Australian Shepherd Breed Standard
ASCA Effective January 15,1977
The Australian Shepherd 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. And identifying characteristic is
his natural or docked bobtail. In each sex, masculinity or femininity
is well defined.
The Australian Shepherd 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
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.
A full compliment of strong, white teeth meet in a scissors
bite. And even bite is a fault. Teeth broken by accident
are not penalized.
Disqualifications: Undershot bites;
overshot bites exceeding 1/8 inches
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 including flecks and marbling.
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 (1/4) to one-half (1/2) above the base. Prick ears
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 four (4) inches, natural bobtail or docked.
The shoulder blades (scapula) 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 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.
Width of hindquarters approximately equal to the width of the
forequarters at the shoulders. The angulation of the pelvis and
upper arm (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), all
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
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.
Preferred height at the withers for males is 20 to 23 inches, that
for females is 18 to 21 inches, however, quality is not to be sacrificed
in favor of size.
Other disqualifications: Monorchidism and
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