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  #11  
Old 01-18-2007, 09:29 PM
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I've never liked even one toy Aussie that I've ever met. Zoom described them perfectly. I don't mind the miniatures as long as they're only an inch or two under the allowed minimum height for the regular Aussie, but that happens in lots of standard Aussie litters. I don't like the ones that are really small (Beagle to Schnauzer size). Those ones don't seem to have very stable temperaments a lot of the time because the breeders are paying too much attention to appearance rather than health. I much prefer the standard, regular Australian Shepherd to the other two sizes. They're much more stable in temperament and just a much nicer dog overall. I'd never support a breeder of mini or toy Aussies.

I agree with everything that Sam and Zoom have said.
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  #12  
Old 01-18-2007, 10:10 PM
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I'll agree with the majority on here- stay away from the minis and the toys.

A good rule of thumb for people looking for ANY breed of dog- if breed X would be "just perfect for me, if only it were miniature," look for another breed. You haven't found the one for you yet. People go into a certain breed of dog because they love (or deal with) EVERYTHING that is a part of that breed- be it size, drive, coat type, etc. This trend with miniaturizing every breed under the sun is completely bizarre to me. I can just see it...any day now someone will start making miniature Great Danes, or miniature Russian Wolfhounds.

Sam is absolutely right- as soon as you start breeding for ONE characteristic, you screw up a HOST of other things. Genes are bizarre little things, and the locus for one trait can be the locus for MANY others, completely unrelated to something like size- temperament for example. There is a reason that the phenomenon known as "rage syndrome" is more prevalent in red Cockers than in any other coat color in the breed. There is a reason that you do BAER testing on dog breeds that are predominantly white [Aussies, ACDs (which are born white), English Setters, Dalmations, etc.)

Most people would never see a connection between temperament and coat color, or coat color and the ability to hear- but there are ABSOLUTELY connections there, and God knows how many more.

People who breed for one trait to the exclusion of others are ASKING for health problems.

I urge anyone interested to read some of Temple Grandin's writings on the subject. Definitely food for thought.

Really, I don't understand the appeal behind miniaturizing this breed. It is a WORKING breed for crying out loud. What is a toy Australian Shepherd going to herd? Dust bunnies? Yech. It's no better than the DD trend.
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  #13  
Old 01-19-2007, 02:17 AM
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I don't understand the appeal behind miniaturizing this breed
Apparently, back in the 70s, they wanted to have Aussies that would be better house dogs and easier to travel to shows with... according to one story (which should be a bit of a tip-off - there are a couple different versions of how minis came about). Which never made sense to me - Aussies aren't big dogs to begin with. My girl is 19" and 40 pounds, that's not exactly huge. She's on the lower end of the standard, but still. The breed has grown in size since the AKC recognized it, but that's another post.

Anyway, I agree with what everyone else has said. Getting a "toy" Aussie is a gamble, and you'd end up with a Pomeranian mix, most likely. Minis have been around since the 70s, but they still haven't managed to 1) decide on a standard or a breed name (there's "Miniature Australian Shepherd" and "North American Shepherd" - both with their own breed clubs after some political split), and 2) breed true-to-whatever-standard. Mini Aussie breeders are still including Aussies in their breeding programs, which to me isn't ethical. The Mini people will say that their dogs are a variety of Aussie, so the intermingling of "standard" Aussies and minis is okay - but there is NO variety listed in the Aussie standard. Exploiting one part of the Aussie standard (quality shouldn't be sacrificed to meet size guidelines) to justify breeding is NOT ethical, IMHO.

MASCA considers the North American Shepherd (NASMASCA) a distinct breed from mini aussies, even though the clubs split in the last 15 years and the two breeds are the same thing (the NAS club refers to itself as "North American/Miniature Australian Shepherd Club"). The whole mini thing isn't okay with me, and I think if you love Aussies, if they're your perfect dog, get an Aussie the way they were meant to be - which is NOT 17 inches or smaller. JMO.
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  #14  
Old 01-19-2007, 03:24 PM
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I've seen Aussies in standard litters that are under 17" . . .

That said, I have seen "mini" Aussies work and they're efficient dogs. I don't understand what purpose they are filling, though, because standard-sized Aussies tend to be more efficient on cattle. If you want a herding/gatherer type dog that's in the 25-45lb range, why not get a Border Collie? They work differently but they are still effective and the risk of them being watered down due to "selective" breeding for size is minimal.
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  #15  
Old 01-19-2007, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by RD View Post
I've seen Aussies in standard litters that are under 17" . . .

That said, I have seen "mini" Aussies work and they're efficient dogs. I don't understand what purpose they are filling, though, because standard-sized Aussies tend to be more efficient on cattle. If you want a herding/gatherer type dog that's in the 25-45lb range, why not get a Border Collie? They work differently but they are still effective and the risk of them being watered down due to "selective" breeding for size is minimal.
I don't think it's even fair to generalise that "mini" are anything. You MIGHT get some that work and some that don't. You might get some that have sheltie in them, some that are small aussies bred for a couple generations. Some shelties herd some don't. You're risking a lot when you buy a dog from an unethical breeder. It's a bigger risk than a regular aussie which is already a risk IMO.

