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.
Large, imposing dog, above average size, strongly built with heavy bone. Well proportioned general appearance, sturdy and robust frame. Well-developed muscles. Body almost square. A medium texture, weatherproof coat, well furnished on head and limbs. Trimmed.
Natural guarding instincts. Easily trained. Very adaptable.
Alert, lively and even-tempered, wary of strangers. Resilient, brave and self-confident.
Head and skull
Well proportioned with moderately broad skull and rounded cheekbones. Eyebrows slightly pronounced. Skull flat, medium stop, not too accentuated. Top line of muzzle parallel to top line of skull. Muzzle solid with slight tapering towards the tip and length a little shorter than skull. Whiskers and beard give muzzle a squared-off shape. Lips thick and black in colour, tightly fitting. Large black nose.
Medium, oval in appearance and dark. Set obliquely and wide apart. Eyelids dark and fitting tightly.
High set, pendant, not too big, triangular in shape with the inner edge lying tightly against the cheekbone.
Jaws strong, with perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws. Full, strong dentition desirable.
Reasonably long, powerful, muscular and clean cut. Flows into the top line at an approximate 45º angle.
Shoulders well laid back. Seen from the front, legs straight and parallel, pasterns short and straight. Elbows carried close to body.
High withers clearly marked above top line, back level and muscular. Depth of chest level with elbows or slightly below. Chest deep with well-sprung ribs. Moderate tuck-up. Loin short, wide, muscular and slightly arched. Rump large and muscular with a barely visible slope towards the tail which is set high on the croup.
Seen from behind, legs straight and parallel, set wider than the front legs. Thighs muscular and well developed. Stifles well bent and hocks set low.
Large, well arched and rounded with thick pads. Black nails.
Set high and thick. Previously customarily docked, leaving three to four vertebrae. Undocked, the tail set is more important than carriage. The tail may also curl over the back, but not gay. The length and thickness is determined by the proportions of the dog.
At the trot, legs move in a straight line, with forelegs converging slightly. Fairly elastic movement. Ground-covering movement with good reach in the forequarters and good driving power in the hindquarters.
Medium texture weatherproof coat, with dense undercoat. Not wiry or soft. When brushed the hair is broken coated and slightly waved. Furnishings well developed on eyebrows, beard and legs. The ears (from fold to tip), skull, cheeks, throat to sternum, underside of tail, buttocks and rear of stifle are closely trimmed.
Black; or black with grey hairs distributed through the coat, but not in confined areas, and in total no more than one third of the coat.
Height at withers: dogs 68-77 cms (27-30½ ins), bitches 66-72 cms (26-28½ 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.