Intelligent Choice of the Right Pet Dog (A Case Study)
GROUP I: SPORTING BREEDS
NAMED FOR THE FRENCH PROVINCE IN WHICH IT ORIGINATED, THE BRITTANY was first registered by the American Kennel Club as the Brittany Spaniel in 1934. Although called a spaniel, by its manner of working game the Brittany belongs with the pointing breeds. In appearance, the breed is smaller than the setters but leggier than the spaniels, having a short tail and characteristic high earset. On September 1, 1982, the breed’s official AKC name became Brittany, to more correctly identify their hunting style.
Though it is generally conceded that the basic stock for all bird dogs is the same, most of the facts concerning the development and spread of the various breeds are lost in antiquity. The first accurate records to pinpoint the actual Brittany-type dog are seventeenth-century paintings and tapestries. The frequency with which these appear suggests this type of dog was fairly common. Paintings by Jean-Baptiste Oudry (1686–1755) show a liver-and-white dog pointing partridge. This same type of dog is common in Flemish paintings from the school of Jan Steen. Still other artists show this type of bird dog, so it would appear that it was common throughout the northern coast of France and in Holland.
Still, there is nothing written before 1850 that can be unequivocally interpreted as a reference to the Brittany. In that year, the English clergyman Reverend Davies wrote of hunting in Carhaix with small, bobtailed dogs. They were not as smooth as the Pointer, but worked well in the brush. They pointed, retrieved game well, and were particularly popular with poachers, as the nature of that occupation required that the dogs be easy to handle. The description fits the Brittany to perfection.
It was speculated, and in at least one case confirmed, that around 1900 some native spaniels of Brittany were mated with English pointing dogs, whose owners vacationed in France, for woodcock shooting. These matings intensified the pointing qualities of the breed while the basic features remained essentially Breton. The Brittany was an all-purpose dog, a family pet, and a guard dog as well as a hunting dog for the thrifty French peasant. This certainly influenced its shape, size, and disposition. The climate, the nature of the terrain hunted, the manner of hunting, and even its popularity with poachers all had an effect on the type of coat, keenness of nose, and retrieving ability that was developed over the years.
Legend has it that the first tailless ancestor of the modern Brittany emerged in the mid-1800s at Pontou, a little town in the valley of Douron. It resulted from a cross between a white-and-mahogany bitch owned by a hunter in the region and a lemon-and-white dog brought to Brittany for woodcock shooting by an English sportsman. Of two tailless puppies in this litter, one proved outstanding. His work in the field has been described as wonderful, and he became a popular stud. All of his litters produced puppies either without tails or with short stubs.
The Brittany became a recognized breed in 1907, when Boy, an orange-and-white, was registered in France as the first l’épagneul Breton queue courte naturelle. This name was soon shortened to l’épagneul Breton, or Brittany Spaniel. Before 1907, Brittanys had competed in classes for Miscellaneous French spaniels.
In the same year, an outline for the first breed standard was written. This early standard required that the tail be short at birth and that, in order to discourage further crossbreeding, black and white be disqualified. The requirement for the natural bobtail was soon dropped.
The breed was introduced in the United States in 1931 and was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1934. The first standard was a direct translation from the French and not particularly comprehensible. The first major accomplishment of the American Brittany Club after its formation in 1942 was to replace the original standard with a clear and concise one.
An early gain in popularity was due largely to the Brittany’s merits as a shooting dog. A superb nose and desire to please, coupled with relatively small size, endeared the breed to rural and urban hunters alike.
The last fifty years have seen a tremendous growth in both field trials and hunt tests sponsored by the American Brittany Club under the auspices of the AKC. Brittany competition in AKC dog shows has grown equally, and the majority of Brittany owners and breeders are today dedicated to the Dual Champion (field and show champion). Now, seventy years since first recognition, more than 500 Brittanys have gained the ultimate title, that of Dual Champion.
OFFICIAL STANDARD FOR THE BRITTANY
General Appearance—A compact, closely knit dog of medium size, a leggy dog having the appearance, as well as the agility, of a great ground coverer. Strong, vigorous, energetic and quick of movement. Ruggedness, without clumsiness, is a characteristic of the breed. He can be tailless or has a tail docked to approximately four inches.
Size, Proportion, Substance—Height—171⁄2 to 201⁄2 inches, measured from the ground to the highest point of the shoulders. Any Brittany measuring under 171⁄2 inches or over 201⁄2 inches shall be disqualified from dog show competition. Weight—Should weigh between 30 and 40 pounds.
Proportion—So leggy is he that his height at the shoulders is the same as the length of his body.
