Breed  Standards

Breed  Standards  are  a  guide  to  help  breeders  and  judges  determine  which  individual  dogs 
( within  each  breed ),  most  closely  match  the  description  of  the  "ideal"  specimen. 

The  keys  to  understanding  a  Breed  Standard  is  to  know  the  "whys"  of  it's  written  language.   The  purpose  and  function  of  most  breeds  is  what  greatly  influences  the  Breed  Standard.  
The  history  of  the  breed  and  health  concerns  may  also  influence  the  document. 
The  reader  should  have  a  knowledge  of  basic  dog  anatomy  and  terminology.

*  It  is  up  to  each  owner  and  judge  to  further  educate  themselves  on  the  breed  particulars. 
Miniature  American  Shepherd   ( AKC ) 

General Appearance:
The Miniature American Shepherd is a small size herding dog that originated in the United States. He is slightly longer than tall with bone that is moderate and in proportion to body size and height without extremes. Movement is smooth, easy, and balanced. Exceptional agility combined with strength and stamina allows for working over a variety of terrain. This highly versatile, energetic dog makes an excellent athlete with superior intelligence and a willingness to please those to whom he is devoted. He is both a loyal companion and a biddable worker, which is evident in his watchful expression. The double coat of medium length and coarseness may be solid in color or merled, with or without white and/or tan (copper) markings. He traditionally has a docked or natural bobtail.

Size, Proportion and Substance:
Size-- Height for dogs is 14 inches up to and including 18 inches at the top of the withers. Height for bitches is 13 inches up to and including 17 inches at the top of withers. Disqualification: under 14 inches and over 18 inches for dogs; under 13 inches and over 17 inches for bitches. The minimum heights set forth in this breed standard shall not apply to dogs or bitches under six months of age. Proportion-- Measuring from the point of the shoulder to the point of the buttocks and from the highest point of the shoulder blade to the ground, he is slightly longer than tall. Substance-- Solidly built with moderate bone in proportion to body height and size. Structure in the dog reflects masculinity without coarseness. Bitches appear feminine without being slight of bone.

Head:
The head is clean-cut, dry, and in proportion to the body. Expression-- Alert, attentive and intelligent. May express a reserved look and/or be watchful of strangers. Eyes-- The eyes are set obliquely, almond shaped, neither protruding nor sunken and in proportion to the head. Acceptable in all coat colors, one or both eyes may be brown, blue, hazel, amber or any color combination thereof, including flecks and marbling. The eye rims of the reds and red merles have full red (liver) pigmentation. The eye rims of the blacks and blue merles have full black pigmentation. Ears-- Are triangular, of moderate size, set high on the head. At full attention they break forward and over, or to the side as a rose ear. Severe Fault: Prick ears and ears that hang with no lift. Skull-- The crown is flat to slightly round and may show a slight occipital protuberance. The width and the length of the crown are equal. Stop-- The stop is moderate but defined. Muzzle-- The muzzle is of medium width and depth and tapers gradually to a rounded tip without appearing heavy, square, snipy, or loose. Length is equal to the length of the crown. Planes-- Viewed from the side, the muzzle and the top line of the crown are slightly oblique to each other, with the front of the crown on a slight angle downward toward the nose. Nose-- Red merles and reds have red (liver) pigmentation on the nose leather. Blue merles and blacks have black pigmentation on the nose leather. Fully pigmented noses are preferred. Noses that are less than fully pigmented will be faulted. Severe Fault: 25-50% un-pigmented nose leather. Disqualification: Over 50% un-pigmented nose leather. Bite-- A full complement of teeth meet in a scissor bite. Teeth broken, missing or discolored by accident are not penalized. Disqualification: Undershot or overshot bite.

Neck, Topline and Body:
The overall structure gives an impression of depth and strength without bulkiness. Neck-- The neck is firm, clean, and in proportion to the body. It is of medium length and slightly arched at the crest, fitting well into the shoulders. Topline-- The back is firm and level from the withers to the hip joint when standing or moving. Loin-- The loin is strong and broad when viewed from the top. Croup-- The croup is moderately sloped. Body-- The body is firm and well conditioned. Chest and Ribs-- The chest is full and deep, reaching to the elbow, with well sprung ribs. Underline-- The underline shows a moderate tuck-up. Tail-- A docked or natural bobtail is preferred. A docked tail is straight, not to exceed three (3) inches. The undocked tail when at rest may hang in a slight curve. When excited or in motion the tail may be carried raised with the curve accentuated.

