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 undesirable or highly undesirable, it is strongly recommended that it should not be rewarded in the show ring.
Large upstanding, tall, powerfully built, with broad, heavy head and short dense coat. Must have size, stamina and speed.
Active breed used originally as a guard dog for sheep; hard working; capable of enduring extremes of heat and cold.
Steady and bold without aggression, naturally independent, very intelligent. Proud and confident.
Head and skull
Skull large, broad and flat between ears. Slight furrow between eyes and slight stop. Mature males have broader head than females. Foreface one third of total head length. Slightly pendulous black lips. Square profile. Nose black.
Relatively small in proportion to size of skull, set well apart and deep, showing no haw. Golden to brown in colour. Eye rims black.
Medium sized, triangular in shape, rounded at tip, carried flat to skull and pendant, higher when alert.
Teeth strong, with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws. Lips black.
Slightly arched, powerful, muscular, moderate in length, rather thick. Slight dewlap.
Shoulders well muscled and sloping. Forelegs set well apart, straight and well boned; of good length; strong pasterns, slightly sloping when viewed from side. Elbows close to sides.
Chest deep to point of elbow, ribs well sprung. Body powerful, well muscled, never fat. Level back. Body in proportion to leg length, slightly arched over loins, with good tuck-up.
Powerful, lighter than forequarters; moderate turn of stifle.
Strong feet with well-arched toes. Nails short.
Long, reaching at least to hock. Set on rather high. When relaxed carried low with slight curl, when alert carried high with end curled over back, especially by males.
Relaxed even gait, with impression of latent power, very supple movement. Noticeable straight line of head, neck and body, giving impression of stalking in some dogs. Great drive when viewed from side.
Short, dense with thick undercoat. Flat, close-lying, neither fluffy nor wavy. Slightly longer and thicker at neck, shoulders and tail; no feathering on ears or legs.
All colours except merle are acceptable, with or without black mask and black ears.
Height: dogs: 74-81 cms (29-32 ins) at the shoulders; bitches: 71-79 cms (28-31 ins). Weight: mature dogs: 50-64 kgs (110-141 lbs); bitches: 41-59 kgs (90-130 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.