The Miniature American Shepherd looks a lot like a small version of the Australian Shepherd. These dogs share many of the same traits as the Australian Shepherd, but in a smaller size. They were bred in the United States in the 1960s specifically for herding and their small size, high energy levels, and extreme intelligence makes them a wonderful working dog for farmhands and ranchers throughout the United States. However, they are more than just working dogs; their sweet dispositions make the Miniature American Shepherd a great companion dog. They love to spend time with humans and are always eager to please. It is due to their desire to please that they are so easy to train; plus, they are a lot of fun! In fact, Miniature American Shepherds often compete in American dog competitions, completing obstacle courses and various tricks.
Miniature American Shepherd Food and Health
To keep maintain optimal health, it’s important that you are feeding your Miniature American Shepherd a well-balanced diet. Puppies between the ages of 8 and 12 weeks should be feed four small meals a day. Between the ages of 3 and 6 months, feed your dog three medium-sized meals a day, and two larger meals a day between the ages of 6 and 12 months. By the time a Miniature American Shepherd is 1 year old, one large meal a day is sufficient.
To make feeding as easy as possible, feeding a Miniature American Shepherd high-quality dry kibble is recommended, such as natural adult dry dog food or grain free dry dog food. Pure animal protein from fish, turkey, or chicken like food original turkey & chicken, for example, should always be listed as the first ingredient. You can mix the kibble with water or broth, if your dog prefers. You can also feed this breed canned food; but again, make sure that it is a high-quality variety.
Miniature American Shepherds enjoy many types of fruits and vegetables; however, avoid grapes and raisins, as they can be hazardous to their health. They also like cheese and cooked eggs. Reserve these foods as treats, though, to avoid excess weight gain and to ensure nutritional needs are being met.
This breed is genetically predisposed to certain health conditions, such as spinal cord disease (degenerative myelopathy), eye defects, and hip dysplasia. Additionally, due to their high energy levels and curiosity – and the lifestyle of your dog – there is a risk of injuries. In order to avoid exorbitant medical costs, consider investing in pet insurance. There are several reputable providers that offer insurance at an affordable rate, including Nationwide and Geico.
Leashes and Collars for your Miniature American Shepherd
You can use either a collar or a harness with a Miniature American Shepherd. A harness will help to prevent your dog from doing damage to his neck, which is something to consider if he tends to pull a lot while walking. However, if your dog is relatively well trained on a leash , or you don’t feel like struggling with putting on a harness, a collar is likely a better pick.
Whether you are choosing a collar or a harness, comfort and functionality should be your top priority. Materials should be durable so that they can withstand the strength of this breed. For a harness, padding can help to improve comfort. Also, a mesh design that allows for breathability can improve the comfort of your dog. You might want to consider a leash that has reflective materials, like this one hands free leash, especially if your dog is going to be out working without a leash in the dark.
Chock and shock collars should only be used if your dog has a severe obedience problem and requires intense training. However, that is generally not the case with this breed, as they are such quickly learners and are always eager to please.
For a leash, again, keep function and comfort in mind. You should be able to easily handle the leash and it should also be made of a strong material. If you are going to be walking your dog in dark, you might want to consider purchasing a leash that has a built-in light or one that features reflective material.
Best Crates, Beds, and Doghouses for Miniature American Shepherds
A dog crate is an excellent training tool, especially for potty training. If you travel a lot, a crate is a safe way to transport your dog. Miniature American Shepherds can also use their crates as den and seek comfort and security in them.
When selecting a crate for your dog, his size is of utmost importance. Measure his length, from nose to tail, and his height, from the top of the head to the ground, and add four inches onto each measurement. Purchase a crate that will allow your dog to have enough room to stand and turn around comfortably. If you have a puppy, you will need to adjust the size of the crate as your dog grows. To save money, consider a crate that has a built-in divider that can be moved to adjust the size, such as this indigo microban.
A bed provides a warm, supportive spot for your dog to rest. For these dogs, a bed that allows them to “nest” is ideal, as they tend to enjoy curling up while they sleep. Opt for a bed that’s made of fabric that’s easy to wash, as it will make it easier to clean.
If your Miniature American Shepherd will be kept outdoors, make sure that you provide him with a space where he can seek shelter. A dog house that offers air conditioning and heat is ideal in locations that have hot summers and cold winters, such as the Northeast or the Midwest. Furthermore, make sure that the dog house is well ventilated and will properly protect your dog from sun and rain.
Toys for Miniature American Shepherds
Miniature American Shepherds are extremely intelligent and have a lot of energy, as mentioned. In order to keep your dog happy, you should make sure that he has access to a variety of toys.
There are several types of dog toys on the market, and most of them are suitable for this breed of dog to play with. For example, they enjoy squeak toys, as well balls, ropes, and chew toys like ball rope and chew toys medium dog. You might also want to consider investing in a puzzle toy or two. With these toys, your dog will have to complete a puzzle in order to access a treat. Since Miniature American Shepherds are so intelligent, they do very well with this type of toy.
This breed will also enjoy playing with automated toys; an automated ball toss toy, for example. The machine will toss balls for your dog so that he can fetch them, allowing him to get his energy out and just have fun.
When choosing toys for your Miniature American Shepherd, just like when choosing a toy for any other breed of dog, consider the materials that they are made of. The more durable the material is, the longer the toy will last. Examples include nylon, rubber, and plastic. Always make sure that you read any warning labels and that you are mindful of the condition of the toy to avoid a potential injury.
Grooming Insights for Miniature American Shepherd owners
In regard to grooming, brushing is the single most important thing that you can do for your Miniature American Shepherd. These dogs have two coats of very thick hair. If they are not brushed on a regular basis, the hair will mat, which can lead to major problems. It’s recommended that you brush your dog at least once a week; however, you may need to brush him more often, depending on his lifestyle.
Brushing helps to remove the accumulation of dead hear, promotes hair growth, and promotes healthier skin. When the coat is properly brushed, it will insulate your dog from both cold and hot temperatures, which is particularly important for hunting dogs or dogs that live in climates that experience extreme temperatures, such as North Dakota and Florida.
Many people opt to shave their Miniature American Shepherd; however, this is not recommended. It will not minimize shedding, the hair may not grow back properly, and it will reduce the coats ability to insulate from cold and hot temperatures.
For bathing, use a dye and perfume free shampoo. Make sure that you thoroughly rinse your pup, and you might want to consider washing his twice, as the fur is extremely dense.
Make sure you check your dog for fleas and ticks on a regular basis, especially if you live in a warm climate or with the arrival of spring and summer. You can use a flea comb to locate and remove fleas. If you find any ticks, remove them promptly. There are several flea and tick control methods available. Speak to your veterinarian to find out which option is the best for your dog.
Miniature American Shepherd Accessories
There are dozens of accessories available for dogs, and some of them can be very useful for a Miniature American Shepherd. For example, if yours is a hunting dog and you live in a hot climate, such as North Carolina or Arizona, a cooling vest will offer comfort and safety while he’s outdoors. Likewise, if you live in an area that gets a lot of snow, such as Maine, you might want to consider investing in a pair of dog boots to protect your dog’s pads while he’s walking.
There’s also a wide range of training tools available that could be beneficial; however, this breed tends to be very quick witted and learns quickly, so you may not need training accessories. Again, it depends on your dog’s unique personality.