The Australian Shepherd in the Show Ring

For the first ten years in the UK, Aussie’s could only be shown in breed at Exemption Shows although if they were registered on the KC working register they were allowed to compete in Working Trials, Agility and Obedience.


Until the last couple of years the majority of judges at Exemption Shows did not know what an Aussie was and we were constantly asked to stand with the Border Collies or asked what had happened to our poor Border Collies tail ! Despite this several of us managed to win Best in Show at Exemption Shows under judges who had noticed our breed and read the standard.


The Kennel Club at last gave way to allowing the imported breeds to attend Discover Dogs, where we were able to let our dogs meet the general public and to explain what it is like to live with an Aussie. They were told the good and bad points and they got to see the type of dogs that were out in force now that we had been given our freedom from the Import Register.


Prior to being given Import Register status, ASCUK held a Rally each year with breed classes and competitions in obedience, agility and working trials.


When Aussies were accepted onto the Import Register, the club was then restricted by the KC rules to only holding a yearly club breed match and working competitions plus invitation breed matches with other clubs.


The Aussie’s outstanding movement, sound conformation and flashy looks stand out in the show ring. They are a natural show off and love to strut their stuff. Although they look glamorous in the show ring. ***It is wise to remember that first and foremost these are working dogs, and should be judged accordingly with conformation and movement taking precedence over the eye’s attraction to colour and coat***


There are approximately 2500 Aussies in the country as of 2019, with show entries increasing as owners are bringing out their young dogs and imports in to the breed ring.


Championship Status for breed showing was granted to the Australian Shepherd in 2006 and this has caused a massive interest in the breed with new faces coming into it all the time.


A dog to be mentioned has to be Am Ch Thornapple Climate Controlled (Imp USA) who put the breed well and truly at the top of the show scene. Owned by Jayne & Wally Holligan and campaigned by Jayne, he was, and still is the breed record holder with over 50 Best of Breeds at Championship Shows and over 30 Group wins and placings. He was also in the Top Ten rankings for All Breeds two years in a row and was a Championship Show Best In Show & Reserve Best In Show winner. 


Lorenzo won Best In Speciality Show five times and perhaps his greatest accolade was winning Best of Breed at Crufts 2002 before going on to win Pastoral Group 2 under Stuart Mallard. Lorenzo retired before CC status was given to the Australian Shepherd, but he would have no doubt been a worthy UK Champion to add to his American Champion title.


The breeds first UK Breed Champion was crowned at Scottish Kennel Club Championship Show in May 2006. Ch Armatan Dancing Queen. The judge on the day was breed specialist Mr Alf Down (Freespirit).


J-Lo won a succession of CC's and a Pastoral Group before taking some time out for maternal duties, and her offspring now have some very big paw prints to fill.


Multiple Aussies have since followed in her footsteps and to date there are a lot of Champions here in the UK, with young and upcoming dogs also doing well. There has also been an influx of foreign exhibitors trying to gain the three CC's needed to gain a UK Championship title.


ASCUK is the foundation Australian Shepherd Club in the UK and was formed in 1986 by a few dedicated breed enthusiasts.

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JULY 2019

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