About Mini Aussies & Miniature American Shepherds
There are many theories about the origin of the Australian Shepherd. Despite its misleading name, the breed as we know it today probably developed in the Pyrenees Mountains somewhere between Spain and France. It was called the Australian Shepherd because of its association with Basque shepherds who came to America from Australia in the 1800s. The Australian Shepherd was initially called by many names, including Spanish Shepherd, Pastor Dog, Bob-Tail, New Mexican Shepherd, and California Shepherd.
The "miniature" Australian Shepherd was originally bred in the 1960s by Doris Cordova, a horse woman from Norco, California. She acquired several small Australian Shepherds off the rodeo circuit and developed a breeding program to preserve the smaller sized dog. Cordova's Spike, a 15" Blue Merle was the first Miniature Australian Shepherd to be registered with the National Stock Dog Registry in 1963. Minis range in size from 14" up to 18" in height and weigh between 20# and 40#s. Of course, there are exceptions! They can be very energetic and do best with a job whether it be obedience, agility, fly ball, disc or your running partner. They are easily trained and are extremely devoted to their families. They have been dubbed "velcro" dogs as they cling to their favorite person. You'll never go to the bathroom by yourself again! These wonderful dogs do best with firm, yet KIND leadership from their owner.
It is imperative that the mini is properly socialized and exposed to various situations as to develop a sound temperament. The socialization window closes for puppies around 16-weeks. After that age it is near impossible to emotionally acclimate a puppy.
Puppy Kindergarten class followed by a Basic Obedience class (at a minimum) is an absolute essential. Without proper socialization the mini can develop fear issues that can lead to a dog that may bite!
While the mini's beautiful double coat is easy to care for (wash and shake!), a couple of times per year the undercoat blows. A really good brushing and bath will usually remove the majority of the shedding undercoat. If not, your vacuum will pick up the rest! You know the saying...."No outfit is complete without dog hair!"
"He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion." -Anonymous
Australian Shepherd Health & Genetics www.ashgi.org
Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) www.offa.org
Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) www.ofa.org