All you need to know about raising a Toy Australian Shepherd!

Australian Shepherd Toy

In this article, we will explore why there is such a craze for Toy Australian Shepherds, and more specifically for all toy-sized dogs.

Different reasons:

  • We are increasingly leading a nomadic lifestyle. We love to travel, move, visit friends, and our living spaces are becoming more restricted. As a result, it is much simpler to have a small to medium-sized dog rather than a large-sized dog.
  • Air travel in the cabin is only allowed for animals weighing less than 8kg (including the carrier). Otherwise, your companion will have to travel in the cargo hold.
    Here are the travel conditions in the cabin for Air France: Travelling with dogs and cats in the cabin and cargo hold - Air France
    Please note that regulations may vary slightly from one airline to another.
  • Variation in prices for boarding, grooming, hotel rooms...
    Indeed, you will often notice that different establishments have different rates for big dogs and small dogs. These variations can range from simple to double.
  • However, French people love big dogs like Labradors, Australian Shepherds, Huskies... This has led to the creation of toy-sized dogs and hybrid breeds (Pomsky, Labradoodle, Aussiedoodle).

The Toy Australian Shepherd made its appearance and has been developed for many years in the United States. Its miniature size gives it a cute and endearing look. Nevertheless, it retains the intelligence, dynamism, and clingy nature of its cousin, the Australian Shepherd.

The Toy Australian Shepherd aims to be a miniature version of the Australian Shepherd. Therefore, it is important to keep in mind that it will also have similar behaviors, faults, and needs as the Australian Shepherd and Miniature American Shepherd.

In this article, we will describe its personality and needs to help you determine if the American Shepherd is a suitable dog for your lifestyle and family.

What is a Toy Australian Shepherd?

Toy Australian Shepherds are adorable, energetic, and intelligent dogs. They possess most of the qualities of a standard Australian Shepherd but in a miniature size.

The Toy Aussie was created by selecting the smallest individuals from Australian Shepherds in order to gradually reduce their size. There should normally be no other breed than Australian Shepherd in the DNA of a Toy Australian Shepherd.
The term "Toy" is therefore used by Toy Australian Shepherd breeders to distinguish between a standard-sized Australian Shepherd and a miniature-sized one.

The challenge for Toy Australian Shepherd breeders is to reduce the size while maintaining the type and conformation of the Australian Shepherd. Keeping the square conformation of the Australian Shepherd is probably the biggest challenge. Often, as you may have noticed, the Toy Australian Shepherd may resemble a Chihuahua, which is not what is desired according to the breed standard.

The result of painstaking work has led to the emergence of a miniature Australian Shepherd breed called Miniature American Shepherd, and even a smaller version called the Toy Australian Shepherd. The Toy Australian Shepherd is not yet recognized by the French Kennel Club (LOF) unlike the Miniature American Shepherd. However, in the United States, the breed is recognized and dogs can have a pedigree.

Thus, as you may have understood, the main objective is to preserve the morphology and the enthusiastic and intelligent character of the standard Australian Shepherd.

Are the Toy, Teacup, and Miniature American Shepherds the same?

Although the Miniature American Shepherd, Toy, and Teacup all originate from the standard Australian Shepherd, they have distinct differences, particularly in size.

  • The Miniature American Shepherd was first bred in Australia, and its breed standard is similar to that of the Australian Shepherd. It is therefore difficult to tell the difference between the two, except for size.
    In terms of size, males should measure between 35.5 cm and 45.5 cm at the withers, while females should measure between 33 cm and 43 cm at the withers.
  • A new step was taken in the United States in an effort to create an even smaller version called the Toy. Over time, we have seen the emergence of Toy Australian Shepherd breeding. Toy Australian Shepherds resemble their Miniature counterparts but may not have the same physical activities.
    However, they retain their herding instincts and are very active dogs. The breed standard for Toy Australian Shepherds specifies a height between 25 cm and 35.5 cm at the withers, and an average weight of 3.5 kg to 8 kg, although weight may vary depending on the dog's bone structure and morphology.
  • The Teacup is the smallest in the Australian Shepherd breed and is not considered a working dog. It weighs less than 5 kg, hence the name "Teacup."

In summary, the Miniature Australian Shepherd is larger than the Toy Aussie, while the Toy Australian Shepherd is also larger than the Teacup Australian Shepherd. It is important to know what activities you want to do with your dog, as variations in size will affect their physical and athletic abilities.





How was the Toy Australian Shepherd created?

Breeders created the Toy Aussie by selecting smaller Australian Shepherds in each generation. The United States is credited with creating this breed.

Generally, this breed of dog is easy to raise, as it is intelligent and sociable, just like the Miniature and standard Australian Shepherds. These herding dogs love to be close to their families and follow them everywhere, all the time, making them "Velcro dogs" that like to keep an eye on their families and make sure everyone is doing well.

In order to have a true Toy Aussie, it is important to verify that both parents are indeed Toy Australian Shepherds and not haphazard crosses with Spitz or Chihuahuas. The pedigree of the parents provides traceability and ensures that no other breeds are present in the Toy American Shepherd.

As with any dog, but especially for non-registered dogs, it is important to research and take the time to choose your Toy Australian Shepherd breeder carefully.
A "good" breeder will provide you with a healthy, disease-free, and well-socialized puppy. Indeed, the socialization of a puppy greatly depends on the temperament of the parents and the breeder's work during the 0-2 months of your puppy's life.

Are Toy Australian Shepherds healthy dogs?

