Registered Blue Ribbon Breeder
In The Beginning
Hobby Breeders are dedicated to the preservation of a particular breed of dog.
We do not mass-produce animals. We do not breed our female animals at every estrus throughout their lives. We rarely make any profit from breeding a litter of
puppies. Hobby breeders do not “make a living” from their endeavors and very few even derive a significant portion of their income from breeding their animals.
Our litters do not buy us fancy boats or exotic vacations. We feel we’ve done well if a litter “pays for itself,” and occasionally there’s a bit left over to buy new
equipment or even attend a competition we would have skipped otherwise. There’s nothing wrong with a breeder making a profit, of course, but it isn’t the primary
We test our potential breeding animals for known adverse conditions they might pass on to their offspring, to the extent that tests are available (DNA and other
laboratory analyses, x-rays, physical exams by veterinarians with expertise in a condition). Some tests must be repeated annually to determine whether a late-
developing condition has appeared. Even conditions that may not affect the animal’s suitability as a pet and its quality of life are of concern to the breeder.
While tests do not yet exist for every condition in every breed, we support research to find a means of identifying heritable adverse conditions within our breeds so
we can reduce occurrences in our litters. The same adverse conditions sometimes found in purebred dogs are also present in mixed-breed animals if the ancestors
had them. The breeding of purebreds does not create “genetic defects” and the crossing of breeds within a species does not eliminate them. Hobby Breeders are
knowledgeable about their breed’s health issues and take responsibility to breed away from them.
Purebred breeders carefully select breeding animals for traits established by a “breed standard” adopted by a national parent club for that breed and endorsed by a
national registry organization. Physical appearance, temperament, and health and longevity of parents and ancestors are taken into consideration when planning a
breeding. Breeders research the pedigree and health clearances of potential mates – hobby breeders do not mate just any two animals that happen to be of the
When a litter is produced, it is carefully raised in an appropriate physical environment. Veterinary care, socialization, exercise, good nutrition, and training are
essential elements of raising a healthy litter. Hobby breeders generally sell pets with a requirement that those not of breeding quality will be spayed or neutered
(S/N) by their new owners when they reach an appropriate age. Healthy pets must reach a certain level of physical maturity before they can safely be altered -
juvenile S/N can interfere with the normal growth of a pet and predispose it to abnormal bone development, incontinence, and illnesses including certain cancers in
Hobby breeders often keep one or more of the puppies in a litter that has the potential to grow into a future show prospect and/or compete in performance
activities appropriate to the breed. Many dog breeds were developed specifically to perform work such as herding and hunting, and their ability to do this is
demonstrated in field trials governed by the registry organizations and by actually working at this job with owners who hunt or keep livestock.
A Hobby Breeder’s next generation can’t be determined immediately, and those that appear to have potential for future breeding are raised by the breeder for
several months, or placed with other knowledgeable breeders, so structure and temperament can be assessed and health clearances begun. In some breeds, exams
can’t determine the absence or presence or degree of a potentially adverse health condition until the animal is fully mature – and this can be at least two years in
some breeds. Thus, Hobby Breeders often have adult intact animals that have not been, and may never be used for breeding. Many Hobby Breeders don’t
consider using an animal for breeding, regardless of its pedigree and health clearances, unless it can demonstrate its superior quality in the show ring and/or
performance arena, or by “doing its job” in real-life conditions.
Most Hobby Breeders belong to clubs on a local or national level that have a Code of Ethics whose provisions they follow. Typical elements include:
•Puppies are sold directly to carefully screened buyers, not through brokers or pet stores.
•Pet-quality animals will be sold with spay/neuter contracts, and on limited registration or without registration until evidence of S/N is provided to the breeder.
•Puppies will have age-appropriate immunizations and other veterinary care before they are transferred to a new owner.
•Buyers will be given documentation including the pedigree, health history, and instructions for care and training of their new companion; the breeder will assist the
buyer in dealing with problem behavior, health care issues, and other concerns that may arise.
