All About the Toy Australian Shepherd Dog Breed

Toy Australian Shepherd Head Tilted

Toy Australian Shepherds (also known as the Toy American Shepherd or Toy Aussie) are dogs that are not only adorably cute, but they are also energetic and intelligent dog breeds that still have many of the great qualities of there ancestor the Australian Shepherd in a smaller package.

This dog breed is also known as the Toy American Shepherd and Toy Aussie

Toy Aussies at a Glance

Good For Families
Tolerates Other Pets
Prey Drive
Health Score
Energy Level
Space Needs
Good for New Owners


Toy Australian Shepherd Head Posing

The Toy Aussie is a fairly recent dog breed registration. Some breeders claim that this dog breed was created by breading the smaller minis until the Toy was created.

The best versions of these dogs are bred from mini Australian Shepherds that were bred to be smaller and smaller. Over time the Toy was created.

The Breeders should be able to provide this information. We have no doubt this breed will become more popular over time!


It is not known where the first breed appeared as this dogs History is still unfolding! The Toy Australian Shepherd originates from Mini and Standard Australian Shepherds and is bred in the United States. Reportedly, the breed had no uniformity in appearance until 30 years ago.

What Were They Bred For

Toy Australian shepherd with Ball

These dogs were bred to maintain their small size but keep the best traits of herding, intelligence, and enthusiasm exhibited by the Australian Shepherd. Like their larger ancestor, these dogs still exhibit a strong herding instinct and can still herd smaller animals like ducks and geese!

Are Toy Aussie Dogs Pure Bred

The Toy Australian Shepherd is not currently recognized yet by the larger breed registries. There are however some breed registries here.

Physical Traits

A Toy Australian Shepherd looks similar to a mini or standard Australian Shepherd. However, the toy sized breed stands at a foot or less at the shoulder. Australian Shepherd breeders state that twelve inches is the ideal height for a toy breed. Toy Aussies are small but sturdy.


The coat of these toy Australian Shepherds can be wavy or straight, medium length, and weather-resistant. Colors vary from red merle and red, black, or blue merle. Some have white markings and tan points. Their tails are either a natural bobtail or docked. Additionally, some Toy Aussies have blue eyes.

Full Breed Standard or any other large institutions have not officially recognized the Toy Australian Shepherd yet. This breed would qualify as a designer breed. Breeders currently document the Breed Standard for this dog.

The breed information varies slightly among breeders since this dog is a fairly new breed but it can be found at some of the following locations:

How big do Toy Aussies Get?

Toy Australian Shepherds are any Australian Shepherd Bred Dogs that are shorter than 14 in (36 cm) at the shoulder. They typically range from 10-14 in tall.

How much to Toy Australian Shepherds Weight?

Between 12-17 pounds.


Grooming these dogs is pretty easy. After all breeders created them to be companions!


These dogs have 2 coats. One to protect this dog against weather and the inner coat to keep this dog warm or cool. They tend to shed around spring and fall. During these shedding periods brush at least several times a week.


Make sure to check their ears during grooming for any debris.


The Toy Australian Shepherd only needs bathed if soiled.


Check their nails for splits or cracks. If their nails are getting too long trim them to prevent breaking.

Do Toy Australian Shepherds Shed a lot?

Even though these dogs have a double coat they are still fairly easy to care for. They shed their undercoat during the shedding seasons (spring and fall) and need frequent brushing during this time. All of the other times they shed a normal amount that can be handled with a weekly brushing. Bathe only when needed.

Other Care

During weekly brushings also make sure to check their nails and trim as needed. Trimming nails keeps them from cracking or breaking off which could lead to bigger issues.

How Much do They Shed?

Toy Australian Shepherds shed moderately. Spring and fall require extra brushing.

Do They Drool?

All dogs drool some when they are hot or hungry but these dogs do not drool very much.

Best Climate

This breed can tolerate cool or warm outdoor temperatures but because of their size a moderate temperature is recommended. Because of their need for constant socialization, they must be allowed indoors. These dogs will shed more in warmer weather.


