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The Australian Shepherd Breed Standard:

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General Appearance:

  • Well balanced, length slightly greater than height.

  • Medium sized, muscular with moderate bone.

  • Expression alert and keen.

  • Masculinity and femininity well defined.


  • Even disposition.

  • May show initial reserve, never shy or aggressive.


  • Expressive, almond shaped, set obliquely with tight fitting rims.

  • Brown, blue or amber, or combination including flecks and marbling.


  • 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.

Head and Skull:

  • In proportion to body.

  • Clean cut and 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • Clean, without throatiness.

  • Moderate length, strong, slightly arched; fitting smoothly into shoulders.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • ​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.


  • 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.


  • Dogs: 51-58 cms (20-23 inches).

  • Bitches: 46-53 cms (18-21 inches).


  • 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.


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

Gait/ Movement:

  • 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.


  • 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


  • 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.


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

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