Eyes and Ears

The eyes should be of oval shape and medium size, neither prominent nor sunken and must express alertness and intelligence. A warning or suspicious glint is characteristic when approached by strangers. Eye colour, dark brown.

As the standard states the eyes must be oval in shape and placed well apart. They are slightly obliquely set. They are medium size and must be dark brown in colour with a warning or suspicious glint. Light coloured eyes should be penalised as this gives the dog a foreign often evil expression.

Far to often, one sees domed skulls with round protruding frontally placed eyes and muzzles that are too short. http://www.judgesl.com/aucadog/heads.html (Picture # 10) Round protruding eyes would be a hindrance to the dog whilst working as the eye would collect dirt and foreign objects. Domed skulls are an obvious problem as the dog would encounter a swift kick directly to the forehead rather than the kick going over the head.

Kaleski writes. “The eyes are brown because that is the Dingo colour, therefore the best. If blue or white, the animal is extremely likely to go blind or deaf, or both; in either case it will be useless for anything. Quick because a dog has to judge his distance every time when coming in to bite, and the eye must be quick to do it. Sly-looking, because a hot-headed, rushing dog is useless as a worker, and the eye is the index to his character.”

The ears should be of moderate size, preferably small rather than large, broad at base, muscular, pricked and moderately pointed neither spoon nor bat eared. The ears are set wide apart on the skull, inclining outwards, sensitive in their use and pricked when alert, the leather should be thick in texture and the inside of the ear fairly well furnished with hair.

The standard calls for preferably smaller rather than larger which means that if the ears are anything more than moderate size, it is better that they are smaller, as large ears are not characteristic of this breed. There is a tendency to have ears too big, incorrectly placed and of poor leather quality. So how big is too big? Pull the ear to the eye. A small ear will come close to the outer edge, a big ear will exceed the inner edge. Incorrectly placed? The outer edge of the ear must be on the vertical. Poor leather quality? soft, weak, fly away ears, often with a crease in the ear.

Kaleski writes, The ears are short, so that they can be readily laid flat when biting or fighting; and are less likely to be damaged. Pricked, so as to catch sounds, such as whistles or words of command, best, especially from a distance. Running to a tip, V- or diamond-shaped, for two reasons: (1) the progeny are more likely to be prick-eared, the ear-muscles rising much higher in a diamond-ear than a “tulip” or spoon-shaped ear; (2) the spoon-ear is a sure indication of the Bull-terrier cross; set wide apart on the skull, so that the ear inclines outwards rather than forwards, for in the latter case they do not hear so well; hence cannot answer to the whistle or word of command as efficiently from a distance. They should be as pricked as a cat’s for this reason.

The teeth sound, strong and evenly spaced, gripping with a scissor-bite the lower incisors close behind and just touching the upper. As the dog is required to move difficult cattle by heeling or biting, teeth, which are, sound and strong are very important.

An older dog with worn teeth should not be heavily penalised, but any dog that did not have a correct scissor bite would indicate lack of strength as a biter. It is not a requirement of the breed to have 42 well placed teeth and with 2 of the original breeds that make up the Australian Cattle Dog commonly plagued with missing teeth it would be difficult to expect full dentition, therefore, an obviously superior specimen should never be penalised for a SMALL number (I believe more than 4 missing should be penalised) of missing teeth.