Secretariat General: 13, Place Albert I – B 6530 THUIN (Belgium)



F.C.I.-Standard no. 342 / 05.06.2009 / GB                       


Australian Shepherd


Area of Origin: USA

Approved official standard from: 26. 3. 2009

The breed: farm dogs and shepherds


Group no 1: herding dogs (except Swiss mountain dog)

Section no 1 -- shepherds

Without an examination of skills.

Brief historical background:

Although 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 their association with the Basque sheepherders who came to the United States from Australia in the 19th century.

The Aussie rose rapidly in popularity with the boom of western riding after World War II, becoming known to the general public via rodeos, horse shows, movies and television. Their inherent good character and trainability made them useful on American farms and ranches. The American stockmen continued the development of the breed, maintaining the versatility, keen intelligence, strong herding instinct and eye-catching appearance.

Although each individual is unique in its colour and markings, they are all delightful and loyal companions and great family dogs, therefore very popular.

General appearance:

He 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 cloddiness. He has a coat of moderate length and coarseness. He has a docked or natural bobbed tail.

Important proportion:

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. Females appear feminine without being slight of bone.



The Australian Shepherd is an intelligent, active dog with an even disposition; he is good natured, seldom quarrelsome. He may be somewhat reserved in initial meetings.


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.

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


strong, of moderate length, slight arched at the crest, fitting well into the shoulders


Topline: Back is straight and strong, level and firm from withers to hip joints.

Croup: moderately sloped

Chest: not broad but deep with the lowest point reaching the elbow

Ribs: well sprung and long, neither barrel chested nor slabsided

The underline: moderate tuck-up


straight, docked or naturally bobbed (in countries where it is acceptable), not to exceed 10 centimeters in length.


  • Forequaters:

Shoulder: Shoulder blades are long, flat, fairly close set at the withers and well laid back

Legs: straight and strong. Bone is strong, oval rather than round.

Pastern: medium length and very slightly sloped. Front dewclaws may be removed.

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

  • Hindquaters

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.

Stifles: clearly defined

Hock joint: moderately bent

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

Feet:oval, compact with close knit, well arched toes. Pads are 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 center line of the body. As speed increases, the feet (front and rear) converge toward the center 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 is 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 britches are moderately feathered. There is a moderate mane and frill, more pronounced in males than in females.


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 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 10 centimeters (4 inches), 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.


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


Any abnormality (compared to the breed standards) is considered to be a fault whose seriousness is judged according to the level and effect on the health and life of the dog.

Severe faults:

  • Prick ears and hanging ears
  • Untypical coats


  • Any display of shyness, fear or aggression
  • Undershot. Overshot greater than 3 milimeteres (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, which means white on body between withers and tail, on sides between elbows and back of hindquarters in all colours.

All dogs having a physical or behavioral fault will be excluded from judging.

Note: Males should have fully developed testicles down in the scrotum.