It goes without
saying, we're convinced that MAS are possibly the best dogs in the
world. Of course we are! That's why, having discovered that these
amazing dogs weren't available in Britain, the early enthusiasts went
to such enormous lengths (not to mention expense) to research lines,
find great breeders and finally import our foundation dogs from the
USA. The whole process of importing, from initial interest to finally
having our dogs here with us in the UK, took several years of
determination, resource and patience.
The first Mini arrived in the UK in 2005 and the second early in 2008. In
the decade since then their numbers have steadily grown; acquiring a
great deal of respect, support, popularity and an enthusiastic
following as they prove themselves time and again to be superb working
dogs capable of turning their paw to any activity required of them.
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
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. In this way their popularity spread
across the country.
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
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 and eventually the Pastoral Group in the KC.
UKMASC respects the MASCUSA/AKC Breed Standard as outlined:
'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.
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. The double coat of medium
length and coarseness may be solid in colour or merled, with or without
white and/or tan (copper) markings. He traditionally has a docked or
natural bobtail.' *
* Although the breed is traditionally docked in their native USA,
docking is illegal in the UK and our dogs do not carry the natural
bobtail (NBT) gene. Therefore all our pups have natural, full-length
The breed standard states the height at the top of the withers is 14 -
18 inches for dogs and 13 - 17 inches for bitches. As a very rough
guide (just because numbers are hard to picture) this places the MAS in
approximately the same height bracket as a Sheltie, Beagle,
Cocker Spaniel or Miniature Poodle.
The full MASCUSA/AKC BREED STANDARD
is available on this link.
owners and dogs alike, MAS are a comparatively healthy and robust
breed. The few issues that sometimes crop up are also found in the
majority of the herding breeds, which given the common ancestry, is to
From the outset, UKMASC set the benchmark for MAS health testing in the
UK. By following (and frequently exceeding) recommended AKC and KC health testing
requirements, we are confident of both the
health and the health status of our dogs.
The UKMASC 5* Breeder Scheme
is designed to promote confidence
and offer peace of mind for both breeders and purchasers. Our breeders
are encouraged to aspire to and participate in the scheme, which is
open to members who can demonstrate that they meet certain key criteria
and conduct themselves within a code of ethics.
will be happy to show you the originals of their dog's
health certificates, share and explain the results of X-rays, scans and
tests, and discuss implications for individual dogs and the health of
the MAS population in general.
Our 5* Breeders are fully conversant with the potential health problems in the MAS,
aware of the issues surrounding them and have taken every step possible
to breed responsibly. Our puppies are sold with strict contracts regarding health testing and
are usually sold with their registration papers endorsed against
potential future breeding.
Click here to visit the page about Breed Health and Health Testing
A .pdf file of HEALTH ISSUES & HEALTH TESTING
in the MAS is available on this link.
Now you've waded
through all the technical bits, here's a slightly less formal overview
of the breed as a whole. Sometimes it's good to get the viewpoint
of someone who has lived with the breed for many years, and knows the
trials and tribulations of living with one of the most intelligent, resourceful and
energetic breeds on the planet.
An article on the 'ALTERNATIVE' BREED STANDARD
is on this link .