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Miniature German Shepherd: Info, Pictures, Characteristics & Facts

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

Mixed-breed German shepherd and Labrador Retriever_Mickis-Fotowelt_shutterstock

Height: 15-20 inches
Weight: 20-60 pounds
Lifespan: 9-13 years
Colors: practically anything; black and tan, white, black, silver, red, etc.
Suitable for: Active families, families with children
Temperament: Depends on the hybrid involved

Miniature German Shepherds are not actually a breed of dog. Instead, they are typically created by breeding a German Shepherd with some smaller dog.

The smaller dog breed can vary a lot. Sometimes, Poodles or Collies are used. Corgis are also common, but they can lead to dogs with some health problems. Because these dogs are not purebred, they can differ a lot from a German Shepherd. We’ll discuss everything you need to know below!

Divider 1Little German Shepherd Puppies – Before You Bring One Home…


Because this is a mixed breed, the Miniature German Shepherd can vary a lot in temperament, needs, and personality. A lot depends on what traits they inherit from which parent. Some may be loyal, territorial, and intelligent, just like a regular German Shepherd. Others will inherit traits from their other parent breed as well.

For example, if a Collie was used to create this mixed breed, the resulting puppy may have herding instincts. Poodle crossbreds may have curly hair and be extremely active. Corgi mixed breeds will likely be friendlier and may make great family dogs.

As you can see, what you get depends on what dog breed was used to make the German Shepherd smaller. We highly recommend asking what dog breed was used in creating the Miniature German Shepherd so that you’ll have a better idea of what you’re getting.

3 Little-Known Facts About Miniature German Shepherds

1. The Miniature German Shepherd is not a real breed.

German Shepherds do not come in a miniature size. They don’t. Instead, to make the German Shepherd smaller, breeders must mix a purebred German Shepherd with a different, smaller breed. Therefore, all miniature German Shepherds are mixed breeds.

2. While they are smaller, they are just as active as their larger counterparts.

Miniature German Shepherds are quite active! Just because they are smaller doesn’t mean they require less exercise. They are quite active, especially as puppies. Of course, some are more energetic than others. Again, it depends on what breeds were used to make it. Poodle and Collie crossbreeds are both extremely active in most cases.

3. Miniature German Shepherds aren’t very small.

Despite the “miniature” part of their name, these dogs aren’t exactly pocket-sized. Many of them get up to 50 pounds, which isn’t very small at all. They can get bigger than this as well. They are not small, toy dogs.

corgi and german shephered
Parents of the Miniature German Shepherd | Left: Corgi Right: German Shepherd

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Mini German Shepherd 🧠

Again, the temperament of a Miniature German Shepherd can depend widely on what parent breeds were used to create it. Typically, though, they are quite intelligent. They will need regular mental stimulation, whether it is in the form of training or puzzle toys. These dogs usually take well to games of all sorts and do best in a family that will give them lots of playtime.

They are usually very into their family, but they can be a bit aloof with strangers. Early socialization is necessary to ensure that they are accepting of other people and pets. Otherwise, they may be a bit territorial.

These dogs are usually pretty energetic. They are not going to lay around all day. They tend to enjoy playtime more than cuddles, especially when they are smaller.

Are Mini German Shepherds Good for Families? 🏡

Yes. They usually make good family dogs as long as they are appropriately socialized. They are patient enough to handle most smaller children and will play for hours. They usually do better in larger families, as there are more people to play with them.

The only small problem that could arise is that these dogs aren’t always accepting of strangers. They need lots of socialization to ensure that they are not territorial.

Do Mini German Shepherds Get Along With Other Pets? 🐶😽

Sometimes. If you socialize them a lot when they are younger, they will likely do fine with just about any canine or other pet. However, this is a breed that requires lots of early socialization. We highly recommend puppy classes and even regularly taking them to “puppy play dates.” You may even want to board them a few days a month so that they are around plenty of other dogs.

If there is an event with dogs, these puppies need to be there. Otherwise, they can become territorial.

Divider 4Things to Know When Owning a Miniature German Shepherd

Mini German Shepherd Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

These canines do not require any particular diet. Any high-quality dog food is suitable for them. They are not large dogs either, so any puppy food should do.

To support their active lifestyle, we do recommend a food that is high in protein and fat. This will help them build lean muscles and fuel their energetic nature.

Mini German Shepherd Exercise Needs 🐕

A Miniature German Shepherd will need at least an hour of moderate to intense exercise a day. A walk around the block will not be enough to keep these dogs satisfied. Instead, you will need to take long walks and schedule plenty of playtime into your day.

Because these dogs are intelligent, active training games are a great option to wear them out physically and mentally. For example, we recommend things like agility training and even just a game of frisbee. These are also a helpful way to wear your pup out without wearing yourself out.

These are also the perfect hiking buddies.

Mini German Shepherd Training Requirements 🦮

These dogs are brilliant. They can also be a handful due to their intelligence and territorial nature. Because of this, they do require quite a bit of training. Luckily, they love to please their people and usually train very quickly. They will often listen to just about any command you give them as long as they know what you’re asking.

Puppy training classes are very recommended.

Mini German Shepherd Grooming ✂️

Miniature German Shepherds do require a bit of grooming. They require daily brushing to keep their shedding to a minimum. Using a de-shedder comb is highly recommended. They have many oils in their coat, but they don’t need to be bathed very often.

A bath whenever they get dirty is all that is recommended. Too much bathing can dry out their skin.

These dogs will “blow” their coat every few months. This will require more brushing them normal; sometimes up to twice a day.

Their nails will need to be cut regularly. This should often be done by a breeder, as their black nails make it difficult to cut them properly. Their ears may also require cleaning. Just watch for debris and other build-ups.

Mini German Shepherd Health Conditions ❤️

These dogs are healthier than many of the other available dog breeds out there. However, they are prone to a few health conditions. Luckily, many of these are not severe. Still, we recommend being aware of them and their symptoms so that you can keep an eye out for them. Early treatment is often paramount to success.

Minor Conditions
  • Perianal fistula
Serious Conditions
  • Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
  • Bloat
  • Hemophilia
  • Megaesophagus
  • Degenerative Myelopath

Divider 3Male vs Female

Like overall temperament, any differences between male and female Miniatures will be influenced by the parent breed. Whether you spay or neuter your dog will also affect differences. Otherwise, there is no discernable difference between male and female Miniatures, other than what’s been mentioned already.

Divider 5Final Thoughts: Mini German Shepherd

While Miniature German Shepherds are not an actual breed of dog, they are adorable. It is no surprise that they are rising in popularity. These dogs might not act exactly like purebred German Shepherds, though. They can inherit many other traits from their other parent, whether that parent is a Poodle or a Collie.

If you have the dedication to provide these dogs with the care and training they need, they can be great family pets.

You might also like: Dwarf German Shepherd — Info, Pictures, Causes & More

Featured image credit: Mickis Fotowelt, Shutterstock

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