Main Header Australian Shepherd Breed Standard
Forequarters
The shoulder blades (scapula) are long and flat, close set at the withers, approximately two fingers width at a natural stance and are well laid back at an angle approximately forty-five (45) degrees to the ground. The upper arm (humerus) is attached at an approximate right angle to the shoulder line with forelegs dropping straight, perpendicular to the ground. The elbow joint is equidistant from the ground to the withers. The legs are straight and powerful. Pasterns are short, thick and strong, but still flexible, showing a slight angle when viewed from the side. Feet are oval shaped, compact, with close-knit, well-arched toes. Pads are thick and resilient; nails short and strong. Dewclaws may be removed.
Australian Shepherds Front

Correct Front
Australian Shepherd Shoulder Layback
Correct Shoulder

The Australian Shepherd is first and foremost, a working stockdog  whose job requires endurance. To reduce the effects of concussion on joints and allow the dog to cover ground smoothly and efficiently, it needs a well angulated shoulder assembly.

The shoulder blades should sit close together at the withers and fit snugly against the rib cage. The shoulder blade and upper arm meet to form an approximate right angle. The length of the forearm (humerus) should be equal to or slightly longer than that of the shoulder blade to allow maximum forward reach.

The depth of body from the withers to the bottom of the chest should be equal to the length of leg from the ground to the elbow.

The  forelegs should form straight columns, turning neither in nor out at any point along their length. Leg bone should be moderate and oval rather than rounded or flattened.

The pasterns are short, strong and  exhibit a slight angle in order to reduce concussion. The shoulder and pastern generally have the same degree of slope.
The pastern that is too straight or long cannot absorb the impact of trotting over rough terrain.

Feet are tight, oval shaped with well arched toes needed for additional shock absorption.

Removal of dewclaws is optional.

 

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