that needs to be able to work all day long. While they have to be extremely agile and lithe with quick bursts of speed they also have to be able to conserve their strength and work from dawn to dusk. Extremes of gait would not suit this purpose. Converse- ly gait hampered by structural deficiencies are equally detrimental. When talking about size, moderation is not a consideration. We clearly state that we have a size range (the di ff erence between an 18" and 23" animal is quite remarkable), but the term moderate should not used to determine if an animal’s size is faulty. HANDS ON: It is imperative to get your hands on these dogs and thoroughly examine them. Coat and colors can inter- fere with a correct visual assessment. Many an Australian Shepherd can “appear” to be quite di ff erent than reality due to illusions that the color and markings give. Th e color and markings can be di ff erent on each side of the dog, so it is also important to view both sides of the exhibit. While our standard calls for specific angles that are ideal to a working, agile breed that requires stamina as well, it is important to note that while emphasis can be placed on shoulder layback, if the angles in the front do not match the rear, you will not have a sound moving dog. Frank Bay- lis states, “Ideal shoulder layback does not ensure good movement. Just because a dog has the ideal shoulder angulation does not mean it can move. I have had dogs with a straighter shoulder and the same straight angles in the rear be the better moving dog. Focus on the balance front to rear.” COAT: When it comes to coat, the issue of moderation is more complex. Th e amount and length of our double coat is not only based on genetics, but greatly influenced by climate. You would not expect to see local heavily coated dogs when judging in Arizona in the summer, but you could easily see dense coats on dogs from the northern climates. Th e length of the coat should be moderate to the size of the dog. Th e texture of the coat is probably as important as it is meant to protect the animal, repel and be weather resistant. Show dogs by definition are going to be presented to you with a flu ffi er, more maintained and groomed coat than their solely working counterparts or companion
animals. Judging this breed out of coat can sometimes be easier and far more illumi- nating for judges. We would hope that you would not penalize an animal based solely on the amount or lack of coat. GROOMING: While an animal should be presented to you clean and neat, over- sculpting or over-grooming this breed are not to be rewarded. We expect that ears, feet, hocks, tail area, be neatened. We do not wish to encourage the excessive scissor- ing of the coat to give a stylistic, unnatural look to the dog. If you can see scissor marks or straight cut lines on the hair coat it is too much. You can see evidence of undesirable grooming in the current trend of severely trimming the hair of the underline; or hand plucking coats to remove longer top coat and give an impression of all hairs being the same length. Excessive use of groom- ing products or substances in the coat is not appropriate for this natural breed. We would expect you not to assume that an animal presented to you well- or overly- groomed is necessarily the best specimen. EXPRESSION: As a herding breed, the Australian Shepherd is incredibly aware of its surroundings. Th ey can be spatially and sound sensitive. While we call for a keen, alert and eager expression we do not expect the dog to give it to “you” as a judge. Be particularly aware of how you approach an animal for examination. Coming up from behind or looming over them is not desired. Squeaky toys, keys in the pocket or loose change jangled to get the dog to show you expression are not called for. You can just as easily walk down the line and see the gaze and expression of the dog without distract- ing the animal from its handler. Th e dogs can and will react to sunglasses, loose, flowing clothing, open jackets brush- ing their backs during exam, hats, or heavy hands during examination. Th is is not to o ff er an excuse for lack of training, improp- er socialization or a poor temperament. You can observe examples of spatial and sound sensitivity in the ring evidenced by the dog moving its ears. When these dogs are nervous, unsettled or experienc- ing loud or strange noises their ears can easily be pinned back to their head. Or a dog might flip their ears from front to rear. Some can even have one ear in the rose
5ed tri female stacked. Photo by Amber Aanensen.
Blue merle male stacked. Photo by Amber Aanensen.
that is otherwise correct and of quality. As breeders we require the variation. MODERATION: Th e term is used fre- quently throughout the standard. Modera- tion for our breed means an overall lack of exaggeration. Founding breed club mem- ber Georgjean Hertzwig of Gefion Austra- lian Shepherds notes, “Moderate does not mean mediocre.” When it comes to substance or bone and moderation, a 24" male dog is going to have more bone than its 18" female counterpart. What is important is if the bone is moderate and in proportion for the size of the animal. Many dogs “appear” to have more bone than called for in the standard due to their “show” coats. Th is is easy for you to check by hand. A perfect example of the a ff ect of coat would be to compare and contrast the bone of ani- mals in and out of coat. What is even more remarkable is to view these dogs when they are wet. Many are much more moderate than they may appear. It is critical for you to go over these animals with your hands to feel the actual structure and substance. Moderation when it comes to gait also refers to lack of exaggeration. Th is is a dog
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