Miniature American Shepherd
Blue Merle Miniature American Shepherd in Grass
|Common nicknames||Mini American and MAS|
|Domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris)|
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, disc dog, flyball, and others.
The Miniature American Shepherd was developed in California during the late 1960's 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 1980 and was originally called the Miniature Australian Shepherd. By the early 1990's, 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.
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 Australian Shepherd is a small dog, with the breed standard specifying a height of 14-18 inches (36-46cm) for males and 13-17 inches (33-43cm) for females. 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 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 dogs than in bitches. 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.
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 MAS is neither shy nor aggressive; any aggressive behavior is a disqualifying characteristic per the AKC.
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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 displaysia, and degenerative myelopathy. 
- "Breed History". mascusa.org. Retrieved 2017-04-21.
- Club, American Kennel. "Miniature American Shepherd Dog Breed Information". American Kennel Club. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
- "Miniature American Shepherd Dog Breed Information". Vetstreet. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
- "Breed Health". mascusa.org. Retrieved 2017-05-15.