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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 rose ear.

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 joints.
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 abnormalities.
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.


ORIGIN: Japan.


UTILIZATION: Companion Dog.

FCI-CLASSIFICATION: Group 5 Spitz and primitive types.

Section 5 Asian Spitz and related breeds.

Without working trial.

BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY: In the beginning, the history of the American Akitas is similar to the history of Japanese Akitas. Since 1603, in the Akita region, Akita Matagis (medium-sized bear-hunting dogs) were used as fighting dogs. From 1868, Akita Matagis were crossbred with Tosas and Mastiffs. Consequently, the size of Akitas increased, but characteristics associated with Spitz type were lost. In 1908 dog fighting was prohibited, but Akitas were nevertheless preserved and improved as a large Japanese breed. As a result, nine superior examples of Akitas were designated as «Natural Monuments » in 1931.

During World War II (1939-1945), it was common to use dogs as a source of fur for military garments. The police ordered the capture and confiscation of all dogs other than German Shepherd Dogs used for military purposes. Some fanciers tried to circumvent the order by crossbreeding their dogs with German Shepherd Dogs. When World War II ended, Akitas had been drastically reduced in number and existed as three distinct types: 1) Matagi Akitas 2) Fighting Akitas 3) Shepherd Akitas. This created a very confusing situation in the breed. During the restoration process of the pure breed after the war, Kongo-go of the Dewa line enjoyed a temporary, but tremendous popularity. Many Akitas of the Dewa line, which exhibited characteristics of the Mastiff and German Shepherd influence, were brought back to the United States by members of the Military Forces.

The Akitas from the Dewa line, intelligent and capable of adapting to different environments, fascinated breeders in the United States and the line was developed with increasing number of breeders and a great rise in popularity.

The Akita Club of America was established in 1956 and the American Kennel Club (AKC) accepted the breed (inscription into the stud book and regular show status) in October 1972. However, at this time, the AKC and the JKC (Japan Kennel Club) did not have reciprocal agreements for recognizing each other's pedigrees and therefore the door was closed for the introduction of the new bloodlines from Japan. Consequently, Akitas in the United States became considerably different from those in Japan, the country of origin. They developed as a type unique in the United States, with characteristics and type unchanged since 1955. This is in sharp contrast with Akitas in Japan which were crossbred with Matagi Akitas for the purpose of restoring the original pure breed.

GENERAL APPEARANCE: Large-sized dog, sturdily built, well balanced, with much substance and heavy bone. The broad head, forming a blunt triangle, with deep muzzle, relatively small eyes and erect ears carried forward almost in line with back of neck, is characteristic of the breed.


• The ratio of height at withers to length of body is 9 to 10 in males and 9 to 11 in bitches.

• The depth of the chest measures one-half of the height of the dog at withers.

• The distance from tip of nose to stop corresponds to the distance from stop to occiput as 2 does to 3.

BEHAVIOUR / TEMPERAMENT: Friendly, alert, responsive, dignified, docile and courageous.

HEAD: Massive, but in balance with the body, free of wrinkles when at ease. Head forms a blunt triangle when viewed from above.


Skull: Flat and broad between ears. A shallow furrow extends well up on forehead.

Stop: Well defined, but not too abrupt.


Nose: Broad and black. Slight and diffuse lack of pigment on nose is acceptable in white dogs only but black is always preferred.

Muzzle: Broad, deep and full.

Lips: Black. Not pendulous; tongue pink.

Jaws/Teeth: Jaws not rounded, but blunt, strong and powerful. Teeth strong with regular and full dentition (lack of PM1 and M3 allowed). Scissor bite preferred, but level bite acceptable.

EYES: Dark brown, relatively small, not prominent, almost triangular in shape. Eye rims black and tight.

EARS: Strongly erect and small in relation to the rest of the head. If the ear is folded forward for measuring length, tip will touch upper eye rim. Ears are triangular, slightly rounded at tip, wide at base, not set too low. Viewed from the side, the ears are angled forward over the eyes following the line of the neck.

NECK: Thick and muscular with minimal dewlap, comparatively short, widening gradually toward shoulders. A pronounced crest blends harmoniously into the base of skull.

BODY: Longer than high. Skin not too thin, neither too tight nor too loose.

Back: Level.

Loin: Firmly muscled.

Chest: Wide and deep. Ribs well sprung with well developed brisket.

Underline and Belly: Moderate tuck-up.

TAIL: Large and well furnished with hair, set high and carried over back or against flank in a three-quarter, full, or double curl, always dipping to or below level of back.

On a three-quarter curl, tip drops well down on flank. Root large and strong.

The terminal bone of tail reaches hock when let or pulled down. Hair coarse, straight and dense, with no appearance of a plume.



General appearance: Forelegs heavy-boned and straight as viewed from front.

Shoulder: Strong and powerful with moderate layback.

Pasterns: Slightly sloping forward in an angle of approximately 15° to the vertical.

Forefeet: Straight, cat feet, well knuckled up with thick pads.


General appearance: Strongly muscled, width and bone comparable to forequarters. Dewclaws on hind legs customarily removed.

Upper thigh: Strong, well developed, parallel when viewed from behind.

Stifles: Moderately bent.

Hock joints: Well let down, turning neither in nor out.

Hind feet: Straight, cat feet, well knuckled up with thick pads.

GAIT / MOVEMENT: Powerful, covering ground with moderate reach and drive. Hindlegs move in line with forelegs. Back remaining strong, firm and level.


Hair: Double-coat. Undercoat thick, soft, dense and shorter than outer coat. Outer coat straight, harsh/stiff and standing somewhat off body. Hair on head, lower legs and ears short. Length of hair at withers and croup approximately 5 cm, which is slightly longer than on rest of body, except tail, where coat is longest and most profuse.

Colour: Any colour like red, fawn, white, etc; or even pinto and brindle. Colours are brilliant and clear, and markings are well balanced, with or without mask or blaze. White dogs (solid in colour) have no mask. Pinto have a white ground colour with large, evenly placed patches covering head and more than one-third of body. Undercoat may have a different colour from the outer-coat.


Height at withers: For males: 66 to 71 cm (26-28 inches),

for bitches: 61 to 66 cm (24-26 inches).

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.

• Feminine dogs, masculine bitches.

• Narrow or snipey head.

• Any missing tooth (except PM1 and M3).

• Blue or black spotted tongue.

• Light eyes.

• Short tail.

• In or out at elbows.

• Any indication of ruff or feathering.

• Shyness or viciousness.


• Light in substance.

• Light bone.


• Aggressive or overly shy.

• Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities.

• Totally unpigmented nose. A nose with unpigmented areas (Butterfly nose).

• Drop, hanging or folded ears.

• Under- or overshot bite.

• Sickle or uncurled tail.

• Dogs under 63,5 cm (25 inches), bitches under 58,5 cm (23 inches).


• 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.


Multi-breed kennel in Ukraine.
The site is about American Akita,
Australian Shepherd and
Miniature American Shepherd dog breeds
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