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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, I have been lurking awhile and have read a TON of the forums. I am looking at getting a MAS/mini-aussie and there is a breeder that I have contacted, but there are a few warning flags that I have noticed. The site is License Breeder of Miniature Australian Shepherd in NE Colorado

I like that they do some health testing and stuff, I don't think that their dogs look too pap (although I was looking at the MASCA nationals pics and just got confused what they are supposed to look like), their prices don't seem horrendous, and they are within a day drive.

Flags:

  1. I emailed and asked if they do OFA/CERF because the MASCA and ASHGI said that they should be. She said that they do not on their own dogs, but that the sire's parents were OFA'd and CERF'd. I contacted the sire's breeder and that information is correct, with good/normal results on both. How important is it for each generation to get these tests? Especially for a smaller dog and OFA (aren't those issues usually seen in larger dogs)?
  2. The dogs don't have any titles. At the same time though, it is a pretty newly recognized breed, so are titles necessary?
  3. They seem to have a lot of litters, but if it is a working farm would that be acceptable? Or no?
Looking for honest responses please. I am not sold on the breeder, and am not sure what to look for in a breeder of this breed.

Thanks!
 

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Is there a reason you want to go MAS instead of an Aussie?

The red flags I see:

1. It doesn't look like they do anything with their dogs. No herding titles, agility, etc. etc. It isn't a huge deal, but I do like to see them actually doing something with their dogs.
2. HUGE RED FLAG - The price of their puppies changes based on size, colour and sex. Bad, bad, BAD. Just in general they seem to really be pushing that their merles and their tris can have blue eyes.
3. I really don't like that they don't test for OFA/CERF. That is like the number one thing to test on your Aussies.
4. Several of their females are from TOY AUSSIES.

Overall, I don't like MAS. The "breeders" have seriously capitalized on people wanting a "smaller Aussie" and don't bother testing for any pertinent health issues. They are also all over the map in terms of temperament and size. Some people get an Aussie from a MAS breeder who matures in the standard size anyway.

And don't even get me started on Toy Aussies.

I wouldn't give my money to this person, that is for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Thanks for your input. I have seen that there is a lot of contention on the breed or whatever it is, and I am not trying to cause any issues. I am interested in a MAS because of the size and because it seems like it might have fewer orthopedic issues (but that is purely speculation, I have nothing to base that on). I hike a lot and would hate to get a hiking partner that I am unable to carry down the mountain or who develops HD young and couldn't go out with me. I did notice the "toy" females and would not want one out of them. I have also heard that there are smaller real aussies, but I'm not sure how to go about finding a breeder who has consistently smaller lines without being inundated with mini breeders >_<

ETA: Also, you mentioned blue eyed tris. Is there a problem with producing them? I have been researching the whole merle thing and have to say, I am lost lost lost.
 

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@glimmer - I think if you stick with breeders that are testing for hips/elbows and eyes you'll be able to weed out a lot of joint problems. Female standard Aussies are a nice size. My boy is big, at 23 inches and just under 50 pounds, but most females seem to mature around 40 pounds or under. You can definitely go for a MAS, but really make sure the breeder checks all your boxes.

In general, I think working line Aussies tend to be closer to the "true" original size, but then you're dealing with some higher levels of energy and some more mouthiness.

Not at all. Blue eyes crop up in all colours of Aussies, I just think them really trying to point it out really highlights that they are all about colour, and less about substance.
 

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The biggest problem have with the breed is that it is a new breed that is still in the developing stages. Breeders are taking dogs that are on the smaller end of standard to try to get a small litter. Or they are mixing in other breeds (likely in the toy aussies). A lot of the times there is no consideration made on the health of those parents. All they are focused on is size (and in this case color).

I was looking at MAS before I got Forbes and found that him being 45-50 lbs he was exactly the size I wanted. Have you looked into any local aussie breeders by you? Maybe gone and met their breeders to see if the size is more towards your liking. I mean I am no saying I could carry Forbes down a mountain, but @ThatYellowDog and Aayla hike all the time and they don't seem to have issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
@Shandula I didn't actually realize that real aussies were generally that size. I remember one that a friend had in college, or those owned by my other dog's trainer and they always seemed so BIG. Maybe it was just fluff? They seemed to tower over my 21" 39 pound guy.

@jclark343 is Forbes the aussie in the picture? He's very pretty. I am definitely on board with wanting a healthy dog first and foremost. I want a dog that will--pending anything unforeseen--be active with me for many years. I get that there are no guarantees, and that's why the whole lack of OFA/CERF thing kind of put me off, since those seem to be the issues most common in the breed.
 

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That is Mr. Forbes, he's a cuuuuutie.

Here is a picture I JUST took of my guy in front of my couch to give you an idea of size. He is 23 inches at the shoulder, and turned two in September. He doesn't have a ton of coat, and is seriously the love of my life.

 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Oh he is super cute! He still looks like a puppy! His coat is a lot closer, not poofy, whatever the verbiage is, than the ones that I have seen before. I will try to load a pic of my old guy tonight.
 

