The So-Called "Mini" and "Toy" Aussies



Pictured above, these are real Aussies!

     I wanted to give some information on the subject of "mini" Aussies, since I've had people ask about them. 
     First of all, I should give some definitions and facts.  The breed standards for AKC and ASCA Aussies don't have any size variations, so there really isn't anything saying there is such a thing as an "AKC mini Aussie."   Some "mini" breeders do advertise AKC registered dogs that are under the size set forth by the breed standard for the Australian Shepherd, and they call them "minis."  Those dogs could be purebred Aussie just on the smaller side.  Other "minis" are definitely mixbreed dogs, part Aussie and part other breeds used to bring the size down.  There always has been some size variation in the original Aussies, but when the people who first formed the club that would become ASCA got together to write the original breed standard, they decided the sizes recorded in the standard were the ideal for the breed not only to be able to perform the job for which it was bred, but to keep "breed type." 
     The whole thing began when some early breeders favored a smaller Aussie type dog, so the foundation of what has been known as "Mini Aussie", "North American Shepherd", "North American Miniature Australian Shepherd" and other names included some small real Aussies and some other breeds added along the way.   They started breeding smaller dogs and over time there was a division in the fanciers, so various names came up.  There is still a lot of confusion and fighting over what the dogs should be called, even among the ranks of those who breed them.  All that remains constant is the keepers of the real Aussies don't want the dogs called mini Aussies as the name isn't really accurate.
    For what it is worth, there is no such thing as a "standard" Aussie, they are just Aussies or as I call them, real Aussies!  
   Neither AKC nor ASCA registers anything called a mini Aussie.  ASCA takes it so far as to pull the papers on any dog that is also registered with another registry as a mini.  AKC may be doing something similar in the near future. There are a number of less reputable registries that will register mini Aussies, and a couple better ones which include MASCA and NAMASCA.  These at least track pedigrees.  The worst ones would include Continental Kennel Club (CKC, not to be confused with the reputable Canadian Kennel Club), APRI, ASDR, and others as they will register anything that vaguely resembles a "purebred" and some even register crossbred dogs.  NSDR was an early registry both for Aussies and "mini" Aussies but isn't held in very high regard by most modern breeders.  You can read more on my "Papers" and registries page.

  There is something also being bred which is called a "toy" Aussie.  These are also mixbreed dogs which are bred to resemble an Australian Shepherd, but don't have much real Aussie in them.  While there was variation in size in real Aussies, even down into the "mini" range, they weren't called minis, just Aussies who were undersized.  With the advent of the "toy" Aussie, it's gotten even worse as far as keeping quality breeding.   Toys are usually crossed with various toy breed dogs, with the hope of keeping the markings and color patterns of the Australian Shepherd.  The temperaments on these dogs will likely not resemble anything close to the real Aussie.
  I should say that I am not against the dogs themselves, but sure hope that people aren't led to believe that a "mini" or a "toy" is just a small purebred version of a real Aussie.  They may not share many of the behavioral traits of the real Aussie.  So if you are considering one, do your homework and pick a breeder who is as dedicated to producing quality dogs as much as any breeder of good real Aussies.  I also want to make people aware of the issues and politics involved. There is quite a bit of animosity between breeders of real Aussies and breeders of the other smaller dogs.   So if you approach a breeder of real Aussies and ask if they breed "minis" too, some may give you an earful!

  If you want to read more about this topic, you can go to the ASCA site and read the statement about minis on this page:

The Miniature Australian Shepherd, North American Shepherd, North American Miniature Australian Shepherd, and/or Toy Australian Shepherd breeds are not recognized as a variety of Australian Shepherd by ASCA. The club considers such dogs to be a distinct and separate breed and will not accept them into its registry.


  The AKC parent club USASA says this:


     "And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved...." 

     Joel 2:32