Thanks for enquiring about our Aussies and Mini Americans.
From a reputable breeder, the only real difference between Australian Shepherds  and Miniature American Shepherds should be size
and the breed name on the registration certificate. They should be the same in every other way.

Without boring you with years of history the change in the breed name from Miniature Australian Shepherd to Miniature American
Shepherd is political in nature. Historical pictures from the 50's 60's and even the 70's show that Australian Shepherds under 18 inches
at the shoulders were a naturally occurring size within the breed as they still are today. The Australian Shepherd Breed Standard was
written to "prefer" dogs that were over 18 inches but with no height disqualification.
In the 60's a select few breeders decided they actually "preferred" their dogs well under 18 inch for working purposes.  These breeders
decided that they would intentionally select the smallest dogs they could find that were of true Aussie quality and they used those small
dogs as the foundation of the Mini Aussie. Some of the foundation dogs used to establish the mini size were not registered and had no
known or recorded pedigree,  whether they were 100% aussies or not is the foundation for the hostility between Aussie breeders and
Mini Aussie breeders today. In order to get the smaller dogs recognized by the AKC and CKC we had to go in as a separate breed
derived from the aussie but NOT an Aussie. As such the Miniature American Shepherd was born. Because they are now a separate
breed on paper we CAN NOT breed them together. Any dog registered as an AUSTRALIAN SHEPHERD will only ever be bred to
other registered AUSTRALIAN SHEPHERDS and the Mini Americans will only breed to other registered Mini Americans.
All of our dogs are now CKC registered as one breed or the other.

The preferred height for each size is as follows....

Miniature American Shepherds are between 13-17 inches for females and 14-18 inches for males.
Australian Shepherds are 18 inches and taller at the withers.

It is possible to breed two large size parents together and get smaller size dogs, just as it is possible to breed two smaller sized
parents together to get larger sizes depending on how genetics fall into play.  

We are phasing out our registrations as Mini Aussies with IMASC so please make sure you understand what you are buying from us
and that you get the registration that meets your needs as a buyer.
Aussies and Mini Americans come in a variety of colors. Black, red, blue merle and red merle. All with or without white and copper
markings. Some will have the full white collar, white blaze, white chest and 4 white feet, and others will be minimal white, even to the point
of being 100% coloured with no white or copper markings. This is all very acceptable in both breeds. While their flashy coat colour
often makes them extremely popular, coat colour should be the last thing you look for when choosing a puppy. No matter how pretty
your puppy is on the outside, if the personality isn't a match for your family, you will not be happy with your puppy. If you are set on a
certain colour or gender, then you should be prepared to wait as long as 2-3 years for that perfect puppy to come around. A good
responsible breeder will match you based on personality first and colour and gender second.
Please take the time to look at the pictures below to see all the differences, no two dogs are 100% alike, they are like fingerprints.
So while you may prefer a certain look, please understand that no breeder has complete control over what will be born and from me
specifically, I do not need the sale badly enough to place a dog into a home where I do not feel it's needs can be met, so even if I have
a pretty puppy that you love the look of, if you are not a suitable home for that puppy I will not sell it to you for any amount of money.
Aussies and Mini Americans are generally a healthy breed of dog. However certain things should be discussed with your breeder
prior to your purchase.

We put ALL of our genetic testing and hip reports right up on each dogs individual page for you to see for yourself. We scan the paper
copy and put proof up for all of our buyers to see. We have Nothing to hide and want you as a buyer to hold other breeders accountable

for doing proper testing.

Many breeders say they test on their websites but don't in reality. BUYER BEWARE

Many breeders also talk a good talk and will try and justify why they choose not to do certain testing. BEWARE!
There is no good reason to skip any of these tests other than to cut corners financially and make the most profit possible as a breeder.  
If you choose to willing buy from a breeder who is not testing, then your purchase price should reflect that heavily.

Dogs who are breeding should have their eyes tested yearly by a certified K9 Ophthalmologist. Your vet can not do this test.
We test eyes every 12-18 months to make sure that the dog is not prone to developing an eye disorder at a young age. Just because the
eyes were fine last year doesn't mean they will be fine this year.
ALL puppies MUST be tested prior to 8 weeks old. If you are looking at a breeder who is not testing your puppies eyes, then you should
find a new breeder. There are so many small anomalies that can and do crop up that no responsible breeder skips this test. Iris coloboma
( very popular in merle coloured dogs), small optic nerves, retinal folds etc are all things that can crop up and can not be seen by your
breeder or their regular vet.  If the breeder you are looking at does not test adults yearly and puppies of every single litter, save yourself
future heart ache and choose a more responsible breeder. These breeders are the breeders who are breeding strictly for profit, they will
cut corners at your expense so their profit is the highest they can make it.

