Can a Mini Aussie Be an Outside Dog?


Can a Mini Aussie Be an Outside Dog?

A Mini Aussie, or Miniature Australian Shepherd, is a wonderful dog to add to your family. Standing around 18 inches high and weighing up to 40 pounds as adults, these smaller versions of Australian Shepherds are also similar to them in many ways. You may be familiar with the breed’s passion for the outdoors. Aussies and Mini Aussies love outside exercise and activities. 

But can a Mini Aussie live outside full-time like other types of Shepherds? The short answer is no. While the dog may enjoy his time outside, living outside is another story. Let’s take a look at some reasons why this is the case.

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Can My Mini Aussie Live Outside?

Mini Aussies are smart, loyal, and loving dogs with a strong work ethic. They enjoy being outside with a job to do. Bred to herd livestock, they still have a strong desire to herd and can nip or bite ankles of humans if not given a job or allowed to burn energy outside. But these dogs aren’t meant for outdoor life permanently.

Outdoor likes 

A Mini Aussie likes outdoor exercise and activities. He is a natural outdoor working dog and does best when he has a task to complete (this is due to their original breed purpose of being herding dogs). 

Aussies love to use their minds to solve problems, learn tricks, and complete jobs. A job for a Mini Aussie just means a sense of purpose. Your dog wants to feel useful and fulfilled, and he achieves this with mental and physical stimulation. 

Mini Aussies can learn to swim, play frisbee and do dog agility with their owners. 

Outdoor dislikes 

While a Mini Aussie may love the outdoors, certain weather conditions may make them hit their pause button on heading outside. They do well in colder weather and enjoy it up until the freezing point. Their double coat provides protection from the elements. The soft, fluffy undercoat keeps them warm, like a layer of insulation. The outer coat is longer and coarse. 

This provides some protection against rain, wind, snow, and direct sunlight. Like most dogs, the Mini Aussie does best when the weather is between 32 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Your dog can still suffer from heat stroke, heat exhaustion, frostbite, and hypothermia in extreme weather conditions. 

Mini Aussie in the grass

The climate in which I live is pleasant year-round. Can my Mini Aussie live outside now?

Even if you live in a climate that is pleasant all the time, your Mini Aussie still must remain a dog that does not live outside. Your lucky pup will enjoy being able to spend the majority of his time outdoors, but he doesn’t want to live outside. Simply put, a Mini Aussie is not a dog that wants to be away from you. This is a loyal, social, and playful dog that wants to remain close to his owners. Spending time outside is fun for him and vital to his good health, but remaining outside longer than he wants to can have some very harmful effects. 

The dangers of being outside permanently 

No dog should be left outside unattended permanently. In the case of the Mini Aussie, however, doing so can be dangerous to this specific breed for many reasons. 

  • Boredom. The Mini Aussie is a very intelligent animal. This dog wants to be around people and wants to have a task. If he’s not stimulated, excited, interested, engaged, and happy, he will become bored very fast. Boredom leads to making up a job for himself, since one isn’t provided for him. This can quickly turn into the dog being destructive. Destroying things, digging, and chewing can become your dog’s entertainment and this is very dangerous if the dog is outdoors. It’s possible he could dig his way out of an enclosed yard or chew his way through a fence and escape. 
  • Being lonely. The social Mini Aussie is not a dog that does well by himself. He wants to be with his family, and the loneliness of being isolated outside will change his personality. Your once carefree and easy-going dog can become clingy and fearful. He can also become extremely depressed and start to show less and less interest when you do go outside to spend time with him. 
  • It’s dangerous. Leaving your dog unprotected means he has to protect himself. Predators can come onto the property and fight with or hurt your dog. These predators can also include humans. Leaving your dog alone means he’s vulnerable to being stolen. He’s also vulnerable to wildlife that can wound him and transfer diseases to him. 
  • It will bother your neighbors – and probably you, too. What does a dog normally do when he’s outside and wants to come in? That’s right – bark! Barking, howling, crying, whining, and yelping can last for hours and create a noise disturbance in your area that no one will be happy to listen to. 
  • Aggression. A scared dog can turn into an aggressive dog, and if your dog is scared to be outside alone, he can become very mean when approached by a person or another animal. Something that would be completely out of character for him before will now become his new way of operating when he’s left to fend for himself. 
Mini Aussie on the ground

What can I do to keep him busy outside so that when he’s inside, he’s calm and relaxed?

The Mini Aussie can definitely be hard to keep busy and is known to be hyper. He is highly energetic and wants to go, go, go! It might be tempting to just let him outside and leave him to tire himself out, but this won’t have the outcome you desire. Instead, plan activities with your dog to keep him happy, healthy, engaged, and fit. Once his energy is spent, he will gladly head home with you to relax. 

  • Build an obstacle course for him. Boxes, tunnels, and cones are fun things to use for a course that your dog will love to run. He can jump over the boxes, crawl through tunnels, and of course, be rewarded at the end with a treat and lots of praise. 
  • Different kinds of fetch. Throwing a ball and having your Mini Aussie bring it back to you can get boring for him and you may notice he’s not very engaged. In this case, use several balls! Balls of different sizes and textures can be thrown at once and your dog will have to find them and retrieve them all. 
  • Make play dates. If you have friends with dogs of a similar size and temperament, and everyone is up to date on vaccinations, let them play together! This is a good way to keep your dog happily exhausted and socialized. Never let your dog play with another dog unsupervised. 
  • Enroll your Mini Aussie in an agility course. If you can find a class in your town, sign up and bring your dog so he can learn lots of new exercises and activities. 
  • Hide and seek. Your Mini Aussie will love searching for toys or treats that you hide around the yard or house. This will make him work, use his brain, and then get rewarded. A perfect combo for this pup! 

The bottom line

Your Mini Aussie loves playing, working, and exercising outdoors, but he does not want to live outside. Your loyal dog wants to be around his owners and family, not left alone outdoors. While he may love nice weather and sunshine, he doesn’t like extreme weather conditions, such as intense heat or cold, thunderstorms, and snow. This applies to Mini Aussies of all colors and sizes. Please let your Aussie live indoors!

Even if you live in fairly constant pleasant weather, your dog will only want to be outside as long as you are with him. Otherwise, he wants to be back home inside with his family. These are loyal dogs who are very social. 

Leaving your dog outside alone leaves him vulnerable to dangers like wildlife predators, being stolen by a person, or escaping his confines. It also may change his personality, turning your happy and social dog into one who’s scared and aggressive. 

Plan and schedule activities with your dog to keep him happy and healthy. 

Never leave your dog outside unattended or playing with another dog unsupervised. 

Give your Mini Aussie a job where he can use his mind and physical ability to get it done, and he will be a happy dog forever.