ASCA BREED STANDARD
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. An identifying characteristic is his natural or docked
bobtail. In each sex, masculinity or feminity 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 is intolerable.
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 tapers slightly to a rounded tip. The stop is moderate but
- TEETH: A full complement of strong, white teeth meet in a scissors
bite. An even bite is a fault. Teeth broken or missing by accident are
not penalized. Disqualifications: Undershot bites; overshot bites
- EYES: 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.
- 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 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
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 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.
Width of hindquarters approximately equal to the width of the forequarters
at the shoulders. The angulation of the pelvis and the 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.
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) and 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 the withers.
- 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 20-23 inches; that for
females is 18-21 inches,however, quality is not to be sacrificed in favor