Australian Cattle Dog Breed Illustrated Standard

General Appearance: Strong, compact, symmetrically built working dog | Able and willing to carry out tasks however arduous | Substance, power, balance and hard muscular condition convey impression of great agility, strength and endurance | Any tendency to grossness or weediness is a serious fault

Correct body angles.

Head and Skull Strong: In balance with other proportions of dog, in keeping with its general conformation | Broad skull--slightly curved between ears, flattening to slight but definite stop. Cheeks muscular, neither coarse nor prominent under-jaw strong, deep and well developed Foreface-broad, well filled in under eyes, tapering gradually to form medium length, deep, powerful muzzle | Skull and muzzle on parallel planes | Lips are tight and clean | Nose black

Correct head illustration.

Tail: Set on of tail is moderately low, following contours of sloping croup | Length to reach approximately to hock | At rest it should hang in a very slight curve | During movement or excitement tail may be raised | Under no circumstances should any part of tail be carried past a vertical line drawn through root | Tail should carry a good brush

(Illustration credit: Narelle Hammond-Robertson, Sydney, NSW, Australia)

Tail structure

Gait/Movement: Action is true, free, supple and tireless | Movement of the shoulders and forelegs is in unison with the powerful thrust of hindquarters | Capability of quick, sudden movement is essential | Soundness-paramount importance | Serious faults--stiltiness, loaded or slack shoulders, straight shoulders, weakness at elbows, pasterns or feet, straight stifles, cow or bow hocks | When trotting feet tend to come closer together at  ground level as speed increases, but when dog comes to rest should stand four square

Movement examples.

Eyes: Oval shape, medium size | Neither prominent nor sunken | Must express alertness and intelligence | Warning or suspicious glint is characteristic when |  approached by strangers | Eye color, dark brown

(Illustration credit: Narelle Hammond-Robertson, Sydney, NSW, Australia)

Eye Illustration

Ears: Of moderate size, preferably small rather than large | Broad at base--muscular, pricked | Moderately pointed-neither spoon nor bat eared | Ears set wide apart on skull, inclining outwards | Sensitive in their use, pricked when alert | Leather--thick in texture | Inside of ear fairly well furnished with hair

(Illustration & Photo credit: Narelle Hammond-Robertson, Sydney, NSW, Australia)

Proper Ear

Hindquarters: Hindquarters are broad, strong and muscular | Croup is rather long and sloping | Thighs long, broad and well developed | Stifles well turned and the hocks strong and well let down | When viewed from behind, the hind legs, from hocks to feet, are straight and placed parallel, neither close nor too wide apart


Coat: Smooth, double coat with short dense undercoat outer-coat close | Each hair straight, hard, lying flat, so rain-resisting | Under body, to behind the legs, coat is longer and forms mild breeching near thigh | On head (including the inside of the ears), to the front of the legs and feet, hair is short | Along neck--longer and thicker | Either too long or too short-fault | On average, hairs on the body -2.5 to 4 cms (approx. 1-1.5 ins) in length

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

Blue Color

Feet: Feet should be round | Toes short, strong, well arched and held close together | Pads are hard and deep | Nails must be short and strong
Inset - From left to right: Correct foot and pastern | Hare foot and too much slope of pastern (incorrect) | Correct cat like foot view from front | Splayed foot (incorrect)

Inset Illustration credit: Narelle Hammond-Robertson, Sydney, NSW, Australia)

Illustration of feet.

Forequarters: Shoulders strong, sloping, muscular and well angulated to upper arm | Not too closely set at point of withers | Forelegs have strong, round bone, extending to feet, straight and parallel when viewed from front | Pasterns show flexibility with slight angle to forearm when viewed from side | Although shoulders are muscular and bone strong, loaded shoulders and heavy fronts hamper correct movement and limit working ability

Forequarters (Thoracic Limb)

Body: Length of the body from the point of the breast bone, in a straight line to the buttocks, is greater than height at withers, as 10 is to 9 | Topline is level | Back strong with ribs well sprung and carried well back not barrel ribbed | Chest is deep, muscular and moderately broad | Loins broad, strong and muscular and the flanks deep | Strongly coupled

(Illustration credit: Narelle Hammond-Robertson, Sydney, NSW, Australia)

Body - defined

Color (Red Speckle): Should be good even red speckle all over, including the undercoat | Undercoat-neither white nor cream | With or without darker red markings on head | Even head markings are desirable | Red markings on the body are permissible but not desirable.

Red Color

Size / Height: Dogs 46-51 cms (approx. 18-20 ins) at withers | Bitches 43-48 cms (approx.17-19 ins) at withers

Remember: The ACD is a dog without exaggeration...Moderate, moderate, moderate | When making close calls--remember that the ACD is a working dog, bred to herd cattle, But it is not a Cow!