|Barked: Mon Apr 4, '11 11:32am PST |
|Ah, but it actually gets more complicated than that! There's also MASCUSA (Miniature Australian Shepherd Club of the USA) in addition to NAMASCUSA (North American Miniature Australian Shepherd Club of the USA). Unless I'm terribly mistaken, MASCUSA are the ones spearheading the effort to have AKC recognize Mini Aussies as a size variety of Australian Shepherds (like Mini Poodles are in relation to Standard Poodles) as opposed to a completely separate breed (like the Miniature Pinscher). There is some contention between NAMASCUSA and MASCUSA, which I believe is one part of the reason that neither one has AKC recognition yet.
There's also a fairly large group within the Mini Aussie community who are opposed to any AKC registration at all, preferring to stick solely with groups like The National Stock Dog Registry - who, by the way, recognizes MASCUSA but not NAMASCUSA, at least as far as I can tell. Not that you can't be registered with NSDR and AKC both, but anyway.
So when you're talking about Mini Aussies, you've got:
A) Mini Aussies for pet buyers
B) Mini Aussies for flyball/agility
C) Mini Aussies for herding (more on this in a minute)
And then within those divisions you have:
1) Unscrupulous breeders crossing Aussies with smaller breeds to make money (usually Papillons or Chihuahuas)
2) Breeders creating a wholly separate breed that is basically an Australian Shepherd in a smaller package
3) Breeders creating a size variety of the Australian Shepherd
4) Breeders breeding for smaller Australian Shepherds who, for whatever reason, don't particularly care about registration technicalities
Now, as for point C above - there is some historical precedent for "saddle dogs," which were herding dogs in the pre-official days who were specifically bred to be pulled up onto the saddle if need be. That's largely rumour as far as I can tell, since I haven't seen a real historical document on it of any kind. I haven't exactly done a ton of research on these guys, though. At any rate, there are situations (and certain farm setups as well as rodeos) in which it is advantageous to have a smaller herder available who's more portable and can be picked up if you need to. It's similar to the ideas behind Shelties and Corgis - both small herders, though small for different reasons.
Anyway, I like Mini Aussies. I subscribe to one of the major email lists for them, and as you can imagine (given what I outlined above) they can get pretty contentious with each other. At the moment I'm inclined to like the North American Shepherd crowd, but that's only because they're more accepting of full-tailed Mini Aussies. I also have heavy sympathies toward the Mini Aussie "let's stick with NSDR and ARBA" group, only because AKC makes me leery for a variety of reasons (oh yeah, the ARBA recognizes MASCUSA as a parent club...that was a reference to American Rare Breed Association, by the way, not American Rabbit Breeders Association...). I mean, AKC is great and terribly convenient in so many ways, but there are a lot of things about them I'm uncomfortable about.
Anyway, you definitely can find reputable Mini Aussie breeders. You just have to be good about checking them out and all. I've even seen a few who say they have "Toy Aussies" who don't look too sketchy...usually they just call their smaller Mini Aussies, toys, to let you know what you're getting. You'll want to look out for all the Aussie health issues to be tested plus a couple of the more usual "little dog" problems, like luxating patellas and all that.
ETA: For what it's worth, MARS (Mini Aussie Rescue & Support) also uses the "Toy Aussie" moniker for toy size (less than 20 lbs) Mini Aussies. So it doesn't always indicate a Mini mixed with a toy breed, though it most frequently does.
Edited by author Mon Apr 4, '11 11:44am PST
|my posts | my page | msg me | my family's posts | gift me | become pals|| [notify]|