Breed Standards

Australian Silky TerriersAustralian Silky Terriers

By the mid-1800's men who worked their dogs in a variety of ways formed themselves into breed associations which drew up the original Breed Standards based on the physical traits required for dog to do the job it was bred for. This shifted the focus from function to physical characteristics.

World Pictures versus Breed Standards

Lhasa Apso puppyLhasa Apso puppy

A Word Picture describes what a particular dog  is as we see it today. However, a Breed Standard describes of what features a pure-breed dog should have, as published by the dog controlling bodies or Kennel Clubs in each breed's country of development.

Breed specialist clubs were formed specifically for the purpose of developing the unique characteristic within a Breed Standard for their particular breed, and selecting them to define the different dog breeds we know today. Breed Standards remain the thread which holds together the fabric of the breeds.

Over the years these Breed Standards have been subject to continual revision by committees of breed specialists. For example some Breed Standards have revised heights and weights in line with modern feeding which results in better bone formation, more substance, etc.  Other Breed Standards have changed to accommodate modern grooming techniques. But these revisions still fully encompass correct breed type in the opinion of the breed specialists of today.

Country of Origin versus Country of Development

Border CollieBorder Collie

There are two British breeds whose Country of Origin is acknowledged as Britain but they were developed into pure breeds here in Australia. Consequently, their Country of Development is Australia. These two breeds are the Jack Russell Terrier and the Border Collie.

In both cases, their County of Development means Australia was the country where their Breed Standard originated. Additionally, for example in the case of the Jack Russell, the Jack Russell Club of Australia had documented sufficient numbers of dogs for the ANKC to acknowledge the breed to be recognised. The Border Collies had a similar situation. Consequently, in both cases, Australia is regarded as both these breeds' Country of Development.  However, it is generally accepted that Britain is still their Country of Origin.

Reversing the Situation

Australian ShepherdAustralian Shepherd

The Australian Shepherd is an example of the reverse situation. The first sheep dogs to arrive in America accompanied Australian sheep exported to the West Coast of USA to feed thousands of people who flocked there looking for gold. The Americans developed the breed but retained the name Australian, acknowledging its Country of Origin. Consequently we have the reverse situation where Australian Shepherd has its Country of Origin was Australia but its Country of Development was America.