Australian Cattle Dog Breed Standard
The general appearance is that of a strong compact, symmetrically built working dog,
with the ability and willingness to carry out his allotted task however arduous. Its
combination of substance, power, balance and hard muscular condition must convey
the impression of great agility, strength and endurance. Any tendency to grossness or
weediness is a serious fault.
As the name implies the dog's prime function, and one in which he has no peer, is the
control and movement of cattle in both wide open and confined areas. Always alert,
extremely intelligent, watchful, courageous and trustworthy, with an implicit devotion
to duty making it an ideal dog.
The Cattle Dog's loyalty and protective instincts make it a self-appointed guardian to the
Stockman, his herd and his property. Whilst naturally suspicious of strangers, must be
amenable to handling, particularly in the Show ring. Any feature of temperament or
structure foreign to a working dog must be regarded as a serious fault.
Head and Skull
The head is strong and must be in balance with other proportions of the dog and in
keeping with its general conformation. The broad skull is slightly curved between the
ears, flattening to a slight but definite stop. The cheeks muscular, neither coarse nor
prominent with the underjaw strong, deep and well developed. The foreface is broad and
well filled in under the eyes, tapering gradually to form a medium length, deep, powerful
muzzle with the skull and muzzle on parallel planes. The lips are tight and clean. Nose black.
Eyes-- The eyes should be of oval shape and medium size, neither prominent nor sunken
and must express alertness and intelligence. A warning or suspicious glint is characteristic
when approached by strangers. Eye color, dark brown.
Ears-- The ears should be of moderate size, preferably small rather than large, broad at the
base, muscular, pricked and moderately pointed neither spoon nor bat eared. The ears are
set wide apart on the skull, inclining outwards, sensitive in their use and pricked when alert,
the leather should be thick in texture and the inside of the ear fairly well furnished with hair.
Mouth-- The teeth, sound, strong and evenly spaced, gripping with a scissor-bite, the lower
incisors close behind and just touching the upper. As the dog is required to move difficult
cattle by heeling or biting, teeth which are sound and strong are very important.
The neck is extremely strong, muscular, and of medium length broadening to blend into the
body and free from throatiness.
The shoulders are strong, sloping, muscular and well angulated to the upper arm and should
not be too closely set at the point of the withers. The forelegs have strong, round bone,
extending to the feet and should be straight and parallel when viewed from the front, but the
pasterns should show flexibility with a slight angle to the forearm when viewed from the side.
Although the shoulders are muscular and the bone is strong, loaded shoulders and heavy
fronts will hamper correct movement and limit working ability.
The length of the body from the point of the breast bone, in a straight line to the buttocks, is
greater than the height at the withers, as 10 is to 9. The topline is level, back strong with ribs
well sprung and carried well back not barrel ribbed. The chest is deep, muscular and moderately
broad with the loins broad, strong and muscular and the flanks deep.
The dog is strongly coupled.
The hindquarters are broad, strong and muscular. The croup is rather long and sloping, thighs
long, broad and well developed, the stifles well turned and the hocks strong and well let down.
When viewed from behind, the hind legs, from the hocks to the feet, are straight and placed
parallel, neither close nor too wide apart.
The feet should be round and the toes short, strong, well arched and held close together.
The pads are hard and deep, and the nails must be short and strong.
The set on of tail is moderately low, following the contours of the sloping croup and of length
to reach approximately to the hock. At rest it should hang in a very slight curve. During movement
or excitement the tail may be raised, but under no circumstances should any part of the tail be
carried past a vertical line drawn through the root. The tail should carry a good brush.
The action is true, free, supple and tireless and the movement of the shoulders and forelegs is in
unison with the powerful thrust of the hindquarters. The capability of quick and sudden movement
is essential. Soundness is of paramount importance and stiltiness, loaded or slack shoulders,
straight shoulder placement, weakness at elbows, pasterns or feet, straight stifles, cow or bow
hocks, must be regarded as serious faults. When trotting the feet tend to come closer together at
ground level as speed increases, but when the dog comes to rest he should stand four square.
The coat is smooth, a double coat with a short dense undercoat. The outer-coat is close, each
hair straight, hard, and lying flat, so that it is rain-resisting. Under the body, to behind the legs,
the coat is longer and forms near the thigh a mild form of breeching. On the head (including the
inside of the ears), to the front of the legs and feet, the hair is short. Along the neck it is longer
and thicker. A coat either too long or too short is a fault. As an average, the hairs on the body
should be from 2.5 to 4 cms (approx. 1-1.5 ins) in length.
The color should be blue, blue-mottled or blue speckled with or without other markings. The
permissible markings are black, blue or tan markings on the head, evenly distributed for
preference. The forelegs tan midway up the legs and extending up the front to breast and throat,
with tan on jaws; the hindquarters tan on inside of hindlegs, and inside of thighs, showing
down the front of the stifles and broadening out to the outside of the hindlegs from hock to toes.
Tan undercoat is permissible on the body providing it does not show through the blue outer coat.
Black markings on the body are not desirable.
Color (Red Speckle)
The color should be of good even red speckle all over, including the undercoat,
(neither white nor cream), with or without darker red markings on the head. Even
head markings are desirable. Red markings on the body are permissible but not desirable.
Dogs 46-51 cms (approx. 18-20 ins) at withers
Bitches 43-48 cms (approx. 17-19 ins) at withers
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.
Approved: January 11, 1999
Effective: February 24, 1999