The Australian Shepherd (affectionately called an ‘Aussie’) does not actually originate in Australia. It is believed that some Basque farmers brought ancestors of these dogs with them when they emigrated to Australia, then subsequently to the United States during the 1849 California gold rush. However, the breed as it is known today was developed in the American Southwest over the next few decades. The Australian dog was crossed with several breeds in an effort to produce an animal able to deal with the harsh temperatures and demands of the American West. Breeding during this period was mainly focused on ability—speed, agility, and endurance--rather than appearance, which delayed the Australian Shepherd’s recognition as a breed. The standard Australian Shepherds are over 18 inch at the shoulder, the Mini Aussie is 14-18 inches, the Toy Aussies is 10-14 inches and teacups are even smaller.
The Toy Australian Shepherd is an active dog that is truly people focused. It is relaxed, loyal, and devoted, bonding closely with family, even to the point of developing separation anxiety. They are a great companions for children and other pets, especially if socialized as a puppy. It can be shy around strangers, as it is territorial by nature. They are happiest when they are with their family and participating whether it be jogging, herding cattle/sheep, disc/ball throwing, obedience training, agility or just plain playing or hanging out they want to be there. In the house, they may be happy to just lay there and watch you and follow you. Toy Aussies make excellent house dogs with appropriate exercise.
The Toy Australian Shepherd is intelligent and a people pleaser. As a result, the Aussie is fun to train because it learns quickly and easily. Aussies are unusually eager to please and adept at a wide variety of sports and games, such as herding, Flyball, and agility competitions. The more time and effort you put into training your puppy the better dog you will end up with. I really do recommend that you attend basic obedience classes with your pup. If you are looking for a dog that has a high intelligence level to be a major "partner" in your life that you can truly interact with, that is the Aussie. They need social interaction with their owners.
Toy Aussies have a life span of 12-13 years and average litter size is 3-4 puppies.
Aussies coat color and inheritance- Aussies come in four colors: blue merle, red merle, black tri/bi, and red tri/bi. All four can have copper and/or white trim. The tri has a solid colored body of red or black with both copper & white points. The Bi has a body color of red or black with only white points-no copper. The merle has a pattered coat with white & copper points. The merle can either be red or blue. When breeding the Aussie you should never breed a merle to a merle as you have a chance of producing pups that are too white with vision and hearing loss.
Aussies are very unique in that they can have a wide array of eye color, much like humans do. Blue, brown, hazel, amber, and green are all commonly seen eye colors in Aussies. Black tri and blue merles have black noses. Red tri and red merles have red noses. Red merles may have some pink splotches as well.