Miniature German Shepherd dogs are shorter, lighter versions of the standard loyal, protective German Shepherd, weighing under 65lbs. They have the courage, intelligence and affectionate nature of a standard German Shepherd, in a more manageable body. But making this large military, police and service dog smaller has its drawbacks. Miniature German Shepherds are bred by mixing with another breed, introducing a dwarfism gene or breeding from runts of the litter.
- German Shepherd mixes
- Dwarfism genetics
- Breeding from small German Shepherds
- How big are adult miniature dogs?
Corgi, Miniature Poodle, Spitz, Chow, Pomeranian and Border Collie German Shepherd mixes can be referred to as miniature German Shepherds.
Standard German Shepherd Dogs
In the late 19th century, various strains of German dogs were combined to create the ultimate herding dog. Today the breed is better known for their military, police, protection and service dog work. A well-socialized German Shepherd Dog makes a wonderfully loyal family pet.
This is a well muscled dog with a deep chest and strong hindquarters, and he is longer than he is tall. Their double coat of medium length comes in a variety of colors. They have a long muzzle, confident head carriage, and pointed ears.
Appeal of the Miniature German Shepherd
There’s no question that smaller dogs tend to be more adorable. Therefore that makes them more appealing to many people. The oversized round head and big eyes associated with little dogs engenders a feeling of caretaking behavior in people. This phenomenon is known as baby schema.
Are Miniature German Shepherds Real?
First of all, it’s important to understand that there is no miniature German Shepherd breed. Miniaturization in dog breeding is achieved in one of three ways.
A standard German Shepherd can be crossed with a smaller dog breed. They can possess the gene for dwarfism. The final way to miniaturize is to breed two exceptionally small purebred German Shepherds together. Each of these methods has drawbacks which we’ll look into.
Miniature German Shepherd Mix
Breeding a female German Shepherd with the male of a smaller breed produces a mixed breed dog. This is the most humane way to miniaturize. However, when mixing with another breed, there’s no way to know which parent the puppies will take after.
They could be smaller but not look or behave anything like a German Shepherd. There’s also the possibility that the mini German Shepherd puppies will only be slightly smaller.
The upside to crossbreeding is that it can reduce the incidence of passing along genetic health problems. Of course that is if both parents aren’t prone to the same condition. Here are some breeds that breeders commonly mix with the German Shepherd.
German Shepherd Corgi Mix
Mixing the German Shepherd and the Corgi produces the German Shepherd Corgi mix. They measure just 10 to 12 inches and weigh from 25 to 30 pounds. Despite the size difference, these are both herding breeds who are smart and trainable.
You can expect this mix to stand from 12 to 15 inches and weigh anywhere from 25 to 65 pounds. The Corman Shepherd will be an athletic dog who needs plenty of activity.
German Shepherd Poodle Mix
The German Shepherd Poodle mix crosses the GSD with a Poodle. This is a highly intelligent, loyal, and loving mix.
In appearance, these two breeds are very dissimilar, so looks can vary depending on which parent the puppies take after. The standard Poodle is over 15 inches and weighs from 40 to 70 pounds. You can expect the Shepadoodle to range from 15 to 26 inches tall and weigh between 40 and 90 pounds.
Border Collie German Shepherd Mix
The Border Collie German Shepherd mix combines the Border Collie with the GSD. This is sure to be a whip smart and extremely energetic dog.
He will need plenty of physical activity and mental stimulation. The Shollie will be highly trainable. But a tendency to be protective might not make them the best choice for homes with small children. The Border Collie stands from 18 to 22 inches and weighs from 30 to 55 pounds.
The Miniature German Shepherd and Dwarfism
Pituitary dwarfism is a genetic autosomal recessive disorder that affects the GSD. Physical characteristics of this condition include short bowed legs, longer body and issues with coat development.
This would truly be a miniature German Shepherd in terms of temperament and behavior. However, pituitary dwarfism can have some pretty serious health effects.
The Miniature German Shepherd Bred From Runts
The term runt can refer to the smallest puppy in the litter. To a breeder, it means puppies whose weight at birth is abnormally low. To clarify, defined this way, you could have an entire litter of runts.
Unfortunately, puppies who are born extremely underweight are likely to face many health problems throughout their lives. And the more underweight they are, the more they are at risk.
Breeding from two undersized purebred GSDs is another way to get a miniature German Shepherd. Some breeders choose this method because the other characteristics of the breed will get passed down to the puppies. However, when two dogs who are way below the standard size are bred together, it increases the chance of passing along health problems as well.
Miniature German Shepherd Size
The standard male German Shepherd Dog stands from 24 to 26 inches and weighs from 65 to 90 pounds. The standard female German Shepherd is somewhat smaller, standing from 22 to 24 inches and weighing between 50 and 70 pounds.
To be a mini German Shepherd you need to be less than 22 inches tall and fewer than 50 lbs. But Miniature German Shepherds can be considerably smaller than this, depending upon how they are bred.
How Big Do Miniature German Shepherds Get?
Miniature German Shepherd size will depend on a number of factors. If they’re crossed with another breed, they could be closer to the size of the other parent. So crossing with a Collie would make a larger dog than one mixed with a Yorkie.
A miniature German Shepherd full grown with the gene for dwarfism would have very short legs and weigh approximately 30 pounds. Breeding two very underweight purebred GSDs could potentially make an even smaller dog, but at what cost?