Main Header Australian Shepherd Breed Standard
Very expressive, showing attentiveness and intelligence. Clear, almond-shaped, and of moderate size, set a little obliquely, neither prominent nor sunken, with pupils dark, well-defined and perfectly positioned. Color is brown, blue, amber, or any variation or combination including flecks and marbling.
Almond Shaped eye
Correct Almond shaped eye
Round Eye
Incorrect Round eye
Example of an Iris Coloboma
Incorrect pupil
(Iris Coloboma)

The eyes of the Australian Shepherd should be almond-shaped and obliquely set. This type of eye shape and set offers more protection and is less likely to sustain injury.

Round, protruding eyes are much more likely to be damaged in normal daily activities and so are to be faulted. They also detract from the expression of the breed, giving a startled appearance rather than an attentive one.

Eye color is irrelevant in the Australian Shepherd and the breed enjoys a wide variety of color variations which adds to the individuality of each specimen. Blue eyes, brown eyes, amber eyes, bi colored eyes (one of each), and marbled or split colored eyes are equally acceptable.

It should be noted that eye color does affect expression and can give the illusion of different shapes. A blue eye and lighter amber eyes can appear rounder because the entire iris is quite distinct, so some effort should be made to determine the actual eye shape when looking at light colored eyes.

Special attention is given to the placement and shape of the pupil because of the historical occurance of an eye defect called an iris coloboma in this breed, particularly in merles. An iris coloboma is often seen as a notched or missing section of the iris. If near the pupil, it will give the pupil a keyhole or oblong shape. A perfectly round, centered pupil is the only acceptable shape.

General Appearance
Head Teeth  Eyes
Ears Neck and Body
Forequarters Hindquarters Coat  Color Gait Size Disqualifications/Faults
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