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ASCA breed standard since 15.Jan.1977


General Appearance

The Australian Shepherd is a well-balanced, medium-sized, well-boned dog.
Alert and lively, he displays strength and endurance combined with exceptional agility.
It is slightly longer than it is tall and has a coat of medium length and hardness, with coloring allowing for a wide range of variation and individuality for each dog.
An identifying characteristic is its natural or docked bobtail.

The gender differences between males and females are clearly visible.


The Australian Shepherd is intelligent, primarily a working dog with strong herding and guarding instincts.


He is an exceptional companion.


Versatile and easily trained, he accomplishes his tasks  with great style and enthusiasm.

He is reserved with strangers but does not show shyness.

Although an aggressive and authoritarian worker, malice towards people and animals is not tolerable. 

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Shapely, strong, dry and in proportion to the body.

The skull is flat to slightly domed, its length and width equal to the length of the muzzle, which is balanced and proportionate to the rest of the head.

The muzzle tapers slightly to a rounded tip of the nose.

The stop is moderately pronounced, but clearly visible. 



A complete scissor bite with healthy, white teeth.

A smooth bite is a fault.


Broken teeth or missing teeth due to an accident are not considered faults.

Disqualifying faults are: underbite; Overbite greater than 0.31 cm (1/8 inch).



Very expressive, showing attentiveness and intelligence.

Clear, almond-shaped and of medium size, set on slightly obliquely, neither protruding nor sunken, with dark pupils that are sharply defined and perfectly positioned.

Colors are: brown, blue, amber, or any variation or combination including spots and marbling. 


Set on high on the sides of the head, triangular and slightly rounded at the top, of medium size.
Length is measured by bringing the tip of the ear to the inner corner of the eye.

When fully alert, the ears will fall forward between a quarter (1/4) and a half (1/2) from the base.

Prick ears and lop ears are serious faults. 


neck & 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 top line appears level with a natural square stance.
The chest is deep and firm with well formed ribs. The loin is strong and broad when viewed from above. The underline rises moderately from front to back.
The croup is moderately sloping.
The ideal angle is 30 degrees from the horizontal.
The tail is straight, no longer than 4 inches (10.16 cm), natural bobtail or docked.


Shoulder blades long, flat, set on closely at the withers, about two finger breadths apart in a natural stance, well laid back at an approximate angle of 45 degrees  to the ground.
The upper arm is set at an approximate right angle to the shoulder with the forelegs straight and vertical.
The elbow joint is equidistant from the ground and from the withers.
The legs are straight and strong.
Pasterns are short, thick and strong yet flexible and show a slight angle when viewed from the side.
Paws are oval shaped, compact, with tightly joined, well arched toes.
The pads are thick and elastic.
The claws are short and strong.
Wolf claws can be removed.



The width of the hindquarters is approximately equal to the width of the frontquarters at the shoulders.
The angulation of the pelvis and thighs corresponds to the
angulation of the shoulder blade and upper arm, almost forming a right angle.
The stifles are clearly defined, the hocks moderately arched.
The metatarsi are short, perpendicular to the ground, and parallel to each other when viewed from behind.
Paws are oval shaped, compact, with tightly joined, well arched toes.
The pads are thick and elastic.
The claws are short and strong.
The rear wolf claws are removed. 


Medium texture, smooth to slightly wavy, weather resistant, medium length with undercoat.
The quantity of undercoat varies with climate.
The hair is short and sleek on the head, on the outside of the ears, the front of the forelegs and below the hocks.
The backs of the forelegs are moderately feathered; the pants are medium full.
Mane and collar are moderate, more pronounced in males than in females.

Atypical coat texture is a serious fault. 



All colors are strong, clear and rich.

The recognized colors are blue merle, red (liver) merle, solid black, or solid red (liver), all with or without white and/or copper markings, with no preference of order.
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 old.
For 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 Faults: Colors other than recognized.
White spots on the body.
Completely unpigmented noses (Dudley Nose).


Soft, free and light.
Shows agility in movement with a well balanced, ground covering stride.
Front and hind legs move straight and parallel to midline of body; as speed increases, the front and rear paws approach the dog's center of gravity line while the dog's backline remains firm and level.



Preferred height at the withers for males is 50.8 cm to 58.5 cm (20 to 23 inches);

those for bitches 45.7 cm to 53.4 cm (18 to 21 inches), but quality should never  be sacrificed to size .

Other disqualifying errors: monorchidism, cryptorchidism

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