•Throughout the pet’s lifetime, the breeder will accept the return of the pet they bred or assist in re-homing it if the owner cannot keep it – for any reason.
Hobby Breeders do not want their puppies in homes where they won’t be good companions because of size, personality, physical requirements, and other breed
traits, so we screen potential buyers and offer continuing support to those we sell to. We do not want the pets we produce to be given to shelters or rescue
organizations because there wasn’t a good match between breed and buyer, or because the buyer’s circumstances change due to illness, relocation, divorce, or any
lifestyle factor that may affect their ability to keep a pet. Many of us volunteer at our local animal shelters, foster and re-home pets for our breed’s rescue group, or
contribute financial support to these efforts.
We value our animals. They are not neglected or abused, or allowed to be a nuisance to our neighbors or a danger to our communities. Just as people who ski, sail,
or play golf may make substantial financial and time investments in order to enjoy their hobby, we have chosen to raise and show our dogs because of the
enjoyment they give us and our commitment to their well-being and the continuation of quality in their particular breed.
|I have always had a great love for animals. The first miniature Australian Shepherd
(mini Aussie) that I owned came from a rather exciting experience. When I was 19 I met
my first mini Aussie while riding home from a gymkhana (horse play day) one day. A
couple of cowboys asked me if I would give them a hand getting a bull out of the
mesquite trees. They asked me to go into the trees and run the bull out where they
could rope him. I tied my horse up as the trees where to low to ride under. As I
got into the trees I had to get down on my knees the trees were so low. All of a sudden
there was this huge brindle colored bull in front of me. He was pawing the ground and
swinging his head from side to side. I was sure he was going to charge me so I picked
up a rock and threw it at him thinking he would go the other way. Go he did, but not
where I thought he would. He came straight for me. I just knew that I was a goner when
from the side this little blue streak flew by me and ran up to that bull grabbing him by
the nose. The little dog took that huge bull to the ground. The bull jumped up and ran
my way again, the little blue dog was all over that bull grabbing him by the nose and
biting him all over and chasing him out from under the mesquite trees. The cowboys
where waiting for the bull when he came out, and ran after him roping him. After all of
the excitement was over I headed for home with the little blue dog following me. I told
the cowboys they needed to call their dog and they said the dog did not belong to
them. I took her home and put an add in the paper trying to find her owner. No one ever
came looking for her so I kept her and named her Lucky. As it turns out she was about
the size of the mini Aussies we are breeding today. I had Lucky for many years and she
had some beautiful Aussie pups that matured in the 16" to 18" range (you can see
some of them below along with a couple of pictures of Lucky). I have always loved
Aussies for their intelligence and want to please attitude. Having lived on several
ranches I found out just how much easier working stock is when you have an Aussie at
your side reading your mind and being in the right place at the right time.
The first time I saw a mini Aussie I was reminded of Lucky. I decided I wanted to start
breeding these super smart Aussies in the smaller package.
I have been raising these wonderful little dogs for over 20 years (not including Lucky's
pups) although I have had many standard Aussies on the ranches before then. I
wanted a name to signify the qualities in these little dogs so I came up with the name
Boldheart and first registered it in 1999.
|Little Lucky, my son and daughter
and a orphaned baby havalina
Miniature Australian Shepherds, also called Mini Aussies, have the same
traits as their larger counterparts. Boldheart is constantly
striving towards combining the best of the show bloodlines with the great
herding bloodlines. Our dogs have the looks to win in the conformation
ring, and the instinct and disposition to do an honest days work whether on a
ranch working livestock, in the agility ring, competing in fly ball, frisbee,
herding or just cuddled up next to you on the couch. All of the dogs in my
breeding program are titled champions in at least one or more venues and
are from many generations of titled champions. They are a great family
Our Boldheart Mini Aussies have been bred down from champion standard
lines with both show and working bloodlines, retaining all of the wonderful
qualities of their larger contemporaries, but in a smaller package. The only
difference between the standard and the mini is the size. Standards are
usually between 18 to 24 inches with the Mini Aussies standing between 14
to 18 inches. Mini Aussies are wonderful companions, being loyal and
loving. They are protective yet fun loving and always ready to go on a new
Boldheart is always concerned about raising healthy puppies. Toward this
goal, we at Boldheart, guarantee our puppies’ health and temperament.
