About Herding Breeds in General
Herding dogs embody, pride, bravery, and loyalty. The desire to keep their flock together, be it children, the cats, or sheep, can be frustrating to an owner. Toy and Mini Aussie's drive to work is bred into them and they need to have a job, be it agility, fetch and or retrieve, hiking or herding.
My research has lead me to believe that first people to try to preserve the smaller version (the Toy and Miniature Australian Shepherds) started with some of the old stock that was untouched from the original breed that the sheep herders in North America developed. I find it interesting that the Standard Aussie Breeders feel so threatened 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 believe they breed them to larger breeds to decrease the time it took to make them larger, which caused the current, fashion only, ear set. The ear set does not make them better or worse stock dogs.
Look for a legitimate and reputable breeder, add to that, a knowledgeable breeder of these great little dogs. We have included a number of good breeders within this website. You will find them listed on the Puppies page. They will be happy to assist you in choosing your special Toy or Mini Aussie. The problem 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 that 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.