Australian Shepherds - About the breed

Australian Shepherds origin is somewhat debated. There is no real sure answer that they originated here or there. They are believed to have come from a mixed gene pool of several different herding breeds including the Border Collie, English Shepherd, and Australian Koolie some time in the 1800’s.

What is clear is they became popular in the United States for their talents with herding sheep. They were bred for their intelligence, energy, herding instinct, and guardian instinct we relate to the breed today in America during this time. The AKC did not officially recognize the breed until 1993.

The miniature Aussies were not introduced until the late 1960s. The idea of smaller Australian Shepherds became popular for both being indoors as well as more portable. The Miniature Australian Shepherds became quite popular, but were not recognized by AKC until May of 2011 under the name Miniature American Shepherd as a developing breed. It wasn’t until June 2015 they were fully recognized by AKC in the herding group. There were other registries that did recognize the breed before this point such as MASCUSA and ASDR.

Australian Shepherds come in the following sizes:

  • Standard (18-23 inches)
  • Miniature (14-18 inches)
  • Toy (10-14 inches)

The term ‘teacup’ is in some cases, unofficially used to describe the Aussies that fall under 10 inches (usually weighing 5-8 lbs). They may be little, but they have all the traits and instincts of their larger relatives.

For more information on the breed standard visit the American Stock Dog Registry.

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