Breed Standard

Last updated September 2007

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

Medium-sized hunting dog, with wire hair completely covering skin. Overall should be slightly longer in body, compared to shoulder height.


Powerful, strong, versatile hunting dog, excels in both field and water. Loyal, intelligent, sound temperament and alert.


Gentle, affectionate and even tempered. Alert, biddable and very loyal.

Head and Skull

Balanced in proportion to body. Skull sufficiently broad and slightly rounded. Moderate stop, skull and muzzle of equal length with no overhanging lips. Nose liver or black.


Medium-sized oval, hazel or darker, with eyelids closing properly, not protruding nor too deep-set.


Medium-sized in relation to head, set high, when brought forward should reach corner of lips.


Teeth and jaws strong, with perfect regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws, with full dentition.


Strong and of adequate length, skin tightly fitting.


Shoulders sloping and very muscular with top of shoulder blades not too close; upper arm bones between shoulder and elbow long. Elbows close to body, neither pointing outwards nor inwards. Forelegs straight and lean, sufficiently muscular and strong but not coarse-boned. Pasterns slightly sloping, almost straight but not quite.


Chest must appear deep rather than wide but not out of proportion to the rest of the body; ribs deep and well sprung, never barrel-shaped nor flat, back rib reaching well down to tucked-up loins. Chest measurement immediately behind elbows smaller than that of about a hand’s breadth behind elbows so that upper arm has freedom of movement. Firm back, not arched, with slightly falling back line.


Hips broad and wide, croup falling slightly towards tail. Thighs strong and well muscled. Stifles well bent. Hocks square with body, turning neither in nor out. Pasterns nearly upright. Bone strong but not coarse.


Compact, close-knit, round to oval-shaped, well padded, should turn neither in nor out. Toes well arched, heavily nailed.


Previously customarily docked.

Docked: Approximately two fifths of original length docked. Continuing the line of back, carried horizontally or slightly upward. Neither too thick nor too thin.

Undocked: Continuing the line of back, carried horizontally or slightly upward. Neither too thick nor too thin. Reaching to the hocks and carried straight or slightly sabre-fashion.


Smooth, covering plenty of ground with each stride, driving hind action, elbows turning neither in nor out. Definitely not a hackney action.


Outer coat thicker and harsh, no longer than 4 cms (11/2 ins) long with a dense undercoat, (undercoat more prevalent in winter than summer). It should not hide body shape but it should be long enough to give good protection. Coat should lie close to the body. Hair on head and ears thick and short, but not too soft. Bushy eyebrows, full but not overlong beard.


Liver and white, solid liver, black and white. Solid black and tricoloured highly undesirable.


Ideal height at shoulder: dogs: 60-67 cms (23½-26½ ins); bitches: 56-62 cms (22-24½ ins). Weight: dogs: 25-34 kgs (55-75 lbs); bitches: 20.5-29 kgs (45-64 lbs).


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.

*Note for prospective puppy buyers

Size – the Kennel Club Breed Standard is a guide and description of the ideal for the breed; the Size as described does not imply that a dog will match the measurements given (height or weight). A dog might be larger or smaller than the Size measurements stated in the Breed Standard.

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