MINIATURE AUSTRALIAN SHEPHERDS....History
The Miniature Australian Shepherd was developed in the United States though it is believed that the original "little blue dogs" came from the Pyranese mountain range between Spain and France and traveled to the United States with the Basque herders during the 1950's. Some Basque herders also travelled to the United States from Australia, bringing their dogs with them which led to the "Australian" in the name of the breed. During the 1960s, a Californian Australian Shepherd enthusiast acquired several small working Aussies from the rodeo circuit and developed a breeding program focused on preserving the smaller size. She worked with a veterinarian selecting and breeding the genetically smaller dogs to preserve the smaller size variety. At the same time, Australian Shepherd fanciers were focusing on the larger size and developing a breed standard for dogs in the 21 - 23" range. When the Australian Shepherd entered into AKC and became a recognized breed, the parent club refused to accept the size variety of the smaller dogs. The North American Stock Dog Registry, however, continued to recognize both size varieties, the Australian Shepherd and the Miniature Australian Shepherd. Experienced Australian Shepherd breeders researched lines and continued breeding to full-size Aussies to diversify the gene pool and improve conformation and type of the mini Aussies. Several other breed clubs besides NSDR, (MASCA, NAMASCUSA, IMASC, ASDR) also promoted and registered these small dogs, and though not recognized as a size variety of the Australian Shepherd by ASCA or AKC, they were shown with various rare-breed organizations. In 2011, NAMASCUSA formed the parent breed club MASCUSA in order to take the Miniature Australian Shepherd into AKC FSS, however, in order to do so, they were required to enter under a new name, the Miniature American Shepherd and had to enter as a new breed separate from the Australian Shepherd. The Miniature American Shepherd is a herding dog to be designated to the Herding Group in the American Kennel Club. A date of July 1, 2015 has been set for full recognition in AKC. The breed has also entered CDHPR. Full UKC recognition is effective January 1, 2015.
MINIATURE AMERICAN SHEPHERDS...The Breed
The Miniature American Shepherd, or "Mini Aussie" as it is often referred to, 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 Canada, 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's attentive, energetic temperament, high intelligence, herding instinct, drive, and eager attitude makes them excellent companions provided they are given the appropriate physical and mental stimulation. Mini American's excel at obedience, fly ball, agility, herding, disc and any other fun sport. Early socialization and obedience training is highly recommended. Because the breed was developed both to herd and guard the flock, Miniature American Shepherds are entirely devoted to their family and make excellent watch dogs and companions.