ShowSight Presents The Miniature American Shepherd

Miniature American Shep herd

BACKSTORY OF THE BREED

BY KAREN KELLER-ROSS

I n May of 2011, the American Kennel Club approved the split of the Australian Shepherd by phenotype (the phenotype being size) into two breeds now known as the Australian Shepherd and the Miniature American Shepherd. In May of 2011, the AKC also approved MAS- CUSA as the Parent Club to represent the Miniature American Shepherd. The model that was used to split the Australian Shepherd breed was the Norfolk and Norwich Terrier. The phenotype that split these Terriers into two breeds was their ear set. Initially, AKC recognized these two breeds as one breed (the Norwich Terrier) until 1979, when division by ear carriage became official. The drop ears are now recognized as the Norfolk, whereas the prick ears remain Norwich in AKC. Prior to AKC recognition, the Miniature American Shepherds were known as Miniature Australian Shepherds, North American Shepherds or Mini Aus- sies. MASCUSA, the AKC Parent Club, has been around since 1990 with the sole purpose to promote and advance those Australian Shepherds [that are] smaller than the preferred height of 18 inches. MASCUSA was originally formed in 1990 and incorporated in 1993. Per Article II of our first Bylaws, MASCUSA’s objectives and purpose was to aid and encourage the breeding and raising of purebred Miniature Australian Shepherds as a smaller mirror-image of the Australian Shepherd dog; more specifically defined in our breed standard.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR KAREN KELLER-ROSS • MASCUSA Board Member from 1998-2002 • MASCUSA President 2002-2020 • Current Vice-President of MASCUSA • AKC Breeder of Merit • Approved MAS Presenter (Judges Education) and Mentor • First MASCA HOF Kennel • TIMELESS Kennel

OFFICIAL AKC HISTORY OF THE MINIATURE AMERICAN SHEPHERD The Miniature American Shepherd was developed in California during the late 1960’s with the breeding of small, unregistered dogs that were thought to be Australian Shepherds. These dogs were bred with a goal of maintaining their small size, active character, and intelligence. The breed was first registered with the National Stock Dog Registry in 1980 and was originally called the Miniature Australian Shep- herd. 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 organizations. The first parent club and registry, MASCUSA, was formed in 1990 and incorporated in 1993. The breed entered the AKC Foundation Stock Service as 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. The breed has been used for herding smaller stock such as sheep and goats, although they have the heart to tackle larger stock as well. Their small size was looked upon with favor, as they could more easily double as a household pet. They became especially popular with equestrians traveling to horse shows, as their intelligence, loyalty, and size made them an excellent travel companion. In this way, their popularity spread across the country. Today, the Miniature American Shepherd is established across the US and internationally. It is a breed with a unique identity—an eye-catching, versatile little herding dog, equally at home on a ranch or in the city. The Miniature American Shepherd is a herding dog and has been designated to the Herding Group in the American Kennel Club. www.mascusa.org

196 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, JANUARY 2021

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