When people meet Alfred they first ask what type of dog he is. He’s a miniature Australian Shepherd. After this they usually react to the “Miniature” part of his breed. How do they make them mini? How big will he get? Is he a good dog? Easy to train?
These were some of the biggest questions we considered when we decided to get a dog. We didn’t want a tiny dog but we also wanted to respect our landlord and not get a massive dog. We wanted a dog that was really smart but also loyal and loving. We preferred less shedding but this wasn’t a top priority. When we found his breeder in McPherson, KS we asked her all of these questions.
How do they make miniature shepherds? It’s pretty simple. Over years and years they have just bred the smallest aussies with the smallest aussies and that makes smaller aussies. They also have toy aussies – even smaller. Alfreds parents were both at the high end of toy. He was the biggest pup in his litter though so we think he’ll be considered a mini.
How big will he get? Right now he is weighing in at about 10 pounds. Our breeder guessed he would be about 18-20 pounds so he still has a bit of growing to do.
Is he a good dog? All things considered, he is a wonderful dog. He is a very typical aussie. He is eager to learn and eager to please. He is a HARD worker and he loves to run and herd. He feels horrible when he messes up or if he’s naughty. He has tons of energy when he’s awake and then he sleeps hard like most dogs. He is unbelievably loyal and adores Mike and I. Shyness has been a little bit of an issue with him. If we are around lots of people or lots of strangers he gets really nervous (understandably) but when these situations come up his bravery usually goes out the window. We appreciate this because it forces him to stay close but we are hoping he will grow out of this and become a little more friendly and less timid around new people.
Easy to train? Absolutely – but we work really hard at it. We bought Alfred four weeks before we could bring him home. During those four weeks we did a lot of research and a lot of prepping for his arrival home. Mike was in charge of how we were going to train him and through all the research and reading about what works best for what types of dogs we decided that we would clicker train him. Instead of associating the trick with food he associates the trick with a sound or “click” that brings food or praise. It also helps that australian shepherds are in the top ten smartest dogs. Mike gets all the praise for most of Alfs training. He has definitely put in the time and it has paid off.
Just a couple days ago we started training “grab” to begin the process of teaching him to catch a frisbee. Within 5 minutes he was already catching it in the air. We were very proud owners.
So now you know all the answers about alf. We’re pretty crazy dog owners but we love it.
Have a great Sunday!