Genetic testing through companies such as PAWPRINT GENETICS, ORIVET, GENSOL etc.
These companies test the genetics of the dog through buccal cells or blood. Dogs can be clear of the disease, a carrier which mean they
are healthy but they carry 1 copy of the gene for this disease and can pass it one copy of the gene on to puppies and they need to be bred
to clear dogs, or they can be affected which means they carry two copies of the gene and unless they are exceptional examples of the
breed and have a lot to offer they should likely be spayed/neutered.
Depending on the genetic disease these dogs may have physical health issues like vision loss.

We now have a genetic test available to us for Collie Eye Anomaly. This is a test done by blood or cheek swab, it tells us as a breeder
if the dog has this disease or is a carrier that can pass the gene on to it's puppies. Having one copy of this gene does not make the dog
unsuitable for breeding, but responsible breeders are now testing their adults to know if their puppies could possibly also carry this gene.
Insist on a breeder that is doing this test!

We now have a test for hereditary cataracts. This is a form of cataract that is passed from parent to offspring. There is no good reason
breeders have not started to test for this disease in their breeding dogs. Any breeder calling themselves responsible is testing for this.
IF your breeder does not care enough to know if your puppy is at risk, you may want to look for a new breeder.   

Progressive retinal atrophy.  This disease is running rampant in Aussies and Mini Americans. Again, any dog that tests as a carrier is
not necessarily a dog who should not be breeding, but as a buyer you have the right to know if your puppy will possibly be affected by
this gene. It is one of the  newer test of the past few years and the majority of aussies are testing positive as carriers. Many of these
carriers have been bred together prior to the test being made available, meaning that there are double positive dogs out there who
could loose their vision at an early age. So far our research, which is ongoing, has found that dogs who are considered affected with
2 copies of the gene are still not guaranteed to loose any vision, they are simply the only dogs who "could" loose vision from  this disease.
This means if a dog is a carrier, it absolutely can still be used for breeding, ONLY to dogs who do not carry the gene.

Degenerative Myelopathy is an incurable, progressive disease of the canine spinal cord that is similar in many ways to amyotrophic
lateral sclerosis. Onset is typically after the age of 7 years so some people may be misdiagnosing symptoms with old age, hip problems
or arthritis. Progressive weakness and uncoordination of the rear limbs are often the first signs seen in affected dogs, with progression
over time to complete paralysis. This disease is not as common in Aussies or Mini Americans as PRA is but it is still showing up in
some blood lines. It is important to your dogs long term health that your breeder has both parents tested for this debilitating disease
to prevent you from heartache in the future.

Breeding dogs should also have their hips x-rayed and rated prior to breeding. This is a simple x-ray that your vet can take, but the x-ray
MUST be sent away to either OFA or PennHIP for an official rating. If the dog doesn't pass the hip rating, then it should be altered and
never bred. No exceptions. If the parents of the litter you are looking at do not have their hips tested and officially rated, then you should
not even consider getting a puppy from that litter. Just because their parents have good hips, does NOT mean the dog in question will.
Nothing in life is guaranteed but we want to stack the odds in our favor. Insist on parents who are tested to increase the odds of your
puppy having good hips as well.

This gene has been around a long time. The MDR1 gene ( multi drug resistance 1) causes herding breeds to be unable to process
"certain" drugs properly. The drugs build up to a toxic level in the dogs brain and it CAN KILL them. Many dogs have died from having
this gene and no one knowing they shouldn't have certain drugs. It's similar to an allergy to medication.  It doesn't mean the dog should
be removed from a breeding program, neither does it mean that it will not be a wonderful pet who lives for 15 years. It just means there
are a list of drugs the dogs should never have if he has a copy of this gene.
All responsible breeders are testing their breeding dogs and are providing owners with the information of whether their puppy needs to
be tested or not. If both parents are Normal/Normal, the puppies can not have the gene. If one of the parents have even one copy of the
gene, then the puppies could have received a copy of the gene and should be tested.

