Male vs. Female Miniature American Shepherd: Which Is Better?

Potrait of a male Miniature American Shepherd

When I first decided to get a Miniature American Shepherd, it was a spur of the moment decision. I didn’t think it through; I only knew I wanted one of those cute canines for myself. I just paid to a reputable Miniature American Shepherd breeder and brought my Belle home.

Now, do I regret my decision? Not at all. But do I wish I did more research before making that purchase? Yes, I do. Knowing what differences exist between male and female Mini American Shepherds will help you decide which is a better fit for you.

So, should you go for a male or female Miniature American Shepherd? If your dream dog is the kind that would be more protective of you, more attentive, and playful, you should get a male Miniature American Shepherd. But if you prefer a dog with a calmer demeanor, more independent, and easier to train, then a female would be perfect for you.

One of the first and vital steps you must take when getting a new puppy is to decide whether you want a male or a female. This article will address the general differences that exist between male and female Miniature American Shepherds, which I hope will help you make the best choice. So, let’s get into the fun details.

Male Miniature American Shepherds


Height: 14 – 18 inches (36 – 46 cm)

Weight: 20 – 40 lbs (9 – 18 kg)

Puppy Price: $1,000 – $1,500

Lifespan: 12 – 15 Years

Build: Larger built with more muscle mass.


  • Good-natured, intelligent, and devoted.
  • More maintenance required.
  • Easier to socialize with people.
  • More attention seeking.
  • Less suspicious of strangers.
  • More playful and energetic throughout life.
  • Slightly more food motivated.
  • Likes being babied.
  • More aggressive.
  • Reaches mental maturity slower.
  • Tends to protect a territory or whole family.
  • Clumsy around kids.
  • More likely to bond with all family members.
  • Very clingy.
  • Harder to train him to walk off leash and stay close to you.
  • A bit messier.
  • Less likely to get along with other dogs or animals.
  • More stubborn.
  • Easily get distracted and harder to train.
  • Loves to please his owner.

Female Miniature American Shepherds


Height: 13 – 17 inches (33 – 43 cm)

Weight: 20 – 40 lbs (9 – 18 kg)

Puppy Price: $1,000 – $1,500

Lifespan: 12 – 15 Years

Build: Smaller built with less muscle mass.


  • Good-natured, intelligent, and devoted.
  • Less maintenance required.
  • A bit harder to socialize with people.
  • Less attention seeking.
  • More suspicious of strangers.
  • Tends to be less playful all the time.
  • Slightly less food motivated (except when pregnant).
  • More independent.
  • Less aggressive.
  • Reaches mental maturity quicker.
  • Tends to protect an individual (her owner).
  • More cautious around kids.
  • Tends to bond with one person in the family.
  • Respects your time alone.
  • Easier to train her to walk off leash and stay close to you.
  • Cleaner.
  • More likely to get along with other dogs or animals.
  • Less stubborn.
  • More focused and easier to train.
  • Slightly less desire to please her owner.

Physical Differences


There are more physical similarities between male and female Mini American Shepherds than there are differences. When you look at a Mini American Shepherd, you’ll usually see the soft, beautiful coat, almost similar body structure, and usually see the dual-colored eyes.

But when you look closer, you’ll find some differences between both. For starters, males are usually about 1 to 2 inches taller and a few pounds heavier.


Female Miniature American Shepherds are slightly smaller in size than the males. They are about 1 to 2 inches shorter and a couple of pounds lighter.

Temperamental Differences


Male Mini American Shepherds are incredibly playful and goofy. From their puppy stage, until they get older, they are usually hyper and very active. They are fun-loving and less intense than females are. They are always looking to give their owners love and will stay close all the time without catching a break.

Males are more affectionate and will never pass up an opportunity to get on your laps for some snuggle session. This physical connection between males and their owners makes them more attentive and in-tune with their owner’s emotions and feelings. This makes them a pretty fantastic companion as their presence is ever comforting.

You could say that males’ activeness causes them to burn a lot of energy because they love food so much. They eat more than non-pregnant females, and they love it.

