The Changing Structure of a Breed

A little over 30 years ago, ASCA (Australian Shepherd Club of America) adopted the current breed standard.  In that period of time, we have seen a distinct kind of Aussie emerge from the early foundation ranch dogs with the original sprinting structure.  The standard aided by the show program saw the development of an Australian Shepherd with the trotting drive train.

What does that mean for the breed?  Not all Australian Shepherds are created equal. Although most Aussies have the same basic appearance that sets them apart from other breeds, there is a distinct difference between the basic structure of working and show bloodlines. The best comparison can be drawn between the differences of the sprinting Quarter Horse and the trotting Standardbred.

As my father said, “The development of the trotting Aussie produced a dog that could move effortlessly for long distances. The trade-off for this development was paid for with the sacrifice of supreme agility necessary to outrun sheep and cattle.  The longer extension of gait naturally produces a slower reaction time to negotiate changes of direction.” A dog with the trotting drive train requires an extra stride to alter gaits or change direction.

Is that a good or a bad thing? You be the judge.

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