The Miniature German Shepherd is a smaller dog than a pure German Shepherd dog as it is a mixed-breed dog, with one smaller parent; it’s not simply a smaller size of a standard German Shepherd.
Sometimes referred to as a:
- Mini German Shepherd,
- German Shepherd Border Collie Mix,
- German Shepherd Poodle mix,
- Miniature GSD,
- Mini GSD,
- Mini Shepherd,
- German Shepherd Mix dog,
- Or simply the small German Shepherd.
Miniature German Shepherds are what’s known as designer dogs that come from cross-breeding a purebred German Shepherd with a smaller dog: typically a Collie or a Poodle.
The result is a Mini German Shepherd that is a versatile and playful, smaller breed that would make a good family pet or a mini guard dog.
Designer dogs come in a variety of coat colors and types, depending on the parent mix, but this hybrid is likely to inherit much of the classic German Shepherd look, its working dog ethic, and intelligence.
This petite mixed breed dog is energetic and family-friendly and will prove itself to be both affectionate and protective.
A Mini German Shepherd puppy makes an adorable family pet for any dog lover.
A brief history of the Mini German Shepherd
Is it often asked if the Miniature German Shepherd isn’t just a smaller size of the purebred German Shepherd?
The Miniature German Shepherd dog is not simply a mini German Shepherd, it is a mixed breed dog. It is possible to find a very small purebred German Shepherd dog but that would only occur due to dwarfism in the breed.
Fact: Pituitary dwarfism is a condition caused as a result of a rare genetic mutation in this purebred dog. Dwarfism in German Shepherd dogs is rare, and if it occurs the puppy may unkindly be referred to as the runt of the litter.
A Miniature German Shepherd is the result of cross-breeding. It is a cross between two different dog breeds – a purebred German Shepherd dog and another smaller purebred such as a Collie, Border Collie, Poodle, or occasionally a Golden retriever, or even a tiny Yorkshire Terrier or a Corgi mix!.
When two different dog breeds are intentionally mixed it what’s known as a designer dog; this hybrid dog is sometimes nicknamed a ‘Mini GSD’.
The parent breeds’ history:
History of the German Shepherd parent – a purebred dog
The German Shepherd parent is the most famous and the No 1 most popular dog breed in Germany and the 2nd most popular dog breed in the US according to the American Kennel Club (AKC).
This highly desirable and much loved purebred dog has a strong and impressive bloodline dating back to 1899, in Germany.
The German Shepherd was originally bred to be a skilled, powerful and obedient herding dog that was also used as a fearsome guard dog. It’s known as a strong and intelligent dog that is easily trainable and therefore has been used successfully as a service dog, for protection purposes and in search and rescue roles for many decades.
History of the other possible parent(s) – crossed to produce this mixed breed dog
When cross-bred with a Collie, it adds another herding and highly disciplined purebred dog into the mix. A Collie is also an intelligent dog and it too is easily trainable with a strong work ethic.
Their mini GSG puppies would be a Black and Tan color, sometimes with white bits on their coat, and shed a lot! They’d be highly active and love to play.
A Poodle is a small dog that is increasing in popularity as the ideal partner for any designer dog combination. The fact that they are friendly, docile, and they don’t shed much hair makes them an ideal indoor dog due to their low maintenance; suitable for city or apartment living. They have an easy-going and relaxed approach. They are good-natured and love nothing more than to curl up with their family member and go to sleep.
The Golden Retriever and The Yorkshire Terrier are also very popular and much loved family dogs that are smart, family-friendly and easily trainable. Whatever the mix of breed of the Miniature GSD it is going to be a loveable and much desired family dog.
The Mini German Shepherd mix breed is not registered by the American Kennel Club (AKC) and therefore does not have a breed standard. However, the majority of the individual breeds used to create this mixed breed dog are.
The Mini German Shepherd – possible coat colors
As the Mini GSD is a mixed breed dog, its appearance is more difficult to predict than a purebred dog. Considering the other parent breeds, mainly Collie and Poodle dog breeds, there are a range of possible coat colors for this dog breed, including Black and Tan, White or even fawn.
What are the main characteristics of a Miniature German Shepherd?
Like any other crossbred dog, Miniature German Shepherds can inherit the characteristics of either parent or both.
It is sometimes thought that crossbred dogs are more likely to inherit health problems than purebred dogs; however, a puppy mixed dog can inherit all, some, or none of the health problems its parent breeds have.
Fact: Not all dogs from mixed breeds inherit 50% of their characteristics from one parent and 50% from the other. It can be heavily weighted towards the characteristics of one parent more than the other.
The Miniature German Shepherd puppy tends to have more of the classic appearance of the standard German Shepherd parent, but it is a smaller breed of dog.
The characteristics of Miniature GSDs are a combination of nature and nurture: genetics of the parents, the environment and the quality, type and amount of training and socialization.
