We sometimes fall in love with a breed of dogs for their look or their unique personalities. But when getting a new dog, there’s a lot more that you need to consider.
For example, some dogs are easier to train than others. Some dogs require more care, grooming, or visits to the vet. And some dogs are just not meant to live in small apartments.
You probably already know that raising an Australian shepherd dog in an apartment is not ideal. But how about its smaller counterpart, the mini Australian Shepherds? Read this article to find out!
What is a mini Australian Shepherd?
A miniature Australian Shepherd looks a lot like a regular Aussie…just a lot smaller! The first time you see one, you may assume that it’s simply an Australian Shepherd puppy, but these dogs will actually stay a smaller size their entire lives.
Originally, they were created by breeding together smaller Australian Shepherd dogs. However, they’ve also been obtained by breeding Australian Shepherds with smaller breeds, or with dogs with dwarfism.
These three different methods result in miniature Australian Shepherd dogs that look pretty different, so make sure you ask your breeder what method they use before you choose one!
How is a mini Australian Shepherd different from a regular Aussie?
Mini Aussies differ from regular Australian Shepherds in a number of ways. And that’s not just because they are smaller. Mini Australian Shepherds dogs were bred to have a different purpose.
We know that Australian Shepherds are beloved all around the world. They’re one of the most popular breeds of dogs for people who live on farms thanks to their high energy, playfulness and caring personality. The problem is, you need quite a lot of space to have an Australian Shepherd at home.
That’s why mini Australian Shepherds were created by breeders in the 1960s: to offer an alternative to people who wanted an Aussie, but didn’t quite have the space to accommodate one at home.
Miniature Australian shepherds are around 13 to 18″ tall, and weight around 30 to 40 pounds. However, their size can vary a lot, depending on who bred them and how.
Their smaller size means that they need less space, and don’t require quite as much exercise. They will also eat less than a full-sized Australian Shepherd dog.
In terms of colors, mini Australian Shepherds are pretty similar to full-sized Australian shepherds: they can have up to 3 colors or a beautiful merle pattern.
How much space does a mini Aussie require?
Many people wonder are mini Aussies good apartment dogs? Although mini Aussies certainly need less space than larger Australian shepherds, they won’t do well in a tiny apartment. They don’t necessarily need to live on a farm, but they do need space to breathe.
We would recommend getting a mini Aussie if you live in a house, or at the very least a large apartment.
So how much space do they require? This is hard to say with precision. The fact is, it really depends on their activity level. A very high-energy mini Australian Shepherd may not be suited to live in an apartment, but a less active one may be.
How much exercise does a mini Australian Shepherd require?
Regardless of how much space they have at their disposal, mini Australian Shepherds need a lot of exercise. You need to remember that Australian Shepherds are, well, shepherd dogs!
This means they were meant to stay outside most of the day and herd animals on a large estate.
Of course, fewer people actually need a shepherd dog these days, but their need for exercise has not diminished.
Even if it’s smaller than a regular Australian Shepherd, a mini Aussie still needs to be walked two to three times a day. And the walks need to include some vigorous exercise: running, playing, fetching…
So if you’re planning on living with a mini Aussie in an apartment, you need to make sure you have enough time to take them to the park at least twice a day.
If you can’t commit to this, your dog will get restless, have difficulty sleeping, and become agitated or irritable.
How often do mini Australian Shepherds need to go out?
Mini Australian Shepherds like to spend most of their time outside. It’s in their genes: they’re derived from Australian Shepherds, who are farm dogs at their core.
So the question isn’t really how much should they be outside (all the time!) but rather, how often you need to take them out if you live in an apartment.
And the answer is at least twice a day, but more is better. In terms of going to the bathroom, mini Aussies don’t have more needs than any other type of dog.
However, they do require more exercise, which is the main reason they need to go out.
Ideally, mini Australian Shepherds should be walked and given the opportunity to play in the park 3 to 4 times a day. Depending on your schedule, this may not always be possible. But do try to make sure than they see the light of day at least once in the morning and once in the afternoon or evening.
Can these loving dogs be left alone? How much attention does a mini Aussie require?
If we had to use one word to describe mini Aussies, we will say they are loyal. Once a mini Aussie gets attached to you and your family, they won’t want to leave your side.
Of course, this is a true blessing. It means you’ll get a dog who is loving, always there for you, and ready to play with the whole family.
But this blessing also comes with certain responsibilities: you must be ready to devote at least a few hours a day playing with your animal or engaging with them. The more people there are in your household, the easier this will be.
But remember: a lonely mini Aussie is not a happy mini Aussie. So think twice about getting one if you live on your own or if your family doesn’t have much time to socialize with your dog.
How much do mini Aussies shed?
