At Pincie Creek, we take pride
in the Aussies we own and produce. We strive for perfection
according to the Australian Shepherd Club of America's breed
standard. The American Kennel Club also has a breed standard
for the Aussie, and a comparison of the two breed standards is shown
below. While we must all remember that there is no "perfect"
dog, adherence to the breed standard is a must for all responsible
Australian Shepherd Club of America
American Kennel Club
Australian Shepherd Breed Standard
Herding Group - Breed Standard
Approved May 14, 1991
Effective January 1, 1993
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. An identifying characteristic is his natural or docked
bobtail. In each sex, masculinity or femininity is well defined.
The Australian Shepherd is an intelligent working dog of strong herding and guarding
instincts. He is a loyal companion and has the stamina to work all day. He is well
balanced, slightly longer than tall, of medium size and bone, with coloring that offers
variety and individuality. He is attentive and animated, lithe and agile, solid and
muscular without cloddiness. He has a coat of moderate length and coarseness. He has a
docked or natural bobbed tail.
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 is intolerable.
The Australian Shepherd is an intelligent, active dog with an even disposition; he is good
natured, seldom quarrelsome. He may be somewhat reserved in initial meetings. Faults
Any display of shyness, fear or aggression is to be severely penalized.
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
The Head is clean cut, strong and dry. Overall size should be in proportion to the
body. The muzzle is equal in length or slightly shorter than the back skull. Viewed from
the side the topline of the back skull and muzzle form parallel planes, divided by a
moderate, well-defined stop. The muzzle tapers little from base to nose and is rounded at
Skull Top flat to slightly domed. It may show a slight occipital protuberance.
Length and width are equal. Moderate well-defined stop. Muzzle tapers little from
base to nose and is rounded at the tip.
Nose--Blue merles and blacks have black pigmentation on the nose (and lips). Red
merles and reds have liver (brown) pigmentation on the nose (and lips). On the merles it
is permissible to have small pink spots; however, they should not exceed 25% of the nose
on dogs over one year of age, which is a serious fault.
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.
Undershot bites; overshot bites exceeding 1/8 inches
full complement of strong white teeth should meet in a scissors bite or may meet in a
level bite. Disqualifications--Undershot. Overshot greater than 1/8 inch. Loss of
contact caused by short center incisors in an otherwise correct bite shall not be judged
undershot. Teeth broken or missing by accident shall not be penalized.
Disqualifications - Undershot. Overshot greater than 1/8 inch.
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.
attentiveness and intelligence, alert and eager. Gaze should be keen but friendly. Eyes
are brown, blue, amber or any variation or combination thereof, including flecks and
marbling. Almond shaped, not protruding nor sunken. The blue merles and blacks have black
pigmentation on eye rims. The red merles and reds have liver (brown) pigmentation on eye
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.
triangular, of moderate size and leather, set high on the head. At full attention they
break forward and over, or to the side as a rose ear. Prick ears and hanging ears are
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.
Neck is strong, of moderate length, slightly arched at the crest, fitting well into
the shoulders. Topline--Back is straight and strong, level and firm from withers to
hip joints. The croup is moderately sloped. Chest is not broad but is deep with the
lowest point reaching the elbow. The ribs are well sprung and long, neither barrel chested
nor slab-sided. The underline shows a moderate tuck-up. Tail is straight, docked or
naturally bobbed, not to exceed four inches in length.
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 (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.
Shoulders--Shoulder blades are long, flat, fairly close set at the withers and well
laid back. The upper arm, which should be relatively the same length as the shoulder
blade, attaches at an approximate right angle to the shoulder line with forelegs dropping
straight, perpendicular to the ground. Legs straight and strong. Bone is strong,
oval rather than round. Pastern is medium length and very slightly sloped. Front
dewclaws may be removed. Feet are oval, compact with close knit, well arched toes.
Pads are thick and resilient.
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.
The width of the hindquarters is equal to the width of the forequarters at the shoulders.
The angulation of the pelvis and upper thigh 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 hocks are short, perpendicular to the ground and
parallel to each other when viewed from the rear. Rear dewclaws must be removed. Feet
are oval, compact with close knit, well arched toes. Pads are thick and resilient.
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.
Hair is of medium texture, straight to wavy, weather resistant and of medium length. The
undercoat varies in quantity with variations in climate. Hair is short and smooth on the
head, ears, front of forelegs and below the hocks. Backs of forelegs and britches are
moderately feathered. There is a moderate mane and frill, more pronounced in dogs than in
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. Reds and red merles 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 at the withers.
Other than recognized colors. White body splashes. Dudley nose.
Blue merle, black, red merle, red-all with or without white markings and/or tan (copper)
points, with no order of preference. The hairline of a white collar does not exceed the
point of the withers at the skin. White is acceptable on the neck (either in part or as a
full collar), chest, legs, muzzle underparts, blaze on head and white extension from
underpart up to four inches, measuring from a horizontal line at the elbow. White on the
head should not predominate, and the eyes must be fully surrounded by color and pigment.
Merles characteristically become darker with increasing age.
White body splashes, which means white on body between withers and tail, on sides between
elbows and back of hindquarters in all colors.
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.
The Australian Shepherd has a smooth, free and easy gait. He exhibits great 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 (front and
rear) converge toward the center line of gravity of the dog while the back remains firm
and level. The Australian Shepherd must be agile and able to change direction or alter
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.
SIZE, PROPORTION, SUBSTANCE
Size--The preferred height for males is 20-23 inches, females 18-21 inches. Quality
is not to be sacrificed in favor of size. Proportion--Measuring from the breastbone
to rear of thigh and from top of the withers to the ground the Australian Shepherd is
slightly longer than tall. Substance--Solidly built with moderate bone. Structure
in the male reflects masculinity without coarseness. Bitches appear feminine without being
slight of bone.
Other Disqualification: Monorchidism