Breed standard education presentation (MASCUSA)

Author: Pub date: Views: 629
Miniature American Shepherd Club of the USA

In November 2013, the Miniature American Shepherd Club of the USA (MASCUSA) released an official presentation on the analysis of the breed standard with illustrations. The presentation is purely educational and explanatory in nature and freely distributed among breed lovers, breeders and experts.

Breed Standard Education Presentation

The Miniature American Shepherd Breed Standard Education Presentation. MASCUSA Breed Standard Evaluation and Education Committee 11/2013

Origin: U.S.A.

1980: The National Stock Dog Registry (NSDR) allows Cordova’s Spike to register as the first Miniature Australian Shepherd.
The small size quickly gains popularity throughout the USA, largely due to the community of horse owners attending rodeos and horse shows.
MASCUSA was incorporated in 1993 as a Registry and Parent Club for the Miniature Australian Shepherd.
In 2012 the Miniature Australian Shepherd became the Miniature American Shepherd, and the “A” in MASCUSA changed to “American”.
In June 2012 the AKC recognized the Miniature American Shepherd as a new developing breed and gave the breed “Foundation Stock Service” status.

Our Heritage

Miniature Australian Shepherd
Miniature Australian Shepherd
mini aussie
mini aussie

General Appearance

    • Slightly longer than tall
    • Moderate bone in proportion to body without extremes
    • Smooth, easy & well balanced gait
    • Versatile and exceptionally agile with strength & stamina
    • Devoted and a biddable worker with superior intelligence
    • A loyal companion with a watchful expression
    • Medium length double coat
    • Coloring offers variety and individuality
    • Traditional docked or natural bob tail
Miniature Australian Shepherd black tricolor
Miniature Australian Shepherd red tricolor


14” - 18” Dogs
13” - 17” Bitches
* No preference to size within the standard

Measure rather than withhold proper placement because of perceived size

Miniature Australian Shepherd size
Miniature Australian Shepherd size
Aussie size - standart, mini, toy
mini aussie

Important Proportions

Slightly Longer than Tall - measuring from the point of the shoulder to the point of the buttocks and from the highest point of the shoulder blade to the ground.

Square Proportions


Correct format aussie


Too Long aussie

Too Long


Solidly built with moderate bone in proportion to body height and size. Dog appear masculine without coarseness. Bitches appear feminine without being slight of bone. Hair goes a long way to adding or detracting from the appearance of the amount bone/substance an animal has.

The breed does NOT have a heavy or stocky build, but it is a sturdy breed with a solid build that can work over a variety of terrain with agility and stamina. The breed is not exaggerated nor extreme in any way. Smaller sized dogs do not have the same amount of bone as the larger sizes but all sizes appear athletic and capable of performing various farm tasks.

Blue Merle Male

Blue Merle Male

Red Merle Female

Red Merle Female


The head shall be smooth, clean of excessive skin, tight and strong, without being coarse or over refined. It should also be in proportion to the body and according to sex and substance of the dog. Faults would include loose, wet flews and droopy eyelids.

Male mas  Male mas


Female mas  Female mas



The breed can be reserved with strangers and may not acknowledge a judge who is trying to get their attention. Although the MAS reserves his affections for those he knows and trusts, he should be accepting of a judge's touch. In the ring he should be attentive of his handler and exhibit some enthusiasm. The gaze is eager and intelligent.

During the individual table examination, the judge should not expect or try to get "expression" from the dog. Expression is better assessed on the floor where the dog is in a more neutral setting. Ear styles and/or the eye colors can also effect the expression, so it is important to understand that “expression” is not a key factor during judging.

Miniature American Shepherd   Miniature American Shepherd   Miniature American Shepherd
  • Alert
  • Attentive
  • Intelligent
  • Watchful


  • Brown, blue, hazel, amber - or any variation or any combination including flecks and marbling (one or both eyes)
  • Almond shaped, not protruding, nor sunken, set obliquely
  • Blue merles and blacks have full black pigmentation on eye rims
  • Red merles and reds have full red (liver) pigmentation on eye rims
  • Each eye is surrounded with hair color other than white
  • Eye color does not have to correspond with coat color
miniature american shepherd eyes
miniature american shepherd eyes


Triangular, moderate size, set high on head. At full attention ears break forward and over, or to the side as a rose ear. You can have two different ear sets on one dog.