BodyLength—Approximately the same as the height when measured at the shoulders. Body length is measured from the point of the forechest to the rear of the rump. A long body should be heavily penalized. Substance—Not too light in bone, yet never heavy-boned and cumbersome.
Head—Expression—Alert and eager, but with the soft expression of a bird dog. Eyes—Well set in head. Well protected from briers by a heavy, expressive eyebrow. A prominent, full or popeye should be heavily penalized. It is a serious fault in a dog that must face briers. Skull well chiseled under the eyes, so that the lower lid is not pulled back to form a pocket or haw that would catch seeds, dirt and weed dust. Preference should be for the darker colored eyes, though lighter shades of amber should not be penalized. Light and mean-looking eyes should be heavily penalized. Ears—Set high, above the level of the eyes. Short and triangular, rather than pendulous, reaching about half the length of the muzzle. Should lie flat and close to the head, with the tip rounded very slightly. Ears well covered with dense, but relatively short hair, and with little fringe. Skull—Medium length, rounded, very slightly wedge-shaped, but evenly made. Width, not quite as wide as the length and never so broad as to appear coarse, or so narrow as to appear racy. Well defined, but gently sloping stop. Median line rather indistinct. The occiput only apparent to the touch. Lateral walls well rounded. The Brittany should never be “apple-headed” and he should never have an indented stop. Muzzle— Medium length, about two thirds the length of the skull, measuring the muzzle from the tip to the stop, and the skull from the occiput to the stop. Muzzle should taper gradually in both horizontal and vertical dimensions as it approaches the nostrils. Neither a Roman nose nor a dishface is desirable. Never broad, heavy or snipy. Nose—Nostrils well open to permit deep breathing of air and adequate scenting. Tight nostrils should be penalized. Never shiny. Color: fawn, tan, shades of brown or deep pink. A black nose is a disqualification. A two-tone or butterfly nose should be penalized. Lips—Tight, the upper lip overlapping the lower jaw just to cover the lower lip. Lips dry, so that feathers will not stick. Drooling to be heavily penalized. Flews to be penalized. Bite—A true scissors bite. Overshot or undershot jaw to be heavily penalized.
Neck, Topline, Body—Neck—Medium length. Free from throatiness, though not a serious fault unless accompanied by dewlaps, strong without giving the impression of being overmuscled. Well set into sloping shoulders. Never concave or ewe-necked. Topline—Slight slope from the highest point of the shoulders to the root of the tail. Chest—Deep, reaching the level of the elbow. Neither so wide nor so rounded as to disturb the placement of the shoulders and elbows. Ribs well sprung. Adequate heart room provided by depth as well as width. Narrow or slab-sided chests are a fault. Back—Short and straight. Never hollow, saddle, sway or roach-backed. Slight drop from the hips to the root of the tail. Flanks— Rounded. Fairly full. Not extremely tucked up, or flabby and falling. Loins short and strong. Distance from last rib to upper thigh short, about three to four finger widths. Narrow and weak loins are a fault. In motion, the loin should not sway sideways, giving a zig-zag motion to the back, wasting energy. Tail—Tailless to approximately four inches, natural or docked. The tail not to be so long as to affect the overall balance of the dog. Set on high, actually an extension of the spine at about the same level. Any tail substantially more than four inches shall be severely penalized.
Forequarters—Shoulders—Shoulder blades should not protrude too much, not too wide apart, with perhaps two thumbs’ width between. Sloping and muscular. Blade and upper arm should form nearly a ninety-degree angle. Straight shoulders are a fault. At the shoulders the Brittany is slightly higher than at the rump. FrontLegs—Viewed from the front, perpendicular, but not set too wide. Elbows and feet turning neither in nor out. Pasterns slightly sloped. Down in pasterns is a serious fault. Leg bones clean, graceful, but not too fine. Extremely heavy bone is as much a fault as spindly legs. One must look for substance and suppleness. Height at elbows should approximately equal distance from elbow to withers. Feet—Should be strong, proportionately smaller than the spaniels’, with close-fitting, well-arched toes and thick pads. The Brittany is “not up on his toes.” Toes not heavily feathered. Flat feet, splayed feet, paper feet, etc., are to be heavily penalized. An ideal foot is halfway between the hare and the cat foot. Dewclaws may be removed.
Hindquarters—Broad, strong and muscular, with powerful thighs and well-bent stifles, giving the angulation necessary for powerful drive. HindLegs—Stifles well bent. The stifle should not be so angulated as to place the hock joint far out behind the dog. A Brittany should not be condemned for straight stifle until the judge has checked the dog in motion from the side. The stifle joint should not turn out making a cowhock. Thighs well feathered but not profusely, halfway to the hock. Hocks, that is, the back pasterns, should be moderately short, pointing neither in nor out, perpendicular when viewed from the side. They should be firm when shaken by the judge. Feet—Same as front feet.