Loyalty and companionship
Any mix of German Shepherd is likely to be extremely loyal and have a very loving temperament when trained and socialized properly. They will make a very caring and protective companion, for any dog lover. They can be very loving and affectionate dogs and enjoy company, and the more active their lifestyle the better.
The German Shepherd is a confident breed that looks fiercer than its actual behavior. Any German Shepherd or breed mixed with a GSD needs to be treated with caution and respect.
The Miniature German Shepherd is a very cute mix and because of its smaller size it could be forgotten that this breed has a reputation for being a fierce guard dog and possibly one of the listed dangerous dogs when not trained and socialized properly.
When handled correctly and properly trained the mini GSD can be an affectionate and reliable dog for a family or individual dog lover, who wants a companion.
The German Shepherd is one of the world’s most popular and best loved dogs! And a mini mix that tends to have the GSD look will be highly popular and desirable too.
This mixed shepherd breed is not recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) as it is not a purebred dog.
A Miniature German Shepherd puppy needs to be trained and socialized as early as possible as it’s temperament will be more like the German Shepherd breed than the other parent breed. Although smaller it will still be an agile and alert dog that will need lots of mental and physical activity.
The trainability of this intelligent shepherd breed dog should be fairly easy. Positive reinforcement and small treats will work well with this dog but not harsh control, any form of negative punishment or physical restraint as it may rebel.
The mini GSD puppy is very energetic and easily bored, so to prevent mischief it will need at least one hour a day minimum exercise, building up 1-2 hours a day in adulthood.
Power and intelligence:
The Miniature GSD will have more or less the same drive and stimulation requirements as a full sized GSD. That means they are clever, alert and used to working hard when trained. This dog is fairly easy to train and will love to have challenges and a working purpose.
They will be strong, resilient and love a challenge with both mental and physical stimulation involved, otherwise, they may misbehave.
Early socialization and learning discipline are strongly recommended for any German Shepherd crossbred dog. Any type of hybrid dog with two intelligent parents will be strong-willed and want to be kept active and useful. They will not want a sedentary lifestyle and will enjoy as much exercise and action as the owner can provide.
When trained and socialized this mixed breed dog will be approachable and friendly around children and other animals.
This breed will be loyal and true to their owner and protect them to the end. If the other parent is a collie then both were bred as fearless working dogs for herding and protection. This means they will want to work for their master and keep busy. Even is the other parent is a poodle or a smaller dog, they will still be clever and want to serve and obey their owner well.
This breed can be strong-willed and needs to be trained early as it can easily and will become destructive, or bark if under-stimulated. Children will love this designer dog but should not be left alone with any German Shepherd mix and must be taught how to treat these dogs with respect; the dos and don’ts around any powerful breed of dog.
Physical Characteristics of the Miniature German Shepherd
Apart from being athletic, attractive and family and stranger friendly, the miniature German Shepherd will be loyal and protective, playful and guard its family and home with precision.
Size: The Mini GSD is considered a small to medium-sized dog breed that has a more compact build than its GSD parent.
MaleFemaleSizeSmall-sizedSmall-sizedHeight15-20” (38-51cm)15-20” (38-51cm)Weight50lb (22.7kg)50lb (22.7kg)Lifespanaround 15 yearsaround 15 yearsLitter Sizeaverage 6/8 puppies/litter
Ears: Large raised ears (although they flop over in the puppy years)
Coat: A medium length, thick double coat that can shed a lot especially if it’s part Collie!
Color: The coat color is influenced by both parents, and can be the classic Black and Tan, Sable, White or Black and Silver or Red.
The Miniature German Shepherd is obedient, loyal and protective of its master and family although it can be strong-willed and stubborn if under-stimulated. They have a strong energy drive and hard work ethic and can be mischievous if not exercised enough. Any shepherd breed will want to be physically and mentally stimulated and will enjoy challenges added into their play and daily activity routine.
How should you train a Mini German Shepherd dog?
This dog is not a couch potato so it will need a job to do such as guarding, protecting, herding or as a service dog. The boundaries need to be set early for this mixed breed dog. Gradual fun and positive reinforcement and reward based training works best.
This breed should not be negatively chastised during training as it is known to have a prey drive and may react negatively. Their inherited prey drive should be remembered when introducing them to smaller animals.
They are very active and will want to keep busy all the time. They will benefit from being able to run around free of a leash if possible to tire them out.
Types of training required: obedience, discipline, agility and socialization.
So, if you are not going to use a professional dog trainer:
1) Develop your basic command words: Find keywords such as Stop, Sit, Down etc. and be consistent each time you use them with positive reinforcement and small treats as a reward. This German Shepherd hybrid dog could try to dominate and this must be controlled early in training.
