In order to understand the history of the Miniature Australian Shepherds (Miniature American Shepherds), it helps to know the origins of their ancestors, the Australian Shepherds.
The most commonly held belief of the origins of the Aussie began in the late 1800s when western ranchers were importing sheep from Australia. The Australians were importing THEIR sheep from the Basque regions of Spain. The Australian sheep were of excellent quality and their demand in the U.S. grew.
Each time the sheep were shipped (whether from Spain to Australia or from Australia to the U.S.) their shepherds were sent with them to manage and care for the flocks on the journey. During their travels, they would bring their herding dogs to help. American ranchers were reportedly very impressed with the working ability of these ¨little blue dogs¨ and began interbreeding them with their own shepherd dogs. The result was the Australian Shepherd!
The Miniature Australian Shepherd was developed directly from the Australian Shepherd!
In 1968 a group of breeders in California decided to work together to breed smaller versions of the beloved Australian Shepherd. They wanted to create an Aussie under 17” with the heart and drive to work stock, but was still easy to travel with and live inside the home. As you can imagine, their popularity grew quickly within the rodeo circuit!
This smaller variety of Australian Shepherd was first recognized and registered through the National Stock Dog Registry (NSDR) and called Miniature Australian Shepherds.
In 2010, meetings began with the American Kennel Club (AKC) registry to include the Miniature Australian Shepherd. In 2011 they were accepted into the AKC under the new name ¨Miniature AMERICAN Shepherds.¨ As of July 1, 2015, the Miniature American Shepherd is fully recognized as an AKC Herding Breed.
Coat & Color Patterns of the Mini Aussies
Typically, the blue merle has a combination of blue, grey, black and white in it’s coat. Occasionally there are patches of brown around the hind legs and back side. The “merle” pattern is the splotchy, speckled look that is often associated with the Mini Aussies and Standard Australian Shepherds.
The red merle has the same splotchy, speckled look that is similar to a blue merle. The primary colors of a red merle are liver (red) and cream with additional patches of white or tan.
The ¨TRI¨ stands for “tricolor.” With a black tri, the dog is primarily black with white and tan trim. Occasionally there will be a black ¨BI¨, where they only have the black and white coloring, no tan.
Similar to a black tri, the three colors in a red tri are liver (red) with white and tan trim. Occasionally there will be a red ¨bi¨, where they only have the liver (red) and white coloring, no tan.
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