not to be work driven and bred them to simlar dogs.  My minis and toys are bred soley from standard size aussies and not mixed bred with other breeds!  My minis and toy make great pets and lap dogs!  They are not work driven and are a pleasure to be around.

lissa wrote at 2010-04-26 17:31:50
Iquinnside, you say that your dogs are not work driven?  Why?  Do you think if they were aussies they would not be work driven?  No, the aussie is a working dog, and should show some instinct in this area.  Minis and toys are NOT australian shepherds,they are there own breed, please dont confuse the2.

frankie wrote at 2010-04-27 08:51:54
I personally with many others will always vote to continue pressure on the AKC and UKC not to allow the "mini, toy" in the registry. I am insulted when my dogs are subtitled as "Standard or Full size" . There is and for now only one Australian Shepherd end of story.

"There is no officially recognized Australian Shepherd variety such as "Standard," "Mini/Miniature, " or "Toy" Australian Shepherd.

Advertisers of Standard, Miniature, and Toy Varieties of Australian Shepherds are simply employing marketing terminologies to facilitate the sale of animals to the unsuspecting public that are, in reality, just dramatically smaller than normal. Responsible, reputable Australian Shepherd breeders who care about protecting this unique, American breed of stock dog do not promote the sale of Standard or Miniature or Toy Varieties of Australian Shepherds. This is a marketing ploy to sell faulty, undersized pups for increased prices."

AussieGirl wrote at 2011-03-03 19:55:07
There most definitely is a mini version of the standard size.  It is in the works now for AKC full recognizition of the minis.  Unfortunately, when AKC recognized the standard size in the early 90's, the parent group that brought in the standard size Aussies to the AKC, had legal paperwork done stating that the AKC could not recognize any size variety as being Australian Shepherds.  IF not for that minis would already be recongized.  The only way around the whole mess, is for AKC to recognize the minis under a new name (North American Shepherd is the one in top spot now).  However, they are truly mini Aussies.  We breed and raise the minis, and many of our minis are dual-registered.  They have their AKC Australian Shepherd papers, but were small enough to be registered with the mini registries as well.

mariposa1177 wrote at 2011-08-12 16:09:55
I completely disagree with the above answer. While there is no doubt that there are plenty of people who do "lead a campaign of deception" and mix the breed in order to reduce the size, there ARE breeders out there who do not. I am currently in correspondence with a breeder who breeds 100% aussie toys & minis. I think she is the best in the county. I have not picked mine yet, since it is a 14 year commitment, I have taken my time in doing research and not jumping into anything quickly. BUT if you do the research and get to know the breeder, who the parents of all the puppies are, etc. YOU WILL FIND WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR. I hear WAY too many people talking about  what the person above does WITHOUT really knowing. I suggest you try for starters.


I mini/toy aussie soon to be owner! :)  

tracy wrote at 2013-04-03 21:00:14
i'd like to know why you all waste so much energy worrying about these things? a great dog is a great dog, who cares if they are "recognized"? breeding dogs for money is EVIL. they are a living being, not a commodity. how would you feel if we bred people for cash? take all the best looking, smartest ones and crossed them. and threw out/ killed all the rest? there are millions of unwanted dogs, people buy a cute puppy then mistreat it and dump it. shelters are full of amazing dogs, kind, loving, gentle, loyal, energetic, and fun. and most of them are killed because there is no room to support them. so all the breeders are doing is adding to this problem. and buying a dog from a breeder is equally bad. rescue an aussie if you want one. there are hundreds in every size. and quit your whining about breed standards. just rescue a dog and love it and protect it until it's very last day. that's all i have to say. my rescued toy/mini aussie pom cross is THE best dog you will EVER find. period.

Australian Shepherds

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Shelly H


I can answer questions about training, health, genetics, breeding, competition, rescue and how to locate a good breeder


I have almost seventeen years experience with the Australian Shepherd as a breeder, exhibitor, and judge.

Organizations belong to
Australian Shepherd Club of America (ASCA)
President of the Texas Australian Shepherd Association
Officer of the Northwest Texas Australian Shepherd Association Author, Illustrator of the online Australian Shepherd Illustrated Breed Standard:

©2017 All rights reserved.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]