16 Things You Need to Know About the Toy Australian Shepherd

Toy Australian Shepherd Toy Aussie lying on the grass

In recent times, smaller dog breeds have become very popular in families all over the world. You may ask, “What might be the reason behind this sudden boom?”

Well, we can partly give this credit to some celebrities. But we can’t deny the fact that these smaller pooches are adorable and almost irresistible.

The same can be said of Toy Australian Shepherds. This dog breed is known explicitly for its cuteness, high intelligence, and great family-oriented nature. Sound’s sweet, right?

If you’re looking for a lively, loyal, and great companion dog, then you should consider getting a Toy Aussie. There’s more to this unique breed than you can ever think about.

That’s why this guide is carefully prepared to help you with the essential facts you need to know before getting one for yourself and your family.

Keep reading to learn about this dog breed’s unique features and personality and hopefully make an informed decision at the end of this guide.

Let’s get started.

What Is a Toy Australian Shepherd?

Toy Australian Shepherds are adorable, energetic, and intelligent dog breeds that possess most of the Standard Australian Shepherd qualities in a smaller package. They originate from Mini and Standard Australian Shepherds and are mostly bred in the United States.

The Standard Aussie breed is actually not native to Australia at all but came.

The term “Toy” that typically describes this dog is used by professional dog breeders to distinguish them from other sizes in the same sort of breed.

Because of the increasing popularity of small dogs, breeders painstakingly work to create smaller versions of the Standard Australian Shepherd. The result of their hard work led to the breeding of Mini Aussies and eventually, Toy Aussies, which are relatively smaller.

In fact, they’ve managed to keep the best traits of herding, enthusiasm, and intelligence exhibited by the Standard Australian Shepherd in the breeding process.

Are Toy, Teacup, and Mini Australian Shepherd the Same?

Although the Toy, Teacup, and Mini Australian Shepherds all come from the Standard Australian Shepherd, they still have distinct differences. The most observable difference between them is size.

The Mini Aussie was first bred from Standard Australia and was similar in nearly all aspects except the size. Then step was taken to go even smaller and produce a toy version of the breed.

Apart from the size of the Toy Aussies, they are also different from their Mini counterparts in the sense that they could not function as full working dogs. However, they still retain the instinct to herd and are very active dogs.

The Teacup Australian Shepherd is the smallest of the Australian Shepherd breed. And it is absolutely not a working dog. It weighs between 4 and 8 pounds, hence, the teacup label.

In summary, the Mini Aussie is bigger than the Toy Aussie, while the Toy Aussie is also larger than the Teacup Aussie. Therefore, they are not the same.

How Do Breeders Produce Toy Australian Shepherd?

Breeders produce the Toy Australian Shepherd by breeding several small-sized Australian Shepherds. Generally, it’s very easy to breed Toy Aussies. Therefore, the process of breeding these dogs does not pose a big problem.

A common method that breeders employ in breeding these small-sized dogs is crossing a Standard or Mini Australian Shepherd with a Corgi, Pomeranian, or Sheltie. If the breeding takes place under healthy conditions of both parents, the litter produced will be impressive.

Are Toy Australian Shepherds Healthy Dogs?

Toy Australian Shepherds are not just one of the smartest dogs, but also one of the healthiest dog breeds. However, they have specific health issues, which is even more complicated as a result of inbreeding.

Toy Australian Shepherds are prone to the following health issues:

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

Why Is Breeding Toy Australian Shepherd Considered Controversial?

After breeding the Mini Australian Shepherd succeeded, breeders proceeded to produce even smaller dogs – Toy Aussie. It was at this point that things started to become confusing.

First of all, the Toy Australian Shepherd is supposed to be smaller than the Mini Aussie. Although this is true in most cases, it’s not true in all cases. These pooches do not all have identical builds, in that some are slimmer, and others have a slightly heavier build.

What that actually means is that some Toy Aussies are quite larger than their Mini counterparts such that when you see them together, they would seem to be the same breed.

Furthermore, the fact that the Toy Aussie could no longer function effectively as a working dog has become a subject of concern. Unlike the Toy Aussie, most Mini Aussies can be used as herding dogs, just like the standard Australian dogs are used.

You may ask, “What is the reason behind the Toy Aussie’s inability to function adequately as a working dog?” Well, this can be blamed partly on the excessive inbreeding technique used by breeders. In spite of this, Toy Aussies are still considered active dogs in some quarters.

