Miniature American Shepherd

Sandy Puppy and her first litter born in 1968.
Sandy Puppy and her first litter born in 1968.

In 1962, Ms. Sandy Travis, of Norco, CA, acquired a very small, unregistered bitch, of rough Australian Shepherd type. This bitch was bred to an unregistered Australian Shepherd and whelped her first litter in 1968. For many years Ms. Travis interbred these unregistered dogs, without any specific intent of beginning a new breed. She liked their diminutive size, coupled with their active character and intelligence, and that was reason enough. Still, these dogs are acknowledged to be the foundation of the MAS.  

In 1978 Doris Cordova purchased from Sandy a blue merle male - Spike (Travis' Stimi x Travis' Shady) Travis' Stimi was a male after Travis' Buster and Travis' Puppy. In 1980 Doris was able to get Spike registrated as the first Miniature Australian Shepherd of record in National Stock Dog Registry (NSDR).

DOB: 1. April 1978. Height: 33 cm. Reg.nr: NSDR A1555-8130. (Travis Buster x Travis Puppy)
DOB: 1. April 1978. Height: 33 cm. Reg.nr: NSDR A1555-8130. (Travis Buster x Travis Puppy)

Between 1978 - 1980, Doris Cordova began to acquire some of Sandy Travis' dogs, embarking on a program to specifically create the MAS. In 1980, Ms. Cordova registered Cordova's Spike with NSDR. He is widely recognized as the first registered MAS. During this time Ms. Cordova actively sought breeders who would continue the development and registration of these dogs as MAS. Most notably among them were Charles Lasater (Valhalla) and Bill and Sally Kennedy (B/S). 

Valhalla's Cookie DOB: 14. December 1980 Reg.nr. A1988-81Z92 (Kevins Prince Charlie x Larkspur Gingersnap Maggie)
Valhalla's Cookie DOB: 14. December 1980 Reg.nr. A1988-81Z92 (Kevins Prince Charlie x Larkspur Gingersnap Maggie)

Once Doris Cordova came to a show Jeanine Perron was attending with a very small Aussie telling people that it was a miniature, Jeanine and Doris quickly started talking about mini's and tought that a place for such a small dog might exist in the dog world. After Doris died Spike was placed with Bill and Sally Kennedy, also of Norco, California, to continue to develop a line of Minature Aussies under B/S kennel name. They instantly fell in love with the dog and continued to breed Minis. Lasater, Cordova, and the Kennedys are considered instrumental in the Mini Aussie's creation. As they were still relatively rare, several clubs promoted them, and they gradually became popular in their own right. 

Valhalla's Mignonne
Valhalla's Mignonne

Another horseman, Chas Lasater of Valhalla Kennels soon joined the ranks of mini breeders. He became interested in breeding miniature at about the same time as Bob and Doris. In 1980 he bought his first Australian Shepherd. She was a blue merle female, Valhalla's Cookie (Cookie Princess Caroline). Cookie was a standard Australian Shepherd with an official ASCA pedigree and ancestors known beyond 7 generations. She was a descendant of dogs from the wellknown kennels of the Aussie workers "Las Rocosa" of the Hartnagles family, the "flintridge" of Weldon T. Heard, as well as the dogs of Jay Sisler. 

In 1981, Chas breed Cookie with Cordova's Spike, wich was the only officially registrated Mini Aussie at that time in the National Stock Registry (NSDR), This marked the beginning of a new miniature aussie kennel - Valhalla's.

From Spike and Cookie Chas left a small black tricolor female, Valhalla's Mignonne. Mognonne played a keyrole in the breeding of the kennel and gave outstanding descendants. From Valhalla's Mignonne and Valhalla's Redford were born the famous Valhalla's Russel and Valhalla's Sister Blue. Mignonne's grandchildren are no less famous mini aussies ' Valhalla's Teddy, Valhalla's Rustler, Valhalla's Blueberry Brandy and Valhalla's Ashley just to mention some. 



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 them Miniature 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  

Valhalla's Russel
Valhalla's Russel

Cordova, Lasater and the Kennedy's together attempted to form the first parent club for the miniatures. Although the club never quite got off the ground, their stated purpose for developing the miniature was to produce an Australian Shepherd who had the heart, intelligence and drive to work stock, and yet be small enough to travel easily to stock shows and be a "house" dog as well. 

The miniature gained in popularity and the owners and breeders missed the cohesive nature of a parent club dedicated to the miniature, so in 1990, the Miniature Australian Shepherd Club of the USA (MASCUSA) was formed. Kathy Croswhite (Munson), Jeanine Perron, Florence Toombs, Susan Sinclair and Richard VanBurkleo served as the first Board of Directors, and one of MASCUSA's most notable early achievements during that time, was to gain recognition of the miniature by the American Rare Breeds Assc. (ARBA) to provide a Nationally recognized conformation show venue. 

Valhalla's Teddy
Valhalla's Teddy
Valhalla's Redford
Valhalla's Redford

Now with the recognition of the American Rare Breed Association (ARBA) the Miniature Australian Shepherds showed along side the Australian Shepherd until 1993, when the AKC officially recognized the Australian Shepherd. The American Rare Breed Association's policy at that time was not to allow any breed of dog to show with them (except in exhibition) that had the same name as an AKC affiliated breed and suggested that we change our name. Amid mixed reactions MASCUSA opted to change the name of our dogs from Miniature Australian Shepherd to North American Shepherd, for the sole purpose of keeping ARBA as one of our main show venues. At the same time, the club amended its name to North American Miniature Australian Club, USA, while also retaining the name Miniature Australian Club, USA as an a.k.a. The breed flourished over the next five years and grew under this name both in the US and Canada.

In the beginning of 1998, ARBA changed their breed name policy and through much consideration and discussion on the part of our club members and the Board of Directors of NASCUSA, formerly MASCUSA, Miniature Australian Shepherd was incorporated back into the name of our dogs, this becoming the North American "Miniature Australian Shepherd".

Today, breeders of the Miniature Australian Shepherd continue to strive to produce Aussies of a smaller stature. Preservation of the herding instinct as well as the intelligence and athleticism of the mini is a priority in breeding programs, as well as continuing the reputation for health and easy companionship that the mini enjoys.

Valhalla's Buster
Valhalla's Buster

Miniatures are quickly gaining in popularity among Agility, Flyball and Disc competition enthusiasts as their attributes of small size and amazing athletic ability makes them very competitive and easy to travel with. In the suburbs and cities, families wanting a big dog are attracted to the "big dog" qualities of the miniature Australian Shepherd, in a smaller package.

In 2010, meetings began with AKC to include the Miniature Australian Shepherd and in 2011 they were accepted in to AKC under the new name "Miniature American Shepherds." And now, July 1, 2015, the Miniature American Shepherd is fully recognized as an American Kennel Club (AKC) Herding Breed.