Male Mini American Shepherds are also eager to please. They are also fiercely loyal, and most times will be your second shadow (because they will follow you everywhere). Their love for their pack makes them very protective and wary of strangers.


Female Mini American Shepherds are not the direct opposite of males. They just have very slight temperamental differences and will usually have most of the qualities that males possess. Females are also loving, protective, affectionate, and loyal, but they can be more serious and intense.

Unlike males, females will not play all day every day as they are more reserved. They will carry this till their old age, whereas males tend to be playful almost throughout their life. They are more independent and appreciate some territorial boundaries from time to time.

Females are more prone to mood swings/changes, especially when they have not been spayed. During their period of “heat,” they will tend to get moody, grumpy, and a lot less playful. You can avoid this issue altogether when you get her spayed.

However, that doesn’t mean that females are not affectionate. They also love to cuddle and want all the attention fixated on them sometimes. But they will not be all over all at every waking moment like the males are.

They will come to you for some belly rub and some cuddle time, and when they feel good, they will find somewhere else to be or something else to do.

You will not be surprised to find a female trying to have her way every time. When she doesn’t get what she wants, she starts to sulk and will give you an attitude until she gets what she wants.



Both male and female Miniature American Shepherds are easy to train due to their high level of intelligence. They are very energetic and always need something to do to keep them physically and mentally busy, so they generally take training well. Initially, they were bred as farm dogs whose primary duty was herding animals.

However, despite how easy both sexes are to train, males tend to learn slightly slower than females. Their playful nature makes it a tad harder for them to take training as seriously as females do.

But their love for food and treats makes it possible to entice them into obeying commands. Plus, their innate need to please their owners come to play also.

Since males mature slower than females, they are not as fast at being house trained. Leash training is also harder with males because they tend to get distracted easily.

Their social and playful nature will get them running after other animals in the pack or on the road. But that’s okay because they will run right back to you. Eventually, they will learn to walk next to you without a leash.


Like I have mentioned earlier, females are not as carefree as males. They are more serious, focused, and intense, so it takes a lot to get distracted. This spells good news during training because, for the duration of learning, they will remain attentive and do what they are told.

However, when females lose interest, getting them to do anything can be difficult because of their stubbornness.

Training a female on walking off-leash is also easier. They are more likely to go through the entire session without experiencing a momentary loss of focus. They mostly just want to be done with the training so they can get back to doing what they want.

Females reach mental maturity faster than males, so they usually learn faster as well. When you find two one-year-old Mini American Shepherds, one male, and one female, you will find that the female has excelled in training more than the male has. They will usually be ahead of their male counterparts in housetraining.

Health Differences


Miniature American Shepherds are relatively healthy dogs. Unlike some other dog breeds, they do not have many diseases or health issues that plague them. That, and their small size, is one reason they tend to live longer than most dogs.

Male Mini American Shepherds do have the same lifespan as females do. On average, they are said to live between 12 to 15 years. To avoid some health problems as your male grows up, you should carry out a DNA test on him, preferably before you bring him home.

Because while this breed is a relatively healthy one, some that are not bred within the breed standard may be born with underlying problems.

Males tend to suffer from the same illness that females suffer from equally except Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). Males are less likely to suffer from this infection compared to their female counterparts.


Being the smaller of both sexes does not excuse females from being afflicted less with diseases. On the contrary, they are more likely to suffer from an infection called Urinary Tract Infection than males. This, however, does not suggest that they live shorter lives than males do.

Besides UTIs, male and female Miniature American Shepherds are usually equally prone to other major health issues and diseases that are consistent with the breed. For instance, hip dysplasia, cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, and degenerative myelopathy are some of the health problems that affect this breed.

In my experience, I have not noticed any form of link between the sex of a Mini American Shepherd and their lifespan. So, it is safe to say that both males and females have the same life expectancy.

With Children


If you have overactive children who love to play around the house all day, male Miniature American Shepherds will be perfect for them. Males are very playful and will play with your kids until exhaustion sets in. They are particularly good with older children who would have been taught how to treat dogs.