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I have a 23 lb Cocker Spaniel mix. Even he is sizable enough that I wouldn't want to have to carry him down a mountain :)

All of our family Aussies have been working line. They've all been fun, friendly dogs that are about the size you're looking for. I have one that is HUGE but she's mixed and I think her size is due to that. Our two most recent Aussies are actually quite petite.

I think one issue with MAS for me is that there was a lot of rushing around to be AKC recognized and "legit". Most breeds don't campaign nearly that hard to be in the AKC, in fact they often resist it.

Shop around and talk to some breeders. You'll find someone great.
 

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I think one issue with MAS for me is that there was a lot of rushing around to be AKC recognized and "legit". Most breeds don't campaign nearly that hard to be in the AKC, in fact they often resist it.
Oh my god, this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I think one issue with MAS for me is that there was a lot of rushing around to be AKC recognized and "legit". Most breeds don't campaign nearly that hard to be in the AKC, in fact they often resist it.
So would it be better to stick with the "mini aussie" people who didn't want to join the AKC? Or is it a problem across the board?
 

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@Shandula @PoppyKenna @jclark343 make good points about it not being the easiest to find a reputable breeder for mini's.
I personally was lucky enough to find a good MAS breeder near me. But I know it can be harder to find a good one if at all depending on were you are. Just to give you a size comparison my aussie is 45/46 pounds and my mini is 26/27 pounds (I might be slightly off since I haven't weighed them in awhile).
@ThatYellowDog can give you a female standard aussie weight reference.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
@Sabina88 What criteria did you use to weed out breeders? I feel like if I looked for my ideal MAS/mini breeder I would end up weeding them ALL out.

I think that I will take some time to research more breeders and evaluate if maybe an aussie would fit in better with my life than trying to find a good MAS/mini. I do have a bit of time, just preparing since my older guy has really been starting to feel his age the past year or so =(
 

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Aussies are amazing I have to say. Sounds like everyone is covering most of the things I would say. My two sense are that it's hard to find a good Mini. Most are cross bred and end up with odd coats and bone structures. I know of a lot of people do have small standards that end up in the 35-40 lbs range. Look at the parents to see. It seems like working bred are smaller than show bred. The judges are favoring bigger dogs right now.

I'm a backpacker/hiker and Aayla has always been there with me since she was old enough. I've gauged how hard and how far we go by her physical limits. Right now we are at moderate difficulty and 12 miles per day max. She weighs 41lbs right now at a year old, I'm guessing she will mature to be around 43-44lbs. I do keep my dogs lean and fit, so she doesn't have anything extra on her. There are a big difference between the males and females. The females and Aayla's litter seem to be from 38 to 45 pounds, while the males are ranging from 50 to 65, granted the males I seen from her litter are a little chunky. Her mom weighed 41 pounds, and her dad 62. Out hiking I can put her over my shoulders to carry if needed. It wouldn't be easy but I could do it. I haven't had to, and hopefully never will.
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
@ThatYellowDog Sounds like a female aussie might be the way to go for me. I just stress about all of the what-ifs and I like to avoid it when possible because it does cause me a lot of anxiety. In the past 11 years, I can only think of twice that I have carried my guy--not fun, but doable.
 

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The biggest thing is there are a ton of what ifs. Can't always stress about those or you'll never get out there.

Come. Come join the dark side and get an aussie. I promise you, you'll never have another breed. They really are the goofiest, most loving, attentive breed I have ever owned. My aussie is a clown who has me laughing every day. I never thought I could love a dog as much as I love my lab but really I do. I can not sing enough praises about the breed.
 

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Ditto with what @jclark343 said. If you give them the mental stimulation and physical exercise they need, you'll never find a more loveable, goofy, dog. I can't imagine my life without my boy.
 

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Toy Aussie?

I am going to have to have that explained.

I know the basics of the aussie breed (not being aussie at all, but a southwestern landrace of herding dog mainly made up of various collie breeds) and how the mini aussie came about originally from aussie-like dogs that were smaller than standard yet never officially entered into studbooks, but also from aussies who happened to be smaller

So what is a toy aussie? Is someone basically replicating what happened to minis with pappered aussies to make them smaller? Is someone taking minis and breeding this already smaller version even smaller yet to make toys? Is someone mixing mini with other toy breeds to create a new 'toy' aussie?
 

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Is someone taking minis and breeding this already smaller version even smaller yet to make toys? Is someone mixing mini with other toy breeds to create a new 'toy' aussie?
From my limited understanding of the breed, both are true. Lots of inferior breeders hoping on the bandwagon and breeding for smaller sizes and dilute "rare" color patterns with little thought to health or temperment so they an make an easy profit from uneducated puppy buyers. At my work we've seen a steady increase in mini/toy Aussies for the past 3 years as patients. Unfortunately a good 80% of those patients are listed as "CAUTION/WILL BITE", even from puppyhood. It seems the smaller or more unusual the color is equivalent to how aggressive/fearful the pet ends up being. When I was growing I remember Aussies used to have wonderful bombproof personalities, but now those Aussies of yesteryear seem to be few and far between.
 
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