Coat—Dense, flat or wavy, never curly. Texture neither wiry nor silky. Ears should carry little fringe. The front and hind legs should have some feathering, but too little is definitely preferable to too much. Dogs with long or profuse feathering or furnishings shall be so severely penalized as to effectively eliminate them from competition. Skin— Fine and fairly loose. A loose skin rolls with briers and sticks, thus diminishing punctures or tearing. A skin so loose as to form pouches is undesirable.
Color—Orange and white or liver and white in either clear or roan patterns. Some ticking is desirable. The orange or liver is found in the standard parti-color or piebald patterns. Washed-out colors are not desirable. Tri-colors are allowed but not preferred. A tri-color is a liver and white dog with classic orange markings on eyebrows, muzzle and cheeks; inside the ears and under the tail; freckles on the lower legs are orange. Anything exceeding the limits of these markings shall be severely penalized. Black is a disqualification.
Gait—When at a trot the Brittany’s hind foot should step into or beyond the print left by the front foot. Clean movement, coming and going, is very important, but most important is side gait, which is smooth, efficient and ground covering.
Temperament—A happy, alert dog, neither mean nor shy.
Any Brittany measuring under 171⁄2 inches or over 20 1⁄2 inches.
A black nose.
Black in the coat.
Approved April 10, 1990
Effective May 31, 1990
THE POINTER COMES BY HIS NAME HONESTLY. HE WAS THE FIRST DOG, SO far as we know, used to stand game in the sense in which we use the term today, and was developed as a distinct breed much earlier than any of the setters. For years it was believed the first Pointers used in England were importations from Spain and Portugal, but that theory has been pretty thoroughly disproved. It seems far more likely that Pointers came into general use in Spain, Portugal, throughout Eastern Europe, and in the British Isles at approximately the same time. Whether or not the dogs from which they sprung were native to all these places no one can say, but it can be stated with confidence that the development of the English Pointer took place within the confines of Great Britain, most probably in England itself. Later on, Spanish Pointers were brought in, but from the first they were considered as a different strain, if not a different breed, from the English dogs.
The first Pointers of which there is any dependable record appeared in England in about 1650, some years before the era of wing-shooting with guns. The use to which they were put is interesting. Coursing with Greyhounds was a favorite sport of those times, and the earliest accounts of Pointers reveal that they were taken afield to locate and point hares. When the hare had been found, the Greyhounds were brought up and unleashed, the game was kicked from cover, and the fun began. But early in the eighteenth century, at least by 1711, wing-shooting had come into vogue, and from that day on, the “shorthair” has been considered by the majority of sportsmen the equal, if not the superior, of any of the gundogs.
As to the Pointer’s lineage, as usual we find it something of an enigma, but there is no question that the Foxhound, Greyhound, and Bloodhound all had a share in his making. Individuals of the three breeds were probably crossed with the inevitable “setting spaniel,” which played such a prominent part in the creation of all our modern bird dogs.
During the first years of the eighteenth century the Spanish Pointer began to appear in England, and he, too, was used for a cross. But, as he was exceedingly heavy and very slow in comparison with the English, French, and German Pointers, subsequent breeding operations not only left him out but definitely attempted to correct the faults he had introduced. It appears that his real value was not to improve type but to fix and intensify the pointing instinct, in which, we are told, he was peculiarly strong.
If this was the purpose, it seems to have been successful. Remarkable (and, incidentally, quite unbelievable) stories are to be found in British sporting papers of the early nineteenth century, relating the prodigies performed by certain English Pointers of a former day. Colonel Thornton’s Pluto and Juno, for example, are said to have held a point on a covey of partridges for an hour and a quarter by a watch. But when we find so solid an authority as Stonehenge telling as gospel truth the now famous yarn of the sportsman who lost his Pointer on the moors and, returning a year later, discovered the skeleton of the dog pointing a skeleton bird, we realize that the statements of these pre-Victorian worthies must be taken with considerably more than a pinch of salt.
During the nineteenth century the English Pointer was repeatedly crossed with the various setters as they came into existence and favor. This, it seems, was partly to improve his disposition, for an old-time writer, commenting on the breed, says: “They have a ferocity of temper which will not submit to correction or discipline, unless taken in hand very young.” While the Pointer of today is anything but ferocious, it may be that this characteristic, tempered by judicious breeding and in combination with the natural independence that made him object to correction and discipline, has made him the superlative field-trial dog he is today. He certainly possesses the competitive spirit to a greater degree than is usually found in the other bird dogs, a quality that makes him especially suited to public performance.
