When we choose a specific breed to own, we expect the dog to have certain consistent, behavioural traits and characteristics that make that breed "unique" from other breeds. These specific traits are carefully bred for over numerous generations until they are genetically encoded in the breeds DNA. Breeds are categorized into groups based on similar traits and abilties: herding, working, sporting, non-sporting, hound, terrier and toy. 
The first step in choosing the right breed for you is to research what the breed has been purposely bred for and it's Genetic temperament traits.

The Miniature American Shepherd is in the Herding Group, and is described as a "working dog." The AKC Breed Standard states:
"The Miniature American Shepherd is intelligent, primarily a working dog of strong herding and guardian instincts. An exceptional companion, he is versatile and easily trained, performing his assigned tasks with great style and enthusiasm. Although reserved with strangers, he does not exhibit shyness. He is a resilient and persistent worker, who adjusts his demeanor and arousal appropriately to the task at hand. With his family he is protective, good natured, devoted and loyal."

As Breeders, we want to preserve our breed's natural instincts and genetic temperament. We purposely choose our Miniature American Shepherds from bloodlines that have proven themselves as a working dog, either in herding or sports. We want a high drive dog with tons of energy. They need to be alert, intelligent and have a deep desire to work and please. They must show extreme loyalty and love for their person, family and property. Our "ideal MAS" is perfect for us, but not necessarily a good fit for some people or for certain lifestyles.
We will produce a range of temperaments. Some of our puppies will be lower drive and have less or no desire to work all day.  Some puppies may be too social and trusting to make good guardian dogs. These pups will make great - all round companion dogs.  

MAS have been selectively bred to be a shepherd; a dog willing to work and who wants to be with their person at all times. Our MAS follow me around like "Shadows" and "Velcro dogs." They are willing to go anywhere and try anything as long as I am there with them. We know MAS are truly happiest when they can be with their person/family most of the time.

Taking a closer look:
50% of a dogs temperament traits comes from the Father and 50% comes from the Mother. Each dog receives a random selection of the genetic traits available, making them all slightly individual. If one of the parents have an undesirable trait, you should expect at least some of their offspring to also have that trait. 
You can not "train away" Genetic Temperament or Natural Instincts, you can only manage them within the limitations of the genetics available.  Some dogs are born happy-go-lucky. Even when abused, these dogs remain well-tempered. Some dogs are born shy, anxious or fearful. These dogs need a special home that can accommodate a more sensitive dog. Depending on the severity, these dogs can become fear aggressive or reactant without the proper care and understanding. Even in the same environment with the same amount of love and enrichment, these two spectrums of genetic temperament can appear in the same litter. 

It is important for a Breeder to spend a lot of time with their puppies where they can observe natural behaviour and look for subtle cues that will help place each puppy with an appropriate person, home and lifestyle so that the dog can truly thrive. It is extremely important for a Buyer to be honest with their Breeder on what they want in a dog and the home and lifestyle that they can provide. 


The personality test is a pretest to the Official Temperament Test. 

This is done between ages 37- 39 days old, before a puppy has full neurological development. 

The personality test help us determine who the puppy is based on genetics and natural instinct.

The Temperament test is preformed 10 days after the Personality Test, preferably on day 49 when the puppy's neurological development is that of an adult dog. The Temperament Test is preformed by a person the puppy has never met and is preformed in an unfamiliar place to the puppy. This helps mimic the puppy's true response to a new home and environment. 
other evaluations include, food drive, prey drive
Here are some terms used to describe different temperament traits and what they mean.  

INTELLIGENCE- the dog's ability to independently think and problem solve. 

BIDDABILITY-  is a dog who is eager to work as a team, with you.  Biddable dogs are usually easy and fun to train because the dog wants to please you. They are happy making you happy.

DRIVE-  describes the dogs level of willingness to work past the "fun." They will keep working when asked even in poor conditions or if the dog is tired.

Prey drive- For herding dogs its the desire and ability to locate, chase and capture their livestock without harming. They may resort to stalking, barking and nipping at the heels of whatever they are trying to herd, including children, cars and small animals. These dogs can become obsessive fetch or frisbee players. 

ENERGY LEVEL- how active the dog is and how much exercise they will require to keep them happy.

SOCIAL  ATTRACTION means the dog values time and interaction with humans, often  over things in the environment dogs may otherwise be interested in,  such as other dogs, other animals, the chance to explore, etc.   A dog  with high social attraction will be eager to stay with his person.  Even  a shy dog with high social attraction will be easier to work with since  the dog still wants to connect with people.  A low social attraction,  high fear (shy) dog is the kind that can appear feral, and they are the  hardest to work with of all.

RESILIENCE  means a dog that can bounce back easily from what could be an  unpleasant experience. The dog is adaptable, rolls with whatever life  brings. A resilient dog is a great dog because it can recover from a bad  experience with a lot less work and time.  An example could be having a  pup that is startled by a bigger dog on a walk, or an unpleasant  grooming experience.  

SOFT or BOLD/ Passive or Pushy Another word for soft could be sensitive, a dog that is  really sensitive or soft does not take a lot of pressure, either  verbally or physically.  A really bold or pushy dog is the other end,  that dog can take pressure and may NEED more to even respond.  

SHYNESS  and/or FEAR- it's a dog that is scared or  fearful of people, places, things.  A genetically shy dog will often still be fearful even with some socializing because that can't trump the genetics causing the fear.   

"RESERVED WITH STRANGERS"- ALOOF, the dog is comfortable not meeting new people  just because.  They are content with the social circle they have and  don't avoid strangers because they are scared of them.

NERVY/ Neurotic a dog that is high strung, less able to turn off and relax or control it's own emotions  and/or impulses.  They are often quite anxious and stressed.   

REACTIVE-  It takes very little stimuli to get a reaction from such dogs. They tend to over react to stimuli or react inappropriately. Not suitable for inexperienced owners or homes with small children.

GUARDIAN  INSTINCT is something the breed standards may mention.  True guardian dogs are calm and confident and only use force on a  true threat. They have the stable temperament and ability to discern  friend from foe. They can be very friendly dogs to friendly strangers  too, that also ties in to being able to discern a true threat from a  benign interaction with a stranger.