Miniature German Shepherd: Facts About This Mini-Sized GSD!

Mini German Shepherd sitting on the road tongue out

Most people usually have an affinity towards miniature versions of our beloved dog breeds. The miniature German Shepherd is one of them.

The German Shepherd breed is one of the classic canines that almost everyone is familiar with. Being a medium to large-sized dog, its size is usually not suitable for apartment living or homes with limited space.

However, the miniature German Shepherd enables owners with limited living space to enjoy the company of this energetic breed.

One thing to note is that miniature German Shepherds are typically not purebred dogs. Let us dive in deeper to learn more about this dynamic but adorable small German Shepherd.

Breed Overview

Height:15 – 20 inches
Weight:30 – 50 pounds
Lifespan:9 – 16 years
Coat Colors:Brown, tan, black, sable, white or cream
Temperament:Intelligent, energetic, alert, playful
Suitable for:Families with children; active owners; owners with limited living space

What Is a Miniature German Shepherd?

Miniature German Shepherd lying on the grass

A miniature German Shepherd is a GSD variation produced from crossing a standard German Shepherd and other smaller dog breeds such as the Border Collie, Poodle, or a Husky. However, they can also be purebred when produced from a German Shepherd parent that exhibits dwarfism.

The mini Shepherd, just like its normal-sized counterpart, is intelligent, loyal, and energetic. They also appear almost 100% similar to the standard GSD. Why is this the case?

Well, this is generally due to the dominant genes of the German Shepherd breed manifesting in the form of their coat colors and patterns, as well as some of the physical characteristics such as the ears.

Nevertheless, the miniature German Shepherd may also inherit the traits of the smaller dog breed parent. If this happens, their appearance will ultimately showcase their hybrid origin as they will look unique.

Other Names of the Miniature German Shepherd

Due to the involvement of other dog breeds in creating the fun-sized pooch, the miniature German Shepherd garnered numerous names depending on the breed where they are crossed.

Popular ones include the Shepadoodle, a German Shepherd and Miniature Poodle mix; the Shollie, a German Shepherd and Border Collie cross; and Siberian Shepherd, a Siberian Husky and German Shepherd mix.

Apart from the names of the crosses, the miniature German Shepherd is also known as the toy German Shepherd and the teacup German Shepherd, referring to their pocket-sized proportions.

Although, the term “teacup” can pertain to a much smaller variation of the miniature German Shepherd, wherein the dog can literally fit in a teacup. It all depends on what parent breed is used to achieve the said size.

Many people, however, confuse these pooches with the dwarf German Shepherd. Simply put, dwarf German Shepherds are just purebred German Shepherds with a rare inherited genetic disorder.

Miniature German Shepherd Size and Weight

Miniature German Shepherd resting in the woods

Compared to the standard and giant German Shepherds, miniature German Shepherds only reach a height of between 15 and 20 inches. They also weigh around 30 to 50 pounds when fully grown.

With that, it is noticeable that they remain relatively small even at maturity. Full-grown mini GSDs are also much lighter, a full contrast to the standard ones.

Because of their size, mini German Shepherd dogs are much easier to take care of and handle. If you are a dog lover who adores a German Shepherd but prefers a more low-maintenance dog, this pooch is for you.

Miniature German Shepherd Appearance

Cute mini German Shepherd puppy jumping on the field tongue out

A miniature German Shepherd appears just like the standard German Shepherd dog but comes in a more compact size.

Apart from inheriting the physical traits of the German Shepherd, they can also reflect some of the features of their other parent breeds.

Generally, mini German Shepherds have a thick double coat that is short in length, similar to their standard counterparts.

The texture of the toy German Shepherd’s coat can be straight and silky as that of the Collie, or curly like that of the Poodle. Meanwhile, their coat color can be blue, black, tan, red, liver, white, sable, or silver. 

They also have a well-built form due to their muscular body, powerful legs, and broad head. Mini German Shepherds also usually have brown almond-shaped eyes and upright or pointy ears.

With all of these traits discussed, it is also possible for your toy German Shepherd not to resemble the appearance of other dogs of its kind. Genetics is mainly responsible for the variation of each pup’s looks.

Here is a video where you can get a preview of the mini German Shepherd in action:

Jada the MINIATURE German Shepherd

Where Does the Mini German Shepherd Come From?