Ears correct ears correct ears

Ears: Acceptable Styles
It is important for ears to be of a medium size, triangular in shape and to set high on the head and for the ears to have some amount of lift at the base All of the below styles are just as equally correct as the above ears.

correct ears

All of the below styles are just as equally correct as the above ears.

Ears: Severe Faults
Severe Faults: prick ears and ears that hang with no lift.

severly faulted ears

Examples of severly faulted ears

Illustrations courtesy of Vicky Mistretta.


Crown: top flat to slightly round. It may show a slight occipital protuberance.

standard mas usa standard mas usa standard mas usa

Stop & Muzzle

Stop & Muzzle

- Moderate, but defined
- Abrupt stops are undesirable
- Keep in mind that the stops angle must allow for a kick to glance off.

- Medium width and depth
- Tapers gradually from base to nose and is rounded at the tip
- Untrimmed whiskers are preferred


Viewed from the side, muzzle and top line are slightly oblique to each other. The front of the crown is on
a slight angle downward toward the nose. Length of muzzle is equal to the length and width of the crown.

Head Planes

Head Planes

Head Proportions

Head Proportions


Blues merle and black tri’s have black pigmentation on the nose
Red merle and red tri’s have red (liver) pigmentation on the nose
Although fully pigmented noses are preferred, small pink spots should NOT be faulted, particularly on the merle pattern and younger dogs.
Fully pigmented noses are preferred
Severe Fault: 25-50% un-pigmented nose leather
Disqualification: Over 50% un-pigmented nose leather

Black Nose

Black Nose

Red Nose

Red Nose

un-pigmented nose

Severe Fault

50% un-pigmented nose



Full complement of teeth
Scissor bite
Teeth broken, missing or discolored by accident are not penalized.



scissor bite

(scissor bite)




mini aussie
  • Firm and clean
  • Strength without bulkiness
  • In proportion to the body
  • Medium length
  • Slightly arched at crest
  • Fitting well into the shoulders


  • Firm and level
  • Loin strong and broad
  • Body is firm and well conditioned
  • Croup moderately sloped

The strength of the back is important.

Coat over the hips and croup areas can be coarser and more dense than the rest of the hair coat along the topline, causing the dog to appear high in the rear. Dogs are often presented with a groomed level topline that may obscure the croup angle. The slope will be more apparent in dogs that are out of coat or carry less coat. If in doubt about a dog’s topline use your hands to feel what is under the coat.


Loin and tail

The loin is strong and broad when viewed from the top
A docked or natural bobtail is preferred.
A docked tail is straight, not to exceed three 3 inches

The loin
mini aussie

Croup & Underline

The croup is moderately sloped
The underline shows a moderate tuck-up
Dogs are often presented with a brushed level topline that may obscure the croup angle.
The slope will be more apparent in dogs that are out of coat or carry less coat.



Full and deep
Lowest point reaches the elbow
Well sprung ribs
They are neither barrel chested nor slab sided.


Front - forelegs drop straight and perpendicular to the ground.
Legs straight and strong. Bone strong and oval.



Well conditioned and balanced with the hindquarters.
Upper arm (humerus) relatively the same in length as the shoulder blade.
Attaches at an approximate right angle to the shoulder line.
Shoulder blades long, flat, fairly close set at the withers, well laid back


  • The elbow joint is equidistant from the ground to the withers
  • Viewed from the side, the elbow should be directly under the withers
  • The elbows should be close to the ribs without looseness

Note: The dog is NOT square. The width is longer than height, it’s an optical illusion.

