Breed Standard

Last updated September 2016

A Breed Standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance including the correct colour of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function. Absolute soundness is essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be careful to avoid obvious conditions or exaggerations which would be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed. From time to time certain conditions or exaggerations may be considered to have the potential to affect dogs in some breeds adversely, and judges and breeders are requested to refer to the Breed Watch section of the Kennel Club website here for details of any such current issues. If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure. However if a dog possesses a feature, characteristic or colour described as undesirable or highly undesirable it is strongly recommended that it should not be rewarded in the show ring.

General Appearance

Well balanced, graceful, aristocratic, dignified and elegant.


A coursing hound which must be courageous, powerful and of great speed.


Sensitive, alert and aloof.

Head and Skull

Head long, lean and in proportion to dog’s size and substance. In bitches head finer than in dogs. Well filled in below eyes. Measurement equal from occiput to inner corner of eye and from inner corner of eye to tip of nose. Skull very slightly domed and narrow, stop imperceptible. Head fine so that bones and principal veins can be clearly seen. Viewed from side, forehead and upper line of muzzle form an almost straight, slightly convex line. Jaws long, deep and powerful; nose large and black, nicely rounded, neither cornered nor sharp. Viewed from above skull should look narrow, converging very gradually to tip of nose. Occipital process very accentuated.


Dark with intelligent, keen and alert expression. Almond-shaped, set obliquely and placed well back but not too wide apart. Eye rims dark. Eyes not light, round, bulbous or staring.


Small, pointed and delicate. Set high but not too far apart. Nearly touching at occiput; when in repose folded back along neck. Should be active and responsive, may be erect when alert, tips sometimes falling over.


Jaws strong with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws. Full, strong dentition desirable.


Slightly arched; reasonably long and well muscled. Free from throatiness, flattened laterally, set at an angle of 50-60 degrees to the longitudinal axis of the body.


Shoulders clean, sloping well back. Muscular but not loaded. Fine at withers but not accentuated. Forelegs clean and straight. Seen from front, narrow like blades; from side, wider at elbows narrowing down to foot. Elbows directed backwards, neither turning in nor out. Pasterns slightly sloping, strong and flexible. Length of forearm nearly equal to half total height at withers.


Chest, ribs of narrow oval cut, great depth of brisket reaching to elbows, giving great heart and lung room, especially in mature dogs. Breastbone slightly pronounced with adequate width between elbows and abdomen very tucked up. Back rather bony, muscular and free from any cavity, rising in a graceful curve with well balanced fallaway. Highest point of curve is situated over last rib. Curve is more pronounced in dogs than bitches. Loins broad and very powerful with plenty of muscular development. Fallaway long and well muscled. Width between hip bones at least 8 cm (3 ins).


Front feet oval, toes close together, well arched over strong, thick pads, turning neither in nor out. Hind feet hare-like, i.e. longer and less arched.


Long, rather low set, when measured between thighs reaches up to top of nearest hip bone. Well feathered, carried low in a graceful curve. From level of hocks may be sabre- or slightly sickle-shaped but not ringed. In action not rising above level of back.


Front, straight with long reach, pasterns springy. Hind, straight with powerful driving hocks. Moving wider than front. Viewed from side, appearance in action should be that of effortless power.


Silky, flat, wavy or rather curly (but never woolly). Short and smooth on head, ears and front of legs; much longer on body with heavy feathering on backs of legs and hindquarters, tail and chest. Neck carries a large curly frill. More profuse in dogs than bitches.


Any colour acceptable, with the exception of merle.


Minimum height at withers: dogs: 74 cms (29 ins); bitches: 68 cms (27 ins).


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 and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.


Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

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