This is a growing concern in our breed. There is no test for epilepsy and no way to know 100% if your dog is effected or a carrier.
A responsible breeder does many hours of research on pedigrees to find out if any of the ancestors in a pedigree have ever produced it
and if so how far back and with what mate. By doing this we are at least able to assess the epilepsy risk with each cross. No cross is
100% epilepsy free. A good breeder should know the risks and be able to explain them to you so you are not in the dark. Epilepsy will pop
up unexpectedly even from the best of breeders. A good breeder stands behind you and supports you if this happens.
It should also be noted that not all forms of seizures are from epilepsy. When we think epilepsy we think genetically inherited. Sadly for
this breed many things can cause seizures to happen such as vaccine reaction, reaction to parasite prevention, reaction to medication etc.
So it can be a bit of a journey to try and figure out the cause of seizures in an Aussie or Mini American.  

Below are a couple examples of Genetic Testing results. There are a few more out there but these are the most popular and accurate.
We use both depending who has a sale on when we need to do testing.
If you don't get any farther in the website than this, I really hope you read this part and read it again so it really sinks in.
Aussies and Mini Americans are not for most average families. This is a working farm dog regardless of size. They have been bred to
be not only very physically active running on a farm all day rounding up livestock, but they are incredibly MENTALLY active as well.
Your average Aussie or Mini American will need 2 hours of Training per day, every day for it's entire life, obedience, tricks, games,
sports, something where the dog needs to use it's brain to think, to pay attention and to interact with you, plus 1-2 hours of off leash
running. Not a back yard, but a football field, a forest or some place they can really run full out and stretch those muscles.

You have to take a day in the life of a farm dog and translate it to living in your situation. So instead of running an acre away to gather the
cattle they will run to chase a ball or a frisbee. Instead of reading the body language of the cattle and sheep to move them where they need
to go and instead of watching and listening to the farmers instructions on when and where to move the livestock, instead your dog will listen
to you to learn how to do tricks, and learn to use his nose to do scent work, and run through obedience exercises, and get his mental
stimulation in different ways. But he MUST get that same amount of mental stimulation in the city as he would on a farm, to be a happy dog.

This is NOT a lay in the back yard and sunbath breed. This is an active breed Mentally and Physically and if you do not meet the dogs
needs then they will be like a bored toddler and find ways to entertain themselves, ways that you will likely not appreciate such as remove
the stuffing from your furniture, tear the paper off the drywall, play tug of war with curtains, figure out ways to get onto counters, and dig
deep holes in the backyard.
Working families can certainly own this breed if you have the time and dedication to meet the dogs needs early mornings, late evenings
and weekends. If you don't have the desire to work with a dog to that extent, then this is probably not the breed for you.
If you have young children then you need to think long term. We hear lots of stories of people who want to get a dog for the kids.
Sometimes it's getting a dog while the kids are toddlers so they can grow up together and sometimes it's getting a dog now that kids are
old enough to help out. BUT what is going to happen long term when life changes. When the kids have school activities that may or may not
be dog friendly, or after school jobs, and then they start dating, and they go away to college/university and everyone's lives change because
our lives are fluid. The dogs needs stay the same, whether the kids are in school or sports, whether you live in a house or a condo, whether
it's warm out or cold, whether you are healthy or under the weather, the dogs needs stay the same and you must have a long term plan to
meet those needs.
Mental stimulation is the key to living with this breed and I try to give my buyers lots of ways to make it work but the desire to make it work
really start with you.  
So again we are going to go back to this is a working farm dog, a herding breed. As a herding breed it is important to know your dog is
not going to let a stranger walk away with your livestock or with your children and the dog itself for that matter. When anything out of the
ordinary is happening on your property, your dog should bark to alert you. This is what they were bred to do. In the city this can end up
being the mail man, the stray cat, the garbage man, the UPS driver, a squirrel etc.  Anyone or anything which the dog feels doesn't belong
that close to his property and family, will result in the family being alerted to a possible danger. With this behaviour some dogs may be
less suited to apartment lifestyles. I find my girls are more alert barkers than my males, although there are exceptions to that.
Some of my dogs are also very vocal during play. So if barking may be an issue for your family, you should let your breeder help you
choose a puppy who barks less than the others.