Feet and Hocks

  • Hindquarter angulation mirrors the forequarter angulation
  • Stifles clearly defined
  • Hindquarters width is approximately equal to the forequarters width at the shoulders
  • Hocks are short
  • Perpendicular and parallel to each other


  • Pasterns: short, thick and strong, but still flexible, showing a slight angle when viewed from the side
  • Front and rear feet are oval
  • Compact toes close knit and well arched
  • Pads thick and resilient
  • Nails short and strong and any color
  • Front dewclaws should be removed


  • Moderation is the overall impression of the coat
  • Hair is of medium texture, straight to wavy and weather resistant
  • Short and smooth on head, ears, front of forelegs and below the hocks
  • Mane and frill is more pronounced in males
  • The undercoat will vary in quantity according to climate

overly long coats

overly long coats

very short coats

very short coats

correct coats
correct coats

correct coats

Presented Naturally

  • Dogs should not be sculpted
  • Trimming is allowed only on ears, feet, back of hocks, pasterns and tail
  • Untrimmed whiskers preferred
  • Shown in a natural coat.
grooming mini aussie
grooming mini aussie


Blue Merle, Black, Red Merle, Red: with or without white or tan (copper) markings, with no order of preference. With no preference the merle will exhibit in any amount of marbling, flecks, or blotches. Asymmetrical markings are not faulted.

blue merle mini aussie   mini aussie black color   red merle mini aussie   red tricolor mini aussie

Tan markings

Not required. When present is acceptable around eyes, on feet, legs, chest, muzzle, under neck, face, inside ear underline, base of tail and breeches. Vary in shades from creamy beige to dark rust, with no preference. The Miniature American Shepherd should never be assessed based on lack of trim color or asymmetrical markings.

Tan markings mini aussie


A white collar is not required, but when present the hairline of a white collar does not exceed the withers at the skin. White is acceptable on neck (either in part or as a full collar) chest, legs, muzzle, underparts, blaze on head but does not predominate. White extension from under part is measured one inch from a horizontal line at the elbow. Ticking may be present in white markings.


Cryptic Merle

Cryptic merles do occur in our breed. The dog will not genotypically look like a merle, but will breed as a merle. In cases where the merling is light it is sometimes necessary to separate the hair and compare the patch to a known white area.

Cryptic Merle
Cryptic Merle


Gait from the Side
Smooth, free, and easy; exhibiting agility of movement with a well-balanced, ground- covering stride. As speed increases, the feet, both front and rear, converge toward the center line of gravity. Agile and able to change direction or alter gait instantly. Well balanced gait with the back remaining firm and level. The head extended forward and nearly level or slightly above the topline.


Coming and Going
Fore and hind legs move straight and parallel with the center line of the body. The MAS is not a single-tracking breed, but a breed whose feet converge toward a center line as the speed increases.

Coming and Going

correct front movement sequence

correct rear movement sequence

correct rear movement sequence

Must be Agile
Able to turn direction or alter gait instantly.

MASCUSA Breed Standard
MASCUSA Breed Standard
Miniature American Shepherd
Miniature American Shepherd


  • Exceptional companion and easily trained
  • Intelligent working dog of strong herding and guardian instincts
  • Protective, good natured, devoted and loyal
  • May be reserved with strangers but does not exhibit shyness
  • He is a resilient and persistent worker
very smart dog breed very smart dog breed smart dog

White that is Faulted

  • Color other than white does not surround the right eye;
  • White on the collar (at the skin) exceeds the point of the withers;
  • White on the underline exceeds 1 inch above the elbow;
  • The ears have too much white.
White that is Faulted

Severe Faults

  • Prick ears & Hanging ear;
  • Overly long coats, overabundant or wooly coats, very curly coats, very short and stiff coats and wiry coats;
  • 25-50% un-pigmented nose leather.


  • Under 14 inches and over 18 inches for dogs; under 13 inches and over 17 inches for bitches.
    Minimum heights shall not apply to dogs or bitches under 6 months of age;
  • Over 50% un-pigmented nose leather;
  • Undershot or overshot bite;
  • Other than recognized colors;
  • White body splashes, between wither and tail, on back or sides between elbows and back of hindquarters.

One dog can do it all!

Disc Dog
Dock Diving
Search & Rescue
Therapy And more...

Obedience Obedience
Child and dog Conformation
mini aussie mini aussie mini aussie
mini aussie
mini aussie frisbee
mini aussie
mini aussie


Miniature American Shepherd

That’s the end of our presentation…
Butt we hope you enjoy judging our breed.