Each Miniature Australian Shepherd, Toy Australian Shepherd or, as has become a popular term for the very little ones, either Teacup or Micro Australian Shepherd is an individual. Generally they love to play. Some can be more serious, some are silly, most are generally protective over their family, and they are always smart. Most Australian Shepherds are amazingly sensitive to emotions going on in their family as well. Each individual dog will have varying degrees of each trait.
Temperament is a blend of nature and nurture. With the exception of Rage Syndrome, which is a neurological disorder, all can be induced or exacerbated by environmental factors. Inexperienced owners may misinterpret the Aussies natural high-energy character as hyperactive or obsessive/compulsive. We feel that those who are experienced in this breed need to do more to educate the public about what kind of dog the Aussie is, what kind of training and socialization is necessary, and why certain kinds of homes or situations may be inappropriate for the breed.
As responsible breeders, one of our most important jobs is to match the puppies personality to a new family and home. By telling us a bit about yourselves and your family wants and needs, we will be able to help you adopt your new best friend. Don’t let the color or markings of a puppy be your only guiding factor. Our goal is to have dogs loving their family and the family loving their dog.
Toy and Mini Australian Shepherds generally are protective of their families. Proper socialization is important for Aussies. Plan to take your puppy every where you can in the first 6 months. Make sure they are properly vaccinated before you embark on the socialization process. Until your puppy has had a series of vaccinations, they are very susceptible to diseases carried by other dogs and wild critters (parvo and distemper, for examples). For your puppies safety, start leash training at home before you venture out. Introduce them to as many new people as possible. They should be exposed to all types of situations outside their home environment.
Australian Shepherds tend to be very busy dogs. As a whole, they do not do well stuck in a yard or in a kennel. They will bark, dig, chew, jump the fence and generally share with you the fact that they are bored. They need to have close and frequent interaction with their family. Aussies are the type of dog that must be involved in your life or you and the dog will be miserable, as they are highly interactive dogs. This is a breed that needs to be your partner in life. Car rides, visits to friends, formal training, traveling, tossing the ball or Frisbee, these are all things your dog will consider fun. Most Aussies also are very content just hanging out with you. They like to lay at your feet or cuddle on the couch.
While all sizes of Australian Shepherds are not generally aggressive, they do like to play rough. If you tease them and rough house with them, they will nip (bite) in the course of play. They use the same technique when herding stock. You will know why livestock respects the Aussies. If you like to tease your dog, Aussies are game to play with you. But be forewarned, you might get bit. This is instinct! If you have small children, never let the dog get into this kind of play. If you have small children, don’t encourage this type of play until your child and puppy are old enough to understand.
You need to have a fenced yard, or be committed to taking your Miniature or Toy Australian Shepherd on runs, to parks, or some form of outdoor activity that involves human interaction. This breed makes for the perfect agility prospect. They love a game of Frisbee and tennis balls are a favorite toy as well. A game of tug-of-war is a good indoor release for all that energy. Be sure to use a large enough toy that your hands don’t become part of the game.
Miniature Australian Shepherds and Toy Australian Shepherds are sensitive dogs. They respond as a puppy better to positive reinforcement. A heavy hand can make them unmanageable in short order. It takes very little to correct these dogs. They will try to please their owners once they understand what is expected of them.
If you still want a Miniature Australian Shepherd, Toy Australian Shepherd or even a Micro Australian Shepherd, GOOD FOR YOU! They are worth it! The best ways to avoid the possibility of having problems with the Miniature or Toy Australian Shepherd is to get your Aussie from a reputable breeder. Let them help you pick the right personality for your situation.