This loving breed often behaves like puppies. They are energetic and happy. These dogs love herding animals when it gets the chance. This breed is a very friendly dog and loves to stay busy with complex tasks!

Like most intelligent dogs if they get bored They will start to misbehave. Keep them stimulated and active! If you don’t have time to keep them active try an automatic toy like this, or an interactive toy to promote problem solving.

Are Toy Australian Shepherds Good Pets?

A Toy Australian Shepherd can be an excellent companion for other pets and children. However, they can be territorial by nature. They love constant stimulation and can be trained to do just about anything.

These dogs are bored by a sedentary lifestyle. This is not the breed of dog for someone who wants to plop on the couch with a remote in hand after working all day. A Toy Australian Shepherd would not be happy in a kennel.

Herding Dog Temperament

In addition to being good-natured and happy, the temperament and character of the Toy Australian Shepherd are that of a herding dog. They retain the instinct to herd, even if they have not come in contact with livestock. Some will even herd their owners.

Do They Tolerate Other Pets?

These dogs can be great companions for other pets. They tend to bond best with animals it grew up with from young. Larger dogs can injure Toy Aussies because of their size.

Good For Families?

oy Australian Shepherd

This dog is eager to learn and intelligent. Devoted, loyal, and relaxed, these dogs bond closely with families. On the downside, some develop separation anxiety due to their relentless devotion. This dog loves being part of family activities and loves constant stimulation.

The dogs want to be your ‘partner.’ They make ideal house dogs if provided with appropriate exercise and social interaction with their owners. Many live on ranches or farms where they thrive on the physical and mental stimulation of helping with chores.

Do They Have a Strong Prey Drive?

These dogs can tend to have a moderate to high Prey drive. It’s best to keep these dogs on a leash when outdoors.

Are They Social With Other People?

These dogs are sometimes shy around strangers. Socializing them as puppies can help lessen this behavior. In general they bond very closely with other people.

Are they doog for New Owners?

Toy American Shepherds require a lot of attention and energy. Although we do recommend this dog for families. If you have never owned a dog before this dog can be challenging because of the added stimulation. These dogs are very intelligent and should not be left alone for long periods at a time or they may start to misbehave. So we don’t recommend these dogs for new owners, however keep in mind this is very subjective and you can find out for sure by spending some time with these dogs at a breeder.


Puppy Australian shepherd

In general Toy Aussies can live a long healthy life! They are moderately healthy but this depends greatly on the breeder. Unfortunately, some underlying health deficiencies to be aware of. Health Issues can be avioded with Genetic Testing. For being a smaller dog their lifespan is not very long but they still make great companions!

How long do they Live?

  • 12-13 years

Health Issues

Common health issues include:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Cataracts
  • Some may be born deaf.
  • Other Eye Diseases


These dogs are very intelligent and require a lot of stimulation. Some good news for these dogs is they are fairly small and taking them on a good long walk gives them plenty of exercise!

Toy, Mini, and Standard Aussie Differences

The differences between a Toy, Miniature, and Standard Aussie is all based on their size. The Mini and Standard Australian Shepherd are recognize as a breed by The differences of the breeds are listed below:

  • The Toy Australian Shepherd is between 10 and 14 inches Tall
  • The Miniature Australian Shepherd is between 14 and 18 inches Tall
  • The Standard Australian Shepherd is greater 18 inches Tall

Check out this youtube video explains the differences between the Toy, Mini, and regular Australian Shepherd.

Toy Australian Shepherds for Sale

This is a very popular dog and luckily there are many different breeders to choose from if you are looking for a Toy Aussie no matter where you are! These dogs can be pricey.

A Toy Australian Shepherd puppy can cost anywhere from $1800 to $2500 from a good reputable breeder.

You can’t typically take puppies home until they are around 8 weeks of age. If you aren’t breeding your puppy you should consider getting them neutered or spayed. Neutered males are much less aggressive and tend to mark territory less.

