Breed Standard

Last updated December 2014

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

Heavily boned, powerfully built, not too compact and never appearing short on the leg.


A freighting sled dog capable of surviving in Arctic conditions and of pulling heavy loads at steady speeds.


Affectionate, friendly, loyal, devoted companion but not a ‘one man’ dog, playful on invitation, generally impressive by his dignity after maturity but tends to show dominance to other dogs.

Head and Skull

Head broad, powerful, not coarse, in proportion to size of dog. Skull broad between ears, gradually narrowing to eyes, moderately rounded between ears, flattening on top as it approaches eye, rounding off to moderately flat cheeks. Very slight but perceptible stop. Muzzle large in proportion to size of skull, scarcely diminishing in width or depth from stop. Nose black except in red and white dogs when it is brown. Pink streaked ‘snow nose’ acceptable.


Brown, almond-shaped, moderately large, set obliquely. Dark eyes preferred, except in red and white dogs where light eyes are permissible. Blue eyes highly undesirable.


Small in proportion to head. Triangular in shape, slightly rounded at tips, set wide apart, at back of skull. Ears forward when erect. When dog is working sometimes folded against skull.


Upper and lower jaws broad with large teeth, with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.


Strong and moderately arched.


Shoulders moderately sloping; forelegs heavily boned and well muscled, straight as far as pasterns which are short, strong and almost vertical viewed from side.


Strong and powerfully built, chest strong and deep; back straight but not level, sloping slightly downwards from shoulder to croup. Loins well muscled, never so short as to interfere with movement. No excess weight.


Hindlegs broad and powerfully muscled through thighs; stifles moderately bent, hock joints broad and strong, moderately bent and well let down. Viewed from behind, hindlegs vertical, standing and moving true, in line with movement of front legs. Legs indicate tremendous propelling power.


Large and compact, toes close, well arched, pads thick and tough, toenails short and strong. Protective growth of hair between toes.


Moderately high set, following line of spine at start then curving gently upwards. At rest may hang straight down. Well furred and carried over back when dog is working, not tightly curled to rest on back, nor short furred and carried like a fox brush, but giving appearance of a waving plume.


Single tracking at trot is normal but movement not too wide or too close at any gait. Easy, tireless, rhythmic movement, produced by powerful drive from hindquarters.


Thick, coarse guard coat, not long and soft. Dense undercoat, from 2.5-5 cms (1-2 ins) in depth, oily and woolly. Coarse guard coat stands out, with thick fur around neck. Guard coat varies in length as does undercoat, but in general coat of medium length along sides of body, increasing somewhat around shoulders and neck, down back and over croup, as well as in breeching and plume.


Range is from light grey through intermediate shadings to black, or from gold through shades of red to liver, always with white on underbody, parts of legs, feet and part of mask markings. Markings either caplike or masklike on face. Combination of cap and mask not unusual. White blaze on forehead, white collar, or spot on nape permissible. Heavy mantling of unbroken colour acceptable, broken colour extending over body in spots or uneven splashings undesirable. Only solid colour permissible is all white.


The preferred sizes at the shoulder are:

Dogs: 64 cms (25 ins), 39 kgs (85lbs);

Bitches: 58 cms (23 ins), 34 kgs (75lbs).

Consideration of size should not outweigh that of type, proportion, movement and any other functional attributes.


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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