Last updated October 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

Well balanced, impresses with strength and great activity. Substantial bone throughout, but not giving heavy inactive appearance. Noble, majestic and powerful.


Large draught and water dog, with natural life-saving instinct, and devoted companion.


Exceptionally gentle, docile nature.

Head and skull

Head broad and relatively large, occipital bone well developed, no decided stop, muzzle short, clean cut and rather square, covered with short fine hair.


Relatively small, dark brown, not showing haw, set rather wide apart. Free from obvious eye problems.


Small, set well back, square with skull, lying close to head, covered with short hair without fringe.


Soft and well covered by lips. Scissor bite preferred, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws, but pincer tolerated.


Strong, well set on to shoulders.


Legs perfectly straight, well muscled, elbows fitting close to sides, well let down.


Well ribbed, back broad with level topline, strong muscular loins. Chest deep, fairly broad.


Very well built and strong. Slackness of loins and cow-hocks most undesirable.


Large, webbed, and well shaped. Splayed or turned out feet most undesirable.


Moderate length, reaching a little below hock. Fair thickness well covered with hair, but not forming a flag. When standing hangs downwards with slight curve at end; when moving, carried slightly up, and when excited, straight out with only a slight curve at end. Tails with a kink or curled over back are most undesirable.


Free, slightly rolling gait. When in motion slight toe-ing in at front acceptable.


Double, flat and dense, of coarse texture and oily nature, water-resistant. When brushed wrong way it falls back into place naturally. Forelegs well feathered. Body well covered but chest hair not forming a frill. Hindlegs slightly feathered.


Only permitted colours are:

Black: dull jet black may be tinged with bronze. Splash of white on chest, toes and tip of tail acceptable.

Brown: can be chocolate or bronze. In all other respects follow black except for colour. Splash of white on chest, toes and tip of tail acceptable.

Landseer: white with black markings only. For preference black head with narrow blaze, evenly marked saddle, black rump extending to tail. Beauty in markings to be taken greatly into consideration. Ticking undesirable.


Average height at shoulder: dogs: 71 cms (28 ins); bitches: 66 cms (26 ins). Average weight: dogs: 64-69 kgs (141-152 lbs); bitches: 50-54.5 kgs (110-120 lbs). While size and weight are important it is essential that symmetry is maintained.


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.