The parent club for the Australian Shepherd of the miniature variety, the Miniature Australian Shepherd Club of America (MASCA) was formed in 1996 by a dedicated group of enthusiasts in response to the need for a central organization running a straightforward registry and providing fair and consistent management of the mini Aussie. All members sign and abide by a rather strict Code of Ethics designed to protect the mini Aussie and ensure its continued genetic health and quality. The club invites all suggestions concerning the Australian Shepherd of the miniature variety.
There were several objectives set by the founders of the MASCA:
- To have a completely documented and clearly honest registry.
- To sponsor and support shows and trials, providing the opportunity for fans to see the dogs and for Australian Shepherd of the miniature variety owners to showcase their own dogs.
- To have a breed standard that accurately reflects the mini Aussie as a size variety of the Australian Shepherd.
- To manage a fair process to educate judges regarding the breed standard.
- To provide information to people interested in the mini Aussie.
- To pursue further recognition when the variety becomes populous enough and when breeders have proven that they are breeding sound, consistently typey dogs of the correct temperament and instinct.
The first challenge was the establishment of a sound registry and registration process. MASCA uses a computer-based registry and supporting procedures. This allows the registrar to produce consistent and correct information for every registered dog. There can be no case where separate requests for information about the same dog result in different outputs. Because it was felt that every owner had the right to all information available about his or her dog, the MASCA registration certificate automatically includes a computer-generated four generation pedigree. In this we are unique in the world of the Australian Shepherd of the miniature variety.
MASCA has recently started holding its own events, including conformation shows, herding instinct test and trials, obedience and acrobatic trials, dock diving events, disc dog events, and scent and find events.
In addition, the Australian Shepherd of the miniature variety is recognized by the International All Breed Canine Association of America (IABCA), which also offers an International Championship program as well as an exclusive Bred By Exhibitor Best in Show competition. The Canadian Rarities (NAKC), American Rare Breed Association (ARBA), and Rare Breed Club of Southwest Ontario welcome the mini Aussie as well. MASCA affiliates are holding their own Specialty Shows regularly, which include performance events.
Wider recognition grants the Australian Shepherd of the miniature variety greater exposure to the public and judges, more frequent opportunities to achieve Championships and International Championships, the chance to compete in herding, obedience and agility competitions, and finally, greater credibility and stability. Each individual rare breed club has a limited event schedule and most people are not in a position to travel extensively. Recognition with other clubs permits a far greater opportunity to “rub shoulders” with others in the dog world.
In order to best serve our members and encourage the responsible development of the Australian Shepherd of the miniature variety, MASCA developed a variety of services:
- Computerized, consistent and clear registration.
- A monthly newsletter, MASCA Monthly, including articles covering diverse topics of interest to the mini Aussie enthusiast, like training, showing, choosing a puppy or even finding the appropriate sire for your litter, as well as breeder advertising.
- Free internet advertising for Blue Ribbon Breeders.
- Junior Showmanship and Altered Classes held at Australian Shepherd of the miniature variety specialties.
- Hall of Fame recognition.
- Greater knowledge and research on the health of the mini Aussie:
- Eye Database. In order to minimize eye defects (see “Health – Eye Disorders”), MASCA strongly encourages, and may soon require, that all breeding stock be certified by a canine ophthalmologist before breeding, and that all puppies be cleared prior to registration. Litter registration fees are reduced for puppies from certified stock.
- Hip Database. Congenital Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD) has been verified in certain lines of the mini Aussie. (see “Health – Orthopedic Disorders”). MASCA strongly recommends that all breeding stock be radiographed (x-rayed) and the results submitted to a recognized canine orthopedic organization for certification prior to breeding. Litter registration fees are reduced for puppies from certified stock.
- DNA Verification. MASCA recommends that every litter be DNA typed and recorded with MASCA. Not only does this enable MASCA to verify parentage in breeding disputes, but the database will be vital once genetic disease markers are identified.
- Pedigree research, including a database to assist pet owners and breeders in the research and verification of non-MASCA mini Aussie pedigrees.
- Australian Shepherd of the miniature variety breeding advice.
- Blue Ribbon Breeders program, providing registration and advertising discounts for breeders who certify eyes and hips on breeding stock, as well as “puppy & breeder packets”.
- Local canine ophthalmologist and radiograph (x-ray) specialist references.
- Up-to-date show listings of clubs recognizing the Australian Shepherd of the miniature variety.
- Sample puppy (pet and show) and stud contracts
- MASCA is researching a volunteer program cooperating with Dogs for the Deaf, as the mini Aussie has been identified as an ideal dog for service for the hearing impaired. Please contact MASCA for more information.
- A place to meet and correspond with other mini Aussie enthusiasts.
MASCA & AKC
MASCA policy is to adhere to its mission statement that our dogs are a variety of the Australian Shepherd. At this time, AKC policy dictates they do not accept new varieties. In the future if AKC policy should change, MASCA would consider pursuing AKC acceptance of the miniature sized variety of the Australian Shepherd.
MASCA recognizes first and foremost the importance of utilizing the largest gene pool possible for the well being of our dogs. We would not want to close our options of breeding to Australian Shepherds registered with other registries in exchange for AKC recognition.
Instead we support and utilize many other conformation and performance venues in addition to encouraging MASCA stand alone events.