This also means that Aussies and Mini Americans are not everyone's best friend. They are bred to be reserved with strangers in order
to protect the farmers livestock and his family. They are not golden retrievers who love anyone with a friendly smile and a cookie.
These dogs should avoid being touched by a stranger, they should be aloof, if a stranger leans in to touch them, they should casually
back away to avoid being that close. They should not seek out attention from non family members.  They do not want to walk down the
street and have a dozen strange people pet them. They watch their owners body language, and will often stand in between the stranger
and the family until they know it is safe. We need to teach them that when we say it is alright they do not need to be as protective, but
they should continue to be aloof and uninterested. If your dog is forced into this situation and you allow or encourage people to get too
close to your dog before he is comfortable, it can result in these dogs resorting to a snap or a bite to show their extreme discomfort.
If you do not appreciate this trait in these dogs, this is not the breed for you.

Being reserved is not isolated to people. Both Aussies and Mini Americans are not dog park dogs. Thinking dogs need canine
companionship is totally a human emotion. Your dog does not want dog friends if they do not live in the home with him. In his eyes these
dogs could be potential dangers to the family, and the dog will likely growl, stand in between the strange dog and the family to protect you.
In a park setting with multiple strange dogs running towards the family, a lot of Aussies and Mini Americans will lash out and bite first to
prevent the family from being harmed. It can be very overwhelming to the dog to be put in a situation that he can not control and where
he feels he has no choice but to lash out to protect you. You should always watch your dogs body language and respect his
personal boundaries and comfort limits.

If you have a really active home with a lot of people coming and going, big family gatherings and parties always happening, again this
can be a lot for this breed to deal with and you must follow their lead. If they are uncomfortable with that much going on as many of them
will be, then you need to respect that and give the dog a place to get away and relax. Specially with smaller children, a lot of running and
loud noises can seem like the families children are in danger and it can set the dog on the highest protection level. This breed is
incredibly devoted to their families and are wonderful in the right homes, but they are not for everyone.

Always think about what your dog was bred to do, go back to his origins and try to put yourself in his place and understand why he acts
the way he does.
He is not being a bad dog, he is being a working bred farm dog and doing his job to the best of his ability.
If you do not want those qualities in a dog, then a herding breed may not be the breed you are looking for no matter how pretty they are.

If you see us at an event and our dogs seem social you have to remember a few things. First the dogs are my profession, I have been
working with them for many years and I am very good at reading them and will not put them in a situation they are not ready for.
Second the amount of socializing and training our dogs get is likely to surpass anything you could ever think to offer, we have an
incredible bond and partnership with our dogs and we trust one another and they know I have their backs and they trust me to keep them
safe. It takes years to build this bond and get these breeds to this level of trust.    
Aussies can be wonderful with children. This requires both children and dogs to be well trained and supervised at all times. Both kids
and dogs have big hearts and may forget to be as gentle as required. Adult supervision will make their relationship a safer one. Always
remember that dogs need their space. When a dog is a herding breed they often have a strong desire to chase and even nip small
moving objects including children. This is not biting and is not aggression. This is a natural herding instinct and should be expected.
If you need advise on this behaviour, please talk to your breeder. When Aussies and Children are raised together they develop a very
strong bond and are often best friends.
When they have this type of bond the Aussie is usually a natural guardian to the children in the home. We hear many stories of Aussies
babysitting children out on the farm not letting them wander where they were not supposed to go. Aussies often sleep under the babies
crib or beside the childs bed as a natural protector.
That being said children do take some getting used to, so if your dog has not been raised around children they may be frightened of them.
It is important to seek out children who have good manners around dogs and acclimate your puppy from an early age making sure each
experience is a positive one.  
Being a herding breed, Aussies and Mini Americans were never allowed to be rough with other animals without just cause. They had to
be able to have the power to move a herd of cattle and the gentle finesse to round up a herd of ducks. Any farm dog which was rough or
aggressive with other animals was of little use to a farmer and was never included in the original gene pool. This history of gentle behavior
makes them generally safe to live with cats and other animals of all sizes as long as they are supervised early on and taught manners. They
may try and entice the cat to play and as puppies may even chase the cat, but with supervision and training, they can become best of
friends. All of our dogs and puppies are raised with a cat. So they have early exposure.
We also operate a small hobby farm so there are always different animals coming and going that they are exposed to.
If you introduce a new pet to an adult dog it will take longer for them to learn how to live with each other. It is always best to start the
introduction as young as possible to ensure a safe and loving bond.
Aussies and Mini Americans are typically good with other dogs that they live with, they take time to warm up to dogs they do not live with
but if they are regular visitors they can become quick friends. It requires a great deal of socializing and positive experiences for your dog
to learn to enjoy the company of strange dogs and some never get to that point. If your dog does not appreciate strange dogs in his space
you must respect that. If having a dog be social with other dogs is a must have for you, then do not get an Aussie or Mini American because
the risk of them not wanting to be social is a real risk, it is not something we breed into these dogs.
Aussies and Mini Americans thrive on being with their family as often as possible. For this reason they do not make good pets for non
active families. They also do not make good pets for families who are active in a lot of areas where the dog is not welcome, such as
hockey, ballet, church, etc. They do not accept being left out.
If you expect to have BBQ's outdoors and lock the dog indoors because some people do not like dogs, they will likely destroy furniture
in protest. Likewise if you plan to have indoor gatherings and lock your dog outdoors away from the activity, expect him to bark, dig and
cause a real commotion. They are family dogs who need to be included in what their family does. If you do not have the time to dedicate
to your dog, you will not have a good relationship with your dog.   

