Miniature American Shepherd

20-31 lbs
14-18"
United States
MAS, Miniature Australian Shepherd, Mini American, North American Shepherd

The Miniature American Shepherd was developed in California as an alternative to the Australian Shepherd. The Mini American Shepherd was created to be the perfect companion for either farm life or for the suburban family. He is small enough to enjoy homes with smaller yards and also tenacious enough to still work on a farm. He still needs plenty of exercise as he is a herding dog with a lot of energy, just in a smaller package than his larger counterpart. The Miniature American Shepherd excels at many dog sports including obedience, rally, agility and herding. He loves children and gets along well with other dogs.

Purpose
Herding
Date of Origin
1960s
Ancestry
Basque Shepherd, Australian Shepherd

Miniature American Shepherd Health

Average Size
Male Miniature American Shepherd size stats
Height: 14-18 inches Weight: 20-31 lbs
Female Miniature American Shepherd size stats
Height: 14-18 inches Weight: 20-31 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Eye Problems
  • Von Willebrand's Disease
Minor Concerns
  • Deafness
  • Eyelid Defects
  • Nasal Solar Dermatitis
  • Patent Ductus Arteriosus
  • Osteochondritis Dissecans
Occasional Tests
  • Eye
  • Hip
  • Hearing
  • Skeletal
  • X-Rays
  • Physical Examination
  • Skin Evaluation

Miniature American Shepherd Breed History

Just like the Australian Shepherd, the Miniature American Shepherd originated in California. In the 1960s, people began working towards developing the Mini American Shepherd by taking undersized Australian Shepherds and breeding them together to produce smaller sized dogs. Some people claim that breeders also used small dogs that resembled the Australian Shepherd bred to the undersized Aussies to create the smaller breed. The goal of these breeders was to create a breed that had the same intelligence and activity levels as the Aussie but in a much smaller size. The original name of these dogs was Miniature Australian Shepherds but several Aussie breeders and the Australian Shepherd Club of America objected to this name and the direct association with this new breed. The name was changed to the North American Shepherd and then was finally renamed to Miniature American Shepherd. Not all breeders of these new, smaller versions of the Australian Shepherd wanted the breed’s name changed from Miniature Australian Shepherd. Therefore, some breeders continued to work towards developing the Mini American Shepherd and other breeders kept calling their smaller dogs Miniature Australian Shepherd. There is only one difference between the Mini American Shepherd and the Mini Australian Shepherd: the Mini American can be registered with the AKC, the Mini Aussie cannot. By 1980, many breeders started listing their Mini American Shepherds with the National Stock Dog Registry. In 1990 the Miniature American Shepherd Club of the USA was founded. The American Kennel Club began registering Miniature American Shepherds in their Foundation Stock Service in 2011. The American Kennel Club officially recognized the Miniature American Shepherd as a part of the Herding Group in July 2015.

Miniature American Shepherd Breed Appearance

The Miniature American Shepherd should look like a smaller version of the Australian Shepherd. His body should be slightly longer than his legs. He should be agile, sturdy and very active and alert. His eyes should be almond in shape and can be brown, amber or blue. Two different colored eyes are acceptable although not desirable. His ears should be set high on his head and folded into a triangular shape. Ears should not be hanging down off the side of his head. Blue merles and black tricolors must have a black nose but red merles and red tricolors must have a liver colored nose. The Miniature American Shepherd should have his tail docked. It is acceptable to have a naturally bobbed tail, although not for the conformation show ring. He has a double coat that is weather resistant. While he does not have long coat, it is a dense coat. His undercoat will shed out, usually in the spring or summer. Intact female Mini Americans will shed after each heat cycle.

Miniature American Shepherd Breed Maintenance

The Miniature American Shepherd has a double coat that is medium long. Usually his coat is straight but it can have a slight wave. The topcoat is thick and slightly coarse. The undercoat is soft and downy. The Mini American will shed year round; however, he will also shed seasonally and have heavy shedding in the spring and fall. During times of light shedding, he can be brushed weekly. When he is heavily shedding, he will need to be thoroughly brushed daily to remove the loose hair and prevent matting. Clumps of hair will appear around your home if you do not regularly brush your Mini American Shepherd. The Miniature American Shepherd does not require constant bathing. Over-bathing him can cause skin irritation and hair loss. Clean his ears weekly and trim his nails as needed, usually every 2 to 3 weeks. Dental care should include regular teeth brushing and scaling to remove any built up tartar. 

