Last updated February 2009

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

Large, cord-coated muscular dog, of great strength, with plenty of bone and substance. Powerful conformation.


Excellent guard, wary of strangers, noted for imposing strength and courageous manner.


Faithful and devoted. This strong, sharp guard dog must be treated with respect.

Head and skull

Head somewhat short in comparison with width. Skull slightly arched viewed from side. Stop moderate; muzzle slightly shorter than length of skull. Broad, rather coarse muzzle, not pointed. Nostrils wide. Nose black, though dark grey or dark brown nose acceptable but undesirable.


Medium-sized, not too deeply set, darker the better; rims dark grey or black, closely fitting.


Medium-sized, hanging U-shaped. Erect or partially erect ears incorrect.


Powerful jaws, strong teeth, scissor bite ideal, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws, (pincer bite tolerated but undesirable). Lips tight fitting and black. Ideally gums and roof of mouth black or dark grey.


Strong, medium length, moderately arched, no dewlap.


Straight, well boned, muscular, forelegs vertical, viewed from front and side; well-laid, tight shoulders.


Broad, deep muscular chest, back level. Rump broad, slightly sloping towards root of tail. Body slightly longer than height at withers. Belly tucked up.


Strong bone, very muscular. Viewed from rear, legs fairly wide apart, parallel, well angulated.


Large, strong and compact, well-arched toes. Nails strong, grey or black; toes slightly longer on hindfeet. Pads firm, elastic and dark.


Continuation of rump line; reaching to hock, slightly curved at tip; when excited, raised in line with body.


Light and easy, moving with very long stride.


Long coarse outer coat, which may be wavy or curly, with softer undercoat. Hair tends to cling together like tassels, giving a corded appearance. Cords of an adult strong and heavy, and felt-like to touch. If neglected, forms into large, matted ‘plates’. Coat longest on rump, loins and tail, of medium length on back, shoulders and chest, shorter on cheeks, around eyes, mouth and lower parts of legs. Coat is fairly slow in cording and may not be fully formed before two years of age. Puppy coat should be soft and fluffy, adult coat usually starts appearing 6-9 months of age. Presented corded.


Always white. Ideally skin grey but pink skin acceptable.


Height: dogs: average 80 cms (31½ ins), minimum 65 cms (25 ins); bitches: average 70 cms (27½ ins), minimum 60 cms (23½ ins). No maximum height, but it should be taken into consideration with overall appearance. Weight: dogs: 50-61 kgs (110-135 lbs); bitches: 36-50 kgs (80-110 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.