They also require above average mental and physical stimulation. A lot more than your average breed of dog. A normal walk just isn't
going to cut it. Your dog, dog wants to have his 2 hours of off leash running WHILE you are interacting with him, directing him to go
around trees, over park benches, to get up on rocks etc. They need you to be included in their lives actively and not just walking
behind while they run aimlessly.

When you are at home they want to follow you, they are always under foot, they will go into the bathroom with you, sit at your feet under
the computer desk, be at your feet while you are cooking, follow you room to room when you are cleaning. The reason is that they are
waiting for you to include them in your every day life. They WANT you to give them a job. Teach them to push the laundry basket
across the floor for you, teach them to open lower cupboard doors so you can put dishes away, teach them how to pick things up off the
floor and put them in a basket or in the washing machine, teach them how to open and close the fridge for you, teach then how to pick up
the remote control, how to fetch your slippers, how to pull your jacket sleeve to help you get undressed, put them to work, it is what they
were bred to do and it is what they WANT to do with you. If you do not want to include your dog in everything you do, this is probably the
wrong breed for your family. Again I may sound like a broken record, but this is a working dog, they were bred to work all day out on the
farm with the farmer and they want that same level of connection and work load from you while living in the city.   
Flyball is a fast paced, high energy, relay race. There are 6 dogs on each team. 4 of those dogs are allowed to run at each heat.
One at a time, the dogs have to run over 4 jumps, hit a pressure triggered box that projects a tennis ball, the dog must catch the tennis
ball, and return OVER all four jumps. When that dog has crossed the start/finish line, the next dog may go. When all four dogs on your  
team have run the course with no mistakes, you are finished. If a dog misses a jump, or fails to bring back the ball, he gets a red flag
and must go to the back of the line and run as a 5th dog. The first of the two teams to complete the course with no mistakes wins the heat.
The first team to win three heats wins that race. You will not find a more high energy sport for your dog. Flyball is loud and adrenalin
packed. It is a lovely family sport where team members bring the kids and spouses out, you camp and have a great social time all while
enjoying your love of the dogs.
Agility is a one on one sport with just you and your dog. You send your dog away from you to go over many different obstacles in a course.
Your dog must learn to listen to you and you must learn to communicate with your dog in a timely fashion. With your dog running rather fast,
it is in his instinct to take the obstacle closest to him, if you do not get your command out soon enough, he may take the wrong piece of
equipment and loose points. It is a game of speed, accuracy, timing and communication. It is a lot of fun and great exercise for both you
and your dog. Dogs of any breed and any level can compete in agility, it is a great bonding experience for you and your dog.  
Disc is one of the easiest sports to do with your dog, All you need is a yard and a Frisbee and a dog which is reliable off lead. You can
teach your dog to do some amazing catches and some cool flips. You can do it just for the pure fun of working with your dog, to keep your
dog well exercised and mentally stimulated or you can enter competitions. Either way your dog will love playing Disc with you.
These breeds are not swimmers by nature but if exposed to water at a very young age and each experience is a positive one,
they can learn to love water as much as any breed of dog. Never force them into the water or you will break any trust and bond
between you and the dog. Encourage them with toys and treats and always let them make the decision on whether they want
to go in or not. Respect their choice, not every dog will love the water.