The modern Pointer is a specialist and looks the part. He is every inch a gundog. Clean-limbed, lithe, and muscular without being coarse, full of nervous energy and “hunt,” put together for speed and endurance, courageous, and with the ability to concentrate on his job, he is an ideal dog for the man or woman who is looking for results when afield. His short hair makes him neat and clean around the house, and his disposition makes him adaptable for the kennel. He requires less personal attention than some other gundogs, and he is willing to work satisfactorily for someone other than his own master and handler.
In addition to all this, he has another characteristic: tendency toward early development. As a breed, Pointers seem to acquire the hunting instinct at a tender age, puppies of two months frequently pointing and even backing. For this reason they are especially suited for derby and puppy stakes.
For show purposes, the Pointer’s short coat makes his outline, conformation, and quality easily seen at a glance, and he is a superb poser. Today’s Pointer can be seen in all four colors and on occasion a solid black or liver. His gentle disposition makes him an ideal conformation dog. Lemon and white, orange and white, black and white, and sometimes solid black are other colorings.
The Pointer is peculiarly fortunate in one all-important respect. He has always been bred for type as well as field ability, hence we have in this case no divergence between the two insofar as appearance goes. From the beginning, type has been carefully developed and intelligently preserved. An illustration for Colonel Thornton’s book A Tour Through Scotland shows Captain Fleming of Barochan out hawking. This picture was drawn or painted about 1786, yet a Pointer among the dogs shown would pass muster today as an excellent specimen.
The modern-day Pointer is commonly seen in many other competitive events, including obedience and agility. The Pointer is also for many people a wonderful therapy dog.
OFFICIAL STANDARD FOR THE POINTER
General Appearance—The Pointer is bred primarily for sport afield; he should unmistakably look and act the part. The ideal specimen gives the immediate impression of compact power and agile grace; the head noble, proudly carried; the expression intelligent and alert; the muscular body bespeaking both staying power and dash. Here is an animal whose every movement shows him to be a wide-awake, hard-driving hunting dog possessing stamina, courage, and the desire to go. And in his expression are the loyalty and devotion of a true friend of man.
Temperament—The Pointer’s even temperament and alert good sense make him a congenial companion both in the field and in the home. He should be dignified and should never show timidity toward man or dog.
Head—The skull of medium width, approximately as wide as the length of the muzzle, resulting in an impression of length rather than width. Slight furrow between the eyes, cheeks cleanly chiseled. There should be a pronounced stop. From this point forward the muzzle is of good length, with the nasal bone so formed that the nose is slightly higher at the tip than the muzzle at the stop. Parallel planes of the skull and muzzle are equally acceptable. The muzzle should be deep without pendulous flews. Jaws ending square and level, should bite evenly or as scissors. Nostrils well developed and wide open. Ears—Set on at eye level. When hanging naturally, they should reach just below the lower jaw, close to the head, with little or no folding. They should be somewhat pointed at the tip—never round—and soft and thin in leather. Eyes—Of ample size, rounded and intense. The eye color should be dark in contrast with the color of the markings, the darker the better.
Neck—Long, dry, muscular and slightly arched, springing cleanly from the shoulders.
Shoulders—Long, thin and sloping. The top of blades close together.
Front—Elbows well let down, directly under the withers and truly parallel so as to work just clear of the body. Forelegs straight and with oval bone. Knee joint never to knuckle over. Pasterns of moderate length, perceptibly finer in bone than the leg, and slightly slanting. Chest, deep rather than wide, must not hinder free action of forelegs. The breastbone bold, without being unduly prominent. The ribs well sprung, descending as low as the elbow-point.
Back—Strong and solid with only a slight rise from croup to top of shoulders. Loin of moderate length, powerful and slightly arched. Croup falling only slightly to base of tail. Tuck-up should be apparent, but not exaggerated.
Tail—Heavier at the root, tapering to a fine point. Length no greater than to hock. A tail longer than this or docked must be penalized. Carried without curl, and not more than 20 degrees above the line of the back; never carried between the legs.
Hindquarters—Muscular and powerful with great propelling leverage. Thighs long and well developed. Stifles well bent. The hocks clean; the legs straight as viewed from behind. Decided angulation is the mark of power and endurance.
Feet—Oval, with long, closely set, arched toes, well padded and deep. Catfoot is a fault. Dewclaws on the forelegs may be removed.
