top of page

The breed standard of the Australian Shepherd


Translation of the ASCA Breed Standard created on January 15, 1977 and revised on June 1, 2013
Copyright 2013, ASVA eV

Introduction / introduction
The Australian Shepherd is first and foremost a properly functioning herding dog and anything that detracts from its usefulness is undesirable. The most important breed characteristics are overall moderate size and bone strength, a balanced and correctly proportioned appearance, and correct movements.

General appearance
The Australian Shepherd is a well-balanced dog of medium size and bone strength. He is alert and lively, shows strength and perseverance, combined with an extraordinary agility. It is slightly longer than it is tall and has a coat of medium length and hardness, in which the colors allow a wide range of variation and individuality for every dog. An identifying characteristic is its natural or docked stump tail (translator's note: only in countries without a ban on copying - NOT in Germany !!). The gender differences between males and females are clearly visible.

The Australian Shepherd is primarily a working dog with strong herding and protective instincts. He is an intelligent, extraordinary companion. He is versatile and easy to train and fulfills the tasks assigned to him with great style and enthusiasm. He is reserved with strangers, but shows no shyness. This unusually versatile herding dog has the strength and agility to control difficult cattle, as well as the ability to herd sheep without undue hardship. Despite being a staunch, authoritarian worker, vicious behavior towards humans and animals will not be tolerated.

The head is well-formed, strong, dry and in proportion to the body. The skull is flat to slightly arched, its length and width are equal to the length of the muzzle. The muzzle is of medium width and depth and gradually tapers to a rounded tip of the nose without appearing too thick or pointed. The lips are closed, tightly fitting and lying on top of each other. The tops of the muzzle and skull appear almost parallel. The stop is mediocre, but clearly recognizable.

(A) head
A complete scissor bite with healthy, white teeth. A smooth bite is a mistake. Broken teeth or teeth missing due to an accident are not considered a fault. All other missing teeth are objectionable in relation to the total deviation from the complete set of 42 teeth. Disqualifying errors are: underbite, overbite, crooked mouth.
(B) eyes
The eyes are very expressive, showing attention and intelligence. They are clear, almond-shaped, of medium size and set a little obliquely, neither protruding nor sunken. The pupils are dark, sharply demarcated and perfectly positioned. The eye colors are: brown, blue, amber, or any variation or combination including spots and marbling. All eye colors combined with all coat colors are acceptable. Flaw: Any deviation from almond-shaped eyes
(C) ears
The ears are set high on the side of the head, triangular and slightly rounded at the tip. The tip of the ear does not go any further than the inner corner of the nearest eye. With full attention, the ears should fall between a quarter (1/4) and half (1/2) from the base, forward or slightly to the side. Serious faults: Ears erect, oversized ears, set low, ears that do not set on top.

Neck and body
The neck is firm, clear, in proportion to the body. It is of medium length, slightly arched and well set in the shoulder. The body is firm and muscular. The back line appears horizontal in a natural, square posture. The underline rises moderately from front to back. The chest is deep and firm with well-formed ribs. The loin is strong and broad when viewed from above. The croup is moderately sloping. The rod is straight, no longer than 10.16 cm (4 inches), a natural stubby rod or docked (translator's note: does NOT apply to Germany, as docking is prohibited !!).

The shoulder blades (scapula) are well set back and the upper arm (humerus) is slightly longer than the shoulder blade. The upper arm and shoulder blade are both well muscled. The elbow joint lies below the withers and is the same distance from the ground as from the withers. The front legs are straight, firm and perpendicular to the ground and of moderate strength. The pasterns are short, thick and strong but flexible and show a slight angle when viewed from the side. The paws are oval shaped, compact with tightly knit, well arched toes. The pads are thick and elastic. The claws are short and strong. Wolf claws can be removed (translator's note: applies to countries where this is allowed!).

The width of the hindquarters is approximately the same as the width of the forelegs on the shoulders. The angulation of the pelvis and thigh (femur) corresponds to the angulation of the shoulder blade and upper arm, whereby they form approximately a right angle. The knee joints are clearly defined, the hocks are moderately curved. The metatarsi are short, perpendicular to the floor, and parallel to each other when viewed from behind. The paws are oval shaped, compact, with tightly knit, well arched toes. The pads are thick and elastic. The claws are short and strong. The rear wolf claws are removed (translator's note: only applies to countries where this is allowed!).

The coat is of medium length and texture, smooth to slightly wavy and weatherproof. The undercoat varies with the climate. The hair is short and straight on the head, the outside of the ears, the front of the forelegs, and below the hocks. The back of the front legs is moderately feathered; the pants are medium full. The mane is moderate, more pronounced in males than in females.
The Australian Shepherd is a working dog and should be presented with a natural coat. Serious faults: Atypical coat texture, such as too long, excessive, wiry or curly.

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 and / or copper-colored markings, regardless of sequence. The blue merles and solid black dogs have black pigmented noses, lips and eye rims. The red merles and solid red dogs have liver-colored noses, lips, and eye rims. Partially unpigmented noses (butterfly nose) are not to be considered a fault in dogs under one year of age. With all colors, the areas around the eyes and ears are predominantly dominated by colors other than white. The hairline of a white collar must not be behind the withers. Disqualifying Errors: Other than the recognized colors, white spots on the body and completely unpigmented noses (Dudley Nose).

Soft, free and light. Shows agility in movement, with a well-balanced, natural step. As the speed increases, the front and rear paws approach the center of gravity of the body. The topline remains firm and level. Seen from the side, the trot is effortless, characterized by lightness rather than effort. Exaggerated space and drive are undesirable. Gait errors are to be punished based on their deviation from the ideal.

The preferred height at the withers for males is 50.8 cm to 58.5 cm (20 to 23 inches);
those for bitches 18 to 21 inches (18 to 21 inches),
however, quality should never be sacrificed for size.

Other disqualifying errors: monorchism, cryptorchidism

bottom of page