Mini Australian Shepherds can shed a lot! They tend to have long, fluffy skin which is a delight to their owner. But during shedding season, it can actually turn into a nightmare.
You should brush mini Aussies weekly most of the time, and daily during shedding season. Failing that, you do risk having your whole home covered in hair!
Are mini Aussies good with children?
Bringing a mini Aussie in a flat may be an issue in terms of getting enough exercise, but it certainly won’t be an issue when it comes to your other family members!
Miniature Australian Shepherds are naturally respectful of children, and when trained properly, they can become some of their best friends.
In fact, having children can be a definite advantage if you want to adopt a mini Aussie, as it means they’ll have more people to play and socialize with.
Are mini Aussies good with other pets?
Miniature Australian Shepherds can be very good with other pets, but that’s provided they have a lot of space. On a farm, a mini Australian Shepherd has no difficulty socializing and getting along with other cats or dogs.
But in a small apartment, this could be more of an issue.
If they don’t get enough space and opportunities to exercise, mini Aussies can get cranky, which could also mean getting aggressive with other pets.
Are mini Aussies apartment-friendly? The final judgment
So, can you get a mini Aussie if you live in an apartment? And is it a good idea?
While it’s certainly possible, there’s no denying that having a mini Aussie in an apartment is not ideal.
Despite their small size, mini Aussies long to be outside and still need a lot of exercise. This means they could find it difficult to endure apartment life if they’re not in the proper conditions.
However, if you’re willing to make all necessary arrangements, a mini Australian Shepherd can also be happy living in an apartment. Below are 5 useful tips on what to do so your mini Aussie can stay happy and healthy while living in an apartment.
How to raise a mini Aussie in an apartment? 5 useful tips
Our first tip is to choose your puppy well. Some puppies naturally have higher energy levels than others. And this lets you know that they will also be more energetic in adult life.
When you go to a breeder, you can tell them about your personal situation, and let them know that you’d like a dog that has lower energy levels because they’ll be living in an apartment.
A good breeder should be able to point you to a puppy that doesn’t require as much exercise—meaning they’ll be much happier living in a small space!
Of course, this may mean not getting a puppy in the color you wanted. But when you think about it, getting a pup that can be happy where you live is so much more important than the way they look!
Train your Australian Shepherds Well
Mini Australian Shepherds are fairly easy to train, but you’ll need to put extra effort in if you live in an apartment. If they aren’t trained properly, mini Australian Shepherds can find it hard to stay calm and quiet when you leave the house. They may start barking, running around, and creating messes.
That’s why in their first years of life, it’s extremely important that you give them all the attention they need, and get them used to staying in the apartment on their own.
If they’re trained to see staying home alone as a normal part of life rather than a punishment, they’ll be a lot easier to live with.
Give your Dogs their own space
Mini Aussies aren’t very territorial dogs, but they do enjoy having their own space. So make sure they have a bed that’s just for them and a corner of the flat that’s all theirs.
Not only will it make them happy, it will also make them more comfortable when you’re leaving them alone in the flat.
Socialize Often with your Dogs
We can’t stress this enough: mini Aussies are loving creatures who need to feel loved back. With them, socialization often involves a lot of playing as they are very playful creatures, but also petting, and exercising together.
If you’re a naturally sociable person, then a mini Australian Shepherd may be perfect for you. If not, then you need to make sure that the dog has enough people and dogs to socialize with on a daily basis.
Going to a dog park with a lot of other dogs is also a great idea. Australian Shepherds are peaceful dogs who don’t like to create trouble.
They enjoy playing with other dogs and get a lot of joy out of it. So whenever possible, remember to put their need for socializing first. It will make it a lot easier for them to handle apartment life.
Make sure they don’t get too sad when home alone
Because mini Aussies are so loving, it’s hard enough living them alone in the home. But if you combine that with leaving them alone in a small apartment, this could really turn into a problem.
The best answer to this problem is simply not to leave them alone: take them with you to work, work from home, make sure they always have company, take them to a dog daycare…
However, we are aware that these possibilities are not available to everyone.
So if you can’t stay home with your dog most of the time, you’ll have to make sure they don’t get depressed when you leave. Get them used to staying home little by little in their early years.
Give them plenty of toys to play with so they stay entertained. And as soon as you come home, make sure to give them all the attention they need: play with them, take them to the park, go on a hike together, whatever it takes!
Are mini Aussies good apartment dogs? The takeaway
So, are mini Aussies good in an apartment? They can be if all the proper conditions are there, such as: efficient exercise, appropriate training, and enough socializing to prevent them from getting lonely.
But failing that, living in an apartment isn’t ideal for a mini Aussie. So before you get one to join you in your flat, take some time to ask yourself: Can I give my mini Aussie everything they require to truly thrive?