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  • Temperament: Good-Natured, Intelligent, Devoted
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 34 of 196
  • Height: 14-18 inches (male), 13-17 inches (female)
  • Weight: 20-40 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 12-13 years
  • Group: Herding Group

    The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.

Miniature American Shepherd standing in three-quarter view.
Thomas Pitera ©American Kennel Club
Miniature American Shepherd sitting facing forward.
Angie Kerins ©American Kennel Club
Miniature American Shepherd head in profile.
Angie Kerins ©American Kennel Club
Miniature American Shepherd moving through weaving poles in agility outdoors.
Mark Herreid/Shutterstock
Miniature American Shepherd head portrait.
Thomas Pitera ©American Kennel Club
Miniature American Shepherd laying down facing left, head turned forward.
Thomas Pitera ©American Kennel Club
Miniature American Shepherd leaping over an agility jump outdoors.
Mark Herreid/Shutterstock
Brown Miniature American Shepherd head portrait.
Angie Kerins ©American Kennel Club
Miniature American Shepherd at the AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin.
HOTdog ©American Kennel Club
Miniature American Shepherd coat detail
Angie Kerins ©American Kennel Club
Miniature American Shepherd puppy laying in the grass.
©otsphoto - stock.adobe.com

Find a Puppy: Miniature American Shepherd

AKC Marketplace | PuppyFinder

AKC Marketplace is the only site to exclusively list 100% AKC puppies from AKC-Registered litters and the breeders who have cared for and raised these puppies are required to follow rules and regulations established by the AKC.

GENERAL APPEARANCE

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 color or merled, with or without white and/or tan (copper) markings. He traditionally has a docked or natural bobtail.

HEAD

The head is clean-cut, dry, and in proportion to the body. Expression- Alert, attentive and intelligent. May express a reserved look and/or be watchful of strangers. Eyes – The eyes are set obliquely, almond shaped, neither protruding nor sunken and in proportion to the head. Acceptable in all coat colors, one or both eyes may be brown, blue, hazel, amber or any color combination thereof, including flecks and marbling. The eye rims of the reds and red merles have full red (liver) pigmentation. The eye rims of the blacks and blue merles have full black pigmentation. <strong>Ears – Are triangular, of moderate size, set high on the head. At full attention they break forward and over, or to the side as a rose ear. Severe Fault – Prick ears and ears that hang with no lift.

BODY

The overall structure gives an impression of depth and strength without bulkiness. Neck – The neck is firm, clean, and in proportion to the body. It is of medium length and slightly arched at the crest, fitting well into the shoulders. Topline – The back is firm and level from the withers to the hip joint when standing or moving. Loin – The loin is strong and broad when viewed from the top. Croup – The croup is moderately sloped. Body – The body is firm and well conditioned.

FOREQUARTERS

The forequarters are well conditioned and balanced with the hindquarters. Shoulders – Shoulder blades (scapula) are long, flat, fairly close set at the withers, and well laid back. Upper arm – The upper arm (humerus) is equal in length to the shoulder blade and meets the shoulder blade at an approximate right angle. The forelegs drop straight and perpendicular to the ground. Elbow – The elbow joint is equidistant from the ground to the withers. Viewed from the side, the elbow should be directly under the withers. The elbows should be close to the ribs without looseness.

HINDQUARTERS

Width of hindquarters is approximately equal to the width of the forequarters at the shoulders. Angulation – The angulation of the pelvis and upper thigh (femur) mirrors the angulation of the shoulder blade and upper arm, forming an approximate right angle. Stifle – Stifles are clearly defined. Hock – The hocks are short, perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other when viewed from the rear.

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.

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Miniature American Shepherd illustration.

About the Miniature American Shepherd

The Miniature American Shepherd shares many physical traits with its forebear the Australian Shepherd—only on a smaller scale. Females stand between 13 and 17 inches at the shoulder; males range from 14 to 18 inches. Despite their size, Minis are every inch a true herding dog: energetic, versatile, rugged, and extremely bright. The eye-catching coat comes in black, blue merle, red, and red merle. (The merle will exhibit in any amount marbling, flecks, or blotches.) Minis move with the smooth and agile step of a dog built for hard work on punishing terrain.

National Breed Clubs and Rescue

Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country. The Miniature American Shepherd Club of the USA (MASCUSA) has been the official AKC Parent Club for the Miniature American Shepherd since May 2011.
Miniature American Shepherd puppy laying in the grass.
©otsphoto - stock.adobe.com

Find a Puppy: Miniature American Shepherd

AKC Marketplace | PuppyFinder

AKC Marketplace is the only site to exclusively list 100% AKC puppies from AKC-Registered litters and the breeders who have cared for and raised these puppies are required to follow rules and regulations established by the AKC.

Care

NUTRITION

The Miniature American Shepherd should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

GROOMING

The Miniature American Shepherd has a double coat, with a longer outer coat and a wooly undercoat. The breed sheds a fair amount, even more so during shedding season, which can occur once or twice a year. Weekly brushing—daily during shedding season—will help to remove dirt and loose hairs and keep the dog looking his best. Mats or tangles can be worked out with a slicker brush or metal comb. As with all breeds, the nails should be trimmed regularly, as overly long nails can cause the dog discomfort.

