The Australian Shepherd Breed Standard
AS RECOGNIZED BY
THE AUSTRALIAN SHEPHERD CLUB OF AMERICA
EFFECTIVE JANUARY 15, 1977
GENERAL APPEARANCE: 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 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.
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 enthusiasm.
He is reserved with strangers but does not exhibit shyness. Although
an aggressive, authoritative worker, viciousness toward people or animals
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
(A) TEETH: A
full compliment of strong, white teeth meet in a scissors bite. An even
bite is a fault. Teeth broken or missing by accident are not penalized.
bites; overshot bites exceeding 1/8 inches.
(B) EYES: Very
expressive, showing attentiveness and intelligence. Clear, almond_shaped,
and of 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.
(C) 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 (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 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 approximately forty_five (45) degrees to the ground.
The upper arm (humorous) 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
Width of hindquarters approximately equal to the width of the forequarters
at the shoulders. The angulation of the pelvis and 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.
COAT: Of medium
texture, straight to slightly wavy, weather resistant, of moderate
length with an undercoat. The amount 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 in dogs
than bitches. Non_typical coats are severe faults.
COLOR: 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.
Reds and red merles have liver pigmentation on nose, 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 at the withers.
Other than recognized colors. White body splashes. Dudley nose.
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.
height at the withers for males is 20 to 23 inches; that for females
is 18 to 21 inches, however, quality not to be sacrificed in favor of
Monorchidism and cryptorchidism.