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Are you looking for a colorful, lively breed, almost the spitting image of an Australian Shepherd, but in a scaled-down model? If so, the Miniature American Shepherd (MAS) fits the bill. Despite its smaller size, this breed has enough strength and stamina to keep pace with any active lifestyle. As a bonus, the Miniature American Shepherd’s splashy coat guarantees to turn heads. Affectionate and loyal, this distinctive dog excels in other attributes that will definitely win you over.

They’re a Made in America Breed

The breed developed in California during the late 1960s from small Australian Shepherds. Initially, the breed’s name was Miniature Australian Shepherds, but it later changed to Miniature American Shepherd to reflect the MAS American heritage.

Miniature American Shepherd at the AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin.
HOTdog ©American Kennel Club

Miniature American Shepherds Like Horses

Equestrians brought small Miniature American Shepherds to horse shows as the breed’s intelligence, loyalty, and portable size made them ideal companions.

They’re a Colorful Breed

The Miniature American Shepherd comes in four colors: black, blue merle, red, and red merle. Their merle coat is an eye-popping kaleidoscope of marbled, darker colors against a lighter background. No two Merle MAS coats are alike.

Their Eye Color Is Unique

Their eyes can be the same or different colors—brown, blue, hazel, amber, or any combination, including flecks.

They’re Lively, Intelligent, and Eager to Please

Miniature American Shepherds are self-motivated dogs that can thrive if given appropriate mental and physical stimulation daily. They catch on quickly to new ideas, and accompanying you on a walk is a real treat for this breed.

Miniature American Shepherd puppy laying in the grass chewing on a treat.
©otsphoto -

They Herd Animals

With some nipping at heels, this breed herds small flocks of goats, sheep, and ducks. When it comes to larger animals like cows, Miniature American Shepherds will take them on, too.

They’re Reasonable Guardians

Miniature American Shepherds have strong guardian instincts. Sure, they’ll bark to announce strangers at the door and to protect their families. But plenty of socialization and training can help deter them.

They Love All Dog Sports

It’s important for Miniature American Shepherds to get plenty of physical and mental exercise, making them a perfect match for a variety of dog sports. They’re versatile dogs that excel at obedience, agility, tracking, hiking, AKC Rally, and AKC Scent Work. Offer up a good game, and they’ll quickly join in. They want to do anything you do.

Miniature American Shepherd moving through weaving poles in agility outdoors.
Mark Herreid/Shutterstock

They Know How to Relax

This breed requires more than average exercise but can still be adaptable to their family’s way of life. After a busy day, they’re content to settle down and be a lapdog indoors at night. With family members, Miniature American Shepherds are affectionate, loving, and sometimes cuddly, but with strangers? Not so much.

No Fussy Grooming Required

Their weather-resistant double coat is medium-length. The outer coat is longer than the soft undercoat. Give them a monthly bath and brush out their dense coat once a week or daily, if they’re shedding, and they’re good to go.

Related article: The Most Popular Dog Breeds of 2022
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