Grooming Frequency

Occasional Bath/Brush
Specialty/Professional
Daily Brushing

Shedding

Infrequent
Frequent
Frequent

EXERCISE

Miniature American Shepherds are active and athletic, and they need a moderate amount of exercise but are also very adaptable to their family’s way of life. They do well as city dogs as long as owners provide sufficient exercise. They enjoy outings with their people that will occupy both their mind and body. They enjoy and excel in many canine events, including obedience, agility, and tracking.

Energy Level

Couch Potato
Needs Lots of Activity
Energetic

TRAINING

As with all breeds, early socialization and puppy training classes are recommended and help to ensure that the dog grows into a well-adjusted, well-mannered companion. Intelligent and willing to please, the Miniature American Shepherd is highly trainable and will reach his best potential as a companion when taught at least basic obedience.

Trainability

May be Stubborn
Eager to Please
Eager to Please

Temperament/Demeanor

Aloof/Wary
Outgoing
Friendly

HEALTH

Miniature American Shepherds are generally healthy dogs, and responsible breeders test their stock for health conditions, communicating with other dedicated breeders to work together for breed health and preservation of the breed’s unique qualities. Regular visits to the vet for checkups and parasite control help to ensure the dog a long, healthy life.

 

Recommended Health Test from the National Breed Club:

  • Hip Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • PRA Optigen DNA Test
  • MDR1 DNA Test
Miniature American Shepherd at the AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin.
Jessica Ramdass ©American Kennel Club
Miniature American Shepherd moving through weaving poles in agility.

History

In the 1960s, small-size Australian Shepherds found working the U.S. rodeo circuit were selectively bred to further reduce their size. The new breed was originally called the Miniature Australian Shepherd. “They became especially popular with equestrians traveling to horse shows, as their intelligence, loyalty, and size made them an excellent travel companion,” the experts at the Miniature American Shepherd Club of the USA say. “In this way their popularity spread across the country.”

Did You Know?

The Miniature American Shepherd was recognized by the AKC in 2015 and is the club's 186th breed.
The Miniature American Shepherd has been assigned the Herding Group designation.
The Miniature American Shepherd became especially popular with equestrians traveling to horse shows, as their intelligence, loyalty, and size made them an excellent travel companion.
The Miniature American Shepherd had been recorded in the Foundation Stock Service from 2011 to 2014.
The Miniature American Shepherd had been approved to compete in the Miscellaneous Class since June 27, 2012.
The breed has been eligible to compete in the Herding Group since July 1, 2015.
The Miniature American Shepherd was accepted into the AKC Stud Book on June 1, 2015. There was an open registry for the breed until July 1, 2020.
The Miniature American Shepherd competes in AKC-sanctioned competitive events including conformation, herding, obedience, rally, agility, and tracking.

The Breed Standard

GENERAL APPEARANCE

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 color or merled, with or without white and/or tan (copper) markings. He traditionally has a docked or natural bobtail.

HEAD

The head is clean-cut, dry, and in proportion to the body. Expression- Alert, attentive and intelligent. May express a reserved look and/or be watchful of strangers. Eyes – The eyes are set obliquely, almond shaped, neither protruding nor sunken and in proportion to the head. Acceptable in all coat colors, one or both eyes may be brown, blue, hazel, amber or any color combination thereof, including flecks and marbling. The eye rims of the reds and red merles have full red (liver) pigmentation. The eye rims of the blacks and blue merles have full black pigmentation. <strong>Ears – Are triangular, of moderate size, set high on the head. At full attention they break forward and over, or to the side as a rose ear. Severe Fault – Prick ears and ears that hang with no lift.

BODY

The overall structure gives an impression of depth and strength without bulkiness. Neck – The neck is firm, clean, and in proportion to the body. It is of medium length and slightly arched at the crest, fitting well into the shoulders. Topline – The back is firm and level from the withers to the hip joint when standing or moving. Loin – The loin is strong and broad when viewed from the top. Croup – The croup is moderately sloped. Body – The body is firm and well conditioned.

FOREQUARTERS

The forequarters are well conditioned and balanced with the hindquarters. Shoulders – Shoulder blades (scapula) are long, flat, fairly close set at the withers, and well laid back. Upper arm – The upper arm (humerus) is equal in length to the shoulder blade and meets the shoulder blade at an approximate right angle. The forelegs drop straight and perpendicular to the ground. Elbow – The elbow joint is equidistant from the ground to the withers. Viewed from the side, the elbow should be directly under the withers. The elbows should be close to the ribs without looseness.

HINDQUARTERS

Width of hindquarters is approximately equal to the width of the forequarters at the shoulders. Angulation – The angulation of the pelvis and upper thigh (femur) mirrors the angulation of the shoulder blade and upper arm, forming an approximate right angle. Stifle – Stifles are clearly defined. Hock – The hocks are short, perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other when viewed from the rear.

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.

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Miniature American Shepherd illustration.

Colors & Markings

Colors

Description Standard Colors Registration Code
Black Check Mark For Standard Color 007
Blue Merle Check Mark For Standard Color 050
Red Check Mark For Standard Color 140
Red Merle Check Mark For Standard Color 276

Markings

Description Standard Markings Registration Code
Tan Points Check Mark For Standard Mark 029
White Markings Check Mark For Standard Mark 014
White Markings, Tan Points Check Mark For Standard Mark 030
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