Miniature American Shepherd
The Miniature American Shepherd is a herding dog with a roots from the Australian Shepherd. It is a compact dog with a strong work ethic. As such, they have been lauded by enthusiasts as an excellent choice for dogs sports such as herding, agility and flyball. Recently, the Miniature American Shepherd Club of the USA (MASCUSA), have been working to help create a new breed to be recognized by the American Kennel Club and the United Kennel Club. In June 2012 the AKC recognized the Miniature American Shepherd as a new developing breed and gave the breed Foundation Stock Service ("FSS") status. The AKC provides this service to allow breeds to continue to develop while providing them with the security of a reliable and reputable avenue to maintain their records.
History It was bred first in the United States and was bred as a herding and working dog. The Miniature American Shepherd (at that time still the Miniature Australian Shepherd) was first developed in the late 1960s and by the mid-1970s the breed had reached its current desired size. In many areas and kennel clubs the Miniature American Shepherd is still used as a working breed in competitions. The predecessor to MASCUSA was the Miniature Australian Shepherd Club of the United States, which used the same acronym the current club uses. The original club was founded in 1990. Also, in 1990 the AKC officially recognized the Australian Shepherd as a breed. The breed standard adopted by the AKC states for size: "The preferred height for males is 20–23 inches, females 18–21 inches. Quality is not to be sacrificed in favor of size." Interestingly, deviation in size is not a disqualification, and this has been a debated issue. In 1993 the original MASCUSA club was asked by the AKC to change its name. Additionally, Miniature Australian Shepherds could no longer participate under their chosen name as it was too similar to that of an AKC affiliated breed, so the Miniature Australian Shepherd became the North American Shepherd.
In 1993, MASCUSA (the original organization) became the North American Shepherd Club of America. For the next 15 years there were numerous clubs that were formed, reorganized, and defunct trying to come to a consensus concerning the emerging breed. Enough members were eventually interested in obtaining separate recognition, thus prompting members of NAMASCUSA to approach the AKC. Working as a team with AKC and USASA, the name and breed of Miniature American Shepherd was born. The Miniature Australian Shepherd community is still divided over this compromise. In May 2011, this resulted in the MASCUSA club being chosen by AKC as the parent club of the newly named Miniature American Shepherd recognized breed. The Miniature American Shepherd Club of the USA is currently working toward full, AKC recognition and acceptance.
Appearance This small, athletic breed has moderate bone and slightly rectangular proportions. The neck arches slightly into the shoulders, which blends into a sturdy, level back. The full chest reaches to the elbows. Forelegs are straight and strong, and front and rear angulation is balanced. Feet are compact and oval. The tail is typically a natural bobtail or docked to 3 inches or less. The proportionate head has a moderate stop and gently tapering muzzle. The nose is black (in blacks and blue merles) or liver (in reds and red merles). Eyes can be brown, blue, hazel, amber, or any combination thereof. Ears are triangular and high set. The breed has a watchful and intelligent expression. The Miniature American Shepherd is a small size herding dog that originated in the United States. He is slightly longer than tall with bone that is moderate and in proportion to body size and height without extremes. Movement is smooth, easy, and balanced. Exceptional agility combined with strength and stamina allows for working over a variety of terrain. This highly versatile, energetic dog makes an excellent athlete with superior intelligence and a willingness to please those to whom he is devoted. He is both a loyal companion and a biddable worker, which is evident in his watchful expression. He traditionally has a docked or natural bobtail.
Temperament Intelligent, willing to please, and devoted, the Miniature American Shepherd is a herding dog that can be an excellent family pet. Owners must devote time to socialization and training to direct the breeds strong working instincts and drive. They are naturally wary of strangers but should not be shy, and they are able to adjust their demeanor to given situations, whether work or play. The breed responds well to obedience training and has a natural sensitivity that makes it a good choice for therapy work and search and rescue. The Miniature American Shepherd is intelligent, primarily a working dog of strong herding and guardian instincts. An exceptional companion, he is versatile and easily trained, performing his assigned tasks with great style and enthusiasm. Although reserved with strangers, he does not exhibit shyness. He is a resilient and persistent worker, who adjusts his demeanor and arousal appropriately to the task at hand. With his family he is protective, good natured, devoted and loyal.
Size and Proportion
Size Males: 14–18 inches; Females: 13–17 inches; 20–40 pounds (weight range approximate/not specified in AKC standard)
Proportion Measuring from the point of the shoulder to the point of the buttocks and from the highest point of the shoulder blade to the ground, he is slightly longer than tall. Solidly built with moderate bone in proportion to body height and size.
Color and Coat
Color Black, blue merle, red, red merle, with or without tan and/or white markings in specified areas. The nose and lips should be will colored black on blues merles and blacks, liver on red merles and reds.
Coat Moderation is the overall impression of the coat. Hair is of medium texture, straight to wavy, weather resistant, and of medium length. The undercoat varies in quantity with variations in climate. Hair is short and smooth on the head and front of the legs. The backs of forelegs and breeches are moderately feathered. There is a moderate mane and frill, more pronounced in dogs than in bitches. Hair may be trimmed on the ears, feet, back of hocks, pasterns, and tail, otherwise he is to be shown in a natural coat. Untrimmed whiskers are preferred. Severe Fault: Non-typical coats. The Miniature American Shepherd has medium length weather resistant double coat. It can be straight or wavy in texture.