top of page

Minature American Shepherd

All information is clipped from NMASK's

History of the breed

The Miniature American Shepherd (MAS) is a herding dog that was developed in California in the late 1960s by breeding smaller Australian Shepherds. These dogs were bred with the aim of maintaining their small size, active nature and intelligence. It is a compact dog with a strong work ethic. They are successfully used for herding and in obedience such as LP, fly ball and agility in addition to other obedience competitions. They are also well suited to tracks and are very willing to learn. By the mid-1970s, the breed had reached its current desired size.

The original MASCUSA was founded in 1990. In 1990, the Australian Shepherd was officially recognized as a breed by the AKC. Breed standard adopted by the AKC states for size: "Preferred height for males is 14-18 inches (35-46 cm), bitches 13-17 inches (34-43 CM). Quality is not to be sacrificed in favor of size.." Discrepancy in size was not a disqualification and this has been a hotly debated issue. In 1993, MASCUSA was asked by the AKC to change its name. Additionally, it was desired that Miniature Australian Shepherds could no longer compete under their chosen name as it was too similar to the AKC affiliated breed, so the Miniature Australian Shepherd thus became the North American Shepherd.

The Miniature American Shepherd Club USA (MASCUSA) was elected in May 2011 as the international mother club of MAS at the American Kennel Club (AKC). From 2011 it was decided in the AKC board meeting that MAS was approved to compete in "various class effective"/foundation stock service program (FSS) from 27 June 2012. From July 2014 - MASCUSA was included in AKC's studbook and from 1 June 2015 MAS became eligible to compete in the Shepherd dog group. There will be open auspices for the breed until July 1, 2020. MAS competes in AKC-sanctioned competitions including conformation, herding, obedience, rally, agility and tracking.


The hair is of medium texture, straight to wavy, weather resistant, and of medium length. Underwool varies in quantity with variations in climate. The hair is short and smooth on the head and front of the legs. The back of the front legs and breeches are moderately feathered. There is a moderate mane and collar, more prominent in male dogs than in bitches. Hair can be trimmed on the ears, feet, back of the hocks, middle hands, and tail, otherwise he is to be shown in a natural coat. Untrimmed whiskers are preferred. Serious error. Non-Typical Coats The Miniature American Shepherd has a medium length weather resistant double coat. It can be straight or wavy in texture

The MAS's intelligence, its dedicated effort to do a job and its devotion make the MAS a herding dog that can be an excellent family dog. Owners must devote time to socialization and training to guide the breed's strong working instincts. They are naturally skeptical of strangers, but should not be shy, and they are able to adjust their behavior to given situations, whether work or play. The breed responds well to obedience and has a natural sensitivity that makes it a good choice for therapy work, search and rescue. The MAS is intelligent, primarily a working dog with strong herding and guardian instincts. An exceptional companion, he is versatile and easily trained, carrying out his assigned tasks with great style and enthusiasm. Even reservation towards strangers does not make them show shyness. He is a robust and persistent worker, who adjusts his behavior and commitment appropriately to the task at hand. Above his family, he is protective, kind, devoted and loyal.

Black, blue merle, red, red merle, with or without tan and/or white markings in designated areas. Nose and lips should be colored black on blues merle and black, liver on red merle and reds.


This small, athletic breed has moderate bones and slightly rectangular proportions. Neck curves slightly in the shoulders, which go into a solid, level back. The full chest reaches the elbows. The front legs are straight and strong, and front and rear angulation is balanced. Feet are compact and oval. The tail is usually a natural bobtail or long tail as tail docking is not permitted in Norway (docking is still done in some countries, but ethics councils are constantly considering this). The proportionate head has a moderate stop and gently tapering muzzle. The nose is black (in black and blue merle) or liver (in red and red merle). The eyes can be brown, blue, hazel, amber, or a combination of these. The ears are triangular and set high. Rose ears are acceptable. The breed has an alert and intelligent expression. The MA is slightly longer than tall with legs that are moderate and in relation to body size and height without extremes. Movement is smooth, light and balanced. Exceptional agility combined with strength and endurance allows for working over rough terrain. The MAS is a very versatile, energetic dog that makes it an excellent performer with superior intelligence and a great will to get the job done. He is both a loyal companion and an obedient worker, which is evident in his watchful expression. He traditionally has a long tail or is naturally bobtail.

Health and diseases



- ECVO - eye lighting


  • Chondrodystrophy (CDDY and IVDD Risk) with or without Chondrodysplasia (CDPA)

  • Coagulation Factor VII Deficiency

  • Collie Eye Anomaly

  • Cone Degeneration

  • Craniomandibular Osteopathy

  • Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)

  • Exercise-Induced Collapse

  • Hereditary Cataracts (HC)

  • Hyperuricosuria (HUU)

  • Intestinal Cobalamin Malabsorption (Australian Shepherd Type)

  • Multidrug Resistance 1 (MDR1)

  • Multifocal Retinopathy 1

  • Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis 6 (NCL6)

  • Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis 8 (NCL8)

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Progressive Rod-Cone Degeneration (PRA - PRCD)

  • Von Willebrand Disease I


Read more about diseases at Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) and at VETARENA at NORWEGIAN or original language.
These mentioned diseases can be detected by DNA testing and NMASK therefore believes that it is desirable that parent dogs should always be DNA tested before breeding. 

bottom of page