Breed Standard - last updated by the Kennel Club September 2007

General Appearance
Powerfully built, robust, sinewy, appearing almost square. Imposing, with keen expression and alert attitude. Correct conformation of the utmost importance.

Characteristics
Versatile, strong, hardy, intelligent and vigorous. Adaptable, capable of great speed and endurance and resistant to weather.

Temperament
Bold, reliable, good-natured and composed.

Head and Skull
Head strong, of good length, narrowing from ears to eyes and then gradually toward end of nose. The overall length (from nose to occiput) is in proportion to the back (from withers to set on of tail) approximately 1:2. Upper part of head (occiput to base of forehead) moderately broad between ears with flat creaseless forehead. Well muscled but not over-developed cheeks. Medium stop accentuated by bushy eyebrows. Powerful muzzle ending in a moderately blunt wedge, with bristly stubby moustache and chin whiskers. Ridge of nose straight, running parallel to extension of forehead. Nose black with wide nostrils.

Eyes
Medium-sized, dark, oval, set forward, with lower lid fitting closely.

Ears
Neat, V-shaped, set high and dropping forward to temple.

Mouth
Jaws strong with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws. Lips black, closing tightly but not overlapping.

Neck
Moderately long, strong and slightly arched, skin close to throat, neck set cleanly on shoulders.

Forequarters
Shoulders flat, well laid back. Forelegs straight viewed from any angle. Muscles smooth and lithe rather than prominent, bone strong, carried straight to feet. Elbows set close to body and pointing directly backward.

Body
Chest moderately broad and deep, reaching at least to height of elbow rising slightly backward to loins. Breast bone clearly extends to beyond joint of shoulder and upper arm forming the conspicuous forechest. Back strong and straight, slightly higher at shoulder than at hindquarters, with short, well developed loins. Slightly sloping croup. Ribs well sprung. Length of body equal to height at top of withers to ground.

Hindquarters
Strongly muscled. Stifles forming a well defined angle. Upper thighs vertical to stifle, from stifle to hock in line with extension of upper neck line, from hock vertical to ground. When viewed from rear, hindlegs parallel.

Feet
Pointing directly forward, short, round, compact with closely arched toes. Deep, dark and firm pads. Dark nails.

Tail
Previously customarily docked. Docked: Set on high and carried at an angle slightly above topline. Customarily docked to two joints. Undocked: Set on high and carried at an angle slightly above topline. In balance with the rest of the dog.

Gait/Movement
Free, balanced and vigorous, with good reach of forequarters and good driving power from hindquarters. Topline remains level in action.

Coat
Top coat harsh and wiry, just short enough for smartness on body. Slightly shorter on neck and shoulders, but blending smoothly into body coat. Clean on throat, skull, ears and under tail. Good undercoat. Harsh hair on legs.

Colour
(a) Pure black (b) Pepper and salt: Shades range from dark iron grey to light grey; hairs banded black/light/black. Dark facial mask essential, harmonising with corresponding body colour. On both colours white markings on head, chest and legs undesirable. Good pigmentation essential.

Size
Height: dogs: 65-70 cms (251/2-271/2 ins); bitches: 60-65 cms (231/2-251/2 ins). Variations outside these limits undesirable.

Faults
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.

Note
Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.


Breed Standard reproduced with kind permission of the Kennel Club