Last updated September 1999

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 information related to this breed 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 highly undesirable, it must not be rewarded in the show ring.

General appearance

Lightly built, finely boned aristocratic-looking animal, high on leg compared with its length, always poised, alert and intelligent. Wrinkled head, with pricked ears, proudly carried on a well-arched neck. Deep brisket runs up into a definite waist, tail tightly curled presenting a picture of a well-balanced dog of gazelle-like grace.


Barkless but not mute, its own special noise a mixture of a chortle and a yodel. Remarkable for its cleanliness in every way.


An intelligent, independent, but affectionate and alert breed. Can be aloof with strangers.

Head and skull

Flat, well chiselled and medium width, tapering towards nose, with slight stop. Distance from top of head to stop slightly more than from stop to tip of nose. Side lines of skull taper gradually towards mouth, giving a clean-cheeked appearance. Fine and profuse wrinkles appearing on forehead when ears pricked, side wrinkles desirable but not exaggerated into dewlap. Wrinkles more noticeable in puppies, but because of lack of shadowing, not as noticeable in tricolours; black nose desirable.


Dark, almond shaped, obliquely set, far seeing and rather inscrutable in expression.


Small, pointed, erect and slightly hooded, of fine texture, set well forward on top of head, tip of ear nearer centre of skull than outside base.


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


Strong and of good length, without thickness, well crested and slightly full at base of throat with a graceful curve accentuating crest. Well set into shoulders giving head a ‘lofty’ carriage.


Shoulders well laid back, muscular, not loaded. Elbows tucked in against brisket. When viewed from front, elbows in line with ribs and legs should continue in a straight line to ground giving a medium front. Forelegs straight with fine bone and very long forearms. Pasterns good length, straight and flexible.


Balanced with short, level back. Ribs well sprung, deep and oval. Loin short-coupled, deep brisket running up into definite waist.


Strong and muscular, hocks well let down, turned neither in nor out, with long second thighs and moderately bent stifles.


Small, narrow and compact, with deep pads, well arched toes and short nails.


High set, with posterior curve of buttock extending beyond root of tail giving a reachy appearance to hindquarters. Curls tightly over spine and lies closely to thigh with a single or double curl.


Legs carried straight forward with a swift, long, tireless, swinging stride.


Short, sleek and close, very fine. Skin very pliant.


  • Pure black and white
  • Red and white
  • Black, tan and white with tan melon pips and mask
  • Black, tan and white
  • Brindle and white: red background with black stripes, the more clearly defined the stripes the better

The white should be on feet, chest and tail tip. White legs, blaze and white collar optional.


Ideal height: dogs: 43 cms (17 ins) at withers; bitches: 40 cms (16 ins) at withers. Ideal weight: dogs: 11 kgs (24 lbs); bitches: 91/2 kgs (21 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.