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.
A hardy, well-balanced, medium-sized sheepdog with moderate length of coat. Body slightly longer than high, approximately in the proportion of 9:8.
Active and intelligent with a noble expression and a well-balanced and amenable character. Hardy and adaptable to all climates. Strong, firmly set double dewclaws on hindlegs are a breed characteristic and are of utmost importance.
Excellent family dog. Alert, loyal and easily trainable. Can initially be wary of strangers.
Head and skull
Strong head, well proportioned with the rest of the body. The skull is slightly longer than wide with a marked central furrow which flattens towards a pronounced occiput. The proportion of skull to muzzle is 4 to 3. Slight but perceptible stop, not pronounced. Muzzle straight, rather short and blunt. Nose black.
Round. Dark amber to chestnut in colour, with black rims. Alert and intelligent expression.
High set, triangular, hanging close to the head. Slightly longer than wide, covered with long hair ending in fringes.
Jaws strong with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws. Good sized strong teeth. Tongues may have dark pigmented patches. Lips and roof of mouth black. Lips close fitting.
Moderately short, solid and muscular, set well into shoulders.
Prominent withers. Shoulders well muscled and well laid back. Upper arm strong and muscular with elbows close to the body. Forearm Strong, lean, straight and parallel when viewed from the front. Pasterns relatively short.
Strong, muscular and slightly longer than high, approximately in the proportion of 9 to 8. Level topline. At first sight, the croup may appear higher, owing to abundance, quantity and denseness of coat. Well-sprung ribs, chest reaching to level of elbow. Neither barrel ribbed nor slab sided. Short coupled with strong loin and slight tuck up.
Slightly sloping croup. Strong and muscular with well developed first and second thighs. Hocks well let down and parallel when viewed from behind. Double, well-boned dewclaws, set low.
Oval. Pads firm and black. Toes close together, well covered with hair, including between the pads. Nails black and strong.
Low set and reaching below the hock. When at rest, the tail hangs and can form a curve or hook at its lowest part. Sabre tail also accepted. When excited or in action the tail is raised, but not curled over the back. Abundantly covered with slightly wavy hair. May be born tailless.
Smooth gait. Walks with fairly short strides, trots freely with vigour. Feet never raised very high. Head raised when moving slowly, carried lower as the pace increases.
Rough coated of medium length. Straight or slightly wavy. Fine, dense undercoat. A moustache, beard and eyebrows which should not obscure the eyes. Denser on hindquarters. Legs, toes and tail well covered with hair. Skin fairly thick and close fitting all over the body and head.
Fawn, sable and grey in all shades. Black with fawn or grey shadings at the extremities. May be frosted with white. From a distance, the dog can appear to be self-coloured. Seen close up, it is apparent that this comes from a combination of the different shades. White or black spots/patches highly undesirable. A few white hairs or small white marking on the chest are permissible. White permissible on the upper part of the toes, but must not be accompanied by white nails.
Ideal height: dogs 47-55cm (18½ - 21½ ins); bitches 45-53cm (17¾ - 20½ 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.
*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.