Miniature American Shepherd

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Miniature American Shepherd
Blue Merle Miniature American Shepherd in Grass.jpg
Blue Merle Miniature American Shepherd in the grass
Other namesMiniature Australian Shepherd
Berger Miniature Américain
Miniatur Amerikanischer Schäferhund
Pastor Miniatura American
Common nicknamesMini American , MAS
OriginUnited States
Height Dogs 14–18 in (36–46 cm)
Bitches 13–17 in (33–43 cm)
Coat Medium length double coat
Color Black, blue merle, red, red merle, with or without tan and/or white markings in specified areas
Litter size 2–6 puppies[1]
Life span 13–15 years[1]
Kennel club standards
American Kennel Club standard
FCI standard
Dog (domestic dog)

The Miniature American Shepherd, frequently abbreviated MAS, is a small herding dog breed. The MAS is highly intelligent and biddable. The breed is often trained for dog sports such as herding, agility, obedience, canine freestyle, flyball, and others. The Miniature American Shepherd was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 2015 and is the club's 186th breed.[2] In September 2019, the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) officially accepted the breed.[3]


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, the breed 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 U.K., 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 U.K. Kennel Club, UKMASC is dedicated to sound and responsible breeding practices and the promotion of the breed in the U.K.

The breed has been used for herding smaller stock such as sheep and goats, although they have the heart to tackle larger livestock 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.[1][4]

Breed characteristics[edit]

Body structure[edit]

The Miniature American Shepherd is a small dog, with the breed standard specifying a height of 14-18 inches (36–46 cm) for males and 13-17 inches (33–43 cm) for females.[5] Body structure suggests strength, but not bulkiness, with a clean-cut head and neck proportional to the body. The topline is level from withers to hip joint. The tail may be undocked, a natural bobtail, or may be docked to a length not exceeding three inches.


The coat is of medium length and may be straight or wavy, with moderate feathering present on the backs of the legs. Both sexes have a moderate mane and frill, though it is generally more pronounced in males than in females. The undercoat varies according to the climate in which the dog dwells.

Recognized coat colors in the breed are black, blue merle, red merle, and red (liver). There are no specified quantities of marbling, flecking, or blotching for merle coats. Tan markings are permissible anywhere around the eyes and face, as well as on the feet, legs, chest, muzzle, underside of the neck and body, under the tail and on the undersides of the ears. White markings are permissible, but limited to the muzzle, cheeks, crown of the head, in a blaze on the head, in a partial or full collar on the neck and on the belly, chest, front legs and hind legs to the hock. White markings should not cover more than 25% of the ear and white body markings outside of the above permitted areas may disqualify the dog from competition.[5]


The Miniature American Shepherd is described as an intelligent working breed with strong instincts for herding and flock guarding. It is easy to train, enthusiastic and persistent toward its work, and is protective, devoted and loyal to its family. The Miniature American Shepherd is neither shy nor aggressive; any aggressive behavior is a disqualifying characteristic per the AKC.[5] They are classified as a high-energy breed, and require frequent exercise and mental stimulation.


The MAS has an expected lifespan of 13–15 years.[6] 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.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ "Miniature American Shepherd Dog Breed Information". American Kennel Club. Retrieved 2020-11-10.
  3. ^ Miniature American Shepherd. Federation Cynologique Internationale.
  4. ^ "Breed History". Retrieved 2017-04-21.
  5. ^ a b c Club, American Kennel. "Miniature American Shepherd Dog Breed Information". American Kennel Club. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
  6. ^ "Miniature American Shepherd Dog Breed Information". Vetstreet. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
  7. ^ "Breed Health". Retrieved 2017-05-15.