History of the Miniature American Shepherd

History of the Miniature American Shepherd

Small size herding dog, developed in the United States.

This is a highly versatile, energetic dog, an athlete with superior intelligence and a willingness to please those to whom he is devoted. 

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AKC: Get to know the Miniature American Shepherd

The Australian Shepherd

The Australian Shepherd, from which the MAS is directly derived, originated in the mid-1800’s on the ranches of south-western America, around the time of the Californian Gold Rush.

Over a period of many years the ranchers interbred a variety of  herding breeds and types to create a stockdog with the exacting traits that they required; a versatile, intelligent drover and guard, capable of moving stock long distances over a wide range of terrain through an equally wide range of weathers whilst keeping a constant and watchful eye over their charges.

Trail Herd To Wyoming,WHD Koerner 1923
Australian Shepherd, AKC

Australian Shepherd Recognition

The Australian Shepherd is a comparatively new breed to the UK. The first Australian Shepherd was imported in 1986. Aussies were initially entered on the KC Working and Obedience Trials register (now the KC Activities register) and it was a full decade before they entered the Import Register in 1995. Approval for the interim Breed standard was also gained in 1995 and full KC recognition achieved for the breed in January 2000. Championship Ticket status (CC) was finally achieved in 2006.

The Miniature Australian Shepherd

During the 1960’s the Miniature Australian Shepherd was developed by a selective breeding programme involving the smaller sized Australian Shepherds. These dogs were bred with a goal of maintaining their naturally small size, along with all the qualities and character of the larger examples.

The ‘Minis’ have been used used for herding smaller stock such as sheep and goats, although given the opportunity they have the heart to tackle larger stock as well. Their smaller size endeared them to equestrians travelling to horse shows and rodeos as their intelligence, loyalty and size made them excellent travel companions. 

Mini Aussie Registry

The Miniature Australian Shepherd was first registered with the National Stock Dog Registry in 1980. 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 organisations. 

The Miniature American Shepherd

The first parent breed club and registry, MASCUSA, was formed in 1990 and incorporated in 1993. The Minis entered the AKC Foundation Stock Service as a separate breed in their own right with the new name of 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.

Today the MAS is established worldwide. It is a breed with a unique identity – an eye catching, versatile little herding dog, equally at home on the original ranch or in the active family home. 

The MAS is a working breed, placed in the Herding Group in the AKC. 

MAS Recognition

Although not currently recognised by the Kennel Club in the United Kingdom, all MAS in the UK are registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC).
A large number of European countries now recognise the MAS – with the list continually increasing

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The Breed

The first MAS arrived in the UK in 2005 and their numbers have been increasing steadily since.

breed standard

What should these dogs look like and how should they move? Find out all the details in the AKC Breed Standard.


MAS are known for their colourful coats, so what colours might you encounter?


What health issues should you know bout and what health tests should breeders perform?


How much, how often, what tools will you need and what to do to keep your dog in tip top condition if you're interested in showing your MAS...


Are you looking to rehome your MAS, or interested in fostering or taking on a dog in ned?