top of page

Australian Cattle Dog Breed Standard


A Breed Standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance including the correct colour of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function. Absolute soundness is essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be careful to avoid obvious conditions or exaggerations which would be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed. From time to time certain conditions or exaggerations may be considered to have the potential to affect dogs in some breeds adversely, and judges and breeders are requested to refer to the Breed Watch section of the Kennel Club website here for details of any such current issues. If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure. However if a dog possesses a feature, characteristic or colour described as undesirable or highly undesirable it is strongly recommended that it should not be rewarded in the show ring.


General Appearance

Strong, compact, symmetrical, with substance, power and balance. Hard muscular condition conveys agility, strength and endurance. Grossness or weediness undesirable.



Ability to control and move cattle in all environments. Loyal, protective. Guardian of stockman, herd and property. Naturally suspicious of strangers, but amenable to handling. Biddable.



Alert, intelligent, watchful, courageous, trustworthy, devoted to its work.


Head and Skull

Strong, in balance with body and general conformation. Skull broad and slightly curved between ears, flattening to slight but definite stop. Cheeks muscular but not coarse or prominent. Strong under-jaw, deep and well developed. Broad foreface, well filled in under eyes, tapers gradually down medium length muzzle which is parallel to skull. Nose always black.



Medium, oval, alert and intelligent, dark brown. Neither prominent nor sunken. Warning suspicious glint is characteristic.



Moderate, small rather than large. Broad at base, muscular, pricked and moderately pointed. Oval or bat-eared undesirable. Set wide apart inclining outwards. Sensitive, pricked when alert. Leather thick in texture and inside ear well furnished with hair.



Lips tight and clean. Jaws strong with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.



Exceptionally strong, muscular, of medium length blending into body. Free from throatiness.



Strong, muscular, sloping shoulders well laid back, not too closely set at withers. Strong, round bone, legs straight when viewed from front, pasterns flexible and slightly sloping when viewed from side. Loaded shoulder and heavy front undesirable.



Slightly longer from point of shoulder to buttocks than height at withers, as 10 is to 9. Level topline, strong back and couplings. Well sprung ribs, carried well back, but not barrel ribbed. Chest deep, muscular and moderately broad.



Broad, strong and muscular. Croup rather long and sloping. Thighs long, broad and well developed. Well turned stifle, hocks strong and well let down. When viewed from behind, hocks to feet straight and set parallel, neither too close nor too wide apart.



Round, short toes, strong, well arched and held tight, pads hard and deep. Nails short and strong.



Set on low, following slope of croup/rump. Reaching to hock, hanging in slight curve at rear. When working or excited, may be raised but never carried past a vertical line drawn through the root. Good brush.



True, free, supple, tireless, with powerful thrust of hindquarters. Capable of quick and sudden action. Soundness of paramount importance. Stands four square, but when moving at speed, legs tend to converge. Any weaknesses highly undesirable.



Smooth, double with short dense undercoat. Close top coat, hard, straight and weather resistant. Under body and behind legs, coat is longer to form mild breeching near thighs. Short on head (including inside of ear) front of legs and feet. Thicker and longer on neck. Average hair length 2.5-4 cms (1-11/2 ins).



Blue: Blue, blue-mottled or blue speckled with or without other markings. Permissible markings are black, blue or tan markings on head, evenly distributed for preference. Forelegs tan midway up legs and extending up the front to breast and throat, with tan on jaws. Hindquarters tan on inside of hindlegs, and inside of thighs, showing down front of stifles and broadening out to outside of hindlegs from hock to toes. Tan undercoat permissible on body providing it does not show through blue outer coat. Black markings on body undesirable.

Red Speckle: Good even red speckle all over, including undercoat, (neither white nor cream), with or without darker red markings on head. Even head markings desirable. Red markings on body permissible but undesirable.



Height at withers: dogs: 46-51 cms (approx. 18-20 ins); bitches: 43-48 cms (approx. 17-19 ins).



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 and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.



Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.


Reproduced with kind permission of The Kennel Club


bottom of page