A Breed Standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance 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 Kennel Club website for details of any such current issues. If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure.
Active, compact, short-coupled and essentially well balanced, leonine in appearance, proud, dignified bearing; well knit frame; tail carried well over back. Should always be able to move freely and must not have so much coat as to impede activity or cause distress in hot weather.
Quiet dog, good guard, bluish-black tongue; its distinctive short-striding gait allows it to move freely, never lumbering and with excellent endurance.
Independent, loyal, yet aloof.
Head and Skull
Skull flat, broad; stop not pronounced, well filled out under eyes. Muzzle moderate in length, broad from eyes to end (not pointed at end like a fox). Nose, large and wide in all cases, black with exception of cream and near white in which case a lighter coloured nose permissible, and in blues and fawns a self-coloured nose (but black preferable in all cases).
Dark, oval shaped, medium sized and clean. A matching coloured eye permissible in blues and fawns. Clean eye, free from entropion, never being penalised for sake of mere size.
Small, thick, slightly rounded at tip, carried stiffly and wide apart but tilting well forward over eyes and slightly towards each other, giving peculiar characteristic scowling expression of the breed. Scowl never to be achieved by loose wrinkled skin of head.
Teeth strong and level, jaws strong, with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws. A solid black mouth including the roof and flews, with a bluish black tongue is ideal. However, some dilution may be evident in the gums of blues and fawns and this dilution may be more pronounced in creams and whites.
Strong, full, not short, set well on shoulders and slightly arched. Of sufficient length to carry the head proudly above the topline.
Shoulders muscular and sloping. Elbows equidistant between withers and ground. Forelegs perfectly straight with good bone.
Chest broad and deep. Ribs well sprung but not barrelled. The distance from withers to elbow is equal to the distance from elbow to ground. Back short, level and strong. Loins powerful.
In profile the foot is directly under the hip joint. Well developed first and second thigh with only slight bend of stifle. Hocks well let down. From hocks downwards to appear straight, never flexing forward.
Small, round, cat-like, standing well up on toes.
Set high, carried well over back.
Relatively short striding, hind feet not lifted high, appearing to skim the ground, resulting in pendulum like action when seen in profile. Forelegs and hindlegs moving parallel to each other and straight forward. Dogs should always be able to move freely and soundly without any sign of distress.
Either rough or smooth. Any artificial shortening of the coat which alters the natural outline or expression should be penalised, with the exception of feet which may be tidied.
Rough: profuse, abundant, dense, straight and stand-off, but not excessive in length. Outer coat coarse, with soft woolly undercoat. Especially thick round neck forming mane or ruff and with good culottes or breechings on back of thighs.
Smooth: coat short, dense, straight, upstanding, not flat, plush-like in texture.
Whole coloured black, red, blue, fawn, cream or white, frequently shaded but not in patches or parti-coloured (underpart of tail and back of thighs frequently of a lighter colour). Any colours other than those listed above are highly undesirable.
Dogs: 48-56 cms (19-22 ins) at shoulder. Bitches: 46-51 cms (18-20 ins) at shoulder.
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.
Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
Reprinted by the kind permission of The Kennel Club (last updated February 2023)