Puppies are hand raised and well socialized in a home environment. We
have our breeding boy's and girl's hearts and patellas (knees) cleared, hips
OFA'd and their eyes certified before breeding. We also have the puppies’
hearts, patellas and eyes “C.E.R.F” tested at eight weeks of age. Before
leaving Boldheart to go to their forever homes with you, your puppy will be
up to date on their shots and worming and will have been evaluated at eight
weeks of age.
If you are looking for a wonderful companion and a constant “shadow”, this
breed could be for you. Mini Aussies are the perfect size to go with you
and enjoy all of your activities. Take a look at the other on our web pages
to see examples of our dogs at work and play.
About Mini Aussies
MASCA - Miniature Australian Shepherd Club of America
Certain early ancestors of today’s Australian Shepherd may have migrated with Basque shepherds from continental Europe directly to North America. The blue merle color phase is still present
in the modern Berger des Pyréneés. The breed may have acquired its name via Australia where the Basques are known to have accumulated larger flocks of sheep. By whatever path, Aussies
had arrived in the United States by the late 19th century where the dogs’ qualities became recognized by local ranchers, who used the dogs to work cattle, sheep and other livestock.
Working ability was the paramount consideration during the early years, rather than any particular conformation but a distinct breed of moderate coat and size, superb herding instinct and often
of unusual blue merle coloring emerged, still bearing a marked resemblance to Pyrenean ancestors, although undoubtedly influenced by various British and American working breeds, such as the
Scotch Collie, Border Collie and English Shepherd. The “little blue dogs” were soon highly esteemed on ranches and farms throughout western America.
Jay Sisler popularized the Aussie with the American public through his trick dog acts performed at rodeos throughout the United States during the 1950’s and 1960’s. His dogs also appeared in
movies and several figure prominently in the pedigrees of the modern Australian Shepherd.
The Aussie is a relative newcomer to purebred registries, only being formally recorded since 1957. The first organization to register the Australian Shepherd was the National Stock Dog
Registry (AKA International English Shepherd Registry). The Australian Shepherd Club of America (ASCA) established recording services in 1971, taking over a majority of Aussie
registrations. ASCA adopted a unified breed standard in 1977.
A Small Australian Shepherd
During the 1960’s, a Californian Australian Shepherd enthusiast acquired several small working Aussies from the rodeo circuit. Intrigued by their compact size, she worked with a veterinarian to
develop a breeding program in order to preserve the trait, which quickly resulted in litters producing both dogs only 13 to 14 inches tall as well as larger Australian Shepherds. The smaller dogs
eventually became known as “miniature” Australian Shepherds.
The mini Aussie soon attracted the attention of experienced Australian Shepherd breeders and eager newcomers. Lines were researched and educated breeding to full-size Aussies was and is
strongly encouraged to diversify the gene pool and improve conformation and type of the mini Aussies. Herding instinct, intelligence and drive were preserved and many mini Aussies continue to
work a variety of livestock today.
The mini Aussie is exactly as its name implies: a small Australian Shepherd with the Aussie’s attentive, energetic temperament, high intelligence and reserve, but never shyness, towards strangers.
But while the height of the Aussie varies from 18 to 23 inches, the height of the mini Aussie ranges from 14 to 18 inches with a corresponding weight of approximately 20 to 40 pounds.
