Last updated February 2015

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

Short, compact body, confident carriage. Fox-like head with small pointed ears, alert expression, large ruff, well-feathered tail curled over back. Clear differentiation in size between the sexes, with males obviously masculine but never coarse: bitches feminine but without weakness of structure.


Sturdy intelligent and adaptable. Ideal companion, good watchdog.


Confident, alert and friendly. Always ready to raise the alarm.

Head and skull

Well proportioned, wedge shaped when seen from above; from side showing definite stop. Dark muzzle equal to length of flat skull. Neither coarse nor snipey. Nose black.


Dark, medium size, almond-shaped, obliquely set. Well-defined ’spectacles‘ shown as a delicately pencilled black line slanting from outer corner of eye to lower corner of ear, coupled with distinct marking and shading forming expressive short eyebrows.


Dark, small ivy leafed in shape. Erect, velvety texture. Well set on head, neither too wide nor meeting.


Jaws 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.


Moderately long and arched, covered with thick, profuse coat forming large ruff.


Shoulders well sloped. Straight front of medium width with good bone.


Short, compact; length from withers to tail equal to height at withers, well sprung in rib. Good depth of brisket.


Strong muscled, hindlegs straight when viewed from behind. Hock showing slight angulation when viewed from side, profuse light-coloured trousers down to hocks.


Well padded, round, cat-like, tight, cream in colour; black nails.


Moderately long, high-set, tightly curled over back, double curl highly desirable.


Clean, brisk, straight and sharp.


Harsh, off-standing, straight. Dense ruff, well feathered on forelegs and profuse trousers, not feathered below hock. Soft, thick, light-coloured (not tawny) undercoat. Never silky, wavy or woolly, nor forming a parting on back. Any shortening of the coat which alters the natural outline should be penalised, with the exception of feet and pasterns which may be lightly trimmed.


A mixture of grey and black. Undercoat very pale grey or cream (not tawny). All shades of grey acceptable, body hairs black tipped. Shoulder markings well defined and all markings definite. Forelegs and hocks cream with no black below wrist or hock. Pencilling acceptable.


Ideal height: dogs: 46 cms (18 ins); bitches: 43 cms (17 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.