Breed Standard (UK)

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.


General Appearance: Strong, upstanding, with a degree of elegance. Distinctive coat.

Characteristics: Intelligence, steady, reliable.

Temperament: Bold, friendly, self confident and independent. May seem aloof.

Head & Skull: Head wedge-shaped in both side and front profiles. In proportion to body size. Slight stop. Foreface and skull equal length. Planes of skull and muzzle parallel. Nose black in blacks and brown in livers.

Eyes: Large, not prominent, oval-shaped, obliquely set. Dark brown in blacks, in livers brown tone to blend with coat colour.

Ears: Rather small, set slightly above level of eye, lying close to head, covered with small curls.

Mouth: Jaws strong, with perfect regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping teeth and set square to jaws.

Neck: Strong and slightly arched, of medium length, free from throatiness and flowing freely into well laid back shoulders.

Forequarters: Shoulders well laid back and muscular. Upper arm and shoulder blade approximately equal length. Forelegs straight with strong pasterns and set well under body.

Body: Chest deep with well sprung ribs, oval in cross section with brisket reaching elbow. Forechest visible. Ribs extend well back into short, deep and powerful loin. Slight tuck up to flank. Topline strong and level. The dog should be slightly longer in body measured from point of shoulder to point of buttock than in height from withers to ground.

Hindquarters: Strong, muscular. Moderate turn of stifle. Hocks well let down and well bent.

Feet: Round, tight with well-arched toes.

Tail: Flows from topline. Should reach approximately to hock: carried straight on a level with topline when moving.

Gait/Movement: Effortless, powerful gait with good extension and drive. Parallel movement. At speed, legs tend to converge.

Coat: Body coat a thick mass of small tight, crisp curls lying close to skin, extending from occiput to tip of tail: without undercoat or bare patches. Elsewhere hair smooth.

Colour: Black or liver.

Size: Ideal height at withers: Dogs 69 cms (27 ins), Bitches 64 cms (25 ins).

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, and on the dogs ability to perform it’s traditional work.

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

(January 2009)

The Dog Book

Author: James Watson | Vol 1 Chapter XIX/ The Retriever

Published by William Heinemann in 1906

Head – Long and narrow for the length
Ears – Rather small, set on low, lying close to the head and covered with short curls
Jaws – Long and strong, free from lippiness, with good, so8und teeth
Nose – Wide, open nostrils, moist and black
Eyes – Dark, cannot be too dark, rather large, showing great intelligence and splendid temper; a full pug eye an objection
Coat – Should be one mass of short, crisp curls from the occiput to the point of the tail; a saddleback of uncurled hair behind shoulders and white patch on chest should be penalised; but with few white hairs allowed on an otherwise good dog, Colour, black or liver
Neck – Long, graceful, but muscular and well placed; free from throatiness, such as a bloodhound
Shoulders – Very deep, muscular, and obliquely placed
Chest – Not too wide but decidedly deep
Legs – Fore legs straight, with plenty of bone, not too long, and set well under body
Feet – Round and compact, with toes well arched
Loin – Powerful, deep and firm to the grasp
Tail – Should be carried pretty straight an covered with short curls tapering toward tip
General Appearance – A strong, smart dog moderately low on leg, active, lively, beaming with intelligence and expression.

Scale Of Points

Head 10
Jaws 5
Eyes 5
Neck 5
Chest 5
Legs 5
Loin 10
Ears 5

Nose 5
Coat 15
Shoulders 5
Body 5
Feet 5
Tail 5
General Appearance 10