FCI-Standard N° 342
DATE OF PUBLICATION OF THE OFFICIAL VALID
UTILIZATION: Farm and ranch shepherd dog.
CLASSIFICATION F.C.I.: Group 1 Sheepdogs and Cattle dogs
(except Swiss Cattle dogs)
Section 1 Sheepdogs
Without working trial.
BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY: 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: 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.
IMPORTANT PROPORTIONS: 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.
BEHAVIOUR/TEMPERAMENT: 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.
HEAD: The head is clean cut, strong and dry. Overall size should be
in proportion to the body.
Skull: Top flat to slightly domed. It may show a slight occipital
protuberance. Length and width are equal.
Stop: Moderate, well-defined.
Nose: 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: 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.
Jaws/Teeth: A full complement of strong white teeth should meet in
a scissors bite or may meet in a pincer bite.
EYES: 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.
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
NECK: 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
Croup: Moderately sloping.
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: Shows a moderate tuck-up.
TAIL: Straight, naturally long or naturally short. When docked (in
countries where this practice is not forbidden), or naturally short, not
to exceed 10 cm.
Shoulder: 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.
Metacarpus (Pastern): Medium length and very slightly sloping.
Front dewclaws may be removed.
Forefeet: Oval, compact, with close-knit, well-arched toes. Pads
thick and resilient.
General appearance: 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
Stifle: Clearly defined.
Hock joints: Moderately bent.
Hocks: Short, perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other
when viewed from the rear. No rear dewclaws.
Hind feet: Oval, compact with close-knit, well-arched toes. Pads
thick and resilient.
GAIT: 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.
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, more pronounced in
dogs than in bitches.
Colour: 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.
Height at the withers: 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: 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.
• Prick ears and hanging ears.
• Non-typical coats.
• Aggressive or overly shy
• Any dog clearly showing physical of behavioural
• 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.
• Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles
fully descended into the scrotum.
• Only functionally and clinically healthy dogs, with breed
typical conformation, should be used for breeding.
The latest amendments are in bold characters.