The Miniature Australian Shepherd’s eager attitude means that working with the mini Aussie is a joy, but their intelligence means that obedience training is highly recommended. The ownership of
any dog, especially one of an intelligent breed, should not be taken lightly. Because the Aussie was developed both to herd and guard the flock, the mini Aussies are entirely devoted to their
family and make excellent watch dogs and companions. As with all breeds, early socialization is of the utmost importance.
The Early Days of Recognition
The first registry to accept the Australian Shepherd of the miniature variety was the National Stock Dog Registry (NSDR): the same to first recognize the Australian Shepherd. Cordova’s Spike,
a 15 inch blue merle male, was the first mini Aussie to be registered. Acceptance was next achieved with the now defunct Rare Breed Kennel Club (RBKC) in the 1980’s. Croswhite’s Miss
Kitty Fox, a blue merle NSDR registered bitch of true Aussie type, secured the first Australian Shepherd of the miniature variety championship.
After the RBKC folded in the early 1990’s, the mini Aussie gained acceptance with the American Rare Breed Association (ARBA). Unfortunately, ARBA regulations stipulated that in order for
a breed to qualify for Group and Best in Show competition, it could not have a name associated with an AKC breed. So in 1993, when the Australian Shepherd was granted full show privileges
in the AKC’s Herding Group, one group of mini Aussie enthusiasts opted to change the mini Aussie’s name, a move which caused great confusion in the dog world and for the general public
and eventually led to the development of a separate and distinct breed from the Australian Shepherd called the North American Shepherd.
Dissatisfied with the limited show schedule offered by any one club, enthusiasts attempted to secure wider recognition. However, it soon became apparent that acceptance could not be gained
under the new name because it implied a new breed. In actuality, the mini Aussie remained a size variety of the Australian Shepherd, with a continuous genepool, and not a separate breed.
Those concerned with maintaining Australian Shepherd heritage, instinct, temperament and type, and interested in pursuing further recognition formed an Australian Shepherd of the miniature
variety parent club in order to attain these goals.
Miniature Australian Shepherd Club of America, Inc.
The Australian Shepherd of the Miniature Variety is a well-balanced dog of medium size and bone. He is attentive and animated, showing strength and stamina combined with unusual agility.
Slightly longer than tall, he has a coat of moderate length and coarseness with coloring that offers variety and individuality in each specimen. An identifying characteristic is his natural or docked
bobtail. In each sex, masculinity or femininity is well defined. Bone is moderate and clean with coarseness, heaviness or lightness being undesirable.
The Australian Shepherd of the Miniature Variety is intelligent, primarily a working dog of strong herding and guardian instincts. He is an exceptional companion. He is versatile and easily trained,
performing his assigned tasks with great style and enthusiasm. He is reserved with strangers but does not exhibit shyness. Although an aggressive, authoritative worker, viciousness toward people
or animals is intolerable. Fault: Undue shyness.
Clean-cut, strong, dry and in proportion to the body. The topskull is flat to slightly rounded, its length and width each equal to the length of the muzzle, which is in balance and proportioned to the
rest of the head. The muzzle tapers slightly to a rounded tip. The stop is moderate but well-defined.
Lips: Giving a dry appearance. Disqualification: Wet flews.
Teeth: A full complement of strong, white teeth meet in a scissors bite. An even bite is a fault. Teeth broken or missing by accident are not penalized. Disqualifications: Undershot bites; overshot
bites exceeding one-eighth inch.
Eyes: Very expressive, showing attentiveness and intelligence. Clear, almond-shaped, and of moderate size, set a little obliquely, neither prominent nor sunken, with pupils dark, well-defined and
perfectly positioned. Color is brown, blue, amber or any variation or combination thereof including flecks and marbling.
Ears: Set on high at the side of the head, triangular and slightly rounded at the tip, of moderate size with length measured by bringing the tip of the ear around to the inside corner of the eye. The
ears, at full attention, break slightly forward and over from one-quarter (•) to one-half (•) above the base. Prick and hound-type ears are severe faults.
