The effort by breeders to develop the Miniature American shepherd from the Australian Shepherd began in California in the late 1960s. Starting with a breeding program of small Aussies, breeders strived to create a dog that stood under 17 inches tall.
The Miniature Australian Shepherd was first registered with the National Stock Dog Registry as a variety of Australian shepherds in 1968. By the early 1980s, the Minis had attained nationwide popularity. Therefore, several clubs promoted the breed, and it was registered and shown with various rare-breed organizations. In the early 1990s, a group of fanciers changed its name to North American Shepherd to distinguish it from full-size Aussies, and these dogs formed the background of today’s Miniature American Shepherd.
The Miniature American Shepherd is a small and athletic breed with moderate bone and slightly rectangular proportions. Their neck arches slightly into the shoulders, which blends into a sturdy, level back.
The full chest reaches the elbows, and their forelegs are straight and strong, with the front and rear angulation balanced. The dog’s feet are compact and oval. Its tail is typically a natural bobtail or docked to 3 inches or less.
The proportionate head has a moderate stop and gently tapering muzzle. The nose is black (in blacks and blue merles) or liver (in reds and red merle). Eyes can be brown, blue, hazel, amber, or any combination thereof. Ears are triangular and high set. The breed has a watchful and intelligent expression.
Miniature American Shepherd Breed Facts
|Energy level||Watchdog ability|
|Exercise requirements||Protection ability|
|Affection level||Cold tolerance|
|Friendliness toward dogs||Heat tolerance|
|Friendliness toward other pets||Friendliness toward strangers|
|Ease of training|
Size: Males—14-18 inches; females—13-17 inches; 20-40 pounds
Year of recognition: 2015
Life expectancy: 12-13 years
- Activity level: This breed is athletic and playful with the stamina for hard work. Miniature American Shepherds adapt to a variety of lifestyles as long as they have outlets for their energy. Sturdy, very agile, and smart, they need and enjoy daily exercise in the form of long walks, interactive play, and sports such as obedience, rally, agility, herding, and flyball.
Grooming a Miniature American Shepherd
Brush every few days and bathe as needed. They can be trimmed for neatness on the ears, feet, hocks, pasterns, and tail.
- Coat: A weather-resistant, medium-length, straight to wavy double coat; it is shorter and smoother on the head and front of the legs and feathered on the back of the forelegs.
- Color: Black, blue merle, red, red merle, with or without tan and/or white markings in specified areas.
The Miniature American Shepherd is an intelligent, willing to please, and devoted breed. However, it is also a herding dog that can be an excellent family pet. Owners must devote time to socialization and training to direct the breeds’ strong working instincts and drive.
They are naturally wary of strangers but should not be shy, and they can adjust their demeanor to given situations, whether work or play. Also, the breed responds well to obedience training and has a natural sensitivity that makes it a good choice for therapy work and search and rescue.
Buying a Miniature American Shepherd and Breeder Information
Confirm that the puppy’s parents have the necessary health clearances, including OFA hip certification and CERF eye certification.
- Parent club: Miniature American Shepherd Club of the USA (www.mascusa.org); founded in 1990
- Regional clubs: Click on “Club Info” and then “Affiliates” from the parent club’s home page for links to regional clubs.
- Rescue: MARS (www.miniaussierescue.org)