For being a relatively recent addition to the ranks of the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) recognized breeds, the Miniature American Shepherd has moved up quickly on the list of the most popular ones. It comes in at number 31 after just getting formal recognition in 2015. When considering how to know which gender is best for you, it helps to do your research.
Often, a breed’s job can offer valuable clues about the personality of the male and female dogs. What they do for a living can encourage unique qualities that can make the choice easy for you. It also is essential to look at the conformation of the Miniature American Shepherd to see how alike—or dissimilar—are the two sexes. Our guide will give you the info you need to decide.
At a Glance
Miniature American Shepherds 101
The Miniature American Shepherd got its start in California in the 1960s. As you may surmise from its appearance, the breed is undoubtedly related to the Australian Shepherd. That’s where selective breeding came into the picture. Those dogs are considerably different from the American pup, with stark differences in size and weight between males and females.
The Miniature American Shepherd may not be as big as their cousins, but they lack none of their punk or energy. There’s so much to love about these dogs. They are affectionate animals with a playful side. They are great with kids and will even keep an eye on their charges as a watchdog. This pup is an intelligent animal that needs mental stimulation to be happy.
Male Miniature American Shepherds Overview
Personality / Character
The male Miniature American Shepherd has a distinctive masculine quality about it. That may reflect its role as a loyal travel companion. This trait is even highlighted in the official breed standard. This pup has a keen eye, which comes from being a herding dog. After all, it’s vital to know where the goats and sheep are at all times.
The intelligence of this breed, in general, makes them easy to train. Their loyalty makes them eager to please. That also means that you must give this pup a job or at least keep it occupied. Remember that a bored pet is a destructive one. This dog needs plenty of exercise and daily walks. Early socialization is also imperative since this pup is sometimes wary of strangers.
Health & Care
Luckily, the Miniature American Shepherd is a healthy breed with few significant medical concerns. The most important way to ensure it stays that way is regular veterinary care. This breed has a higher propensity for some health conditions that your vet can monitor. The other vital factor is to feed your pup a high-quality diet that meets the Miniature American Shepherd’s unique nutritional needs.
Breeding is a weighty responsibility even for male dogs. We suggest that you discuss neutering options with your vet. Remember that reputable sellers will test their pups for the recommended health screenings. If you choose to breed your Miniature American Shepherd, that task falls onto you. It’s vital, especially considering how new the breed is and how its numbers have increased in a short time.
- Related Read: American White Shepherd
Female Miniature American Shepherds Overview
Personality / Character
The female Miniature American Shepherd is equally as sweet as the male. This one gets in touch with its feminine side with its personality and social skills. The female is just as athletic as the male and performs her job well as a herding dog. You may find that this sex takes it a bit more seriously, especially if children are involved.
Intelligence is a hallmark of both sexes. They will readily pick up on commands and tricks, although the female may have a stubborn side that you’ll need to address. Consistency is vital—along with some treats for motivation. You likely find that positive reinforcement is the best way to approach training with either sex.
Health & Care
Female Miniature American Shepherd like males are usually healthy animals with few major medical concerns. The breed ranks high on the incidence of both cataracts and multiple drug resistance, at 4 and 3, respectively. That makes pre-breeding health screenings imperative. The National Miniature American Shepherd Club of the USA recommends both the MDR1 and PRA Optigen DNA tests.
Spayed females under the age of 12 months and those altered between 2–8 years old showed a slightly greater risk of some cancers and mast cell tumors, based on their Australian Shepherd heritage.
It’s a common myth that you should always breed a female dog at least once. That same advice applies to the female Miniature American Shepherd. Bear in mind that some sellers will not permit these rights and spell them out in the sales contract. Unless you have the time and commitment to raising these dogs properly, we suggest discussing breeding and altering your pet’s sex with your veterinarian.
- You might also be interested in: 15 Shepherd Dog Breeds (with Pictures)
Which Gender is Right For You?
Choosing whether to get a male or female Miniature American Shepherd is a personal decision that requires careful thought. While the two aren’t very different in size, there are slight personality variations. The best way to pick the best one for you is to see the parents of the puppy before you buy. You’ll glean a lot of information by watching how the mother interacts with her offspring.
Remember that this breed is an energetic one that comes from years of work herding livestock. We suggest putting that factor on the top of your list for choosing the right puppy for you, whether it’s a male or female.
Featured Image Credit: Bastian Pudill, Shutterstock (top); Michael Kerick, Shutterstock (bottom)