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Doggie Doppelgangers: Look-Alike Breeds Come in Various Sizes

Photo of a Miniature American Shepherd standing on the grass.

Doggie Doppelgangers: Look-Alike Breeds Come in Various Sizes

Hundreds of dog breeds around the world are enjoyed by people as stand-alone, one-of-a-kind breeds unique to their namesakes. But some of the best-known breeds come in a variety of sizes—or have a dapper doppelganger of a different size.

Here’s a look at some recognized purebreds which resemble larger breeds that are similar to—or in some cases the same as—the smaller breed. For people who may be looking for a scaled-down look-alike, a “mini-me” can be the ideal choice.

Dog Breed – Australian Shepherd: The Mini-Me – Miniature American Shepherd

There are two split narratives surrounding the similarity of the Australian Shepherd and the Miniature American Shepherd. Some experts argue the only difference is their size, believing the two should be separate varieties as opposed to separate breeds. Others will say there are far more stark differences between the two that justify them being independent of one another.

Obviously, size is where the two vary the most. According to the AKC Breed Standard, the Miniature American Shepherd should measure between 14 and 18 inches tall at the shoulder in males and between 13 and 17 inches in females.

Australian Shepherds, by contrast, stand 20 to 23 inches tall in males and 18 to 21 inches in females, according to the AKC Breed Standard. The reason behind the difference in size between the two breeds is due to the purposeful breeding of smaller dogs needed to accompany equestrians traveling to horse shows and rodeos.

There is a phenomenon in some poorly bred Mini Americans of the dogs having sharper, snipier heads in comparison to the Australian Shepherd—and sometimes a rather shy temperament. However, it should be understood that individual representatives of any breed are going to be unique and different.

In any “miniature” variation, it is important to seek a reputable AKC Breeder of Merit when searching for a puppy, since there can be multiple health issues in backyard-bred dogs that are created in an attempt to dwarf an existing breed or create a “designer” dog.

Dog Breed – Siberian Husky: The Mini-Me – Alaskan Klee Kai

The Siberian Husky and the Alaskan Klee Kai may look similar to one another, but they are, in fact, very different breeds. Their ancestries are completely different, with the Siberian originating in Northeast Asia, hence the breed’s name. The Klee Kai, on the other hand, hails from Alaska where it was developed in the 1970s by Linda Spurlin in the town of Wasilla.

Spurlin’s intent was to create a smaller version of the Alaskan Husky. The breed’s name in the Athabaskan language quite literally means “little dog.” In contrast to the larger sled dogs, the Klee Kai is strictly bred to be a companion, measuring between 12 and 17 inches tall at the withers.

According to the AKC Breed Standard, the male Siberian Husky should stand between 21 and 23.5 inches tall at the withers and weigh between 45 and 60 pounds. The female Siberian should weigh between 35 and 50 pounds and stand between 20 and 22 inches tall.

The Klee Kai is a bit more spitz-like in appearance in comparison to its Husky cousin, and the smaller breed tends to have a more reserved personality. But like their larger counterparts, they also have an incredibly high prey drive and have been given the same label of “escape artist.”

Both of these breeds can make great companions, with Huskies bringing additional working ability to the table. Neither breed, however, should be trusted in an off-leash setting.

Dog Breed – Collie: The Mini-Me – Shetland Sheepdog

Height and weight are the most obvious factors that distinguish the Collie and the Shetland Sheepdog. Both breeds hail from Scotland, with the Collie also having been developed in Northern England.

Per the AKC Breed Standard, male Collies stand from 24 to 26 inches tall at the shoulder while females measure 22 to 24 inches. By contrast, Shelties of both sexes typically measure between 13 and 16 inches tall at the shoulder.

There’s so much more to the Sheltie, however, than just being a “miniature Lassie.” These dogs are great family pets and herding dogs, and they have even taken on some roles in the Service Dog sector.

There are several notable physical differences between the Sheltie and its larger cousin. These include the shape and placement of the eyes as well as the shape of the muzzle and stop. Shelties also tend to have a slightly more reserved temperament than the larger Collie, meaning some of them don’t trust as easily. They do, however, fit better in more environments like apartments and smaller living spaces in city and suburban areas.

Both the Collie and the Shetland Sheepdog have the ability to work well in a herding capacity. They capably serve as at-home companions too, competing successfully in performance events and excelling in all types of Therapy Dog work.

Dog Breed – Akita: The Mini-Me – Shiba Inu

The Shiba Inu resembles a smaller version of the Japanese Akitainu, a breed with striking differences from the “American” Akita. The Akitainu, the largest of Japan’s native breeds, has a slighter appearance and an even more aloof temperament than its more familiar cousin.

Together with the Hokkaido, Kai Ken, Kishu, Shikoku, and Tosa, the Shiba and Akita originated in Japan. Male Akitas stand between 26 and 28 inches tall at the withers, while females measure from 24 to 26 inches tall. The smaller Shiba measures 14.5 to 16.5 inches tall for males and between 13.5 and 15.5 inches for females.

Similarities with the Akita and Shiba include a high rate of intelligence with an equally high rate of stubbornness. Their independent demeanor and loyalty to the humans they choose to adopt are notable characteristics of both breeds.

The Shiba Inu very much takes on the personality of “what’s mine is yours and what’s yours is mine.” This delightfully quirky breed also tends to be a bit better with strangers and less prone to aggression than its larger cousin. Some Akitas are also known to drool at times, while the Shiba has an almost cat-like cleanliness with habitual self-cleaning rituals.

Both the Akita and Shiba shed their profuse double coats (the Akitainu has a triple coat), with the larger breed leaving just as much more hair around the house as its size would imply. The Shiba has a slightly longer life expectancy, in the ballpark of 16 years compared to 12 years for the Akita.

Dog Breed – Greyhound: The Mini-Me – Italian Greyhound

These two breeds are entirely different in both their origin stories and their original purpose. The Greyhound originates from ancient Egypt, while the Italian Greyhound, or IG, obviously hails from the European country of Italy. The Italian dog was bred for hunting small animals like hare and rabbit, but also to be a companion. That’s what it’s best known for today. The Greyhound, on the other hand, was bred for coursing, racing, and hunting. It is also a common family pet, fitting in well due to its docile nature indoors.

When it comes to size, Italian Greyhound males and females measure between 13 and 15 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh between 7 and 14 pounds. Their larger Greyhound counterparts stand between 28 and 30 inches tall for males and 27 to 28 inches for females. Males tip the scales at 65 to 70 pounds, while females generally weigh between 60 and 65 pounds.

Both breeds are known for the high rates of speed they can reach. This is obviously why Greyhounds became such popular racing and lure coursing dogs, and why an intercity bus company uses the breed’s name. However, the Greyhound also brings a lower overall energy to most activities, spending much of its time reclining. The Italian Greyhound is also a lounger, but this breed tends to be more active in general.

When it comes to outdoor activities, Greyhounds are more likely to withstand inclement weather conditions. The IG, on the other hand, will show a much higher rate of hesitancy to step outside in colder temperatures. In this sense the breed is a classic Toy dog as opposed to a sighthound.

Both the Greyhound and the Italian Greyhound can be enjoyed in apartment settings. Despite its larger size, the Greyhound is a laid-back companion in the home, while the purse-dog appearance of the IG makes it acceptable for practically any environment.

And for those looking for a sort of “midi-me” sighthound, the Whippet measures in at 19 to 22 inches for males and 18 to 21 inches for females. For those looking to go towards the middle of the size spectrum (as opposed to the complete opposite ends), this breed could be the perfect option.