Are you on the lookout for a great, loyal, and natural guard dog, but you don’t want a larger breed of dog? Then I would recommend that you take a look at adopting a Miniature German Shepherd!
The Mini German Shepherd is a popular breed most commonly crossed between the German Shepherd and a Poodle and or Border Collie. These dogs are smaller than a full-size German Shepherd, but they still make excellent family companions due to their loyal temperaments. They’ve got a lot of energy for such a small dog and love to interact and learn. However, they will require some training before they can act as your guard dog.
Before jumping in and purchasing your adorable Mini German Shepherd, there are a few things you should know.
It’s pretty common knowledge that German Shepherds are exceptionally loyal breeds. This is true in the miniature version as well!
They may not be quite as scary as a fully grown standard size Shepherd, but there is no doubt that this breed still makes an excellent guard dog.
Because of their small size, the Mini German Shepherd is actually quite adaptable to most lifestyles and living situations. They will also stay fiercely loyal to the family who brings them into their home.
Due to its German Shepherd parent, your Mini breed should be fairly easy for you to train. German Shepherd puppies need to be taught the proper behavior for interacting with people on a daily basis, whether that be barking, biting, and jumping.
When training your German Shepherd, be sure to use positive reinforcement so that they understand that their behavior is one that you like.
Using treats is one good way for your Mini German Shepherd to create positive associations with good behavior.
Even though your dog is small, this doesn’t mean his bark and bite do not still pack a punch of their own. These are behaviors that you should be working on soon after bringing your new puppy home.
This breed is also highly adaptable to their owners’ daily schedules and may decide to take on a schedule of their own.
Whether it be greeting you at the door right as you get home from work, or walking your children to and from the bus stop, your Mini German Shepherd will want to follow their personal schedule very closely.
Whatever the case may be, he or she will work out his or her own schedule by first understanding what yours is.
Health and Exercise for Mini German Shepherds
Don’t discount your dog’s size and appearance for having a small amount of energy. While these dogs can easily adapt to a variety of lifestyles and situations, they will still require at least one hour of complete exercise a day.
To exercise your Mini German Shepherd, you should be both playing with them often and taking them for daily walks. If your dog still has too much energy, you may want to consider taking them for walks twice a day.
Due to its mix breed inheritance, you should be aware of some of the more common health problems that are found in German Shepherds, as well as those that are common in Poodles and Collies (depending on the kind of mix your dog is).
German Shepherd Health Problems:
Canine Hip Dysplasia: According to the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, this condition continues in dogs as they grow, causing instability and loose fitting hip joints.
Bloating: Because of their deep chests, this condition is more likely to occur in German Shepherds and other large breeds. Bloat is a condition that causes the stomach to expand and fill the air and other gasses until it eventually begins to cut off circulation and put pressure on other vital organs.
Poodle Health Problems:
Canine Epilepsy: This condition is more likely to occur in Poodles, who have a lower threshold for seizures. When your dog is having a seizure you may notice their body go stiff, become unresponsive, and perform any strange movements or ones that are out of the ordinary.
Addison’s Disease: Addison’s Disease is an adrenal condition that is caused by the lack of production of Cortisol. This condition may cause your dog to become anxious and experience major digestive issues.
Collie Health Problems:
Hypothyroidism: Hypothyroidism is a condition in which your dog’s thyroids are not producing enough thyroid hormone. This deficiency usually causes weakness, hair loss, and even weight gain.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy: This is a progressive disease that can cause loss of vision both at nighttime and during the day.
Feeding Your Mini German Shepherd
When considering your Mini German’s Shepherd’s size of roughly 50 lbs, you always want to make sure that your dog is happy, healthy, and properly fed.
Your Mini puppy should only be eating about 500 calories a day. While a fully grown adult Mini Shepherd should be eating about 2000 calories a day.
So how do we accomplish this feat? Easy.
Your fully grown Mini German Shepherd should be on a schedule of receiving three meals per day. This means you should be feeding your dog about three cups of dry kibble a day.
As an active and working breed, you should be feeding your German Shepherd a diet that is filling and rich in protein.
One of the best brands that I would recommend for your Mini German Shepherd is the Orijen Original Dry Dog Food which has 38% proteins and 20% Carbohydrates.
Keep in mind that whenever you are switching your dog onto a new food that is might mess with their stomach a bit for the first few days.
Training: How Easy is it?
It is no secret that German Shepherds are one of the most intelligent dog breeds out there. This is no exception to the Mini German Shepherd. It is in their breeding after all!
However, due to their intelligence, your task at training your new Mini German Shepherd is about to become a lot easier. You can start off by taking your dog to obedience training or work with them yourself. The choice is all yours to make.
Here’s a quick tip when training your dog:
Use treats as positive reinforcement!
It is also very important that when training your puppy, or even an older dog, that you be consistent with it.
No consistency, and there’s chaos. Your dog won’t be able to perform in the manner that you are asking them to perform.
Before Training Your Mini GS:
You as an owner need to be taking your dog with you places to have them properly socialized. By doing this, you are allowing your dog to see and understand all kinds of people and their personality types.
Try to keep an open mind and remember that crate training is not an inherently bad idea. It will be convenient for you, and chances are that your Mini German Shepherd won’t mind staying in there since they are naturally inclined to lay down and stay in areas that remind them of a den.
