Main Header Australian Shepherd Breed Standard
Neck and Body
The neck is firm, clean and in proportion to the body. It is of medium length and slightly arched at the crest, setting well into the shoulders. The body is firm and muscular. The topline appears level at a natural four-square stance. The chest is deep and strong with ribs well-sprung. The loin is strong and broad when viewed from the top. The bottom line carries well back with a moderate tuck-up. The croup is moderately sloping, the ideal being thirty (30) degrees from the horizontal. Tail is straight, not to exceed four (4) inches, natural bobtail or docked.
Australian Shepherd Female Body Type
Female Body Type
Male Structure Australian Shepherd
Male Body Type

The neck should be firmly muscled without being thick and cloddy. It is moderate in length with a slight arch at the crest. The skin is firm and tight, without evidence of loose folds or dewlap hanging from the throat. The arch may be more evident on males and on dogs with more neck coat.

The head and neck are carried slightly forward of the shoulders while standing and are carried slightly above horizontal when in motion.
The correct neck length and set are determined by the proper shoulder placement and angulation. Straight shoulders will result in a short, thick neck lacking the proper flexibility. An excessively long neck will be weak.

The neck and withers should merge smoothly into the topline. The back is level and strong, without evidence of a sag or roach (convex arch) The topline should be evaluated while the dog is standing in a natural four square stance and should be slightly shorter than the length of the bottomline.

The chest should offer enough depth and width to comfortably hold the body organs and allow for proper lung expansion during exertion.  The deepest part of the chest should be just behind the front legs and level with the elbows. From the lowest point, the bottomline should gradually rise into a moderate tuck-up at the flank.

The ribcage should be oval shaped with appropriate spring of rib to provide the most room while still allowing freedom of movement along the side of the rib cage.

A shallow chest allows the elbows to slide inward towards the body causing the entire front leg assembly to move too closely and resulting in the interference of correct forward motion.
A barrel or rounded chest interferes with the range of motion, forcing the elbows to swing out and around the body.
Flattened or slab sided ribs (lacking spring) do not offer enough breadth of chest to accomodate good lung capacity.

The loin (coupling) should be well-muscled and strong. The loin is the pivot point of a dog's back and requires both flexibility and strength.
The croup should should slope moderately from the point of the hip bone to the point of the buttock.

The tail should be naturally bobbed or docked and must not exceed four inches. Absolutely no preference should be given between different tail lengths under four inches.

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