Coat—Short, dense, smooth with a sheen.
Color—Liver, lemon, black, orange; either in combination with white or solid-colored. A good Pointer cannot be a bad color. In the darker colors, the nose should be black or brown; in the lighter shades it may be lighter or flesh-colored.
Gait—Smooth, frictionless, with a powerful hindquarters’ drive. The head should be carried high, the nostrils wide, the tail moving from side to side rhythmically with the pace, giving the impression of a well-balanced, strongly built hunting dog capable of top speed combined with great stamina. Hackney gait must be faulted.
Balance and Size—Balance and overall symmetry are more important in the Pointer than size. A smooth, balanced dog is to be more desired than a dog with strongly contrasting good points and faults. Hound or terrier characteristics are most undesirable. Because a sporting dog must have both endurance and power, great variations in size are undesirable, the desirable height and weight being within the following limits:
Approved November 11, 1975
GERMAN SHORTHAIRED POINTER
THE GERMAN SHORTHAIRED POINTER COMBINES IN FIELD-DOG REQUIREMENTS those qualities which have long popularized the various breeds of hunting dogs. So successfully have keen scenting powers, linked with high intelligence, been fused into the breed through judicious crossing of the descendants of the old Spanish Pointer, English Foxhound, and local German tracking hounds, and so varied are this dog’s field accomplishments, that it has been called an all-purpose dog. In fact, the term was applied to the breed by the Germans before American sportsmen began importing it to any extent in the early 1920s.
It is indeed rare to find wrapped up in one package a staunchly pointing bird dog; a keen-nosed night trailer; a proven duck dog; a natural retriever on land and water, with pleasing conformation and markings and great powers of endurance; and an intelligent family watchdog and companion. Indicative of this dog’s versatility is its successful work on pheasant, quail, grouse, partridge, jacksnipe, woodcock, duck, rabbits, coon, and possum. It is also used to trail and handle deer. With a water-repellent coat and webbed feet, it retrieves well from rough terrain or icy waters.
The origin of the German Shorthaired Pointer, as indeed with most breeds, cannot be described precisely. Few records were kept before the establishment of the Klub Kurzhaar studbook in the 1870s, though the German hunting fraternity had already spent many years attempting to produce a truly versatile utility dog-of-all -work, using of necessity the stock that was locally available. The main source of foundation stock seems to have been the German Bird Dog, a not very admirable step down by inheritance from the old Spanish Pointer. Its utility was further improved by introducing local types of scenthounds, track and trail dogs that were also dependable in water and that were used by the German foresters. These Schweisshunde (schweiss—“scent”; hunde—“dogs”) were of many and diverse types. They had originated principally down through the centuries from the hounds introduced from Eastern countries after the Crusades, and had been developed particularly in France, so that they became the forebears of practically all present-day scenting hounds.
The Germans still were not satisfied. Since obedience was of paramount importance, these early dogs were selectively bred for biddability. Steps were taken later to improve stance, style, and, above all, nose. Fine Pointers were brought from England and were used to lend elegance to the manner of working—die hohe nase (“the high nose”) being the major aim. This was accomplished, and the breeders then had only the problem of ridding their developing Kurzhaar of its unwanted Pointer characteristics—aversion to water and lack of aggressiveness toward predators. These objectives were achieved long before the turn of the twentieth century. A dog breeding true to type was developed, giving the world at long last a magnificent utility dog combining these virtues with the good looks, sound temperament, and longevity that have made the German Shorthaired Pointer a favorite with sportsmen everywhere.
The German Shorthaired Pointer was first admitted to the American Kennel Club Stud Book in March 1930. The first AKC-licensed specialty show for German Shorthaired Pointers was held by the German Shorthaired Pointer Club of America at the 1941 International Kennel Club show in Chicago; the first AKC-LICENSED field trial for the breed was also held by the parent club at Anoka, Minnesota, on May 21, 1944.
OFFICIAL STANDARD FOR THE GERMAN SHORTHAIRED POINTER
General Appearance—The German Shorthaired Pointer is a versatile hunter, an all-purpose gundog capable of high performance in field and water. The judgment of Shorthairs in the show ring reflects this basic characteristic. The overall picture created in the observer’s eye is that of an aristocratic, well-balanced, symmetrical animal with conformation indicating power, endurance, and agility and a look of intelligence and animation. The dog is neither unduly small nor conspicuously large. It gives the impression of medium size but is like the proper hunter, “with a short back, but standing over plenty of ground.” Symmetry and field quality are most essential. A dog in hard and lean field condition is not to be penalized; however, overly fat or poorly muscled dogs are to be penalized. A dog well balanced in all points is preferable to one with outstanding good qualities and defects. Grace of outline, clean-cut head, sloping shoulders, deep chest, powerful back, strong quarters, good bone composition, adequate muscle, well carried tail and taut coat produce a look of nobility and indicate a heritage of purposefully conducted breeding. Further evidence of this heritage is movement which is balanced, alertly coordinated and without wasted motion.
