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, powerfully built, slightly longer than high, Well boned and muscled, never light but always agile. Impressive head provides a noble, dignified look, enhanced by a mane, which is more pronounced in males, balanced by a well-feathered tail carried over the back.
A loyal companion and guardian. Slow to mature.
Independently minded, aloof and protective. Calm and patient. May be wary of strangers.
Head and skull
Broad, heavy and strong. Skull large, with strongly defined occiput and marked stop. Length from nose to stop equal or slightly less than length from stop to occiput. Muzzle fairly broad, well filled, blunt, and square viewed from all sides. Broad, black, well open nostrils. Lips well developed with moderate flews. In maturity, some wrinkling on head extending from above eyes to corner of mouth.
Very expressive, medium size, dark brown. Set well apart, oval and slightly slanting. Dark, close fitting eye rims.
Medium size, triangular, pendent, not set too low, hanging close to head. When alert, carried forward. Ear leathers covered with soft, short hair.
Jaws strong with perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws. Level bite acceptable. Full dentition desirable.
Strong, well muscled, slightly arched. Not too much dewlap.
Muscular, well-laid shoulders. Strongly boned, straight legs with strong, slightly sloping pasterns.
From point of shoulder to point of buttock slightly longer than height at withers, as 10 to 9. Strong and straight back. Broad, muscular loins, with very slightly sloping croup. Chest rather deep, of moderate breadth. Ribcage oval, ribs well sprung but not barrelled, carried well back. Brisket reaching to, or just below, elbows.
Powerful, muscular, with moderate angulation and strong, low-set hocks. Hindlegs, seen from behind, parallel. Single or double dewclaws may be present.
Fairly large, strong, with thick pads, rounded and compact. Having good feathering between toes.
Medium to long. Set on high. Loosely curled over back to one side. Well feathered.
Powerful and free, with purpose and agility. Measured and deliberate when walking. At speed will tend to single-track.
Males carry noticeably more than females. Quality of greater importance than quantity. Densely coated, fairly long, thick, with heavy, woolly undercoat in cold weather which becomes rather sparse in warmer months. Hair fine, hard and straight, never silky, curly or wavy. Hair on face short. Neck and shoulders heavily coated, giving mane-like appearance, Tail heavily feathered, hindlegs well feathered on upper rear parts.
Rich black, with or without tan; slate grey, with or without tan; rich golden. The rich tan markings appear above eyes, on muzzle, on chest, the lower part of legs and underside of tail. Spectacle markings around eyes acceptable. White star on breast permissible. Minimal white markings on feet tolerated. Cream, white, chocolate/liver, particolour, brindle or flecked are undesirable.
A minimum height of 66cms (26ins) in dogs and 61 cms (24ins) in bitches is desirable, but on no account should type be sacrificed to size alone.
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.