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About the Mini Aussies

Click HERE to go to the MASCA website

The Following Information is an excerpt from the MASCA (Miniature Australian Shepherd Club of America) Website.

History of the Miniature Australian Shepherd

 

Origin
Certain early ancestors of today’s Australian Shepherd may have migrated with Basque shepherds from continental Europe directly to North America. The blue merle color phase is still present in the modern Berger des Pyrnes. The breed may have acquired its name via Australia where the Basques are known to have accumulated larger flocks of sheep. By whatever path, Aussies had arrived in the United States by the late 19th century where the dogs’ qualities became recognized by local ranchers, who used the dogs to work cattle, sheep and other livestock.

Berger des Pyrnes (Pyrenean Shepherd)
- the Basque herding breed

Working ability was the paramount consideration during the early years, rather than any particular conformation but a distinct breed of moderate coat and size, superb herding instinct and often of unusual blue merle coloring emerged, still bearing a marked resemblance to Pyrenean ancestors, although undoubtedly influenced by various British and American working breeds, such as the Scotch Collie, Border Collie and English Shepherd. The "little blue dogs" were soon highly esteemed on ranches and farms throughout western America.

Jay Sisler popularized the Aussie with the American public through his trick dog acts performed at rodeos throughout the United States during the 1950’s and 1960’s. His dogs also appeared in movies and several figure prominently in the pedigrees of the modern Australian Shepherd.

The Aussie is a relative newcomer to purebred registries, only being formally recorded since 1957. The first organization to register the Australian Shepherd was the National Stock Dog Registry (AKA International English Shepherd Registry). The Australian Shepherd Club of America (ASCA) established recording services in 1971, taking over a majority of Aussie registrations. ASCA adopted a unified breed standard in 1977.

A Small Australian Shepherd
During the 1960’s, a Californian Australian Shepherd enthusiast acquired several small working Aussies from the rodeo circuit. Intrigued by their compact size, she worked with a veterinarian to develop a breeding program in order to preserve the trait, which quickly resulted in litters producing both dogs only 13 to 14 inches tall as well as larger Australian Shepherds. The smaller dogs eventually became known as "miniature" Australian Shepherds.

The mini Aussie soon attracted the attention of experienced Australian Shepherd breeders and eager newcomers. Lines were researched and educated breeding to full-size Aussies was and is strongly encouraged to diversify the gene pool and improve conformation and type of the mini Aussies. Herding instinct, intelligence and drive were preserved and many mini Aussies continue to work a variety of livestock today.

Characteristics
The mini Aussie is exactly as its name implies: a small Australian Shepherd with the Aussie’s attentive, energetic temperament, high intelligence and reserve, but never shyness, towards strangers. But while the height of the Aussie varies from 18 to 23 inches, the height of the mini Aussie ranges from 14 to 18 inches with a corresponding weight of approximately 20 to 40 pounds.

The Miniature Australian Shepherd’s eager attitude means that working with the mini Aussie is a joy, but their intelligence means that obedience training is highly recommended. The ownership of any dog, especially one of an intelligent breed, should not be taken lightly. Because the Aussie was developed both to herd and guard the flock, the mini Aussies are entirely devoted to their family and make excellent watch dogs and companions. As with all breeds, early socialization is of the utmost importance.

The Early Days of Recognition
The first registry to accept the Miniature Australian Shepherd was the National Stock Dog Registry (NSDR): the same to first recognize the Australian Shepherd. Cordova’s Spike, a 15 inch blue merle male, was the first mini Aussie to be registered. Acceptance was next achieved with the now defunct Rare Breed Kennel Club (RBKC) in the 1980’s. Croswhite's Miss Kitty Fox, a blue merle NSDR registered bitch of true Aussie type, secured the first Miniature Australian Shepherd championship.

After the RBKC folded in the early 1990’s, the mini Aussie gained acceptance with the American Rare Breed Association (ARBA). Unfortunately, ARBA regulations stipulated that in order for a breed to qualify for Group and Best in Show competition, it could not have a name associated with an AKC breed. So in 1993, when the Australian Shepherd was granted full show privileges in the AKC’s Herding Group, one group of mini Aussie enthusiasts opted to change the mini Aussie’s name, a move which caused great confusion in the dog world and for the general public and eventually led to the development of a separate and distinct breed from the Australian Shepherd called the North American Shepherd.