Size, Proportion, Substance—Size—Height of dogs, measured at the withers, 23 to 25 inches. Height of bitches, measured at the withers, 21 to 23 inches. Deviations of one inch above or below the described heights are to be severely penalized. Weight of dogs 55 to 70 pounds. Weight of bitches 45 to 60 pounds. Proportion—Measuring from the forechest to the rearmost projection of the rump and from the withers to the ground, the Shorthair is permissibly either square or slightly longer than he is tall. Substance—Thin and fine bones are by no means desirable in a dog which must possess strength and be able to work over any type of terrain. The main importance is not laid so much on the size of bone, but rather on the bone being in proper proportion to the body. Bone structure too heavy or too light is a fault. Tall and leggy dogs, dogs which are ponderous because of excess substance, doggy bitches, and bitchy dogs are to be faulted.
Head—The head is clean-cut, is neither too light nor too heavy, and is in proper proportion to the body. The eyes are of medium size, full of intelligence and expression, good-humored and yet radiating energy, neither protruding nor sunken. The eye is almond shaped, not circular. The preferred color is dark brown. Light yellow eyes are not desirable and are a fault. Closely set eyes are to be faulted. China or wall eyes are to be disqualified. The ears are broad and set fairly high, lie flat and never hang away from the head. Their placement is just above eye level. The ears when laid in front without being pulled, should extend to the corner of the mouth. In the case of heavier dogs, the ears are correspondingly longer. Ears too long or fleshy are to be faulted. The skull is reasonably broad, arched on the side and slightly round on top. Unlike the Pointer, the median line between the eyes at the forehead is not too deep and the occipital bone is not very conspicuous. The foreface rises gradually from nose to forehead. The rise is more strongly pronounced in the dog than in the bitch. The jaw is powerful and the muscles well developed. The line to the forehead rises gradually and never has a definite stop as that of the Pointer, but rather a stop-effect when viewed from the side, due to the position of the eyebrows. The muzzle is sufficiently long to enable the dog to seize game properly and be able to carry it for a long time. A pointed muzzle is not desirable. The depth is in the right proportion to the length, both in the muzzle and in the skull proper. The length of the muzzle should equal the length of skull. A dish-shaped muzzle is a fault. A definite Pointer stop is a serious fault. Too many wrinkles in the forehead is a fault. The nose is brown, the larger the better, and with nostrils well opened and broad. A spotted nose is not desirable. A flesh colored nose disqualifies. The chops fall away from the somewhat projecting nose. Lips are full and deep yet are never flewy. The teeth are strong and healthy. The molars intermesh properly. The bite is a true scissors bite. A perfect level bite is not desirable and must be penalized. Extreme overshot or undershot disqualifies.
Neck, Topline, Body—The neck is of proper length to permit the jaws reaching game to be retrieved, sloping downward on beautifully curving lines. The nape is rather muscular, becoming gradually larger toward the shoulders. Moderate throatiness is permitted. The skin is close and tight. The chest in general gives the impression of depth rather than breadth; for all that, it is in correct proportion to the other parts of the body. The chest reaches down to the elbows, the ribs forming the thorax show a rib spring and are not flat or slab-sided; they are not perfectly round or barrel-shaped. The back ribs reach well down. The circumference of the thorax immediately behind the elbows is smaller than that of the thorax about a hand’s breadth behind elbows, so that the upper arm has room for movement. Tuck-up is apparent. The back is short, strong and straight with a slight rise from the root of the tail to the withers. The loin is strong, is of moderate length, and is slightly arched. An excessively long, roached or swayed back must be penalized. The hips are broad with hip sockets wide apart and fall slightly toward the tail in a graceful curve. A steep croup is a fault. The tail is set high and firm, and must be docked, leaving approximately 40% of its length. The tail hangs down when the dog is quiet and is held horizontally when he is walking. The tail must never be curved over the back toward the head when the dog is moving. A tail curved or bent toward the head is to be severely penalized.