Another controversial subject about the Toy Aussies is their susceptibility to certain health issues, which are rarely found in their larger cousins.

Veterinarians believe this is due to inbreeding and breeders’ action when trying to use smaller dogs to produce a smaller breed. And small dogs are likely to be more prone to health issues.

As a result of these issues, the Toy Aussie breed is not generally accepted by all. Some argue that breeders should stop breeding them since they can’t retain all the Standard Aussies’ traits.

Others think if they are well trained and given frequent healthcare, they would be just fine as the Standard ones.

Toy Australian Shepherd vs. Other Varieties of Australian Shepherd: What’s the Difference?

The only major observable difference between the Toy Australian Shepherd and its other counterparts is size. Apart from this, we just have few differences between these breeds.

The Toy Aussie tends to be a little more yappy and high-strung than the other Australian Shepherd varieties. It is also more susceptible to fear-biting during a high threat situation.

Another slight difference between these breeds is that the Toy Aussies tend to be more of a companion dog than a working dog. Mini and Standard Aussies are well-known for their herding abilities.

Due to the smaller size of the Toy Australian Shepherd, they also tend to be more at risk of health problems suffered by the Mini and Standard breeds.

What Does the Toy Australian Shepherd Look Like?

A Toy Aussie looks very similar to a Mini or Standard Australian Shepherd.

Toy Australian Shepherd has a medium-length coat. Their coat is slightly wavy or straight. The coats color can be red or blue merle coats, red or black tricolor, along with white or tan markings. You’ll never see a Toy Aussie with white hair around their ears or eyes.

Thanks to their fur, they survive so well in cold climates. The dog’s body is longer than its height at the shoulders, and the chest and ribcage are fairly developed.

The Toy Aussie’s legs are straight, and the feet are a little arched with the back legs having a well-defined posture that gives the dog a ready-for-action look. The lower body, as well as the legs, are coated with slightly longer hair known as furnishings.

The neck is proportionate to the body, flowing naturally into the strong shoulders of the Toy Aussie. The head is held high while walking but often held lower when working livestock.

The eyes can have various colors, including amber, brown, blue, and flecked, but they still look slightly almond-shaped, very sharp, and alert.

The ears of this breed are held high, and they form full triangles with slightly rounded tips. Also, a small portion of their ear should fold forward. Ears that do not remain upright or with no fold are often considered disadvantageous in show dogs.

The Toy Australian Shepherds can be born with a very short, natural bobtail, or the tail is docked when they’re just a few days old.

Toy Australian Shepherd Temperament – Do They Make Good Family Dogs?

Toy Australian Shepherds are adorably beautiful, energetic, intelligent, and affectionate towards their family, thereby making them excellent and great companion family dogs.

These pooches want so much attention from their families and thrive on lots of it. They are pretty attached to their family and always wants to be around them. They are also easy going puppies that love to play a lot, especially with children.

Toy Australian Shepherds are not fragile dogs like many small dogs, so they can handle romping and moderate kinds of play with kids of all ages. Since they are eager to please their family, they will listen and respond to commands from kids.

Toy Aussies do not like living a sedentary lifestyle. Even though they are so loyal to their loved ones, they can develop separation anxiety if not given enough attention. Since they’re lively dogs, they crave social interaction with their owners.

So if you are thinking of leaving a Toy Aussie in a kennel or in a place for long periods, then you should consider getting other dog breeds. This is because they tend to become nervous and destructive if left alone for too long without enough mental and physical stimulation.

Most small dogs are usually indoor dogs. But that is not the case with Toy Australian Shepherds. While some of them live on farms or ranches, others live in cities. Just keep in mind that your Toy Aussie will be happy to live with you no matter where you live.

Perhaps you’re the type of person that travels a lot; a Toy Aussie can be your travel partner. The Toy Australian Shepherd enjoys traveling a lot and visiting new places.

However, they tend to be wary of strangers and usually skirt around the edges of gatherings until they feel cozy.

You can minimize this behavior only if you socialize them at an early age. But you should avoid forcing the puppy to interact as this can lead to fear and distrust of strangers or even family members.

Speaking of their relations with other dogs and pets, Toy Aussies also get along with them. The Toy Australian Shepherd is always quiet when herding, unlike other herding or working dogs. They do not bark or yelp at other animals.

Toy Australian Shepherds are also territorial dogs. They are natural guardians and always eager to protect their family and home from any threat. So you can trust them when it comes to the security of your home and property, they will protect you!

How Many Colors Available for Toy Australian Shepherd?