NECK AND BODY
The neck is firm, clean and in proportion to the body. It is of medium length and slightly arched at the
crest, setting well into the shoulders. The body is firm and muscular. The topline appears level at a natural four-square stance. The chest is deep and strong with ribs well-sprung. The loin is strong
and broad when viewed from the top. The bottom line carries well back with a moderate tuck-up. The croup is moderately sloping, the ideal being thirty (30) degrees from the horizontal. Tail is
straight, not to exceed three (3) inches, natural bobbed or docked.
The shoulder blades (scapulae) are long and flat, close set at the withers, approximately two fingers width at a natural stance and are well laid back at an angle approximating forty-five (45) degrees
to the ground. The upper arm (humerus) is attached at an approximate right angle to the shoulder line with forelegs dropping straight, perpendicular to the ground. The elbow joint is equidistant
from the ground to the withers. The legs are straight and powerful. Pasterns are short, thick and strong, but still flexible, showing a slight angle when viewed from the side. Feet are oval shaped,
compact, with close-knit, well-arched toes. Pads are thick and resilient; nails short and strong. Dewclaws may be removed.
Strong and muscular. Width of hindquarters approximately equal to the width of the forequarters at the shoulders. The angulation of the pelvis and the upper thigh (femur) corresponds to the
angulation of the shoulder blade and upper arm forming an approximate right angle. Stifles are clearly defined, hock joints moderately bent. The metatarsi are short, perpendicular to the ground and
parallel to each other when viewed from the rear. Feet are oval shaped, compact, with close-knit, well-arched toes. Pads are thick and resilient; nails short and strong. Rear dewclaws are removed.
Of medium texture, straight to slightly wavy, weather resistant, of moderate length with an undercoat. The quantity of undercoat varies with climate. Hair is short and smooth on the head, outside of
ears, front of forelegs and below the hocks. Backs of forelegs are moderately feathered; breeches are moderately full. There is a moderate mane and frill, more pronounced in dogs than bitches.
Non-typical coats are severe faults.
All colors are strong, clear and rich. The recognized colors are blue merle, red (liver) merle, solid black and solid red (liver) and with or without white markings and/or tan (copper) points with no
order of preference. The blue merle and black have black pigmentation on nose, lips and eye-rims; the red (liver) merle and red (liver) have liver pigmentation on nose, lips and eye-rims. Butterfly
nose should not be faulted under one year of age. On all colors, the areas surrounding the ears and eyes are dominated by color other than white. The hairline of a white collar does not exceed the
point of the withers. Disqualifications: Other than recognized colors, white body splashes, Dudley nose.
Smooth, free and easy; exhibiting agility of movement with a well-balanced, ground-covering stride. Fore and hind legs move straight and parallel with the center line of the body; as speed
increases, the feet, both front and rear, converge toward the center line of gravity of the dog, while the topline remains firm and level. Joints do not bend or twist when in motion.
Preferred height at the withers for males is fourteen (14) to eighteen (18) inches; that for females is
fourteen (14) up to but not including eighteen (18) inches. Dogs or bitches above these measurements
should be faulted to the degree of variance; however, quality is not to be sacrificed in favor of size.
Disqualification: Below 14” at the withers.
Toy-like characteristics (i.e. domed head, bulging eyes, fine bone), monorchidism or cryptorchidism.
Note: The Australian Shepherd of the Miniature Variety should be judged as if it were an Australian Shepherd in all
respects other than size. The Australian Shepherd of the Miniature Variety’s conformation, moderate coat, efficient yet driving movement and stable temperament should all imply a herding dog
capable of working long hours in a variety of conditions. Shown in near to natural state. Hair may be trimmed away from and around the pads. Whiskers may be trimmed or untrimmed (never
removed on a dog to work stock). Pasterns may be trimmed between carpal pad and heel. Hair along hock and long hairs on docked or bobbed tails or sparse, stray or straggly hairs may also be
trimmed to make a neater outline.