Dissatisfied with the limited show schedule offered by any one club, enthusiasts attempted to secure wider recognition. However, it soon became apparent that acceptance could not be gained under the new name because it implied a new breed. In actuality, the mini Aussie remained a size variety of the Australian Shepherd, with a continuous genepool, and not a separate breed. Those concerned with maintaining Australian Shepherd heritage, instinct, temperament and type, and interested in pursuing further recognition formed a Miniature Australian Shepherd parent club in order to attain these goals.

copyright 1997 - 2002, all rights reserved - Miniature Australian Shepherd Club of America

Click HERE To Go the NAMASCUSA Website

The Following Information is an exerpt from NAMASCUSA (North American Miniature Australian Shepherd Club of the United States of America)
 

Breed Standard Miniature Australian Shepherd

 

Published by the North American Miniature Australian Shepherd Club of the USA
as adopted by the membership in May, 2002

download a printed copy in pdf format

GENERAL APPEARANCE:  The Miniature Australian Shepherd is a well-balanced herding dog of small to medium size.    Bone is also moderate and in proportion to body size.  He is attentive and animated, showing strength and stamina combined with unusual agility.  Slightly longer than tall, he has a coat of moderate length and coarseness with coloring that offers variety and individuality in each specimen.  An identifying characteristic is his natural or docked bobtail.  In each sex, masculinity or femininity is well defined.

Disqualifications:  Toy like features
(i.e. domed head, bulging eyes, fine bone)

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Merle bitch with Tri dog
in background
Trim color is optional and not to be preferred

CHARACTER:  The Miniature Australian Shepherd is intelligent, primarily a working dog of strong herding and guardian instincts.  He is an exceptional companion.  He is versatile and easily trained, performing his assigned tasks with great style and enthusiasm.  He is reserved with strangers, but does not exhibit shyness.  Although an aggressive, authoritative worker, viciousness towards people or animals is intolerable.

Disqualification:  Viciousness        Fault:   Undo shyness

 

HEAD:  Clean-cut, strong, dry, and in proportion to the body.  The top skull is flat to slightly rounded, its length and width each equal to the length of the muzzle, which is in balance and proportioned to the rest of the head.  The muzzle tapers slightly to a rounded tip.  The stop is moderate, but well defined.

TEETH:  A full complement of strong, white teeth meet in a scissor bite.  An even bite is a fault.  Teeth broken or missing by accident are not penalized.

Disqualification:  Undershot bites; overshot bites exceeding one-eighth (1/8) inch

EYES:    Very expressive, showing attentiveness and intelligence.  Clear, almond-shaped, and of moderate size, set a little obliquely, neither prominent nor sunken, with pupils dark, well defined and perfectly positioned.   Color is brown, blue, amber or any variation or combination thereof including flecks and marbling.

EARS:  Set on high at the side of the head, triangular and slightly rounded at the tip, of moderate size with length measured by bringing the tip of the ear around to the inside corner of the eye.  The ears, at full attention, break slightly forward and over from one-quarter (1/4) to one-half (1/2) above the base.

 Severe Faults:  Prick or hound-type ears

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Prick ear

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Hound ear
NECK AND BODY:  The neck is firm, clean and in proportion to the body.  It is of medium length and slightly arched at the crest, setting well into the shoulders.  The body is firm and muscular.  The topline appears level at a natural four-square stance.  The chest is deep and strong with ribs well sprung.  The loin is strong and broad when viewed from the top.  The bottom line carries well back with a moderate tuck-up.  The croup is moderately sloping, the ideal being thirty (30) degrees from the horizontal.  Tail is straight, not to exceed three (3) inches, natural bobtail or docked.

FOREQUARTERS:  The shoulder blades (scapula) are long and flat, close set at the withers, approximately two fingers width at a natural stance, and are well laid back at an angle approximately forty-five (45) degrees to the ground.  The upper arm (humerus) is attached at an approximate right angle to the shoulder line with forelegs dropping straight, perpendicular to the ground.   The elbow joint is equidistant from the ground to the withers.  The legs are straight and powerful.  Pasterns are short, thick and strong, but still flexible, showing a slight angle when viewed from the side.   Feet are oval shaped, compact, with close-knit, well-arched toes.  Pads are thick and resilient; nails short and strong.  Dewclaws may be removed.

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HINDQUARTERS:  Width of hindquarters approximately equal to the width of the forequarters at the shoulders.  The angulation of the pelvis and upper thigh (femur) corresponds to the angulation of the shoulder blade and upper arm forming an approximate right angle.  Stifles are clearly defined, hock joints moderately bent.  The metatarsi are short, perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other when viewed from the rear.  Feet are oval shaped, compact, with close-knit, well-arched toes.  Pads are thick and resilient; nails short and strong.  Rear dewclaws are removed. Hindquarters72.jpg (18412 bytes)

COAT:  Of medium texture, straight to slightly wavy, weather resistant, of moderate length with an undercoat.  The quality of undercoat varies with climate.  Hair is short and smooth on the head, outside of ears, front of forelegs and below the hocks.  Backs of forelegs are moderately feathered; breeches are moderately full.  There is a moderate mane and frill, more pronounced in dogs than bitches.

