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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 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
The breed was first registered with the National Stock Dog Registry
in 1980 and was originally called the Miniature Australian Shepherd.
By the early 1990s, 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 American Shepherd is a herding dog to be designated
to the Herding Group in the American Kennel Club
The Miniature American 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
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.