Forequarters:
The forequarters are well conditioned and balanced with the hindquarters. Shoulders-- Shoulder blades (scapula) are long, flat, fairly close set at the withers, and well laid back. Upper arm-- The upper arm (humerus) is equal in length to the shoulder blade and meets the shoulder blade at an approximate right angle. The forelegs drop straight and perpendicular to the ground. Elbow-- The elbow joint is equidistant from the ground to the withers. Viewed from the side, the elbow should be directly under the withers. The elbows should be close to the ribs without looseness.  Legs-- The legs are straight and strong. The bone is oval rather than round. Pasterns-- Short, thick and strong, but still flexible, showing a slight angle when viewed from the side. Feet-- Oval shaped, compact, with close-knit, well-arched toes. Pads are thick and resilient; nails are short and strong. The nails may be any color combination. Dewclaws should be removed.

Hindquarters: 
Width of hindquarters is approximately equal to the width of the forequarters at the shoulders. Angulation--  The angulation of the pelvis and upper thigh (femur) mirrors the angulation of the shoulder blade and upper arm, forming an approximate right angle. Stifle-- Stifles are clearly defined. Hock-- The hocks are short, perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other when viewed from the rear. Feet-- Feet are oval, compact, with close knit, well arched toes. Pads are thick and resilient; nails are short and strong. The nails may be any color combination. Rear dewclaws should be removed.

Coat:
Moderation is the overall impression of the coat. Hair is of medium texture, straight to wavy, weather resistant, and of medium length. The undercoat varies in quantity with variations in climate. Hair is short and smooth on the head and front of the legs. The backs of forelegs and breeches are moderately feathered. There is a moderate mane and frill, more pronounced in dogs than in bitches. Hair may be trimmed on the ears, feet, back of hocks,  pasterns, and tail, otherwise he is to be shown in a natural coat. Untrimmed whiskers are preferred. Severe Fault: Non-typical coats.

Color:
The coloring offers variety and individuality. With no order of preference, the recognized colors are black, blue merle, red (liver) and red merle. The merle will exhibit in any amount, marbling, flecks or blotches. Undercoats may be somewhat lighter in color than the topcoat. Asymmetrical markings are not to be faulted. Tan Markings-- Tan markings are not required but when present are acceptable in any or all of the following areas; around the eyes, on the feet, legs, chest, muzzle, underside of neck, face, underside of ear, underline of body, under the base of the tail and the breeches. Tan markings vary in shades from creamy beige to dark rust, with no preference. Blending with the base color or merle pattern may be present on the face, legs, feet, and breeches. White Markings-- White markings are not required but when present do not dominate. Ticking may be present in white markings. White on the head does not predominate, and the eyes are fully surrounded by color and pigment. Red merles and reds have red (liver) pigmentation on the eye rims. Blue merles and blacks have black pigmentation on the eye rims. Ears fully covered by color are preferred. Severe Fault: White markings covering over 25% of an ear. White markings may be in any combination and are restricted to: the muzzle, cheeks, crown, blaze on head, the neck in a partial or full collar, chest, belly, front legs, hind legs up the hock and may extend in a thin outline of the stifle. A small amount of white extending from the underline may be visible from the side, not to exceed one inch above the elbow. The hairline of a white collar does not exceed the withers at the skin. If a natural long tail is present, the tip of the tail may have white. Disqualifications: Other than recognized colors. White body splashes, which means any conspicuous, isolated spot or patch of white on the area between withers and tail, on back, or sides between elbows and back of hindquarters.

Gait:
Smooth, free, and easy; exhibiting agility of movement with a well-balanced, ground-covering stride. Fore and hind legs move straight and parallel with the center line of the body; as speed increases, the feet, both front and rear, converge toward the center line of gravity of the dog, while the back remains firm and level. When traveling at a trot the head is carried in a natural position with neck extended forward and head nearly level or slightly above the topline. He must be agile and able to turn direction or alter gait instantly.

Temperament:
The Miniature American Shepherd is intelligent, primarily a working dog of strong herding and guardian instincts. An exceptional companion, he is versatile and easily trained, performing his assigned tasks with great style and enthusiasm. Although reserved with strangers, he does not exhibit shyness. He is a resilient and persistent worker, who adjusts his demeanor and arousal appropriately to the task at hand. With his family he is protective, good natured, devoted and loyal.


