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

Powerful, medium size dog, slightly longer than high. Long haired with weather-resistant coat. Free from exaggeration. Noticeable difference between dogs and bitches.


Versatile, companion and working dog. Adaptable, devoted, self-confident, agile and resilient.


Kind and even temperament, loyal, self-assured, courageous, tolerant and composed, without nervousness or aggression.

Head and skull

Clean head with moderately broad skull. Length from occiput to stop equal to length from stop to nose. Width and length of skull approximately equal. Viewed in profile, foreface straight and parallel to skull. Stop moderate though clearly defined. Strong, deep muzzle, tapering slightly. Well-developed nostrils.


Oval, medium sized. Dark to medium brown, toning with pigmentation. Alert and intelligent expression.


Triangular, with gently rounded tips and hanging loosely. Set medium to high, increasing apparent breadth of skull. Length reaching to the corner of the mouth, front edges positioned approximately midway between eye and occiput tip. Carried slightly forward when alert.


Tight lips. Full dentition with scissor bite i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws. Pincer bite tolerated.


Strong, medium length, no dewlap.


Strong, well muscled. Shoulders long and well laid back. Upper arms long and lying close to the body, elbows fitting close to the chest. Forearms straight, viewed from any angle. Pasterns moderately sloping when viewed from the side.


Well balanced. Slightly longer from point of shoulder to point of buttocks than height at withers. Strong topline, level from withers to croup. Slightly sloping croup of moderate length. Chest strong, deep and broad. Foreribs relatively flat, allowing elbows freedom of movement, but ribs increasingly well sprung from behind the elbows. Deep brisket. Strong loin. Moderate tuck up.


Wide, powerful and well muscled. Well angulated without exaggeration. Second thigh wide and very well muscled. Legs straight when viewed from behind. Hocks strong and well let down.


Roundish, strong, compact with well-arched toes. Pads thick and strong.


Bushy, reaching below the hocks but not to ground. When standing, hangs down. Raised over the back when alert or moving.


Effortless, ground covering gait, straight and true. Good reach and drive.


On the body, the coat is long but not excessively so. Dense, straight or slightly waved and close lying, with sparse undercoat. Short on head and front of legs, longer on the chest, belly, the rear of forelegs, back of thighs and tail.


Black: Deep, shining black without rustiness. A few white spots on chest and a few white hairs on toes and tip of tail are permissible. Black pigmentation on eye rims, lips and pads.

Blonde: Medium shade of blonde, shiny and becoming lighter towards the legs and belly. A few white spots on chest and a few white hairs on toes and tip of tail are permissible. Black pigmentation on eye rims, lips and pads. Snow nose acceptable.

Black/gold: Deep, shining black, without rustiness, with medium blonde markings clearly defined as follows:

  1. A spot over each eye
  2. On cheeks
  3. As a strip around each side of muzzle but not on bridge of nose
  4. On throat
  5. Two clear patches on either side of breastbone which may be joined
  6. On forelegs the colour runs from toes to wrists with colour up the backs of the forearms extending to the elbows
  7. On the hindlegs the colour runs from toes to hocks extending up the inside of the legs, seen from the side as a narrow stripe up the front of the leg reaching to stifle and belly
  8. Under tail

A few white spots on chest and a few white hairs on toes and tip of tail are permissible. Black pigmentation on eye rims, lips and pads.


Height: dogs: 63-70 cms (25-27½ ins); bitches: 58-65 cms (23-25½ ins). Weight: dogs: 30-40 kgs (66-88 lbs); bitches: 25-35 kgs (55-77 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.