The OLD American Kennel Club Australian Cattle Dog Breed Standard

NOTE that this standard was updated by the ACDCA and the AKC in 1999.

General Appearance- The general appearance is that of a sturdy, compact, symetrically-built working dog. With the ability and willingness to carry out any task, however arduous, its combination of substance, power, balance, and hard, muscular condition to be such that must convey the impression of of great agility, strength, and endurance. Any tendency to grossness or weediness is a serious fault.

Characteristics - The utility purpose is assistance in the control of cattle, in both wide open and confined areas. Ever alert, extremely intelligent, watchful courageous, and trustworthy, with an implicit devotion to duty, making it an ideal dog. Its loyalty and protective instincts make a self-appointed guardian to the stockman, his herd, his property. Whilst suspicious of strangers, must be amenable to handling in the show ring.

Head - The head, in balance with other proportions of the dog, and in keeping with its general conformation, is broad of skull and only slightly curved between the ears, flattening to a slight but definite stop. The cheeks are muscular, but not coarse nor prominent, the underjaw is strong, deep and well-developed. The foreface is broad and well filled in under the eye, tapering gradually to a medium length, deep and powerful muzzle. The lips are tight and clean. The nose is black irrespective of the color of the dog.
Teeth - The teeth should be sound, strong, and regularly spaced, gripping with a scissors-like action, the lower incisors close behind and just touching the upper. Not to be undershot nor overshot.
Eyes - The eyes should be oval shaped of medium size, neither prominent nor sunken, and must express alertness and intelligence. A warning or suspicious glint is characteristic. Eye color is dark brown.
Ears - The ears should be of moderate size, preferably small rather than large, broad at the base, muscular, pricked, and moderately pointed (not spoon nor bat eared). Set wide apart on the skull, inclined outwards, sensitive in their use, and firmly erect when alert. The inside of the ear should be well furnished with hair.

Neck - The neck is of exceptional strength, muscular, and of medium length, broadening to blend into the body and free from throatiness.

Forequarters - The shoulders are broad of blade, sloping, muscular, and well angulated to the upper arm, and at the point of the withers should not be too closely set. The forelegs have strong round bone, extending to the feet without weakness at the pasterns. The forelegs should be perfectly straight viewed from the front, but the pasterns should show a slight angle with the forearm when regarded from the side.

Hindquarters - The hindquarters are broad, sloping and muscular. The rump is rather long and sloping, thighs long, broad and well developed, with moderate turn to stifle. The hocks are strong and well let down. When viewed from behind, the hind legs, from the hocks to the feet, are straight and placed neither close nor too wide apart.

Feet - The feet should be round and the toes short, strong, well-arched and held together. The pads hard and deep, and the nails must be short and strong.

Body - 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 ribbed back. (Not barrel ribbed.) The chest is deep and muscular, and moderately broad, loins are broad, deep and muscular with deep flanks strongly coupled between the fore and hindquarters.

Tail - The set of the tail is low, following the contours of the sloping rump, and at rest should hang in a slight curve of a length to reach approximately to the hock. During movement and/or excitement it may be raised, but under no circumstances should any part of the tail be carried past a vertical line drawn through the root.

Coat - The weather resisting outer coat is moderately short, straight and of medium texture, with short dense undercoat. Behind the quarters the coat is longer, forming a mild breeching. The tail is furnished sufficiently to form a good brush. The head, forelegs, hind legs from hock to ground, are coated with short hair.

Color (Blue) - The color should be blue or blue-mottled 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 the breast and throat, with tan on jaws; the hindquarters tan on inside of hind legs, and inside of thighs, showing down the front of the stifles and broadening out to the outside of the hind legs from hock to toes. Tan under coat is permissible on the body provided it does not show through the blue outer coat. Black markings on the body are not desirable.

Color (Red Speckle) - The color should be a good even red speckle all over including the undercoat (not white or 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.

Size - The desirable height at the withers to be within the following dimensions:
                      Dogs 18 to 20 inches.
                      Bitches 17 to 19 inches.
Dogs or bitches over or under these specified sizes are undesirable.

Movement - Soundness is of paramount importance. The action is true, free, supple and tireless, the movement of the shoulders and forelegs with the powerful thrust of the hindquarters, in unison. Capability of quick and sudden movement is essential. 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.

Approved June 12, 1979

Copyright 1979, Australian Cattle Dog Club of America