Toy Australian Shepherds have similar coat colors with the Standard Australian Shepherds. They officially come in four recognized coat colors, which include Black, Red, Blue Merle, and Red Merle. Any colors other than these four are considered mongrel dogs.

Although these colors are the major color groups, each group has many variations. Let’s further explain each color and its variations.

Please note that some of the pictures listed below are not always pictures of Toy Aussie. If I can’t find any Toy Aussie picture of a specific color (due to its rarity), I’ll use Mini or Standard Aussie to illustrate the coat color.

Black Toy Australian Shepherds

Black-colored Toy Aussies can come in four variations, each with different markings. The four variations include black bi, solid black, black and tan, and tri-color.

Black Bi: This stands for black bicolor, including many dogs with just black and white color. Most time, a Toy Aussie will have white markings on the face, chest, belly, and legs. The white marks will appear in points but without copper marks.
Photo from @meetoreotheaussie (IG)
Solid Black: This version of Toy Aussie has no white or copper marks around its body. Sometimes you’ll see a hint of white on the chest of this dog. They are most likely the least common among black Aussies.
Photo from @blackaussie.vissla (IG)
Black and Tan: These pooches mainly have a black coat with tan or copper highlights around the face, chest, and legs.
Photo from @lillythetoyaussie (IG)
Black Tri-color: This version is one of the most popular among black Toy Aussies. Most of the time, the black coat is highlighted with white markings on the face, belly, chest, and legs. Also, tan or copper highlights can sometimes be seen on the face and legs. When this occurs, you have a black tri Toy Aussie.
Photo from @the_marvelous_ms.maple (IG)

Red Toy Australian Shepherds

Red-colored Toy Aussies come in three variations. The variations in this color group are red bi, red tri, and solid red.

Red Bi: Only a few Toy Aussies come in red and white color. These canines have a red base coat with white highlights on the face, chest, and legs. Most times, you’ll find red Toy Aussies with a hint of copper or tan. Notwithstanding, they may be classified as red and white dogs.
Photo from @pahkahullun (IG)
Red tri-color Toy Australian Shepherd
Red Tri: This version has a red base, which may range from light cinnamon to a dark liver color. They also have white markings on the face, chest, belly, and legs. You’ll also see copper highlights on their face and legs.
Photo from @paisleythetoyaussie (IG)
Solid red Toy Australian Shepherd
Solid Red: This color is the rarest of all Red Toy Aussies.
Photo from @barleyinthewild (IG)

Blue Merle Toy Australian Shepherds

The Blue Merle Toy Aussie also comes with four versions: blue merle tri, blue merle bi, blue merle and tan, and solid blue merle.

Blue Merle Tri: These Toy Aussies have a base coat of the blue merle color, which is basically black spots on a grey coat. The blue merle is highlighted with copper and white markings around the chest, face, belly, and legs.
Photo from @happybaki (IG)
Blue Merle Bi: This version has a blue merle base coat and only white markings, especially on the chest, legs, and face.
Photo from @livinladulcevida (IG)
Blue Merle and Tan: These dogs have a base coat of the blue merle color with only copper or tan.
Photo from @stella_storm_story (IG)
Solid Blue Merle: It’s also rare to run into a solid blue merle, but they are unique and amazing. The color features a gray coat with black spots in random locations.
Photo from @badboyzeph (IG)

Red Merle Toy Australian Shepherds

The red merle Aussie color group comes with three different versions, including red merle tri-color, red merle and white, and solid red merle.

Red Merle Tri: This version has red spots on top of a buff to the silver base color. They also have white markings on the chest, belly, legs, and face. You’ll also frequently see copper highlights on the legs and face.
Photo from @ferrisbuellersdogdaysoff (IG)
Red Merle and White: This color comes in just red merle and white, but seems similar to the red merle tricolor.
Photo from @maverick.the.miniaussie (IG)
Solid Red Merle: These dogs have spots that can either come in tiny speckles or large patches.
Photo from @lifewith.jasper (IG)

Size & Weight: How Big Do Toy Australian Shepherds Get?

Toy Australian Shepherds do not get taller than 14 inches at the shoulder. Their height typically ranges between 10 and 14 inches.

The typical Toy Aussie weighs 7 to 20 pounds.

What Is the Life Expectancy of a Toy Australian Shepherd?

The life expectancy of a Toy Australian Shepherd is 12 to 13 years. Standard Australian Shepherds tend to live slightly longer than their toy versions with a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years.

