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The Australian Shepherd Club of America will not condone the policy of any individual, group, or proposed legislation which advocates restricting the breeding, showing, training, and/or exhibiting of the Australian Shepherd or any other domesticated animal.
The Australian Shepherd Club of American also does not condone the proposed restrictions to the practice of tail docking or removal of dewclaws for cosmetic or health reasons.
We find this policy to be a detriment to the welfare of the Australian Shepherd breed as a whole and an infringement on the rights of the owners, breeders, trainers, and exhibitors of all domesticated animals.
The Australian Shepherd Club of America will educate its members of any proposed legislation which may ill affect the welfare of the breed and its guardians, the breeders, owners, trainers, and exhibitors.
Judging Australian Shepherds
The Australian Shepherd is a natural bob-tail/docked tail breed. At this time ASCA does not plan to change its breed standard as no official description of the undocked Australian Shepherd tail exists.
The breed standard states in General Appearance: “An identifying characteristic is his natural or docked bobtail.” The standard continues in the Neck and Body section: “The Tail is straight, not to exceed four (4) inches, natural bobtail or docked.” One of the unique characteristics of the Australian Shepherd is that they are not solely a docked tail breed, but also a natural bob tail breed. Dogs can be born with varying lengths of tail…from natural bob to full tail… and all lengths in between, hence the reason for the standard reference above regarding a tail to be less than four inches in length. ASCA prefers the natural bob tail employing docking for uniformity and breed type.
While it is understood that judges have a choice, ASCA prefers considering an Australian Shepherd with a full tail a serious deviation from the standard and breed type and to prioritize and penalize it accordingly. Any deviation from the ideal described in the standard should be penalized to the extent of the deviation. For instance, a tail that is six inches in length would be faulted over a dog with a tail that is less than four inches. A full tail would be more severely faulted.
The natural bob tail/docked tail is an identifying breed characteristic and essential to preserving breed type. Judges should place great importance on how Australian Shepherd structure functions in movement (gaiting) but in the final analysis, should revert to type (the sum of all characteristics) in determining placements.
ASCA wishes to preserve the history and heritage of this breed. The essence of a breed should not be forgotten.
Judging Australian Shepherds with Tails (In Countries with Tail Docking Bans)
At this time ASCA has no immediate plans to amend its breed standard on this issue because no ‘official’ description of the undocked Australian Shepherd tail exists.
In countries where tail docking bans exist an Australian Shepherd being shown with a tail longer than 4 inches shall not be faulted and/or penalized.
The Miniature Australian Shepherd, North American Shepherd, North American Miniature Australian Shepherd, Miniature American Shepherd, and/or Toy Australian Shepherd breeds are not recognized as a variety of Australian Shepherd by ASCA. The club considers such dogs to be a distinct and separate breed and will not accept them into its registry.
"Our bylaws state that ASCA's purpose is: 'To encourage members and breeders to accept one breed standard for the Australian Shepherd as approved by the Club as the only standard of excellence by which Australian Shepherds shall be judged.' It is the mission of this club ASCA and the mission of its members to preserve the breed rather than change it."
"To accept one breed standard for the Australian Shepherd as approved by the Club as the only standard of excellence by which Australian Shepherds shall be judged.' It is the mission of this club ASCA and the mission of its members to preserve the breed rather than change it."