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Teacup and Toy Australian Shepherds: 4 Important Facts

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

By Rachael Gerkensmeyer

toy australian shepherd

Standard Australian Shepherds are gorgeous animals. Although they are not the largest breed of dog in existence, they are bigger than what most families can take on, especially when young children are part of the equation. Luckily, smaller versions of this popular breed are available for sale and adoption.

Anyone who sets their mind to it can take home a Teacup or Toy Australian Shepherd home to be part of the family. These dogs are small enough for children and seniors to handle yet spunky enough to keep everyone on their toes and in a good mood as they bustle through everyday life.   Here are four things that you must know about the Teacup and Toy Australian Shepherd varieties.

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Teacup vs. Toy – What’s the Difference?

Toy vs teacup Australian Shepherd
Image Credit: Left – Teacup Australian Shepherd (Enna8982, Shutterstock); Right – Toy Australian Shepherd (otsphoto, Shutterstock)

All three types of Australian Shepherds are bred from the Standard variety, but they do have a few differences to make note of. First, the Toy and Teacup Australian Shepherds are of different sizes. The smallest of this breed is the Teacup Australian Shepherd. These dogs are strictly bred as companions because they do not have the working traits that the traditional Australian Shepherd possesses.

The slightly larger Toy Australian Shepherd does have instinctual herding and working habits, but these dogs are still too small to effectively work on a farm or with hunters. The Toy Australian Shepherd’s features tend to be more pronounced and look more sophisticated than those of the Teacup pooch.

Second, Teacup Australian Shepherds are usually more active and inquisitive than the Toy variety. Toy Australian Shepherds tend to enjoy snuggling and lounging around. The coats of these two types of Australian Shepherds are similar, but the Teacup is more likely to have longer, thicker fur than the Toy variety.

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4 Things to Know About Teacup and Toy Australian Shepherds

1. How Are These Dogs Bred?

Both the Teacup and the Toy Australian Shepherd are bred from small-sized Standard Australian Shepherds. Breeders continually breed smaller dogs until they achieve the size dogs that they want. They then focus on maintaining the size so they can categorize their dogs properly after every litter is born.

Most breeders focus on breeding one or the other type of dog, not both. There is no secret breeding recipe or technique that breeders use to achieve the Toy or Teacup standard other than focusing their attention on the smallest dogs in the litter. Breeders are still working on perfecting their craft by experimenting with different coat and physique types when breeding these small dogs.

2. Why Are These Dogs Controversial?

Teacup and Toy Australian Shepherds are controversial in some circles because these smaller dogs cannot perform the same working tasks that the Standard breed can. For this reason, many people feel that these dogs are just for show.

While the smaller versions of Australian Shepherds seem to be happy and healthy, they do lack the ability to hunt, herd, and guard like their ancestors. It remains to be seen whether these smaller dogs suffer from the inability to fulfill their instinctual behaviors as they age. No matter the outcome that current and future studies uncover, however, it seems clear that the Toy and Teacup Australian Shepherds are here to stay.

australian shepherd puppy
Image Credit: Hetty van der Zanden, Pixabay

3. What Are Their Temperaments?

Both the Toy and Teacup Australian Shepherds are intelligent, loving, curious, and loyal, just like their larger counterparts are. However, they do not possess the power and strength to become as destructive or unruly as traditional Australian Shepherds. The smaller dogs tend to be more laid back and patient.

Teacup Australian Shepherds are typically more active and excitable than the Toy versions. They also tend to focus more on protecting their human family members. That said, Toys are extremely loyal, loving, and patient. They are more likely to be found snuggled up in a bed rather than running around in the yard.

4. What Color Coats Can They Display?

All Australian Shepherds can display the same coat colors as one another, whether are full-sized or pint-sized. Almost all Australian Shepherds have some black in their coat design, although this is not always the case. The most common colors are black and liver with white markings, black and white, black and copper, and red and white. The variations of these colors are many, so prospective owners should not expect any specific coloring or pattern when they show up at a breeder facility to see puppies for the first time.

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In Conclusion

Australian Shepherds are awesome no matter what size they happen to be. Full-sized Australian Shepherds are better at being working dogs than their smaller relatives. The small ones are cuter and cuddlier. However, all sizes of Australian Shepherds are loving, loyal, and bright. The size of dog that you decide to bring into your household only depends on your family’s preference. All Australian Shepherds require daily exercise, love, grooming, and companionship, no matter their size.

Featured Image Credit: John Hoehn, Shutterstock

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