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Mini Aussie vs Mini American

Is there a difference between a Mini Aussie and a Mini American Shepherd?

Simple answer is “No”. Genetically, the two are the same dog. But, like divorced parents who have divided up the kids and started new families, Australian Shepherd breed enthusiasts, registries and regulations have divided up Aussies into 3 or 4 families that hardly acknowledge each other.

Ready for the history? The Australian Shepherd is an amalgam of herding breeds that were present in the American Old West… some dogs were smaller, some were larger due to the genetic influence of these varied foundation breeds. Remember, that at this point there was not an official breed standard for the Australian Shepherd.

The first registry to accept "the little blue dog" as an Australian Shepherd was the National Stock Dog Registry (NSDR) in 1956 with no size varieties. 12 years later, in 1968, the NSDR accepted its first Miniature Australian Shepherd into the registry and allowed any dog whose adult height was less than 18" to be reassigned as a Miniature genetic variation. This is the historic basis for those who believe that the Miniature Australian Shepherd is and should be considered by all organizations to be a size variation of the Australian Shepherd. All Australian Shepherds (miniature and toys included) trace back to the original NSDR registry.

Originally the official Australian Shepherd registry was the National Stock Dog Registry (NSDR) but the ASCA took over this function in the 1970's with the current breed description written in 1977.

Acceptance of this breed was next achieved with the now defunct Rare Breed Kennel Club (RBKC) in the 1980’s. After the RBKC folded in the early 1990’s, the mini Aussie gained acceptance with the American Rare Breed Association (ARBA).

Unfortunately, the ARBA regulations stipulated that in order for a breed to qualify for Group and Best in Show competition, it could not have a name associated with an AKC breed. So in 1993, when the Australian Shepherd was granted full show privileges in the AKC’s Herding Group a schism developed between enthusiasts for the two sizes of Aussies. One group of small-sized Aussie owners/breeders opted to separate from the parent Australian Shepherd and to develop a separate breed...the North American Shepherd or Mini American. This move caused great confusion in the dog world and for the general public.

To further complicate matters, at that point, AKC offered breeders the choice between remaining Australian Shepherd (with all size genetic variations registered as Australian Shepherd) or changing to the new Mini American.

Laudrick Aussies and many other breeders chose to stay an AKC Australian Shepherd maintaining a continuous gene pool (and not a separate breed) with the Australian Shepherd heritage, instinct, temperament and type.


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