Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree. Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

Faults are common in all breeds of dogs, and without them most of the challenge would go out of breeding. It is important however to be aware of the faults of your dogs and try to overcome them. Faults are only an obstacle in our attempt to breed the perfect dog.

The faults mentioned in the standard are

  • Grossness or weediness
  • Poor temperament Poor head type
  • Prominent or sunken eyes
  • Spoon or bat ears
  • Throatiness
  • Incorrect bite
  • Barrel ribbed
  • Chest too deep, extending to below the elbow.
  • Cow or bow hocks
  • Unsoundness, especially stilted, loaded or slack shoulders, heavy fronts, straight shoulder placement, weak elbows, pasterns or feet.
  • Hindquarters too close or too wide apart
  • Tail carried past the vertical line drawn through the root.
  • Coat too long or too short
  • White or cream undercoat on red speckled dogs

Quick Guide to General Proportions

  • Height to Length is as 9 is to 10
  • Muzzle to stop/Stop to occiput 45% to 50% – 50% t0 50%
  • Back is 2/3 ribcage 1/3 loin Wither to elbow = elbow to ground
  • Hock length – approx 1/3 height
  • Length of head from tip of ear to nose is 1.5 from tip of ear to tip of ear is 1.
  • Breadth between the ears should be ¼ of the height of the dog.

As with all other herding dogs, there are certain basic features about the Cattle Dog a judge must keep in mind at all times.

In looking for the correct type with strength and substance the judge must be careful not to be misled by dogs which have been fattened up to give impression of substance. The standard calls for “hard muscular condition” and a dog capable of quick and sudden movement. Therefore, fat dogs with clumsy, sluggish movement must be penalised.

Although this breed is renowned for its strength and strong alpha temperament, judges should not tolerate unreliable behaviour in the show ring. If the dog has the intelligence and temperament required, he should respond to the control of the handler and be tractable at all times whilst the judge is examining him.

The head must clearly reflect the dog’s intelligence and his ability to move cattle with the power of his jaws. It is this ability to nip which enables him to shift a stubborn beast, therefore strength of jaw and moderate size wedge shaped head with parallel planes and slight stop is required.

The expression is can only be described as hard and strong with a look that tells strangers clearly to beware. It is probably in this expression above any other feature that his Dingo ancestry is demonstrated.

The neck as discussed earlier should blend into well angled shoulders, the chest is moderately broad and ribs well sprung, which gives the cattle dog a much rounder chest and body than we find in the GSD. With his strong hindquarters, well sprung ribs, broad loins, level topline and well turned stifle with short hocks he should present a picture of compact, muscular power. Remember that the breed should have no exaggerations. Moderate and balanced. Although a slight spring of pastern is allowed, we find generally that the bone runs right down to the feet which are compact and strong.

Colour is important and spelt out clearly in the standard. These colours are what sets this breed apart from any other.

To clearly understand this breed one must make a detailed comparison between this breed and other breeds in the Herding Group. One example is to compared the ears of the cattle dog with that of the GSD or Corgi. There are many points of similarity but the main differences should be clear. The cattle dog ear is wider at the base and smaller in comparison to the size of the head. Soft ears have from time to time been a problem and normally associated with ears that are oversized. Remember the standard calls for smaller rather than large.

Finally, where you are in doubt as to a decision between two dogs, move them around the ring once more and decide which is better fitted for the task of droving cattle. Soundness is paramount in this breed. The breed was developed to work cattle under Australian conditions and the dog best equipped for this task should be your winner.

For more information please read my detailed online presentation to the International Judges List at