Before you even begin crate training your puppy, you first need to make sure that you are buying a crate that’s big enough to house your puppy when they are a full grown adult.
Remember, your puppy may get up to 50 lbs or more, and a crate that fit them as a puppy isn’t going to work for their whole lives. Imagine sleeping in your crib forever!
Once you have gotten a crate of the correct size, your first step should be to lead your dog into the crate with treats.
Make the crate comfortable for them by placing a blanket or a small dog bed inside. This added comfort will help the crate to feel more like a den for them.
After using a treat to help your dog climb in the crate, try not to leave them in it for an extended period of time. They will not be happy with you and will start to cry if you walk away at first. Try leaving them in their crate for about 10-15 minutes, and then start working your way up from there.
You should only be leaving your Mini German Shepherd in their crate for about 5 hours max. If your dog is especially young, try to limit their crate time to about 2 hours.
Don’t worry, most dogs rarely use their crates to go to the bathroom. This is acting as their den, so it really shouldn’t be a problem.
For Guard Dogs:
If you are at home and you want a guard dog, then you should be encouraging your dog to bark when someone knocks on your door. A simple way to do this is by praising them and giving them a treat.
However, you should also be encouraging your dog to follow your command to stop barking as well. A simple command such as “Quiet” will help your dog understand that it is time to stop barking.
Training your Mini German Shepherd is going to help them out a lot. Training will help them be more obedient to your commands, plus it helps keep them mentally stimulated and socialized with people.
Grooming a Mini German Shepherd
Because your Mini German Shepherd is actually a mix breed, he or she may have different requirements depending on if one of their parents was a Border Collie or a Poodle.
However, here’s the basics of what you need to be doing in order to keep your Mini German Shepherd looking their best at all times.
- Brush out your dog’s coat at least twice a week
- Give your dog a bath once a month
- Check and clean your dog’s ears once a week
- Trim down your dog’s nails when they get too long
- Brush your dog’s teeth 2-3 times a week.
For Border Collie/ German Shepherd Mixes:
These are just some extra things you may consider doing if your dog is a Border Collie Mix:
- Trim the extra hair around your dog’s ears, feet, and tail
- Check for any mats in their coat
For Poodle/ German Shepherd Mixes:
Again, extra grooming standards that you may consider taking up if your dog is a Poodle Mix.
- Trim around your puppy’s feet
- Trim any excess hair around the nose and face
Most Mini German Shepherds actually have a double coat. Which means, that if you slack off on their brushing and grooming schedule, they are going to shed everywhere. And no one enjoys living in a mountain of hair for weeks on end.
You should be bathing your dog about once a month. If you do it much more than that, you will begin to irritate your dog’s skin. Washing dogs too much will strip away natural oils in their fur and skin and will cause dryness and damage.
German Shepherds tend to be fairly clean dogs, so you shouldn’t need to wash them more than once or twice a month.
This breed will also do something called “Blowing” their coat about twice a year. This simply means that they will shed their old coat and replace it with a new one.
So, remember in the future – if you or a family member have allergies, then maybe a Mini German Shepherd isn’t for you.
Looking for Recommendations?
If you are looking to purchase a good brush for your Mini German Shepherd, Amazon offers a number of great brushes for you. Here are some of my own recommendations:
When you are planning on giving your Mini German Shepherd his or her bath, you should make sure that it is a quality one that won’t hurt your dog’s sensitive skin.
Here’s what I recommend using:
You should always be checking to make sure that your shampoo reacts well with whatever flea and tick treatment you are giving your dog as well! Be careful!
Mini German Shepherds: Small and Loyal Companions
So, do Mini German Shepherds make great pets? They do! Any Mini German Shepherd would make a family a wonderful pet, especially with the right training.
Keep in mind that when adopting your dog, you should always learn more about their parents. Depending on what your Mini German Shepherd is mixed with, he or she may take on a personality trait or two that you may not be too fond of.
You should also be trying to make sure that you are giving your dog the best care and management possible.
Stay away from overfeeding you dog. Remember, 3 cups of kibble per day is all they really need when they are fully grown. By taking them on daily walks, you should be able to avoid overfeeding your Mini German Shepherd.
Crate training isn’t bad as long as you aren’t leaving your dog there for more than 5 hours. Your dog will find this a perfectly comfortable environment after you have trained them.
If you want a guard dog, you should be consistent with rewarding positive behaviors and be prepared with a command when you want your dog to stop barking.
Shy away from frequent bathing as it will irritate your German Shepherd’s skin. But always have a brush on hand to keep down that frequent shedding!
However, with the proper care and management, you can help your Mini German Shepherd become the perfect dog for you and your loved ones.
Are Mini German Shepherds affectionate? With their designated family and owners, Mini German Shepherds can be very loving and affectionate like other breeds. However, they tend to be a little more wary and reserved when approached by strangers. That’s a distinct personality trait for this breed that makes them good guard dogs.
Do Mini German Shepherds exist?There are some cases in which you may find yourself with a Standard German Shepherd who has inherited a case of dwarfism. However, when addressing this question – yes- this breed does exist. However, they are not a full bred German Shepherd. They’re usually a cross between a German Shepherd with Poodles or Border Collies.
Am I allowed to shave my Mini German Shepherd’s fur? You should not shave Mini German Shepherds unless there is a medical need for it. Your Mini German Shepherd has a double coat, and shaving their coat will not only ruin it for the summer when the weather is warm but for many many months after.