Toy Australian Shepherds are not only known for their intelligence but also for their robustness. However, it is important to know that like many breeds, Australian Shepherds, Miniature American Shepherds, and Toy Australian Shepherds can be carriers of certain genetic diseases such as:

  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Epilepsy
  • Collie eye anomaly
  • Eye problems such as cataracts, distichiasis, and corneal dystrophy
  • MDR1 gene mutation
  • Hypothyroidism

It is important to choose a responsible Australian Shepherd Toy breeder and verify that the parents are healthy and free from the aforementioned health issues. There are many laboratories in France that conduct these health tests. Your breeder will be able to provide you with the following tests when adopting your puppy.

There are several possible genetic statuses for a dog:

  • +/+: Clear, Not affected 
  • +/-: Carrier, Not affected
  • -/-: Affected, Carrier

A responsible breeding should not produce a affected carrier puppy, which means -/-
In other words, a +/- individual should only be bred with a +/+ individual.
In all cases, an affected carrier -/- individual should be excluded from breeding; if that's not the case, breeding should only be considered with a +/+ individual.

Why is the breeding of Australian Shepherd Toy considered controversial?

After successfully creating the Miniature Australian Shepherd and stabilizing its size within a standard, breeders began producing even smaller dogs, the Australian Shepherd Toy. This is when things started to become confusing.

First of all, the Australian Shepherd Toy is supposed to be smaller than the Miniature American Shepherd. While this is true in most cases, it is not true in all cases. These dogs are not all identical in terms of morphology, with some being thinner and others having a heavier bone structure.

As a result, it is possible for the Australian Shepherd Toy to be as big as Miniature American Shepherds, making it sometimes difficult to tell the difference between the two.

Furthermore, the fact that the Australian Shepherd Toy can no longer be used as a working dog has become a cause for concern. Unlike the Toy Aussie, most Miniature Australian Shepherds can be used as herding dogs, just like their standard Australian Shepherd cousin. By reducing the size of the Australian Shepherd more and more, it becomes difficult to maintain their working dog characteristics. On the other hand, one may wonder if today's prospective families of an Australian Shepherd Toy are looking for a herding dog or rather a companion suitable for urban living.

Another controversial issue is that the American Shepherd is a recognized breed with a pedigree, unlike the Australian Shepherd Toy which is not yet recognized with a pedigree.
Many breeders of Australian Shepherd and Miniature American Shepherd do not see the benefit of further reducing the size and believe that we are increasingly losing the typical square type and morphology of the Australian Shepherd.

The main differences between the Toy Aussie and the standard Australian Shepherd.

The only significant observable difference between the Australian Shepherd Toy and the standard Australian Shepherd is size. Apart from that, there are only minor differences, including behavioral differences.
The Australian Shepherd Toy should not be thinner and longer than the standard Australian Shepherd. A good-looking Australian Shepherd Toy should maintain a typical square morphology for its breed.

The Australian Shepherd Toy tends to bark more and be more sensitive to new situations than other varieties of the Australian Shepherd.

Another slight difference between these breeds is that Australian Shepherd Toy tend to be more of companion dogs than working dogs. They will not have the same endurance and physical capabilities.

What does the Toy Aussie look like?

The miniature version physically resembles the standard Australian Shepherd.

The Australian Shepherd Toy has a medium-length coat. Their coat can be slightly wavy or straight.
The color of their coat can be tricolor black or red or blue or black merle.
Their coat allows them to withstand cold and hot temperatures very well. This is one of the reasons why an Australian Shepherd should never be shaved, as their coat also insulates them from the heat.
To learn more about the Australian Toy Shepherd standard: The Australian Toy Shepherd - Royaume Des Galopins

Australian Shepherd Toy

Is the Toy Aussie suitable for family life?

Australian Toy Shepherds are adorably beautiful, energetic, intelligent, and affectionate towards their families, making them excellent companions.

These dogs are Velcro dogs that constantly seek attention from their families.
Their happiness? Following you everywhere throughout the day.
They are easy-going dogs who love to play, especially with children.

Australian Toy Shepherds are not fragile dogs like many small breeds. They can participate in numerous activities. As they are eager to please their families, they will listen and respond very well and quickly to commands, even from children.

Toy Australians do not enjoy a sedentary lifestyle.
Even though they are loyal to their loved ones, they can develop separation anxiety if they do not receive enough attention.

As they are lively dogs, they crave social interaction with their owners.

So, if you are considering leaving an Australian Toy Shepherd in a kennel or alone for long periods of time, you should consider looking for another breed of dog.

Australian Toy and Miniature Shepherds tend to become nervous and destructive if left alone for too long without enough mental and physical stimulation.

Most small dogs are generally indoor dogs. But this is not the case with the Australian Toy Shepherd, which can live perfectly well on a ranch, farm, or in a city. The most important thing for your Mini Aussie is to be by your side. It doesn't matter where you live, as long as it's with you, it will be happy!

Another advantage of the Toy version is that it can easily and simply travel with you. In fact, its size allows it to stay in the cabin and benefit from reduced fares for trains.
It is also a dog that loves to travel and discover new places.

However, these dogs can quickly become wary or fearful. It is therefore important to socialize them well when they are puppies to make them well-balanced dogs. As for their relationship with other dogs and animals, there is no problem. They are sociable and playful dogs.
The Australian Toy Shepherd remains a territorial dog. They are natural guardians and love to protect their family and home. They will quickly alert you to the presence of intruders with barking.


As you have read in this article, the Australian Toy Shepherd is a small-sized dog with needs and physical characteristics similar to those of the Standard Aussie.
Choosing the Toy version as a partner means choosing a small size with big needs. Therefore, you need to have time to dedicate to them, as they are a small dog with a lot of energy and a great need for attention.

To learn even more about the Australian Toy Shepherd:

What is the size of the Australian Toy Shepherd? (

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