Last updated July 2023

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

Most striking. Medium and well balanced. Strong, active and graceful, free from coarseness but capable of great endurance.


Intelligent, alert, full of action. ‘Smiling expression’.


Displays affection to all mankind. Unprovoked nervousness or aggression highly undesirable.

Head and skull

Head powerful, wedge-shaped, with broad, flat skull, muzzle medium length, tapering foreface not too sharply defined. Lips black. Hair short and smooth before ears. Nose black for preference, but may be brown or flesh-coloured.


Almond-shaped, obliquely set, medium to dark brown, set well apart with alert, intelligent expression. Eye rims unbroken black. Light or black eyes undesirable.


Thick, not too long, slightly rounded at tips, set well apart and well covered inside with hair. Fully erect in adults.


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, not too short, and proudly arched.


Shoulders well laid, legs straight and muscular with good bone and not too short.


Back medium in length, broad and very muscular with exceptionally strong loin. Chest deep but not too broad, well sprung deep ribs, giving plenty of heart and lung room.


Very muscular, stifles well angulated. Viewed from rear, legs straight and parallel, with well let down hocks. Cowhocks or straight stifles highly undesirable.


Long, flattish, slightly spread and well feathered. Soles well cushioned with hair. Round cat feet highly undesirable.


Long, profusely coated, carried over the back and to side when alert, sometimes dropped when at rest.


Moves freely with strong, agile drive, showing power and elegance.


Body should be well covered with thick, close, soft and short undercoat, with harsh but not wiry hair growing through it, forming weather-resistant outer coat, which should stand straight away from body and be free from curl.


Pure white, white and biscuit, cream, outer coat silver tipped.


Height: dogs: 51-56 cms (20-22 ins) at shoulder; bitches: 46-51 cms (18-20 ins) at shoulder. Weight in proportion to size.


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.