There are multiple reasons behind the mini German Shepherd’s dainty looks. The most popular one is the breeding technique that involves crossing a smaller breed to the standard German Shepherd.

Breeding With Other Smaller Breeds

Breeds such as the Border Collie, Poodle, Husky are used to attain the size of the mini German Shepherd. The resulting mixed breed usually carries the physical traits of the German Shepherd parent but with a much smaller size.

It is worth mentioning, however, that mini German Shepherds mixed with other breeds may not look like a GSD at all. Since they are designer dogs, they may also look similar to the small breed mixed with the purebred German Shepherd.

Introduction of Dwarfism Gene

Dogs affected by dwarfism have a much smaller form compared to their parents. 

This disorder is caused by a mutation in the LHX3 gene, which then inhibits the production of pituitary hormones. German Shepherds then experience an impeded growth rate, so they remain small despite reaching maturity.

Some miniature German Shepherd breeders intentionally introduce the dwarfism gene in their breeding practices. The resulting litter of German Shepherd puppies is at risk of contracting intervertebral disc disease.

Breeding Runts Together

Another breeding method used to produce a smaller German Shepherd is breeding runts together. In every dog litter, there is always a puppy that appears small and weak. These pups are called the runts of the litter.

Breeders take these runts and cross them with a runt from a different litter. Crossing two purebred German Shepherds that are smaller than average often results in tinier puppies.

While this ensures that a mini German Shepherd is purebred, breeding runts is deemed to be highly unethical. 

Miniature German Shepherd Lifespan and Health Issues

Miniature German Shepherd during morning walk

The mini German Shepherd generally experiences a long life compared to other dogs. They have an average lifespan of 9 to 16 years

Fortunately, miniature dogs, including the mini GSD, are less likely to suffer ailments that usually manifest in larger breeds. Some of these health issues are hip dysplasia, arthritis, and heart ailments.

However, these dogs are still susceptible to illnesses that most purebreds and mixed breeds encounter.

Here are some of the health issues that can affect your Miniature German Shepherd:

  • Bloat: Bloat or Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV) is a health issue that manifests when a dog eats too much too quickly and performs strenuous activities afterward. The gas build-up in the dog’s stomach can produce pain and possibly shock.
  • Hemophilia: This hereditary condition is quite common among German Shepherds. A tiny cut or bruise can threaten an affected dog since its blood can’t clot properly. While this condition doesn’t have a cure, dogs with hemophilia usually live normal lives, given their owner is careful.
  • Perianal Fistula: Another common condition amongst German Shepherds, perianal fistula causes openings around the anus. Affected dogs may have bloody stool, diarrhea, or difficulty defecating. Changing your pooch’s diet may help control the problem.

Similar to most dogs, the miniature Shepherd can still inherit these diseases, despite having hybrid vigor as a designer dog.

One way to have a good start in owning a mini German Shepherd is to get a pup from proper sources that guarantee the health of their dogs. Regular vet visits are also highly recommended for your pet’s health care.

Miniature German Shepherd Temperament and Personality

Despite simply looking like a pocket-sized German Shepherd, miniature German Shepherds usually inherit the personality of both of their parents.

Oftentimes, this hybrid will have the same temperament as most German Shepherds. However, as the mini Shepherd is often not a purebred dog, it may also take on the disposition of its other parent.

Miniature German Shepherds can be energetic and playful like their full-sized counterparts. But they can also inherit the obedience of Border Collies if they were created through this herding dog.

If your mini German Shepherd has the genetics of Miniature Poodles, expect your pup to be highly intelligent and extra active.

Mini German Shepherds tend to be stubborn despite their intelligence and loyal personality. Proper training is crucial to have this strong-willed pooch under control. One good method to consider is positive reinforcement training.

Aside from training, socialization is also crucial for good animal behavior. Mini Shepherds generally do well in households with children and other pets. Although, it is best to keep a watchful eye on them.

Aside from being a good family dog, a toy German Shepherd is also a good candidate for service dog duty. 

Their small to medium size and trainability enable them to perform various tasks that would be difficult for larger dogs to do.

