Australian Shepherds Breed Standards

Australian Shepherds Breed Standards


The Australian Shepherd 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 cloddishness. He has a coat of moderate length and coarseness with a naturally bobbed or docked tail.


Measuring from the breastbone to rear of thigh and from the point of the withers to the ground, the Australian Shepherd is slightly longer than tall.


Solidly built with moderate bone. The structure in the male reflects masculinity without coarseness. Bitches appear feminine without being slight of bone.


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 and seldom quarrelsome. He may be somewhat reserved in initial meeting with strangers. Any display of shyness, fear or aggression is to be severely penalized.


The head is clean cut, strong and dry. Overall size should be in proportion to the body.


Skull : The top of the skull should be flat to slightly domed. It may show a slight occipital protuberance. Length and width are equal.

Stop : Is moderate, but well defined.


Nose : Blue merles and blacks have black pigmentation on the nose. Red merles and reds have liver (brown) pigmentation on the nose. On the merles it is permissible to have small pink spots (butterfly marks). However, these should not exceed 25% of the nose surface on dogs over 1 year of age, which is a serious fault.

Muzzle : IS equal in length or slightly shorter than the back skull. Viewed from the side the top line 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. Blue merles and blacks have pigmentation on their lips. Reds and red merles have liver (brown) pigmentation on their lips.

Teeth : A full complement of strong white teeth should meet in a scissors. They may meet in a level bite.

Eyes : Brown, blue, amber or any variation or combination thereof, including flecks and marbling and splits. Almond shaped and 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 : Shows attentiveness and intelligence, is alert and eager. The Australian Shepherd gaze should be keen but friendly.

Ears : 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 severe faults.


Strong, of moderate length, slightly arched at the crest, fitting well into the shoulders.


Top line: Back straight and strong, level and firm from withers to hip joints.

Croup : Moderately sloping.

Chest : Not broad but deep with the lowest point reaching the elbow.

Ribs : Well sprung and long, neither barrel chest ed nor slab-sided.

Underline : Shows a moderate tuck-up.


Straight, naturally long or naturally short or naturally bobbed. When docked (in countries where this is allowed). Should not exceed four inches (10 cm) in length.



Shoulders : 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.

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

Pastern : Medium length and very slightly sloping. Front dew claws may be removed.

Feet : Oval, compact with close knit, well arched toes. Pads thick and resilient.


The width of the hindquarters is equal to the width of the forequarters at the shoulders. The angulations of the

pelvis and upper thigh corresponds to the angulations of the shoulder blade and upper arm, forming an

approximate right angle.

Stifles : Clearly defined.

Hock Joints : Moderately bent.

Hocks : Short, perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other when viewed from the rear. Rear dew claws must be removed.

Feet : Oval, compact with close knit, well arched toes. Pads thick and resilient.


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 Centrex line of the body. As speed increases, the feet (front and rear) converge toward the Centrex 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.


Hair : 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 which is more pronounced in dogs than in bitches. Non-typical coats are severe faults.


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 should 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 under parts, blaze on head and white extension from under part up to four (4) 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 color and pigment. Merles characteristically become darker with increasing age.


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 favor of size.


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.


Undershot or overshot, greater than 1/8 inch (3mm). Loss of contact caused by short Centrex incisors in an otherwise correct bite shall not be judged undershot. Teeth broken or missing by accident shall not be penalized.

White body splashed in all colors, which means white on body between withers and tail, on sides between elbows and back of hindquarters

"Your friend, your companion, your protector, your dog. You are their life, their love, their leader. They will be yours faithful and true to the last beat of their heart. You owe it to them to be worthy of such devotion"
Australian Shepherds ~ Liashasue