Miniature American Shepherd

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20-31 lbs
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.

Date of Origin
Basque Shepherd, Australian Shepherd

Miniature American Shepherd Health

Average Size
Height: 14-18 inches Weight: 20-31 lbs
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. 

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