How to Take Care of Your Mini German Shepherd

Miniature German Shepherd playing fetch

Part of a dog owner’s duty is to be well-versed in dog maintenance. Knowing how to take care of your miniature German Shepherd pup should be one of your main goals before bringing them home.

This part of the discussion will provide you with tips and guidelines on how to take care of a miniature German Shepherd.

Food and Diet

A mini German Shepherd does not require any specific dietary requirements and can be fed just as you would a dog of its size.

Two to three cups of high-quality kibble are usually enough and should be split into two meals a day to prevent your dog from bloating.

Apart from dry dog food, it is also good to include good sources of protein, healthy carbs, fat, and vitamins in their diet. 

Homemade food consisting of steamed chicken meat, eggs, healthy grains, and veggies are good options.

Cleaning and Grooming

Mini German Shepherds shed the same amount as regular German Shepherds. Be fully aware that these dogs shed constantly compared to most dogs. This is mostly due to their double coat.

Brushing every two to three days is a good practice to keep your dog’s coat healthy and tidy. Although do take note that this mixed breed will still shed despite regular brushing.

When it comes to cleaning, bathing your toy German Shepherd every six weeks is usually enough. Use cleaning products suitable for dogs, especially since this mix has sensitive skin.

Training and Exercise

Miniature German Shepherds are generally low maintenance, but they greatly benefit from plenty of physical activity and mental stimulation.

Exercises are also vital so they do not develop hip dysplasia and other health issues common to a full-size German Shepherd.

Two walks and at least 60 minutes of exercise daily are usually enough for the mini German Shepherd. These can also prevent them from having destructive tendencies due to boredom. 

As for training, you have to assume the role of alpha. Miniature German Shepherds tend to be the leader of the pack despite their size, so you must be prepared to deal with hard-headedness.

Obedience training and imposing a firm personality over your canine companion can change them into a well-behaved pooch.

How Much Does a Miniature German Shepherd Cost? Puppy Prices & Expenses

Miniature German Shepherds can set you back less than a purebred German Shepherd pup. Expect to pay around $1,200 to $2,500 for a mini German Shepherd puppy.

Generally, you can save up more if you choose this tiny dog because they need smaller feeding bowls, beds, crates, etc.

Here is a complete list of essential items you must prepare before the arrival of your new mini German Shepherd:

Type of ExpenseCost
Food and Treats$30 – $80
Bowls$10 – $30
Toys$20 – $30
Beds$30 – $200
Collars and Leashes$15 – $50
Crates and Carriers$30 – $200
Grooming Essentials$50 – $150
Initial Vet Visits$100 – $500
Initial Vaccine Shots$50 – $300
Deworming, Flea, and Tick Medications$40 – $300
Neutering or Spaying$50 – $500
Microchipping$40 – $60
Dog License$10 – $20
Other Essentials$20 – $50
Total Initial Cost$495 – $2,470

Take note that the total initial cost listed above is just an estimation. But, you can use the list as a reference in preparation for welcoming a toy German Shepherd into your home.

Regardless, buy top-quality products for your pooch. It may initially cost you more, but you can save more money in the long run since you won’t have to repurchase often. 

Places to Find Miniature German Shepherd Puppies for Sale and Adoption

Miniature German Shepherd jumping in a field filled with flowers

Now that you are mentally and financially ready to become an owner, the next step is looking for a proper source to get your miniature German Shepherd puppy from.

As with all dogs, it is recommended to buy from a reputable breeder associated with the American Kennel Club or a rescue organization. 

Puppy mills and backyard breeders are not good options despite the low prices they offer.

For a more reliable source of pups, here is a list of platforms where you can get miniature German Shepherd puppies from:

  • Greenfield Puppies – Greenfield Puppies (GFP) is a website where you can search for a multitude of puppies available from all over the country. Aside from the puppy offers, the web page also features a detailed description of the breed.
  • Lancaster Puppies – This is an online platform where you can search for puppies from different locations in the United States. Miniature German Shepherds are available on this site, so be sure to check and inquire.
  • PuppySpot – PuppySpot is an online site where you can look for puppies of different breeds. Each page displays the pup’s information, availability, and breeder. Try to check for a mini German Shepherd on this platform every now and then.

If you opt to save money when acquiring a toy German Shepherd, rescue organizations are good options. Aside from the minimal fee, you also save a homeless pup’s life.

