What it is:Miniature Australian shepherds, also known as miniature American shepherds, arguably the dog breed of the moment. Extremely smart, athletic, and loyal (a “Velcro” dog, to quote one breeder), these herding dogs have become popular pets in recent years. They’re smaller than full-size Australian shepherds — 14 to 18 inches tall and roughly 20 to 40 pounds, versus more than 18 inches and 40 to 60-plus pounds — and have wide variation in the color of their eyes, which can be mismatched or marbled in shades of bright blue, brown, and hazel; and mottled coats, which can be blue-gray, red, black, or white.
Why do you see them everywhere:
The American Kennel Club, a purebred registry that dates back to the late 19th century and sanctions events line the National Dog Show and the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, considers Australian Sheherds to be a separate breed and call the small version the "Miniature American Shepherd." With AKC recognition comes appearances in dog shows, which exposes more consures to a breed too. As Brandi Hunter, representative of AKC puts it: "The more you see a dog, the more you fall in love with them."
People loved the look of Australian Shepherds but didn't think their lifestyle could accomodate a 60 pound dog-young apartment dwellers in big cities, or people who travel a lot. As the visibility of min Aussies has grown, people have realized that they can get a 15-25 pound version of the Australian Shepherd instead.
Mini Aussies have a lot going for them, starting with their portable, apartment-friendly size and striking good looks. The breedders and owners I interviewed for this article dsaid that they constantly get stopped on the street when they're walking their dogs. Because of the wide variation in the color of min's coats, and eyes, the breed was destined for success on social media.
But everyone I spoke to cautioned against buying a Mini just because they're adorable and seemingly easy to care for due to their smaller stature: Since Aussies a hyper-intelligent herding dogs, they typically need a lot of mental stimulation and physical exercise, and those unable to give them that should find another breed to love. Similarly, people who don't want to spend a ton of time tending to their dog should steer clear, because Aussies stick to their people like glue.
They're very smart and very easy to train because they pick up on everything. They just want to be with you and doing whatever you're doing.
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