Fédération Cynologique Internationale

United Kennel Club

The Kennel Club

Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherd


ORIGIN

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FCI
U.S.A.

PUBLISHED

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FCI
26.03.2009.
KC
June 2010

UTILISATION

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FCI
Farm and ranch shepherd dog.

CLASSIFICATION

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FCI
Group 1Sheepdogs and Cattledogs
Section 1Sheepdogs
Without working trial

UKC
Herding Dog
KC
Pastoral

BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY

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FCI
While there are many theories as to the origin of the Australian Shepherd, the breed as we know it today developed exclusively in the United States. The Australian Shepherd was given its name because of the association with Basque Sheepherders who came to the United States from Australia in the 1800’s.
The Australian Shepherd’s popularity rose steadily with the boom of western horseback riding after World War II, which became known to the general public via rodeos, horse shows, movies, and television shows. Their inherent versatile and trainable personality made them assets to American farms and ranches. The American stockman continued the development of the breed, maintaining its versatility, keen intelligence, strong herding instincts, and eye-catching appearance that originally won their admiration.
Although each individual is unique in colour and markings, all Australian Shepherds show an unsurpassed devotion to their families. Their many attributes have guaranteed the Australian Shepherd’s continued popularity.

GENERAL APPEARANCE

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FCI
The Australian Shepherd is well balanced, slightly longer than tall, of medium size and bone, with colouring 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 tail.
UKC
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 femininity is well defined. The Australian Shepherd has been recognized by the United Kennel Club since 1979.
KC
Well balanced, length slightly greater than height. Medium sized, muscular with moderate bone. Expression alert and keen. Masculinity and femininity well defined.

IMPORTANT PROPORTIONS

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FCI

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.
Solidly built with moderate bone. Structure in the male reflects masculinity without coarseness. Bitches appear feminine without being slight of bone.
KC
Intelligent working dog with herding and guarding instincts. Great stamina, loyal, attentive and animated. Lithe, agile and able to change speed and direction with ease.

BEHAVIOUR / TEMPERAMENT

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FCI
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. With an even disposition, he is good natured, seldom quarrelsome. He may be somewhat reserved in initial meetings.
UKC
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 in intolerable.
KC
Even disposition. May show initial reserve, never shy or aggressive.

HEAD

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FCI
The head is clean cut, strong and dry. Overall size should be in proportion to the body.
UKC
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.
KC
In proportion to body. Clean cut. Dry. Muzzle equal to, or a little shorter than length of skull, tapering slightly to a rounded tip. Skull flat to slightly rounded, approximately equal in length and width. Moderate, well defined stop. Nose and eye rims: black in blue merles and blacks; shades of brown in red merles and reds. Poor pigmentation undesirable over one year of age.

CRANIAL REGION

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Skull

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FCI
Top flat to slightly domed. It may show a slight occipital protuberance. Length and width are equal.

Stop

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FCI
Moderate, well-defined.

FACIAL REGION

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Nose

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FCI
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.

Muzzle

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FCI
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 the tip.
KC
Jaws strong with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. the upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square to the jaws.

Jaws/Teeth

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FCI
A full complement of strong white teeth should meet in a scissors bite or may meet in a pincer bite.
UKC
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.

Eyes

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FCI
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 rims. Expression Showing attentiveness and intelligence, alert and eager. Gaze should be keen but friendly.
UKC
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.
KC
Expressive, almond shaped, set obliquely with tight fitting rims. Brown, blue or amber, or combination including flecks and marbling.

Ears

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FCI
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.
UKC
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.
KC
Triangular; of moderate size and thickness with a slightly rounded tip. Set high on the side of the head. When alert, brought forward and carried semi-erect, with half to three quarters of the ear breaking forward or to side.

NECK

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FCI
Strong, of moderate length, slightly arched at the crest, fitting well into the shoulders.
UKC
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.
KC
Clean, without throatiness. Moderate length, strong, slightly arched; fitting smoothly into shoulders.

BODY

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UKC
The body is firm and muscular. The bottom line carries well back with a moderate tuck-up. The topline appears level at a natural foursquare stance. The loin is strong and broad when viewed from the top. The chest is deep and strong, with ribs well sprung. The croup is moderately sloping, the ideal being thirty (30) degrees from the horizontal.
KC
Length from point of shoulder to point of buttock slightly greater than height at withers. Strong, with firm level topline. Chest deep, of moderate width, with brisket reaching to elbow. Ribs well sprung and carried well back. Loin strong and broad. Croup moderately sloping. Moderate tuck-up.

Topline

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FCI
Back straight and strong, level and firm from withers to hip joints.

Croup

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FCI
Moderately sloping.

Chest

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FCI
Chest: Not broad, but deep with the lowest point reaching the elbow.
Ribs: Well sprung and long, neither barrel chested nor slab-sided.

Underline and belly

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FCI
Shows a moderate tuck-up.