Naturally, these dogs are herders, so it is not surprising to find them herding children (even the owner has given proper training). Males are extremely good with children they grow up with, and they tend to protect these kids as a part of their pack.

They are incredibly energetic, and as long as your kids do not get tired, males will not get tired either. If they must play with younger children (toddlers, especially), they must be supervised to avoid going overboard. Too much excitement and jumpiness could lead to tripping a smaller kid, which could lead to an accident.


As mentioned earlier, females tend to mature faster and are slightly more serious and focused than males. This makes them more careful around children and also less playful. A female will not play all day with kids because, agreeing with her independent nature, she will want some time to herself.

Females also possess the instinct to want to herd everything in their path. Like the males, they too will try to herd your child if they are not trained not to.

With Other Dogs


Mini American Shepherds are very good with other dogs even though they will also try to herd them. They are not aggressive towards other dogs at all and will live peacefully with them. The key to achieving this is to have the dog socialized as a puppy so he can get used to being around other dogs.

Males will exist with both dogs of the same sex and the opposite sex in unity.


Females might take a little more time to get used to other dogs, but they become accustomed to coexisting with time. They make excellent companions to other dogs of the same or different breeds.

If you wish to bring in other dogs into your home while you have a female Miniature American Shepherd, you can do so with a sense of calm. All you need to do is be smart when introducing them, and after a while, they will become buddies.

With Cats

Miniature American Shepherds can live with cats, as well as other small pets, comfortably. Their non-aggressive nature makes them calm and tolerant of cats. This, however, does not mean your dog will not be found trying to herd your cat. They just have to be trained not to.

While it is naturally normal for Mini American Shepherds to get along with cats, that will not be the case if they are not socialized as puppies.

Which Is Better for a Family?

In my opinion, both male and female Miniature American Shepherds are perfect for families. They are loving, intelligent, caring, affectionate, and loyal to their pack. This means that they will play, care for, and protect their families for as long as they live and will only bring them happiness.

Both are great with children, and both respond very well to training. This makes it nearly impossible to pick any specific sex as the best one for any family. Let’s look at some of the advantages of having each dog in a family environment.

Advantages of Male Miniature American Shepherds in a Family Environment:

  • Will never get tired of playing with kids.
  • They are very energetic and are great for active families.
  • Will be welcoming of other dogs in the home.
  • Easy going with other pets in the house.

Advantages of Female Miniature American Shepherds in a Family Environment:

  • Easier to train.
  • More careful around children.
  • Will also be welcoming of other dogs in the home.
  • Has a lot of energy and great for active families.
  • Gets along well with other pets in the house

It does not matter which sex you decide to go for. Both of them are great with children, other pets, and other dogs. They are both intelligent and will respond to training. The most you will do to get them more prepared for family living is to get them socialized at a young age.

Which Makes a Better Watchdog?

Miniature American Shepherds are very good watchdogs. They are very alert and will bark whenever an intruder or a strange face approaches. While they have a sharp bark, they can be taught to stop barking on command.

Both males and females can watch over their owners. And while their size may not allow them to fend off attackers from their family, they can very well sound a warning when danger approaches.

My Final Thoughts

There are many good things to be said about the Mini American Shepherd, and very few bad things. Do you want a cute dog? They are perfect. Do you want a healthy dog? They fit that description. Do you want a loving, loyal, and affection dog? You don’t need to look very far.

They are very good with kids, and they make the absolute best friends to them. They will love you, protect you, and make your family their pack. All you just need to do is love them back and care for them.

You will have to train the herder out of them to avoid having your kids, your cats, and even yourself from being herded. This will not be a problem as they are brilliant and will quickly learn everything you have to teach them.

1 comment

Carla Rodgers July 20, 2022 - 1:59 pm

I have a male merle and he’s very anxious and docile. He trusts no one and is very protective of his space. He’s also very stubborn and takes off when he gets a chance. He didn’t become this way till his puppy sister died. I am getting a puppy soon but not sure if I want a female again. She was aggressive to kids and was cranky. So not sure what to do yet. My little girl was very independent and loved her crate, so some of the stuff you explained is true but merles are quite different.


Leave a Comment

You may also like