How to Care for Your Toy Australian Shepherd’s Basic Needs?

It’s essential to care for your Toy Aussie in order to ensure he becomes a healthy adult dog. The following are the factors you need to consider when caring for your pooch carefully:

Feeding

Feeding a Toy Australian Shepherd in the right manner plays a crucial role in their development. These dogs grow rapidly in the first few months of their life. So growing puppies actually need more calories than older dogs of the same size.

High quality and nutrient-filled diet typically formulated for puppies will help them through an accelerated development rate. They are very active dogs; therefore, they should be given a balanced and nutritious diet.

Toy Australian Shepherds need to be fed premium-quality food that is good for small breeds. These types of food will cover your dog’s nutritional needs and will be easily chewable.

For example, dry kibble is a portion of high-quality puppy food, and it’s the easiest and cheapest you can feed your puppy. Another thing is that it may help clean your puppy’s teeth. However, it’s not an alternative for regular teeth brushing.

You may ask, “How much should I feed my Toy Australian puppy?” It is recommended that you feed a puppy between one and three months old, 2/3 to 2 cups of food per day. From four to eight months old, their feed should be between 1 cup to 3 cups and so on.

You should feed your Toy Australian Shepherd puppy is 3 to 4 times a day. But by the time the puppy is a year old, you can feed him once in the morning and in the evening.

It’s also imperative to watch over your dog frequently. You should never allow him to ingest any chocolate or chewing gum, no matter how small it can be. Even a small piece of chocolate will be fatal. Small dogs are generally susceptible to poisoning.

Since Toy Aussies are prone to dysplasia, it is advised to include a chicken foot in their diet in order to grease the joints.

If you notice that your dog refuses to eat so well or even at all, you should make sure to see your veterinarian immediately.

Grooming

The Toy Australian Shepherd needs constant grooming to look even more beautiful. They are average shedders, and they shed more heavily mostly during the spring and fall.

These adorable pooches should be brushed daily using a pin brush or stiff bristle brush. Some areas such as the hair around the neck, hair on the rump, and the legs’ furnishings can be subject to matting and tangling. So you should pay close attention to them during brushing.

Daily brushing should be prioritized as it will help speed up the shedding and prevent mats from forming. The Toy Aussie should be bathed only when necessary. But you should make sure they’re blow-dried after each bath.

Your puppy’s teeth should be brushed every day in order to keep them clean and white, which will help to reduce the risk of oral disease.

You also need to trim your pooch’s nails regularly in order to have a greater experience when carrying him in your arms.

Don’t forget to clean their ears too!

Exercise

The Toy Aussie is a very active, energetic, and intelligent dog, thereby needing physical and mental stimulation. A family that loves to walk, run, hike, and play a lot is the perfect fit for this dog. These dogs love new adventures, so you should take them out more often.

Since they love physical and mental activities, it will be great to take them to dog competitions and events in your local community or even national competitions. These activities will provide them with the right balance of physical and mental work.

Training

Are you worried about training a Toy Australian Shepherd? That’s not a problem because these dogs are so attentive, highly intelligent, and eager to learn.

Toy Australian Shepherds are one of the easiest dogs to housetrain. The best possible way to train these dogs is to reward them in the form of verbal praise and petting. With this training method, they will work as hard as they can to perform every task and command given to them.

You should never train a Toy Aussie harshly or speak to them in a rough tone of voice. This is because they tend to become timid and coward if treated poorly.

This breed has an excellent and fast ability for word recognition so they can be easily taught different tricks and training activities.

Because of their smart and obedient nature, they easily pick up obedience training and even go on to compete in various activities like herding, agility, and Flyball.

The Toy Aussie needs early socialization as part of their training. This will help them overcome any shy or territorial behavior.

Wellness Visits

Another way of caring for these beautiful pets is to take them on wellness visits regularly.

Toy Australian Shepherds are moderately healthy dogs, so you can take them to the vet at least once in a month. However, don’t hesitate to wait for another wellness examination if you notice any signs or symptoms. 

Be prepared to answer some questions. The vet will ask you about your dog’s diet, habits, thirst, exercise, breathing, lifestyle, elimination patterns, and general health.

Your veterinarian will first perform a physical examination of your Toy Aussie. Then you’ll be given recommendations for specific preventive medicine treatments.

Make sure you adhere to every advice and recommendations given to ensure your pet live healthier and longer.

Your Love & Affection

Toy Aussies are very devoted and affectionate dogs that can do anything to please their owners. Therefore, you should also give them the undivided attention they require from you.