Miniature American Shepherd Temperament

The Miniature American Shepherd is a fun loving, highly intelligent, all around great children’s dog. He is gentle with other pets, especially when raised with them. He is a herding dog and therefore is energetic and requires plenty of exercise. He can easily learn games and tricks. Because of his strong herding instincts, the Mini American should be kept contained in a fenced yard if he is not working on a farm or ranch. He can be reserved toward strangers, although not shy. This makes him an excellent watch dog. Since he is high energy, it is best to start his training as soon as possible. He will be a happy dog when he is with his family and has a job to do. Provide plenty of interaction and toys for him. Do not leave your Miniature American Shepherd to his own devices. He will find things to do and can become a nuisance barker and destructive. 

Miniature American Shepherd Owner Experiences

2 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Running
Smelling Fauna
Dog Parks
Herding
Fetch
Agility training
Obedience classes
Tug-of-war
Frisbee
Miniature American Shepard are just as smart, energetic, affectionate, enthusiastic, and loyal as their larger counterparts. In fact, there is hardly much difference in personality between them and their larger cousin, the Australian Shepard. This means that despite their small size you can find a miniature American shepherd trying to herd and nip other animals or humans. I once witnessed a sixteen-pound mini American shepherd herding a grown Border Collie. They need as much exercise as an Australian shepherd as well. This is best in the form of at least one hour of fetch or high cardio intensive exercise. Their endurance is a rival for their full sized cousins and they are easily content to play fetch for hours. They also possess the loyal, affectionate nature of the Australian shepherd. They are obsessed with balls also in much the same manner. Any task or challenge that they are being uncooperative for will be made infinitely easier by showing them a ball. They are typically toy motivated but won't turn down a treat and love to be doing a job or some other kind of higher-level training. Challenge their mind or make their heart race and they will love you for it. The more their heart pounds the happier they will become. They are extremely social and love the company of other dogs and people. Most even whimper at the sight of other dogs. They are extremely intelligent and emotionally aware. They tend to pick up on the owner’s body language and mood, which can make them seem sensitive. They are incredibly gentle with kids and other pets, which results in them being very good with families. They are patient dogs that take to learning very well given enough time and incentive. While they may seem stubborn to some, they are in fact independent enough to wonder if they want to do your trick or learn your task. While their coats seem thick and luxurious, they in fact do not shed much at all. They come in a variety of colors (black and white, red merle, blue merle) and each one is like a unique painting. It makes meeting a mini American shepherd interesting every single time. They are truly magnificent companions with dispositions ranging from hyper and energetic with a desire to interact socially to very docile and selective. They are some of the kindest dog breeds around from my experience.
8 months, 3 weeks ago
9 Months
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Be sure you have your running shoes on with this guy! He likes to move in all directions! If you have a frisbee or ball, he would love to play fetch and fly into the air to catch every toss! This guy would be great in agility class! Very smart guy!
9 months ago
2 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Running
barking
Playing
Walking
Mini Australian shepherds, also known as Mini Aussies, are very high energy pups! They usually respond well to voice commands. Mini Aussies are very loyal. Due to their heritage with full size Australian Shepherds, they constantly look back to make sure you are still walking behind them. Also similarly, they are extremely intelligent. They definitely need a lot of exercise, just like the full sized dogs. If you are doing a walk with this breed, definitely go for at least an hour and enable the Wag walk extensions. The dog and the owner will thank you for the workout! Lots of Mini Aussies have high energy, and as a result, are very vocal. Expect plenty of barking or whining. They essentially are saying “let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!” as you greet them at home. Mini Aussies are also very compatible with other dogs on your walk. I walked one in West Seattle with another similarly sized pup and they both acted very affectionately towards each other. Going back to their excitability, this particular dog was so bundled up with energy when putting his leash on, he unknowingly scratched me up pretty well. It was not that the dog was upset in any way, just long nails. So be aware of this with smaller dogs like the Mini Aussie. Apart from that experience, I would highly recommend taking any chance you get to walk these dogs!
9 months ago
1 Year
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Run
Walk
Chase
The Miniature American Shepherd was a little timid to walk at first and was spooked easily by cars and squirrels. However, she was incredibly friendly and gentle dog. She sat on command and would patiently wait until told to come. She very much loved her Wag report card photograph to be taken and would studiously pose. She enjoyed being verbally rewarded and would respond well to an excited voice. She was well-behaved and did not try to run out of the door and sat obediently when putting on collar and when asked. She did not pull on the leash at all, even for being such a young pup. The Miniature American Shepherd has a small, manageable stature and is capable of running for thirty minutes.
9 months ago
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Sketch of smiling australian shepherd