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Rainforest Lightning Ridge, Courtesy of Anette LeFave Australian Shepherd Pet & Companion Standard

by Arthur Scott and Blue
(with contributions from other Aussie pet lovers)
(May be reproduced or copied in any form including use of quill pen.)

General Appearance
The Aussie Pet and Companion should be of medium size(any size that fits your bed, lap, or best soft chair). He*(see footnote) has a fuzzy and petable coat that is brightly colored (coloured-British translation) and is prone to leave hairs in undesirable places. He can run, jump, and play forever. "In each sex, masculinity or femininity is well defined". ( Boys will be boys and girls will be girls.)

Spay/Neuter
All Aussie Pets and Companions must be spayed or neutered. Intact pets and companions may not be shown in public and it is considered a disqualifying fault to have an intact pet. Exceptions will be made for those fluffy show types and grungy working types that will produce more future excellent pet and companion types.

Character
The Aussie Pet and Companion should be a never ending source of fun and joy. Aussies are noted herding dogs and "give eye" that is stare intently. This often manifests itself in stareing a hotdog from human fingers to their puppy mouth. The intensity of the stare, when a potato chip is halfway to the mouth, can be measured on the Richter Scale.

Paws & Eyes
Note that it is rather unusual that these parts of the anatomy are treated together. This is being done so that inexperienced judges can tell which end is up.. Always remember the eyes should be on the top and paws on the bottom. If the opposite is true there are three reasons, none of which should be considered disqualifying faults; 1) The dog is in the belly-scratch position (See Tummy standard), 2) the dog is standing on it's head, or 3) the judge is standing on it's head. Each of these minor faults may be corrected by turning the dog over or turning the judge over.
Paws - Aussie pets and companions should have four paws. It is not considered a fault to only have three. Paws should be moderately furry with the two inner toes longer than the two outer toes. Large amounts of fur between the toes is not desire able and is referred to as "Hobbitt Foot" The toes should make the foot form a sharp "U" shape. Pink toes with white nails are preferred because nail-grooming is much easier, but any color is acceptable. As discussed on Aussie-L, paws should have the distinct odor of popcorn, Fritos, grass, or feet (human?). Extra points are awarded for crossed front paws in the down position and extended rear legs (frog style).
Eyes - Eyes should be some color. They should reflect intelligence, caring, brightness, sensitivity, inquisitiveness, and love. It is impossible for any Aussie to fail this rigorous standard.

Muzzle
The muzzle should generally point in the direction the Aussie is moving when he is moving forward. Side to side movement is acceptable. When in a happy Aussie mood, the pretzel or horseshoe position (sometimes called the "C-,J-,or U- position") is permissable. This position requires that the Aussie be bent with the nose and butt pointing in the same direction. Note that forward or rearward movement is acceptable. The nose, however, should preceed most of the body when in a tennis-ball-, squirrel-, rabbit- other small critter-, and stock-like critter-chasing mode. The tongue, preferably pink, should be warm and damp to the touch and feel somewhat like very soft moleskin. (Not the animal type.) The tongue should also be capable of thoroughly cleaning faces, ears, hands, and feet of any household member or friend (human or animal). The muzzle should posses moderate nuzzlement or nudgability. It should be capable of nudging the hand on to the head for a pat, to call for additional cleaning by encouraging presentation of body parts that have not been licked, or placing a toy in the hand for a game. Nuisance nudging is considered a serious fault.
Nose - The nose should have a definite color and may be spotted with pink. It should be generally wet and cold, particularly prior to 6 AM.

Teeth
All pet and companion Aussies should have teeth; number is not important, particularly in older pups. However, they should preferably be located in the mouth. Judging should be based on the pups ability to eat kibble, treats, things off of the kitchen counter, and assorted outdoor items best left unmentioned. Exposing teeth in a grin or smile is considered a desirable trait.

Ears
Aussie ears should be warm and fuzzy and of sufficient size to hold while one is kissing the muzzle. They should be soft enough to provide a pleasant place for scratching. They should be warm and fuzzy enough to provide for nice cuddling and nuzzling. Size, quarter-fold, or half-fold are immaterial.

