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.
Strongly built, muscular, well balanced and active with a keen, determined and intelligent expression.
Courageous, full of spirit, with a fun loving attitude. A unique feature is a downfaced, egg-shaped head. Irrespective of size dogs should look masculine and bitches feminine.
Of even temperament and amenable to discipline. Although obstinate is particularly good with people.
Head and skull
Head long, strong and deep right to end of muzzle, but not coarse. Viewed from front egg shaped and completely filled, its surface free from hollows or indentations. Top of skull almost flat from ear to ear. Profile curves gently downwards from top of skull to tip of nose which should be black and bent downwards at tip. Nostrils well developed and underjaw deep and strong.
Appearing narrow and triangular, obliquely placed, black or as dark brown as possible so as to appear almost black, and with a piercing glint. Distance from tip of nose to eyes perceptibly greater than that from eyes to top of skull. Blue or partly blue undesirable.
Small, thin and placed close together. Dog should be able to hold them stiffly erect, when they point straight upwards.
Teeth sound, clean, strong, of good size, regular with perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws. Lips clean and tight.
Very muscular, long, arched, tapering from shoulders to head and free from loose skin.
Shoulders strong and muscular without loading. Shoulder blades wide, flat and held closely to chest wall and have a very pronounced backward slope of front edge from bottom to top, forming almost a right angle with upper arm. Elbows held straight and strong, pasterns upright. Forelegs have strongest type of round, quality bone, dog should stand solidly upon them and they should be perfectly parallel. In mature dogs length of foreleg should be approximately equal to depth of chest.
Body well rounded with marked spring of rib and great depth from withers to brisket, so that latter nearer ground than belly. Back short, strong with backline behind withers level, arching or roaching slightly over broad, well-muscled loins. Underline from brisket to belly forms a graceful upward curve. Chest broad when viewed from front.
Hindlegs in parallel when viewed from behind. Thighs muscular and second thighs well developed. Stifle joint well bent and hock well angulated with bone to foot short and strong.
Round and compact with well-arched toes.
Short, set on low and carried horizontally. Thick at root, it tapers to a fine point.
When moving appears well knit, smoothly covering ground with free, easy strides and with a typical jaunty air. When trotting, movement parallel, front and back, only converging towards centre line at faster speeds, forelegs reaching out well and hindlegs moving smoothly at hip, flexing well at stifle and hock, with great thrust.
Short, flat, even and harsh to touch with a fine gloss. Skin fitting dog tightly. A soft textured undercoat may be present in winter.
For White, pure white coat. Skin pigmentation and markings on head not to be penalised.
For Coloured, colour predominates; all other things being equal, brindle preferred. Black brindle, red, fawn and tricolour acceptable.
Tick markings in white coat undesirable. Blue and liver highly undesirable.
There are neither weight nor height limits, but there should be the impression of maximum substance for size of dog consistent with quality and sex.
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.