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History of the Miniature American Shepherd

How the Australian Shepherd and the Toy Australian Shepherd became the Miniature American Shepherd.

© 2017-2021 Julia Bettendorf „Lost River” Miniature American Shepherds

Hi, I'm Sandy Travis founder of the "Travis Dogs" and I would like to tell you the history of these dogs.

In 1962, I was almost 16 yrs. old and I bought a Australian Shepherd puppy from a friend of mine at the Torrance Rodeo. I knew this puppy's parents and was anxious to get her to someday breed to my Aussie male. I soon realized this wasn't going to happen as she "Puppy" only grew to be approx. 11". In 1968, I found a small Aussie male and I bred Puppy to him.


The whole litter stayed small, 9" to 13". Realizing their popularity, I talked with a Vet and he advised me to "inbreed, line breed and cull", so I did and overall I was very happy with the small size and conformation. Although I never asked if "Puppy's" parents were registered, nor did I ask if the male I bred her to was registered, at that time in my life it wasn't important to me to have a registered dog, but I did care that they were in fact Australian Shepherds.


The general public that would see these little dogs immediately called themMiniature Aussies or Aussie puppies. It wasn't until years later that the Mini Clubs were formed that the two sizes were introduced, the Toy and the Miniature.


Under those guide lines, almost all of my dogs were Toys. I knew Bob and Doris Cordova through Quarter Horse Shows and they fell in love with my little dogs.


In 1978 they bought a puppy from me and named him "Cordovas Spike" and he received his Australian Shepherd papers with NSDR and than later got the Miniature added to his papers – we all were very proud of the Miniature on the papers. Later with the addition of the Toy/Mini sizes, the dogs papers would state one or the other depending on the size of the dog. Although Spike qualified as a Toy, his papers were never changed. Spike was beautiful with a lot of refinement to fit his small size of approx. 13".

So you see, the Toy was the first to be bred to the Standard to get the Mini. I must tell everyone how thankful I am to Doris and how important it was to her to have registered Australian Shepherds no matter what size they were.


Hope I have enlightened you somewhat on the true history of the "Travis Dogs".

  — Sandy Travis

During the 1960’s the Miniature Australian Shepherd was developed by Sandy Travis' (“Travis Dogs” Kennel) 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.

1980 her blue merle male “Cordova’s Spike” was the first registered Miniature Australian Shepherd with NSDR (National Stock Dog Registry). Cordova’s Spike was placed with Bill & Sally Kennedy (“B/S” Kennel) to continue to develop a line of miniature Aussies in cooperation with Doris Cordova (“Cordova” Kennel). Another horseman, Chas Lasater of “Valhalla Kennels”, soon joined the ranks of Mini breeders.

​In 2009 our first Mini Aussie “Charlie” brought home a big piece of history to our kennel through his grandma “Valhalla's Elegant Nicki” , who still is part of our programm through Charlie's son “Buddy”.

About ten years later, by the early 1990s, the breed had attained nationwide popularity. By the 21st century they started to show up in Germany and Europe.

The North American Miniature Australian Shepherd Club of the USA (NAMASCA) was also founded in 1990. A year later the American Kennel Club (AKC) officially recognized the Australian Shepherd as a breed. However, the USASA was of the opinion that the Australian Shepherd and the Miniature Australian Shepherd are different breeds as there is only one breed standard, to the dismay of some. Through negotiations it was decided to allow the Minis to gain recognition with the AKC but under a new name. After a ballot of members of NAMASCA it was decided to rename the breed as the
Miniature American Shepherd. Thus, in 2011 the club was renamed the Miniature American Shepherd Club of the USA (MASCUSA). At the same time the new MASCUSA was selected by the AKC as the parent club of the Miniature American Shepherd.

As of
1st July 2015 the Miniature American Shepherd has moved into the AKC Breed Register under the Herding Group. The American MASCA and IMASC, the German DMASC and EMASCD and the US-Registries ASDR and NSDR still registers Mini Australian Shepherds only, so those dog do not get internationally recognized papers, and can still be crossed with the big Australian Shepherd.

In Mai 2019 the German Kennel Club (VDH) accepted the Miniature American Shepherd on a national basis and selected the CASD (Club Australian Shepherd Deutschland) as the parent club of the breed in Germany.

In September 2019 the FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale) also recognized the breed, which makes the Miniature American Shepherd an official and worldwide accepted breed with an official and unifrom breed standard (valid worldwide), and not able to be bred to Australian Shepherds.


Only Mini Americans from CASD-Breeders receive internationally certified papers and come from inspected kennels! Why this is important and what you should consider when buying a puppy you can find HERE.

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