TAIL

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FCI
Straight, naturally long or naturally short. When docked (in countries where this practice is not forbidden), or naturally short, not to exceed 10 cm.
UKC
Tail is straight, not to exceed four (4) inches, natural bobtail or docked.
KC
Previously customarily docked. Undocked: Set on following the line of the croup. Of moderate length, not kinked. In overall balance with the rest of the dog. Moderately feathered. May be naturally bobbed.

LIMBS

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FOREQUARTERS

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UKC
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 (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 and compact, with close-knit, well-arched toes. Pads are thick and resilient; nails short and strong. Dewclaws may be removed.
KC
Shoulder blades long and flat, well laid back. Upper arms of comparable length and angulation. Height to the elbow is half the height of the dog at the withers. Forearms straight from all sides with moderate oval bone. Slightly sloping pasterns of medium length.

Shoulder

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FCI
Shoulder-blades 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.

Upper Arm

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FCI
Legs: Straight and strong. Bone strong, oval rather than round.

Pastern

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FCI
Medium length and very slightly sloping. Front dewclaws may be removed.

FEET

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KC
Oval, compact with well arched toes and thick pads.

Forefeet

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FCI
Oval, compact, with close-knit, well-arched toes. Pads thick and resilient.

Hind feet

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FCI
Oval, compact with close-knit, well-arched toes. Pads thick and resilient.

HINDQUARTERS

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FCI
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
UKC
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.
KC
Approximately equal in width to forequarters at the shoulders. Angulation of pelvis and upper thighs reflects that between scapulae and upper arms. Stifles moderately angulated. Hocks well let down, with rear pasterns perpendicular to ground and parallel when viewed from rear.

Stifle

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FCI
Clearly defined.

Hock joint

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FCI
Moderately bent.

Hock

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FCI
Short, perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other when viewed from the rear. No rear dewclaws.

GAIT / MOVEMENT

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FCI
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 centre line of the body. As speed increases, the feet (front and rear) converge toward the centre 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 gait instantly.
UKC
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.
KC
Agile, smooth, free and easy, with moderate length of stride without any exaggeration. Fore and hind limbs move straight and true but should converge at speed. Topline should remain firm and level.

COAT

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HAIR

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FCI
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 breeches are moderately feathered. There is a moderate mane and frill, more pronounced in dogs than in bitches.
UKC
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.
KC
Medium length and texture, straight to slightly wavy, weather resistant with undercoat. Short hair on head, ears front of forelegs and below hock joints. Back of legs moderately feathered. Moderate mane, more pronounced in dogs than bitches.

COLOUR

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FCI

Blue merle, black, red merle, red – all with or without white markings and/or tan markings, 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 (10 cm), measuring from a horizontal line at the elbow.
White on the head should not predominate, and the eyes must be fully surrounded by colour and pigment. Merles characteristically become darker with increasing age.
UKC
All colors are strong, clear and rich. The recognized colors are blue merle, red merle, solid black and solid red 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 merle and red do not. 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.
KC
Blue merle, black, red merle, red, all with or without tan points. All colours should be strong, clear and rich. White should not dominate the head. On all colours the areas covering and surrounding the ears and eyes are dominated by a colour other than white. May have white as follows: full or part collar not extending beyond point of withers at the skin * chest * muzzle * moderate blaze * underparts * on fore-legs * on hind-legs, preferably not extending above the hock joint

SIZE

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UKC
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.
KC
Dogs: 51-58 cms (20-23 inches). Bitches: 46-53 cms (18-21 inches).

Height at withers

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FCI
The preferred height for males is 20-23 inches (51-58 cm), females 18-21 inches (46-53 cm). Quality is not to be sacrificed in favour of size.

FAULTS

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FCI
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.
KC
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.

SERIOUS FAULTS

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FCI

Prick ears and hanging ears.
Non-typical coats.

DISQUALIFYING FAULTS

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FCI

  • Aggressive or overly shy.
  • Undershot. Overshot by more 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.
White body splashes in all colours, which means white on body between withers and tail, on sides between elbows and back of hindquarters.
Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
UKC

(An Eliminating Fault is a Fault serious enough that it eliminates the dog from obtaining any awards in a conformation event.) Any Australian Shepherd female over six months of age that measures under 17 inches or over 22 inches at the withers must be considered so faulty that it should not receive a placement, regardless of competition. Any Australian Shepherd male over six months of age that measures under 19 inches or over 24 inches at the withers must be considered so faulty that it should not receive a placement, regardless of competition.
Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid. Viciousness or extreme shyness. Undershot bites; overshot bites exceeding one-eighth inch. Albinism. Other than recognized colors. White body splashes. Dudley nose
Note: The docking of tails and cropping of ears in America is legal and remains a personal choice. However, as an international registry, the United Kennel Club, Inc. is aware that the practices of cropping and docking have been forbidden in some countries. In light of these developments, the United Kennel Club, Inc. feels that no dog in any UKC event, including conformation, shall be penalized for a full tail or natural ears. .


Anatomical Features of the dog

N.B.:

Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.