Minis and Toys - What’s the big deal? 

I support Australian Shepherd Club of America's position:

"The Miniature Australian Shepherd, North American Shepherd, North American Miniature Australian Shepherd, and/or Toy Australian Shepherd breeds are not recognized as a variety of Australian Shepherd by ASCA. The club considers such dogs to be a distinct and separate breed and will not accept them into its registry. The Aussie was never intended to be selected for size: it was developed to be a functional working dog capable of handling tough stock and going for miles in the back country or snow drifts. Changing the appearance of the breed to personal aesthetic tastes rather than suitability for work does not fulfill ASCA's mission statement: "to preserve the Australian Shepherd as an intelligent working dog of strong herding and guardian instincts."

         There are some breeders and fanciers that will tell you that the Australian Shepherd has size varieties, but that this is simply not true, nor is it responsible breeding. Neither the Canadian Kennel Club, American Kennel Club, nor the Australian Shepherd Club of America support variety of sizes in their Breed Standards. 

        The Australian Shepherd was developed to be a sound working dog. When breeders are more concerned with one trait over another, they lose sight of the overall dog. When people started to see the beautiful merle coats on our beloved breed they wanted to breed them into other breeds - and so the Toys came along. I’m not against the dogs themselves, but these are mixed breed dogs that are being sold to unsuspecting people as purebred, and more often than not they hardly even resemble what an Australian Shepherd is supposed to look like as an adult. Don’t be fooled; these are not purebred dogs, and they do not come from reputable breeders following responsible breeding practices. *Remember that in Canada, in order for a dog to be sold as purebred, it must have a form of permanent identification (microchip or tattoo), and must be registered - “Purebred but no papers” is not purebred* 

        I’m not unaware that “breeds” are a man-made creation, and I’m not against the dogs themselves, but there are certain practices that should be followed when it comes to creating a new breed. Health is important - without health we have nothing, and the same can be said for our dogs. Responsible breeding practices includes waiting until the dogs have reached sexual maturity, and health testing before breeding. That testing includes eye exams, and x-rays that are submitted to be graded with The Orthopedic Foundation of Animals (OFA) or equivalent. 

        There has recently been movement for the Miniature American Shepherd to be a recognized breed. I will update as more information becomes available, but this is something I support fully. 

© Shari Joanisse 2023