Review  of  DISQUALIFICATIONS:
* Under 14 inches and over 18 inches for dogs;
   under 13 inches and over 17 inches for bitches.
* Over 50% un-pigmented nose leather.
* Undershot or overshot bite.
* Other than recognized colors.
* White body splashes, which means any conspicuous,    isolated spot or patch of white on the area between        withers and tail, on back or sides between elbows    
   and back of hindquarters.

Amended  May 2012  ( by  AKC  mandate) 
Change not yet approved by membership 
Australian  Shepherd   ( AKC )

General Appearance
The Australian Shepherd is an intelligent working dog of strong herding and guarding instincts. He is a loyal companion and has the stamina to work all day. He is well balanced, slightly longer than tall, of medium size and bone, with coloring that offers variety and individuality. He is attentive and animated, lithe and agile, solid and muscular without cloddiness. He has a coat of moderate length and coarseness. He has a docked or natural bobbed tail.







Size, Proportion, Substance
Size--The preferred height for males is 20-23 inches, females 18-21 inches. Quality is not to be sacrificed in favor of size. Proportion--Measuring from the breastbone to rear of thigh and from top of the withers to the ground the Australian Shepherd is slightly longer than tall. Substance--Solidly built with moderate bone. Structure in the male reflects masculinity without coarseness. Bitches appear feminine without being slight of bone.








Head
The Head is clean cut, strong and dry. Overall size should be in proportion to the body. The muzzle is equal in length or slightly shorter than the back skull. Viewed from the side the topline of the back skull and muzzle form parallel planes, divided by a moderate, well-defined stop. The muzzle tapers little from base to nose and is rounded at the tip. Expression --Showing attentiveness and intelligence, alert and eager. Gaze should be keen but friendly. Eyes are brown, blue, amber or any variation or combination thereof, including flecks and marbling. Almond shaped, not protruding nor sunken. The blue merles and blacks have black pigmentation on eye rims. The red merles and reds have liver (brown) pigmentation on eye rims. Ears are triangular, of moderate size and leather, set high on the head. At full attention they break forward and over, or to the side as a rose ear. Prick ears and hanging ears are severe faults. Skull Top flat to slightly domed. It may show a slight occipital protuberance. Length and width are equal. Moderate well-defined stop. Muzzle tapers little from base to nose and is rounded at the tip. Nose--Blue merles and blacks have black pigmentation on the nose (and lips). Red merles and reds have liver (brown) pigmentation on the nose (and lips). On the merles it is permissible to have small pink spots; however, they should not exceed 25% of the nose on dogs over one year of age, which is a serious fault. Teeth--A full complement of strong white teeth should meet in a scissors bite or may meet in a level bite. Disqualifications--Undershot. Overshot greater than 1/8 inch. Loss of contact caused by short center incisors in an otherwise correct bite shall not be judged undershot. Teeth broken or missing by accident shall not be penalized.

Neck, Topline, Body
Neck is strong, of moderate length, slightly arched at the crest, fitting well into the shoulders. Topline--Back is straight and strong, level and firm from withers to hip joints. The croup is moderately sloped. Chest is not broad but is deep with the lowest point reaching the elbow. The ribs are well sprung and long, neither barrel chested nor slab-sided. The underline shows a moderate tuck-up. Tail is straight, docked or naturally bobbed, not to exceed four inches in length.








Forequarters
Shoulders--Shoulder blades are long, flat, fairly close set at the withers and well laid back. The upper arm, which should be relatively the same length as the shoulder blade, attaches at an approximate right angle to the shoulder line with forelegs dropping straight, perpendicular to the ground. Legs straight and strong. Bone is strong, oval rather than round. Pastern is medium length and very slightly sloped. Front dewclaws may be removed. Feet are oval, compact with close knit, well arched toes. Pads are thick and resilient.









Hindquarters
The width of the hindquarters is equal to the width of the forequarters at the shoulders. The angulation of the pelvis and upper thigh corresponds to the angulation of the shoulder blade and upper arm, forming an approximate right angle. Stifles are clearly defined, hock joints moderately bent. The hocks are short, perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other when viewed from the rear. Rear dewclaws must be removed. Feet are oval, compact with close knit, well arched toes. Pads are thick and resilient.



