Miniature American Shepherd (Miniature Australian Shepherd, North American Shepherd)
The Miniature American Shepherd (Miniature Australian Shepherd, North American Shepherd) is an outstanding versatile herding dog with its homeland in America. Despite its compact size it’s characterised with excellent capacity for work and stamina. With its affectionate and loyal demeanour it also makes an exceptionally good companion dog for sport-minded families.
Photo: Mike from Baltimore, USA (Wikipedia)
The breeding of the Miniature American Shepherd as a singular variety of the Australian Shepherd began in 60s of the XX century in America. It’s worth to mention although that the small version of the Australian Shepherd existed throughout the history of this breed. The formal breeding program was initiated by a Californian horse-fan woman called Doris Condora who bought several small working Aussies from the rodeo circuit. She put in sizeable efforts to preserve both miniature size of her dogs and their vigorous nature, working skills and quick-wittedness.
The Miniature American Shepherd was originally utilised for handling smaller household animals like sheep and goat but it’s endowed with enough power and eagerness to manage larger stock as well. With its quite moderate size it also earned favour as a household pet. This smart, faithful and compact dog often accompanied equestrians who travelled to horse shows. By and by the breed attained sizeable following across its native country. Several clubs were established and systematic breeding was stimulated to bring more variety to its gene pool and retain its singular appearance and supreme individual traits. As the result the breed preserves much of its herding instinct and intelligence, which allows it to function as a herding dog even today.
The main club of the Miniature American Shepherd is the Miniature American Shepherd Club of the United States of America. This canine organisation was actively involved with the promotion of the breed in order to attain recognition of the American Kennel Club (AKC). The process of its registering with the AKC began with acceptance of the breed into the AKC’s Foundation Stock Service. It was fully recognised by this reputable club in 1993. The Miniature American Shepherd was granted recognition of the United Kennel Club (UKC) on January 1, 2015.
The Miniature American Shepherd is high-spirited, obedient and loving little dog, which enjoys being the part of the family. This jolly and devoted dog greatly prefers the company of young members of its family and it’s always ready to take part in their vigorous games. Herding drive is deeply ingrained in this dog’s nature so it can attempt to herd humans by nipping their heels. This undesirable type of behaviour can be partly eliminated by early socialisation and obedience training.
The Miniature American Shepherd displays certain amount of suspiciousness towards strangers. At the same time it will never bite or show some other signs of aggression without extensive provocation. This dog usually carries responsibility not only for handling the livestock but also for guarding its subordinated animals. That’s why it’s characterised with strong protective instinct and usually makes a highly reliable guard dog. However the Miniature American Shepherd is probably too small and cute-looking to become the best choice if you are looking for a guardian of your property. It’s always extremely attentive to its surroundings so it also suites for the role of a watch dog.
This easy-going and friendly dog has few issues with other canins if it has had an opportunity to interact with them since its puppyhood. The Miniature American Shepherd would be happy to co-exist with one or several dogs with similarly boisterous demeanour. Although the dog rarely enters into a conflict with unfamiliar dogs intentionally it should always wear a leash while being walked. A well-brought-up specimen will be amicable with other types of household pets especially if they lived in the same household since an early age.
The most common problems for the breed include:
· canine hip dysplasia;
· eye problems.
The Miniature American Shepherd’s maintenance will consume average amount of your time. Its coat of a medium length will require thorough brushing once or twice a week, preferably with the use of a firm bristle brush. This dog needs only occasional bathing.
The coat of this breed consists of two layers and the dog will completely shed its undercoat twice a year. More frequent brushing is strongly recommended during seasonal shedding since it will shorten shedding period and minimize the amount of loose hair in your house. It’s worth to mention that the Miniature American Shepherd will lose moderate amount of hair all the year around.
The Miniature American Shepherd is exceptionally trainable breed, which is notable for natural inquisitiveness, cleverness and willingness to oblige. As a herding dog it got used to assist ranchers managing stock in different situations. This kind of work requires independent, but docile and smart dog and this description fully fits to the Miniature American Shepherd.
The breeds’ training regimen should be founded on the principles of consistency, repetitiveness and mild, but exacting approach. This dog won’t follow commands of harsh or disrespectful handler since it responds best to positive reinforcement, which places emphasis on food incentives.
The Miniature American Shepherd is playful and vigorous dog with average exercise requirements. This working breed is endowed with sufficient endurance to herd sheep or gates for numerous hours. Being a household pet it will be quite satisfied with a daily brisk walk of an hour long.
This dog also can become an eager and tireless participant of more intensive activities, such as jogging and hiking. Remember that boredom is the main reason of several unwelcomed behavioural patterns including destructiveness, hyperactivity, unreasonable barking. On the whole this dog adapts fairly well to the life in an apartment as long as its exercise need is met in a proper way.