2) Crate – Buy a crate and gently get this puppy used to going into it. This will eventually become its nest and it will sleep there. You will have to lock the cage in the early days so it knows it has to sleep there and it’s useful to experience when you need to transport it.
3) Potty training – This may be hit and miss for any new puppy who gets easily excited and lacks control, however products are available, such as mats and odor sprays to attract puppy go to the same spot each time. Eventually, the puppy with your help will learn where and where not to go. They will eventually become creatures of habit and regulate their need and place to use.
4) Walking on a leash – Voice commands and road awareness is important for a very active puppy’s safety.
Health problems and health issues
What health issues can a Miniature German Shepherd suffer from?
Hip Dysplasia (and elbow dysplasia) – this is common in many large breeds of dog. Hip dysplasia is a malformation of the hip joint, where the ball at the top of the leg does not fit properly into the socket and the ligaments attaching it are weak. This allows excess movement of the fitting which can eventually lead to stiffness and pain for the dog.
Continuous use, wear, and tear can lead to hip degeneration in one or sometimes both hips causing pain and limited mobility. Even with early diagnosis and treatment, it can lead to further issues such as arthritis, extreme pain, and even osteoarthritis.
Early warning signs are visual stiffness then walking, a reluctance to get up when prompted, and a difference in walking style; limp or caution. It can occur at any age. The health history of the parents might help predict if it’s likely.
There is no cure for hip dysplasia; pain management and anti-inflammatories may be prescribed by the Vet.
Bloat – any dog that eats quickly or drinks a lot before exercising can suffer from this dangerous excessive gas build up in the stomach that puts pressure on the other organs and causes extreme pain. It is particularly common in the German Shepherd breed and can be very dangerous if not relieved quickly. A trip to the Vet is often required. The trick is to help the dog eat or drink more slowly.
Other health issues include Degenerative myelopathy, Epilepsy, hyperthyroidism (an underactive thyroid condition so they need adequate vitamins), and certain skin conditions or allergies.
How do you care for a Miniature German Shepherd?
This small hybrid dog is powerful and naturally active with great stamina, so it will need lots of mixed exercises that blend fun and challenges.
Feed as a small-sized dog. They should be fed twice a day to prevent bloat, and encouraged to eat slowly, possibly using a slow feeding bowl.
Fact: Any sudden change in diet or change of dog food brand can cause diarrhea in a puppy. So any change must be gradual. If changing the brand of dry food, mix some of the new with original and increase new brand gradually.
This mixed-breed dog has a thick double coat that sheds more than the average dog (unless the other parent is a low-shedding poodle breed) requires regular brushing, at least twice a week is recommended.
This dog should be bathed when required but too often as their coat has natural oils that are stripped through excessive washing. Certain dog formulated shampoos have a double effect of cleaning the dog coat and protecting it against fleas and insect bites.
Cleaning teeth, nails and ears
As with all dogs, their teeth need to be cleaned regularly to prevent a build-up of plaque. Chewing breaks down plaque, so use doggie chew-toys, bare-bones and soft toothbrushes and toothpaste. Nails grow quickly and need to be trimmed regularly, say once a month, and checked for debris that could cause infection.
What’s life like for a Mini GSD?
This Mini German Shepherd breed is highly energetic and likes to keep busy: physically and mentally. Once socialized and finished obedience training it will be friendly with those it knows and respond to different situations and obey commands, but can be aloof around strangers.
They need to keep active and will chew things if bored, or left alone for long periods of time, so they need to be kept stimulated and busy. Chew toys can help with boredom.
This breed is a natural watchdog that will act on instinct to be very protective of its family so it needs to be trained when young.
Positives and Negatives of ownership
- Alert, protective and loyal
- A small dog for any size home
- Intelligent and affectionate
- A very energetic dog with great stamina
- Easily trained
- Gentle and loving temperament
- Makes a good watchdog for a family
- Destructive if left alone, will bite and chew things
- Aloof with strangers
- Needs activity and company, doesn’t suit every owner
- Can be stubborn
- A big shedder
- Commonly Asked Questions:
Q: What is the proper name of the mixed breed Mini GSD dog?
A. It’s a Miniature German Shepherd but sometimes shortened to a Mini German Shepherd or Mini GSD.
Q. How much does a Miniature German Shepherd puppy cost?
A. Buying a mini GSD puppy from a reputable dealer will cost around $1000, the Poodle mix is even more expensive.
An alternative is to adopt a dog from a rescue center – puppy or adult. The cost of adopting a rescue dog is much less than from a breeder.
Warning: If considering a Mini GSD rescue dog it is important to find out about the circumstances behind why that dog ended up in a rescue center – abuse, neglect, personality, behavior, or any other available details of the temperament or health issues of the parents.
Food costs around $30-$40 per month for an adult and given their possible health problems you must factor in Vets fees and accessories from a retailer like Amazon.