Forequarters—The shoulders are sloping, movable, and well covered with muscle. The shoulder blades lie flat and are well laid back, nearing a 45 degree angle. The upper arm (the bones between the shoulder and elbow joint) is as long as possible, standing away somewhat from the trunk so that the straight and closely muscled legs, when viewed from the front, appear to be parallel. Elbows which stand away from the body or are too close result in toes turning inwards or outwards and must be faulted. Pasterns are strong, short and nearly vertical with a slight spring. Loose, short-bladed or straight shoulders must be faulted. Knuckling over is to be faulted. Dewclaws on the forelegs may be removed. The feet are compact, close-knit and round to spoon-shaped. The toes are sufficiently arched and heavily nailed. The pads are strong, hard and thick.
Hindquarters—Thighs are strong and well muscled. Stifles are well bent. Hock joints are well angulated and strong with straight bone structure from hock to pad. Angulation of both stifle and hock joint is such as to achieve the optimal balance of drive and traction. Hocks turn neither in nor out. Cowhocked legs are a serious fault.
Coat—The hair is short and thick and feels tough to the hand; it is somewhat longer on the underside of the tail and the back edges of the haunches. The hair is softer, thinner and shorter on the ears and the head. Any dog with long hair in the body coat is to be severely penalized.
Color—The coat may be of solid liver or a combination of liver and white such as liver and white ticked, liver patched and white ticked, or liver roan. A dog with any area of black, red, orange, lemon or tan or a dog solid white will be disqualified.
Gait—A smooth lithe gait is essential. It is to be noted that as gait increases from the walk to a faster speed, the legs converge beneath the body. The tendency to single track is desirable. The forelegs reach well ahead as if to pull in the ground without giving the appearance of a hackney gait. The hindquarters drive the back legs smoothly and with great power.
Temperament—The Shorthair is friendly, intelligent, and willing to please. The first impression is that of a keen enthusiasm for work without indication of nervous or flighty character.
China or wall eyes.
Flesh colored nose.
Extreme overshot or undershot.
A dog with any area of black, red, orange, lemon, or tan, or a dog solid white.
Approved August 11, 1992
Effective September 30, 1992
GERMAN WIREHAIRED POINTER
HUNTING HAS BEEN CALLED OUR EARLIEST SPORT, BUT IT IS MORE THAN that. It was a way of life in prehistoric times when the ax, the club, and the spear were the sole weapons man had with which to find food for himself and his brood. Over time he hunted with traps and pitfalls, hawks and falcons, nets and snares, bows and arrows. Later, the princes, nobles, and big landowners hunted not for food but for sport. To all others, such privilege was denied.
Around 1850, however, the incidence of political revolt, together with improvements in the shotgun and the cartridge, spurred the business of hunting to such degree that everybody, regardless of class distinction, took to the hunt. The number of sportsmen more than doubled, as game-bird shooting grew popular. More dogs were needed, hence more were bred. And slowly but surely the hunting dog became something of a specialist. One kind grew adept at ranging woods and fields where it pointed birds for the huntsman to shoot, others learned to retrieve from land and from water; and as time went on each attained proficiency in its special department.
Continental sportsmen were hard to please; they were not satisfied with a gundog that would hunt only one kind of game. They envisioned an all-purpose dog, and so it happened that in various European countries retrieving pointers began to emerge. One of these, native to Germany, was the Deutsch-Drahthaar which, literally translated, means German Wirehair.
In order to understand the heritage of this breed we must bear in mind that there existed abroad a wide variety of retrieving pointers, all of them more or less interbred. The early Deutsch-Drahthaar Klub, in fact, at first catered to all varieties of wirehaired pointing dogs. Later, however, they thought it best to separate their activities into four subdivisions catering to the advancement of the Deutsch-Drahthaar, the Pudelpointer, the Stichelhaar, and the Griffon.
Most of the early wirehaired pointers represented a combination of Griffon, Stichelhaar, Pudelpointer, and German Shorthair. The Pudelpointer was a cross between a Poodle dog and an English Pointer bitch; the Griffon and the Stichelhaar were composed of Pointer, Foxhound, Pudelpointer, and a Polish water dog. Thus it is easy to appreciate the different hunting skills incorporated in the wirehaired pointers of a century or more ago.
Admirable breeders and trainers, the Germans demanded a great deal of their sporting dogs. They had no patience with specialists, preferring instead an extra-rugged hunter capable of working on any kind of game and on any terrain. In the German Wirehaired Pointer, this is exactly what they got, for they molded into the one breed the distinctive traits of pointer, foxhound, and Poodle. Through these avenues of diversified accomplishment they created an all-purpose dog approximating their ideal. He pointed and retrieved equally well on land and in water. He was keen nosed and constitutionally tough. What is more, he had the courage as well as the coat fit to brave any sort of cover.
