The United Kingdom Miniature American Shepherd Club
The MAS Breed
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.

UKMASC Miniature American Shepherd black tricolour dog being kissed by owner

Breed History
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.

Oil painting 1923 Wyoming Cattle Trail
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 organisations.
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 Miniature American Shepherd tricolour red merle dog standing in field
Breed Standard
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 tails.
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.

UKMASC Miniature American Shepherd tricolour blue merle dog standing in field

Fortunately for 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 be expected.

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.
All 5* Breeders 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.

UKMASC Miniature American Shepherd tricolour blue merle dog lying down looking handsome
UKMASC Miniature American Shepherd tricolour red merle dog standing by farm gate
The 'Alternative' Breed Standard
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 .

UKMASC Miniature American Shepherd tricolour red dog catching water from hosepipe