Check out the rescue centers where you might stumble upon a purebred miniature German Shepherd:

  • German Shepherd Rescue & Adoptions – This rescue is a non-profit charity organization in Raleigh, North Carolina. They are dedicated to providing new beginnings for neglected, surrendered, and stray German Shepherds in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.
  • Bay Area German Shepherd Rescue – This rescue is a 100% volunteer organization in Fulton, California, that aims to carefully evaluate and place each dog into a foster home. This team has fostered and saved over 1,000 GSDs and Belgian Malinois.
  • Heartland German Shepherd Rescue – Heartland German Shepherd Rescue (HUGS) is a Nebraska-licensed rescue operated by volunteers. Their mission is to save German Shepherds who are at risk of getting euthanized in shelters as well as those that are neglected by their owners.

The lists provided will hopefully give you a head start in your search for your miniature German Shepherd puppy. If your heart is set out to adopt, drive around your neighborhood to check out local rescues or find owners online who want to rehome their dogs.

Pros and Cons of Owning a Mini German Shepherd

Before getting your very own miniature German Shepherd dog, it is necessary to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of having one in your home so you don’t regret your decision in the end.

Summarized below are some of the pros of owning a miniature German Shepherd:

  • Convenient size: One of the selling points of the toy German Shepherd is that it is a small- to medium-sized dog. This makes them good family pets. Most people want a German Shepherd, but some may find it impractical due to the size of the breed and their limited living space. The mini GSD satisfies both of these concerns.
  • Great guard dogs: This intelligent dog breed will not hesitate to defend its owner, despite its size. Thanks to their guarding instincts, they can alert you if they can sense potential danger.
  • Highly intelligent: German Shepherds are one of the most intelligent breeds around. This is evident in the breed’s strong personality and easy trainability. Despite being stubborn at times, this highly skilled pooch can be obedient when given training.

Here are some cons of having a mini German Shepherd in your household:

  • Destructive tendencies: German Shepherds are known to be very energetic breeds, including miniature ones. These wonderful dogs tend to be destructive if they aren’t given a chance to expend their energy, especially when left alone.
  • Predatory instincts: Because of their fierce background as herding dogs and protecting flocks from predators, most mini German Shepherds have an aggressive tendency towards strangers, children, and other animals. Early socialization and training are vital to having a well-behaved dog.
  • High maintenance: Being tagged as “German Shedders,” these dogs shed a huge amount through all seasons. Be prepared to deal with the constant brushing and grooming of your dog’s coat to keep it tidy.

With all of these said, the small German Shepherd is a good companion and an excellent family dog overall. Hopefully, this summary provides you with a good insight into the behavior and requirements of a miniature German Shepherd.

Frequently Asked Questions

Black miniature German Shepherd standing outdoors

Are Miniature German Shepherds Purebred?

Some mini German Shepherds are purebred because they are merely dwarf versions of the standard GSD or produced by breeding GSD runts together.

However, a good population of miniature German Shepherds is usually produced by crossing a regular GSD to other smaller breeds, yielding a German Shepherd mix as a result. 

Do Mini German Shepherds Shed?

As discussed earlier, miniature German Shepherds shed just as much as their standard-sized counterparts. Brushing two to three times a week can help maintain their coat. 

Are Mini German Shepherds Hypoallergenic?

Miniature German Shepherds are not the best choices for people that are allergic to dog fur because they aren’t hypoallergenic. Since these furry pooches shed a lot, they also produce more dander or dead skin cells.

Do Mini German Shepherds Bark a Lot?

Without proper training and socialization at an early age, mini German Shepherds can bark a lot. In addition, they also have one of the loudest bark among other breeds. This is due to their instincts as herding dogs.

Final Thoughts

As an owner, it is a must to assess your current situation, living conditions, and emotional preparation before buying a mini German Shepherd.

Having this pooch at home is not just fun and games. It is a big responsibility despite their small size. Remember, this is a high-maintenance dog with high demands for attention and physical activity.

Despite all of that, the mini German Shepherd is a great family dog that will reward you with love, loyalty, and companionship. It is an excellent pup for just about anybody!

What do you think about the miniature German Shepherd? Is this the dog you want to bring home? Let us know in the comments below!

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