Tummy
Aussies should have warm soft skin on their tummies. The heavy coat should end approximately at the navel and from that point rearward should be sparse or non-existant. Bare skin or soft fuzz is preferred. Skin color is immaterial, but pink is preferred.
Disqualifications - Dog should not pee when laying in the tummy scratch position. Dog should exhibit extreme contentment when scratched even to the extent of closing it's eyes. Growling and biting are disqualifying faults. Involuntary scratching motions with hind legs is permitted. Other disqualifying faults are assuming the tummy scratch position when approached by persons, 1) carrying .357 magnums, knifes, or clubs; 2) walking out of the house with TVs,VCRs,Silver,Computers, or any other owners belongings after midnight, or 3) in Obedience or Conformation rings. Note in first two examples, dogs teeth should be planted firmly in some portion of persons anatomy. No time for scratches.

Butt
The correct Aussie butt, sometimes referred to as a wiggle-butt, must be covered with dense fur extending down the rear legs and forming pantaloons. It should be well rounded with a rather short or non-existant(nub) tail. It is not a disqualification if the dog has a long flowing tail as long as it can be proved that the dog is an Aussie and not a border collie(ugh). Overall the butt should look like the south end of a sheep headed north(Canadian translation:north end of sheep headed south.).
In judging, one must consider that the main purpose of the Aussie butt is camouflage (in addition to giving the dog a place to rest when in a sit-stay position). From time immemorial, Aussies have been expected to guard their flock. The best way to do this job is to blend in with the herd (go incognito) until the predator approaches within striking distance, then surprise him and get him from the rear. Thus the Aussie Butt Standard. One more judging consideration, the butt must remain on the ground when strangers approach (reserved?) but (no pun intended) may wiggle vigorously.

Color (Colour)
Aussie pet's and companion's fur should have a color or colors. This standard is similar to existing standards except the acceptable colors are a little more basic than blue merle, black tri, etc. Acceptable colors (all of the following are acceptable in any mixtures or shades) black, white, brown, copper, tan, red, bronze, beige, silver, silver grey. red grey, chestnut, yellow, red tan, tan red, and sable (also a bunch more that I can not describe). Note that fur of sky blue, royal blue, and most shades of blue (even on blue merles), purple, or green (in any shade) is considered a serious fault. Lots of white is not desirable. However, in a pet, if it is assured that any handicaps will not severely detract from the pet's quality of life, and the human companion will provide for all it's needs, it is acceptable. It should be noted that predominately white Aussies may be deaf and/or blind and be subject to other genetic health problems.

Gait
The Aussie should be able to run like the wind to catch or chase a tennis ball or Frisbee and he should be able to walk quitely with his human friend. There are no disqualifying faults under this standard so older and disabled pups are given full points.

* Note: All existing standards seem to use a masculine form--guess they do not know what girls are supposed to look like.

Australian Shepherd Pet Terms

Pups
Generic term for any canine without regard to sex or age.
Puppy
Up to six months but can vary with individual maturity(Some dogs have been known to be puppies their entire lives.)
Puppers
From six months to ten years. May also be used inchangeably with Pups as a greeting such as "Hi, Puppers!"
Pupas
Ten years and older for males only.
Little Puppy
Ten years and up for females only.
My/The/Sweet Old Puppy
General reference to any dog or bitch that is ten years and older.
Puppalini (adj) puh-puh-lee-nee
For rhyming use e.g. "What a good puppalini beanie or puppalini sweetie!" Used as a term of praise, expressed in an excited tone of voice, usually during an outside potty trip. Only appropriate for puppies.
Pupster
usually used as a form of greeting or affectionate reference. For example, "Hey, little pupster. How's it goin'?" or alternately, in doggie conversation, "Are you a good pupster?"
Puppilicious
used similarly to Pupster. For example, "Puppilicious, come get a treat..."
Dogface
always used affectionately, though sometimes in gentle reproach. For example, "Dogface, were you chasing that cat?"
Vertically Challanged
Any Aussie that is too short to reach a kitchen counter.
Calorically Challenged
Any Aussie over about seventy(?) pounds.(31.82 kilograms)

The Aussie Pet & Companion Standard is courtesy of Art Scott and his Aussies Blue, Koda, and Sierra. Email Art, Blue, Koda, and Sierra too, or visit their Web site at Aussiedogy.

 


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