Also as it's been pointed out, there are some in size aussies that are on the smaller side that are small enough to look like a "mini".

I agree with whoever said if you find a breed but think they are a bit big keep looking for the right breed rather than trying to find a miniturised version.

Border collies certainly tend to be lighter and smaller and again there is a big range. My border collie is on the large end- 52 lbs. My aussie is 46 lbs but she's much shorter and stockier; she appears littler. The sissue is similar with border collies though--a tiny 30 lb border collie can be a TON of drivey dog, a ton of work and not a great dog for someone who wants a PET.
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  #16  
Old 01-19-2007, 07:15 PM
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I actually looked into one Mini Aussie breeder, when I was thinking about an Aussie puppy. She lives about an hour from me, and I visited her place... she only has 4 or 5 dogs, all are IABCA Champions & work sheep and goats daily. All of her dogs were registered with both Mini Aussie registries and completely health tested. Her dogs are GORGEOUS, none with domed heads and none under 14"... actually, I think most were 16"-17".

My first priority was a working Aussie breeder with dogs on the smaller end of the standard, but I could barely find any working Aussie breeders at all in my area. The breeders that I did meet and talk to were either show & working or just show breeders, whose dogs were well over 50 lbs. I've seen Mini's work incredibly well in classes & trials... but those dogs were very well bred. IMO, I do not see the purpose of breeding for 10" toy dogs... at all. A 10" Aussie just cannot do the job they're meant to do, logically.

In the end, I did not get a Mini Aussie puppy (obviously). I kept thinking of "Mini Border Collies" becoming a new breed (even though BC's frequently range in size from 20-60 lbs), and that made me feel horrible. If I really, truly wanted an Aussie, I would get a puppy from parents who were 17"-19". I would probably have to look all over for a breeder, and probably wait, but I'd rather do that than buy a breed that I'm on the fence about.
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  #17  
Old 01-19-2007, 07:24 PM
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I have "standard" aussies, and actually I don't have a problem with "mini's" IF the breeder is a responsible one. I have a couple of friends who have 'toy' aussies and the concensus is correct, they do not look like "toy aussies" to me, they are more "snipey" in the nose and resemble whatever they were crossed with/ pom/chihuaha whatever,,they did not look like a "toy" version of an aussie.

With that said, I also agree, there are many "standard" aussie breeders that have small aussies..The aussie "size" standard is not that set in stone when it comes to size, they are looking for the overall package, but I'm sure a 14" standard sized aussie would not do well in the show ring (and personally I've never seen one in the conformation ring) but they do happen.

I have a couple of friends who have all gotten mini's from a really nice breeder up canada/maine way, (I think tucker and I have discussed her before) and let me tell ya,,these dogs are not couch potatoes. They are not "crossed" with shelties or whatever, (which I've seen alot of mini's that are also snipey/sheltie-ish looking) .

And while many don't want to say it, there are ALOT of Standard aussie breeders(and responsible ones!!) breeding to mini's to get some new "blood" going.

I don't consider the "mini's" a designer breed, and sure I think there are alot of not so responsible breeders of them out there , as with ANY breed, but I do see alot of responsible ones who while keeping that smaller package, breeding for size alone isn't their "goal"..

I do like my standard asca/akc reg'd aussies tho, just easier to do all venues of whatever I wish to compete in, and so much diversity out there when it comes to finding a dog. The toy's, no I wouldn't be interested in one.
The mini's,,someday if I was in the market, I would probably be interested if it was what I was looking for.
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  #18  
Old 01-19-2007, 11:39 PM
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Sometimes the weight range of a mini aussie and a standard aussie overlap. so some could be standard. Our female was like 40lbs. That's between the two.

I know someone who is going to breed a toy female. she looks like a box with 4 legs. The male they have looks like an aussie. She said the breeder said that he might be a mini instead of a toy. Now the female is just under 10 lbs, which i don't like. He's a puppy right now so he is still growing, but they shouldn't breed them together. One the female is not like a normal aussie, she is too small to do what she was bred to do which was to herd, and if the male gets any bigger she could have problems giving birth.

i have no problems with the minis, but the toys are mixed with poms and other small dogs.
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  #19  
Old 01-19-2007, 11:47 PM
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...or miniature Russian Wolfhounds.
Got them already...they're called Silken Windhounds. lol Ok...so not technically mini Borzois but they look so similar they may as well be.

Cass.
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  #20  
Old 01-20-2007, 10:19 AM
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LOL- I've seen Silkens before actually, Cass! In fact, I talk about them a great deal on this board.

I think they look slightly more Borzoi/Saluki-esque however. I honestly think it's a lovely breed. The animals are already typey- even after such a short history. Nice to see some people doing it right for a change.
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