Coat
Hair is of medium texture, straight to wavy, weather resistant and of medium length. The undercoat varies in quantity with variations in climate. Hair is short and smooth on the head, ears, front of forelegs and below the hocks. Backs of forelegs and britches are moderately feathered. There is a moderate mane and frill, more pronounced in dogs than in bitches. Non-typical coats are severe faults.




Color
Blue merle, black, red merle, red-all with or without white markings and/or tan (copper) points, with no order of preference. The hairline of a white collar does not exceed the point of the withers at the skin. White is acceptable on the neck (either in part or as a full collar), chest, legs, muzzle underparts, blaze on head and white extension from underpart up to four inches, measuring from a horizontal line at the elbow. White on the head should not predominate, and the eyes must be fully surrounded by color and pigment. Merles characteristically become darker with increasing age. Disqualifications White body splashes, which means white on body between withers and tail, on sides between elbows and back of hindquarters in all colors.
























Gait
The Australian Shepherd has a smooth, free and easy gait. He exhibits great agility of movement with a well-balanced, ground covering stride. Fore and hind legs move straight and parallel with the center line of the body. As speed increases, the feet (front and rear) converge toward the center line of gravity of the dog while the back remains firm and level. The Australian Shepherd must be agile and able to change direction or alter gait instantly.


Temperament
The Australian Shepherd is an intelligent, active dog with an even disposition; he is good natured, seldom quarrelsome. He may be somewhat reserved in initial meetings. Faults Any display of shyness, fear or aggression is to be severely penalized.






Disqualifications
* Undershot. Overshot greater than 1/8 inch.
* White body splashes, which means white on body        between withers and tail, on sides between elbows        and back of hindquarters in all colors.







Approved May 14, 1991
Effective January 1, 1993


Rarely  does  any  one  dog  meet  the  perfections  of  each  and  every  part  of  a  breed  standard. 
The  dog  is  therefore  rated  in  degree  of  how  much  it  deviates  from  what  is  considered  "ideal". 

However,  anything  considered  a  breed  standard  disqualification  may  render  the  dog  as  non-show  quality  and  may  make  it  unable  to  complete  a  conformation  championship. If  a  dog  receives  three 
(3)  DQ's  under  3  separate  judges  it  can  no  longer  compete. 
* For  all  breeds  :  undescended  testicles  ( one  or  both ) are  included  in  the  "3  strikes"  rule. 

Some  disqualifications  apply  to  all  breeds  of  dogs  and  those  DQ's  (disqualifications)  are  not  listed  in  most  breed  standards  and  only  require  one (1)  DQ  to  make  a  dog  ineligible  to  compete :
                                                       * blind  or  deaf  dogs 
                                                       * castrated &  spayed  dogs ( except  in  Stud,  Brood  or  Vet classes )
                                                       * changed  in  appearance  by  artificial  means  ( see  excerpt below )
                                                       * a  dog  that  attacks  a  person  in  the  ring  ( or  outside  the  ring )
                                                       
Excerpt  from  Section 8.
A dog is considered changed in appearance by artificial means if it has been subjected to any type of procedure, substance or drugs that have the effect of obscuring, disguising or eliminating any congenital or hereditary abnormality or any undesirable characteristic, or that does anything to improve a dog’s natural appearance, temperament, bite or gait.

Some  DQs  in  Section 8-A  would  include :
                                                       * alteration  of  color  or  markings ( subject  to  disciplinary  action ( Sec 8-C)
                                                       * alteration  of  ears  or  tails ( except  as  provided  in  breed  standards )
                                                       * surgical  repair  of  hernias,  palates,  eyelids  and  skin  folds
                                                       * dental  procedures  for  correction  or  alteration 
                                                       * artificial  prosthesis  or  implants 
                                                       * surgery  for  patellar  luxation  or  hip  or  elbow  dysplasia
                                                       * tranquilizers,  anti-depressants,  allergy  medications


Also,  lame  dogs  may  not  compete  and  shall  not  receive  any  award  ( Sec 8-B ).

See  the  AKC  website  for  a  complete  list  of  dog  show  rules  :                                     
                                                                                                 http://www.akc.org/pdfs/rulebooks/RREGS3.pdf 

FLAGTREE   MINIATURE   AMERICAN   SHEPHERDS 
             PRIZM   AUSTRALIAN   SHEPHERDS 

                                            .



                                            .