Many people want to add a canine to their family, but they lack the large open spaces where dogs often like to roam. Australian Shepherds tend to fare better when they have outdoor spaces, but you might wonder whether their miniature counterparts require the same. In other words, are Miniature Australian Shepherds good house dogs?
Miniature Australian Shepherds can make good house dogs, but they require a great deal of exercise with two to three vigorous walks or runs a day, at minimum. They have an excellent temperament and will love being with you inside. Keep their bodies and brains occupied all day for a happier dog.
Before you add a Mini Aussie to your family, here is what you need to know if you plan to keep them indoors full-time.
Overview of the Miniature Australian Shepherd
Mini Aussies are an incredibly popular breed, favored for their high energy and lovable attitude with extreme loyalty to their handlers. Not only do they have a wonderful disposition, but they are also quite intelligent and are easy to train.
They’re fairly small in stature ranging from 13 to 18 inches at the shoulder, depending on the gender, with females being smaller. The breed standard states that they cannot be taller than this to qualify as a “miniature” Aussie.
Their coats tend to be quite beautiful and these colorings are what attract people to the breed. They have medium length hair with a double coat. As a result, you’ll see a moderate amount of shedding that will require relatively frequent grooming.
Much like their regular-sized counterparts, this miniature version is bred for herding and needs to have a great deal of exercise to be happy and healthy. They need a job to do if they’re going to be happy, which can make them a little challenging as an indoor dog.
What Makes a Good House Dog?
Before you commit to getting a new four-legged friend, evaluate how much outdoor time you’ll be able to provide. Without a yard or a large open space for a Mini Australian Shepherd to run in, you need to evaluate them through the lens of whether they’re good house dogs.
The question is: what makes a good house dog?
Some of these factors should play a role in determining whether a dog is well-suited to the slower pace of life that accompanies being a house dog:
- Size: For many people, size is the first thing they think about when adding a dog to the mix. If you know that they will be kept in close quarters, a smaller dog is usually better as an indoor-only pup.
- Temperament: Indoor dogs should be happy to spend time with their humans and easily adapt to the changes that take place daily in a busy household.
- Activity Level: Dogs who need a lot of exercise may fare better when they have more room to roam. If you keep a high-energy dog indoors without proper outlets, you may see problematic behaviors crop up such as chewing, biting, and nuisance barking.
- Compatibility with Children and Other Pets: It won’t be possible for you to get around your dog interacting with children and other pets if they’re kept in close quarters. Make sure that they’re happy with this arrangement and enjoy the company of kids and pets.
- Low Prey Drive: If your dog enjoys chasing a scent, it might be harder to keep them cooped up in the house or apartment. Dogs with a low prey drive tend to be just as happy indoors as outdoors.
Are Mini Aussies Good House Dogs?
With some of these attributes in mind, let’s take a closer look at the Mini Australian Shepherd to evaluate how well he would do in an indoor-only home.
Size and Space
Because this breed tends to be on the smaller side, many prospective pet parents believe that it will automatically do well in close quarters. Mini Aussies may not take up much space, but they do need space in order to perform at their best. Most experienced owners agree that they require a large apartment at a minimum.
The best option would be to have a house with a yard that they can explore. While you may not want to keep them outside all the time, room to roam is great for getting some of that energy out and allows you to play a rousing game of fetch with your canine.
The Mini Aussie does make a great indoor dog when you consider its temperament. These dogs love their handler intensely and thrive on affection. They are extremely playful, highly trainable, and can be friendly with other pets and children. You won’t have any problem convincing a Mini Aussie to want to spend more time with you.
Just because this breed is small doesn’t mean they have a small motor. Mini Aussies are bred to be on-the-go regularly and have their roots in herding livestock. Be prepared to give them space to stretch their legs if you plan to keep them indoors as much as possible.
This means taking them for vigorous walks or jogs around the neighborhood two to three times daily. In between, you might play fetch with them or work on training exercises to tire out their active minds. Hopefully, you have access to a dog park where they can exercise and socialize at the same time.
Training and Socialization
Miniature Australian Shepherds are extremely intelligent dogs, which means that they may find creative ways to get in trouble. Start them on training early and be consistent to teach them the boundaries in your home. If they can adjust to being an indoor dog from the moment you bring them home, you’ll be set up for success.
You should also focus on early socialization. Teach them how to interact with other friendly pets so that you have the option of taking them around the neighborhood or to a dog park to burn off some energy.
Overall, Mini Australian Shepherds tend to be quite healthy with only a couple of well-known medical issues bothering the breed. They frequently have eye issues, most notably progressive retinal atrophy. Fortunately, this isn’t a painful condition but can lead to blindness over time.
They are also prone to hip dysplasia which can be uncomfortable for them. This requires you to give them some anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy, and more regular low-impact exercise to keep them moving freely.
Children and Other Pets
This breed is wonderful with children and other pets. If you give them an outlet for their energy, they often thrive with these sources of entertainment in the house. Keep in mind that introducing them to children and other pets early in life is important for their socialization.
Maintenance and Grooming
While the Mini Aussie does have a medium-length coat and moderate shedding, it doesn’t require too much work to keep up with their grooming. Regular brushing will help to prevent shedding the loose hair all over the home. A bath every two to three months is sufficient to keep them clean.
This low-maintenance approach to grooming makes them great indoor dogs. While you may have to vacuum or sweep a little more frequently to keep up with their shedding, it won’t be too much of a hassle.
Tools for an Indoor Miniature Aussie
There are a few things you could do to make your life easier if your Mini Aussie is going to be an indoor dog. Here are a few things that you might want to invest in before bringing your pup home:
- Interactive Toys: Keeping your dog’s mind and body occupied with a toy is a great way to keep them focused on something appropriate instead of chewing on the furniture or hunting down your shoes. Kong balls can be stuffed with peanut butter and frozen for extra playtime or puzzle toys like this one can help.
- Training Tools: Obedience training is a must if your Mini Aussie will be an indoor dog. Add a good clicker to your toolbox for marking good behavior. Make sure to have high-value training treats like these from Blue Buffalo in your pouch to entice them to work hard.
- Grooming Products: Keep your home clean by grooming your dog when needed. Get a good quality brush for dogs with an undercoat like this option from Maxpower that helps prevent mats.
- Comfort Items: Give your dog a space to call their own in your home, making it as comfortable as possible for them. They would love an orthopedic dog bed that’s soft on their joints, and you’ll love the removable and washable cover on this one.
- Exercise Equipment: Mini Aussies need lots of exercise to stay happy and healthy. If space is at a premium and you don’t have an area for long walks, invest in a doggie treadmill.
Final Thoughts: Are Miniature Australian Shepherds Good House Dogs?
The good news is that if you want a Mini Australian Shepherd, there are a few steps you can take to make sure they thrive as indoor dogs. Giving them plenty of exercise is key, as is engaging their minds during downtime between workouts. With some of these tips and tools in mind, you’ll find that your life with an Aussie just got easier!