Tests Your Breeder Should Do

When working with a breeder make sure they do the following to ensure their dogs are healthy:

Toy Australian Shepherd with Toy
  • The CERF (Canine Eye Registration Foundation) Testing is done Annually. See for more details on this test.
  • PRA-Prcd Testing. This is a genetic disorder called Progressive Rod-cone Degeneration-Progressive Retinal Atrophy, causes cells in the retina at the back of the eye to degenerate and die, even though the cells seem to develop normally early in life. It takes 2 Aussies with this genetic disorder to create a puppy that has this issue. If you are only looking for a companion dog then make sure both parents did not have this disorder. If not then your puppy should not!
  • MDR1 testing – Dogs with MDR1 have a compromised blood brain barrier. This means they can have adverse reactions when given certain drugs such as ivermectin or loperamide. Make sure your puppy does not have this issue or you will need to avoid giving your dog certain drugs.

Search for Breeders Here:

Toy Australian Shepherd Rescue

Because the Toy American Shepherd is relatively new, there are not many rescues that exist for these dogs yet. However luckily since rescues have big hearts, Mini Australian Shepherd Rescues will usually take these. For some great places to start try the following:

15 thoughts on “All About the Toy Australian Shepherd Dog Breed”

  1. Pingback: Australian Shepherd: How to Plan For the Best Family Dog | Anything German Shepherd

  2. This is not factual information. Toy aussies were bred same way most pure bred breeds are when creating smaller sizes including poodles, Huskies etc. They take the smallest of a litter and breed them to another smallest litter members until they have enough small size to breed within that size group. You can get a registration pedigree that goes back for many generations. A true toy aussie does not have the characteristics of a pmeranian or other small breed. My toy aussies are very much like my mini and standard in looks, conformation and personality. My pomeranian is nothing like my toy aussies. Im sick of this mis information being spread. There is a differrnce between cross breeding and pure bred!

    1. Thanks for the comment Laura. After contacting several breeders they talked about the pedigree of their dogs and explained the same thing you did. My apologies. Thanks for straightening us out. We updated this post!

    2. This was the best information that matches our Toy Aussie. Most sites describe the mini instead of the toy.

      Our dog is named “Kevin” after the home alone movie and he lives up to his name.

      He is energetic and always puppy like. Enjoyable to watch and loves to herd my children.

    1. Thanks for this question! This is somewhat subjective we realize. We didn’t feel like this dog is always the best dog for a new owner because they need lots of stimulation and attention. With that being said we suggest spending some time with a breeder to see if this is a dog for you! If you are able to spend time together and bond with this dog it still may be the best for you!

  3. My grand dog, which was a toy Aussie had really bad skin allergies and a week before he passed away he had a prednisone shot. He was doing fine and we came home one day and he ran out and did his business and seemed fine. In only about a minute he was shaking and losing his balance, my husband gave him mouth-to mouth and he passed away within 5 minutes of us being home. We have no idea what happened and it happened so fast. We spoke with the vet and without doing an autopsy they would not speculate. We took him to an emergency vet afterwards to be cremated and we were too late when we decided to do an autopsy. He was only 5 and we are so heartbroken. He was the sweetest baby ever. Do you have any ideas?

    1. Heidi,

      I’m so sorry for your loss! I am not a veterinarian but it’s my understanding that we can never know for sure without an autopsy.

  4. I have been given 2 year old female toy Aussie. She is so shy. She doesn’t seem to have the energy you speak of for young dog. She is content to sit on sofa or spend time in crate. Crate seems like security. Won’t walk on leach. What do you suggest?

  5. My 11 yr toy aussie throws up alot. He chokes on water. Was told his teeth are bad so I use only canned foods an soft treats. Does anyone else have these problems?

  6. I have a male toy Aussie. He is a red merle and full of it. On the other side of the coin he is the first dog I’ve owned that I would also consider a lap dog. He is very content to spend the evening or Sunday afternoon in my recliner with me watching movies. He is registered with the American Stockyard Dog Registry.

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