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Breed information

Group: Herding
Life span: 12-15 years
Height male: 36–46 cm/ 14–18 inches
Height female: 33–43 cm/ 13–17 inches
Weight male: 6-16 kg/ 15-35 pounds
Weight female: 6-16 kg/ 15-35 pounds
Character: Devoted, Energetic, Intelligent, Loyal


The Miniature American Shepherd was developed in California during the late 1960s with the breeding of small, unregistered dogs that were thought to be Australian Shepherds. These dogs were bred with a goal of maintaining their small size, active character and intelligence.

The breed was first registered with the National Stock Dog Registry in 1983 and was originally called the Miniature Australian Shepherd. By the early 1990s, they had attained nationwide popularity. Several clubs promoted these small dogs, as they were registered and shown with various rare-breed organizations. The first parent breed club and registry, MASCUSA, was formed in 1990 and incorporated in 1993. The breed entered the AKC Foundation Stock Service as the Miniature American Shepherd in May 2011. The Miniature American Shepherd Club of the USA (MASCUSA) is the designated national parent club of the American Kennel Club. In the UK, the official daughter club of MASCUSA is known as UKMASC. UKMASC was founded in 2011 and although the breed is not yet recognised by the UK Kennel Club, UKMASC is dedicated to sound and responsible breeding practices and the promotion of the breed in the UK.

The breed has been used for herding smaller stock such as sheep and goats, although they have the heart to tackle larger stock as well. Their small size was looked upon with favor, as they could more easily double as a household pet. They became especially popular with equestrians traveling to horse shows, as their intelligence, loyalty, and size made them an excellent travel companion. In this way their popularity spread across the country. Today, the Miniature American Shepherd is established across the U.S. and internationally. It is a breed with a unique identity - an eye catching, versatile little herding dog, equally at home on a ranch or in the city. The Miniature American Shepherd is a herding dog to be designated to the Herding Group in the American Kennel Club.


The Miniature American Shepherd is a small size herding dog that originated in the United States. He is slightly longer than tall with bone that is moderate and in proportion to body size and height without extremes. Movement is smooth, easy, and balanced. Exceptional agility combined with strength and stamina allows for working over a variety of terrain. This highly versatile, energetic dog makes an excellent athlete with superior intelligence and a willingness to please those to whom he is devoted. He is both a loyal companion and a biddable worker, which is evident in his watchful expression. The double coat of medium length and coarseness may be solid in color or merled, with or without white and/or tan (copper) markings. He traditionally has a docked or natural bobtail.


The MAS has an expected lifespan of 12-15 years. Several chronic diseases and detrimental genetic traits are known to exist within the MAS gene pool, including Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA-prcd), hereditary cataracts, iris coloboma, micropthalmia, Multi-drug resistance gene (MDR1), hip dysplasia, and degenerative myelopathy.


The Miniature American Shepherd has a lot going for him. He tends to be highly intelligent, enthusiastic and devoted to his family. The MAS is usually gentle with children and polite to other dogs and cats, especially when he is raised with them. Like his herding breed cohorts, the MAS is energetic and hard-working. He likes to have a job, and he wants to be the best at it, so he’s a pleasure to train and compete with, always performing with flair. The MAS is a problem solver and enjoys learning games and tricks. You may have to start spelling words in his presence because his vocabulary can be immense.

Activity Requirements

The Mini Aussie needs to be taken on daily, long walks. This energetic little dog needs plenty of vigorous exercise to stay in shape, or better yet, some real work to do.


Use positive-reinforcement techniques, and he can learn just about anything you can teach. Avoid speaking to or treating him harshly. His strong herding instincts make him an excellent watchdog who is protective of his family and property. Expect him to be reserved toward strangers but not usually shy. Be sure you introduce him to pet sitters, boarding kennel personnel and other caregivers in advance so that he’s comfortable staying with them.

Start training a Miniature American Shepherd the day you bring him home or before you know it, he will have you trained. He is capable of soaking up everything you can teach him. Don’t wait until he is 6 months old to begin training, or you will have a more headstrong dog to deal with. If possible, get him into puppy kindergarten class by the time he is 10 to 12 weeks old and socialize, socialize, socialize.

Best Training Equipment Trainers Recommend

Behavioral Traits

This breed can become shy or nervous if he isn’t exposed to many different people and situations early in life. However, be aware that many puppy training classes require certain vaccines (like the one for kennel cough) to be up-to-date, and many veterinarians recommend limiting exposure to other dogs and public places until the puppy series of vaccines (including those for rabies, distemper and parvovirus) have been completed. In lieu of formal training, you can begin training your puppy at home and socializing him among family and friends until his puppy vaccinations are completed.


The Miniature American Shepherd has a double coat, with a longer outer coat and a wooly undercoat. The breed sheds a fair amount, even more so during shedding season, which can occur once or twice a year. Weekly brushing—daily during shedding season—will help to remove dirt and loose hairs and keep the dog looking his best. Mats or tangles can be worked out with a slicker brush or metal comb. As with all breeds, the nails should be trimmed regularly, as overly long nails can cause the dog discomfort.

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