Severe fault:  Non-typical coats

 

COLOR:   All colors are strong, clear and rich. The recognized colors are blue merle, red (liver) merle, solid black, and solid red (liver) all with or without white markings and/or tan (copper) points with no order of preference. The blue merle and black have black pigmentation on nose, lips and eye-rims. Reds and red merles have liver pigmentation on nose, lips and eye rims. Butterfly nose should not be faulted under the age of one year. On all colors the areas surrounding the ears and eyes are dominated by color other than white. The hairline of a white collar does not exceed the point at the withers.

Disqualifications:  Other than recognized colors, white body splashes.  Dudley nose

GAIT:  Smooth, free and easy; exhibiting agility of movement with a well-balanced, ground-covering stride.  Fore and hind legs move straight and parallel with the center line of the body; as speed increases, the feet, both front and rear, converge toward the center line of gravity of the dog, while the top line remains firm and level. sidemvemnt72.jpg (11770 bytes)

SIZE:    Height for dogs and bitches is 14 inches up to 18 inches at the top of withers.   Quality not to be sacrificed in favor of size within the guidelines of this breed standard.

Severe fault under 14 inches and over 18 inches. 

For Preferred height read Breed Standard Guidelines Booklet

Disqualification's:   

       Monorchidism and Cryptorchidism

       Toy like features (i.e. domed head, bulging eyes, fine bone)

       Other than recognized colors, white body splashes, Dudley nose.

       Viciousness

       Undershot bites; overshot bites exceeding one-eighth (1/8) inch

 


For a more detailed look at the Breed Standard go to Breed Standard Guidelines Booklet

"Drawings from Victoria and Christina Mistretta's book The Structure and Movement of the Australian Shepherd.    Permission to use granted 01/01. All drawings are Copyright protected. All rights reserved. No picture may be reused or copied without written permission from authors."

The Structure & Movement of The Australian Shepherd
by Victoria & Christina Mistretta. $25.00 (Postage included)
* note: add $2.00 for Canadian and $5.00 postage for international orders.
Send order to: Victoria Mistretta, 3167 Dodge Rd, White City, OR, 97503 541-826-6598

 

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Colors & Patterns

 

Miniature Australian Shepherd can be found in the same colors as the standard bred Australian Shepherd.  The base colors are either red or black, with or without white or copper trim, or a variation of the colors, known as merles. 

A blue merle has patches and patterns of black on a background varying from slate gray to powder blue.

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A red merle has patches and patterns of red on a cream colored background.

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The black has a solid black body.  They may have white trim, in which case they would be a black bi (left picture), or copper and white, which would be a black tri (right picture).

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The reds vary in intensity from a deep mahogany to a brownish-red color. As with the blacks, a red and white is termed a red bi; add copper points and the dog is a red tri.

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Activities

Working together in dog sports such as Frisbee, Agility, Herding, Flyball, Obedience, etc. is encouraged as a means to channel the MAS energy in a fun way for both dog and owner. Training classes once or twice a week helps provide mental and physical challenges and often cements the close bonds formed between dog and owner.  Check out our Resources page for some links to information about many of these activities. activities.jpg (20204 bytes)

Below is a brief description of only a few of the activities the MAS excels in.

Herding

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Mini Aussies have a strong and instinctive desire to herd.  In fact, you may see this drive to herd when they play with other animals.  While this is instinctive, learning to do it effectively and efficiently is something both dog and owner can train together in. The MAS is eligible to compete with the Australian Shepherd Club of America (ASCA) and the American Herding Breeds Assc.

Agility

This is a fast paced sport in which the handler directs the dog over and through a series of obstacles, including jumps, tires, teeter-totters, tunnels, A-frames, and weave poles.  MAS may compete for titles with ASCA, NADAC, USDAA and the UKC.

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Conformation

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Conformation is a competition in which correct structure, movement and showmanship are judged. MAS may compete with the American Rare Breed Asso. for Championship status and with the International All Breed Canine Asso. for National and International Championships.   ARBA points may be applied toward a NAMASCUSA Breed Championship as well.

For More Information Click Here

Little Aussies with Big Hearts!