Reward them whenever they obey new instructions or do what you don’t expect of them. It will encourage them to do more.

Most importantly, make sure you give them the physical and mental stimulation they need; it will make them very happy dogs.

Pros and Cons of Owning a Toy Australian Shepherd

While Toy Australian Shepherds make outstanding and loveable dogs, they also have their own shortcomings.

Let’s take a look at some pros and cons of owning a Toy Aussie.

Pros

  • Toy Australian Shepherds are obedient and intelligent dogs.
  • They are highly trainable and adaptable.
  • They are very devoted and protective of their family.
  • They are very adorable and alert.
  • They are perfect for active families.
  • Toy Aussies are natural guard dogs.
  • They can be trained to perform all kinds of work.

Cons

  • Toy Australian Shepherds needs a lot of grooming.
  • They’re not ideal for people that live alone.
  • They can be territorial and shy towards strangers.
  • They can be destructive and intolerable if bored.
  • They have a high prey drive and chasing instinct.

Toy Australian Shepherd Breeders

Before getting your Toy Australian Shepherd puppy, you should validate if they’re reputable breeders or not. This is because many are just casual breeders, while few are professional breeders. But you should be ready to spend as most professional breeders sell at a high price.

Asking critical questions from breeders will give you a chance at figuring professional ones. You will know yourself from the answers provided by the breeder.

To save you a hassle of time, we’ve come up with a list of reputable sources where you can find healthy and well-bred Toy Aussie puppies for sale.

Toy Australian Shepherd Puppy Price & Expenses: Can You Afford a Toy Aussie?

If you’ve finally decided to pick a Toy Australian Shepherd as your new puppy, you’ve made a great choice. But the cost of the Toy Aussie can be a concern.

The question is, “Can you afford a Toy Australian Shepherd?” The average price of the Toy Australian Shepherd ranges from $650 to $850. However, it can cost anywhere between $450 to $1,800, depending on the breeder’s reputation, pedigree, coat colors, and location.

Apart from the puppy’s price, you will need to buy your new puppy essential items such as toys, food, grooming tools, a harness, collar, food and water bowls, and more.

You also need to consider some expenses such as veterinary expenses, vaccinations, health checks, deworming, housing, etc.

So, the average initial costs of owning a Toy Australian Shepherd apart from the price range from $975 to $1,500. If you’re interested to know more about the costs and expenses of owning an Aussie, you can read my article here.

Should You Adopt or Buy Your Toy Australian Shepherd? Tips on How to Find a Healthy Puppy

If you can, I would recommend that you adopt a Toy Australian Shepherd. This is because you’ll be saving a fair amount of money, not only that, you’re also putting a smile on the dog’s face (by providing him a loving home).

The first step to finding a healthy Toy Australian Shepherd is to check your local animal shelter. It’s probably the closest to you. Truth be told, it’s rare to find a Toy Aussie in your local shelter, but it’s also likely you find one.

The best place where you can adopt a Toy Australian Shepherd is from an Australian Shepherd rescue. There are few of them, but you should check out the following:

Other Related Questions

  • Do Toy Australian Shepherd bark a lot? They are considered a noisy breed; therefore, they will bark at strangers, other animals, and loud noises.
  • Does Toy Australian Shepherd shed a lot? Toy Aussies are average shedders, but they shed heavily in the spring and fall.
  • Can Toy Australian Shepherd be left alone? These dogs do not like being left alone. If they are left alone for too long, they may develop destructive and obnoxious behavior or even barking.
  • Should you get a male or female Toy Australian Shepherd? Both male and female Toy Aussies are excellent dogs. Male or female choice is often a personal preference. You will not be disappointed with this breed, either you get a male or female.

My Final Thoughts

Absolutely, Australian Shepherds are one of the most amazing and adorable dogs in the world, especially when smaller. They are so obedient, intelligent, and devoted to their owners.

If you’ve decided to get this cute pooch, then you’ve made a good decision. But you should do everything you can to give them the attention they need, a good diet, regular grooming, constant checkup, as well as physical and mental stimulation.

If you can do all this, you won’t ever regret getting this beautiful breed into your house.

Some Toy Australian Shepherd Videos

References

John Carter

My name is John Carter and I absolutely love pets, especially dogs. I've got a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare and have several years’ experience working in animal shelters and rescues. My passion for animals started at a very young age as I grow up on a farm with several horses, cows, cats, chickens, and dogs on our property.

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