Coat has always been emphasized throughout the development of the breed, as indicated by a statement made by members of the Drahthaar Klub back in 1902, when they said: “The breeding of a correct wire coat is the most important feature.” There was ample reason for this emphasis on coat, considering the work that the German Wirehair was called upon to do. In short, he was designed as an all-weather as well as an all-purpose dog, and he had to negotiate underbrush that would have punished severely any dog not so characteristically armored.
The coat is weather resistant in every sense of the term, and it is to large extent water-repellent. It is straight, harsh, wiry, and quite flat lying. One and one-half to two inches in length, it is long enough to shield the body from rough cover, yet not so long as to hide the outline. A heavy growth on the brow guards the eyes from injury, and a short beard and whiskers combine to save the foreface from laceration by brush and brier. A very dense undercoat insulates the body against the cold of winter, but it sheds out to such a degree as to be almost invisible in summertime.
Although it had become a favored sporting dog in Germany many years earlier, the Drahthaar was not admitted into the German Kartell for dogs until 1928. The breed was imported to the United States in the 1920s. In 1953, the German Drahthaar Club of America was formed. The breed was admitted into the AKC Stud Book in 1959 as the German Wirehaired Pointer, and the name of the national club was changed to the German Wirehaired Pointer Club of America.
OFFICIAL STANDARD FOR THE GERMAN WIREHAIRED POINTER
General Appearance—The German Wirehaired Pointer is a well-muscled, medium sized dog of distinctive appearance. Balanced in size and sturdily built, the breed’s most distinguishing characteristics are its weather resistant, wire-like coat and its facial furnishings. Typically Pointer in character and style, the German Wirehaired Pointer is an intelligent, energetic and determined hunter.
Size, Proportion, Substance—The heightof males should be from 24 to 26 inches at the withers. Bitches are smaller but not under 22 inches. To insure the working quality of the breed is maintained, dogs that are either over or under the specified height must be severely penalized. The body is a little longer than it is high, as ten is to nine. The German Wirehaired Pointer is a versatile hunter built for agility and endurance in the field. Correct size and balance are essential to high performance.
Head—The head is moderately long. Eyesare brown, medium in size, oval in contour, bright and clear and overhung with medium length eyebrows. Yellow eyes are not desirable. The earsare rounded but not too broad and hang close to the head. The skullbroad and the occipital bone not too prominent. The stopis medium. The muzzle is fairly long with nasal bone straight, broad and parallel to the top of the skull. The noseis dark brown with nostrils wide open. A spotted or flesh colored nose is to be penalized. The lips are a trifle pendulous but close to the jaw and bearded. The jaws are strong with a full complement of evenly set and properly intermeshing teeth. The incisors meet in a true scissorsbite.
Neck, Topline, Body—The neckis of medium length, slightly arched and devoid of dewlap. The entire back line showing a perceptible slope down from withers to croup. The skin throughout is notably tight to the body. The chest is deep and capacious with ribs well sprung. The tuck-up apparent. The back is short, straight and strong. Loins are taut and slender. Hips are broad with the croup nicely rounded. The tailis set high, carried at or above the horizontal when the dog is alert. The tail is docked to approximately two-fifths of its original length.
Forequarters—The shoulders are well laid back. The forelegs are straight with elbows close. Leg bones are flat rather than round, and strong, but not so heavy or coarse as to militate against the dog’s natural agility. Dewclaws are generally removed. Round in outline, the feet are webbed, high arched with toes close, pads thick and hard, and nails strong and quite heavy.
Hindquarters—The angulation of the hindquarters balances that of the forequarters. The thighs are strong and muscular. The hind legs are moderately angulated at the stifle and hock and, as viewed from behind, parallel to each other. Dewclaws are generally removed. Feet as in front.
Coat—The functional wiry coat is the breed’s most distinctive feature. A dog must have a correct coat to be of correct type. The coat is weather resistant and, to some extent, water-repellent. The undercoat is dense enough in winter to insulate against the cold but is so thin in summer as to be almost invisible. The distinctive outer coat is straight, harsh, wiry and flat lying, and is from one to two inches in length. The outer coat is long enough to protect against the punishment of rough cover, but not so long as to hide the outline of the dog. On the lower legs the coat is shorter, and between the toes it is of softer texture. On the skull the coat is naturally short and close fitting. Over the shoulders and around the tail it is very dense and heavy. The tail is nicely coated, particularly on the underside, but devoid of feather. Eyebrows are of strong, straight hair. Beard and whiskers are medium length. The hairs in the liver patches of a liver and white dog may be shorter than the white hairs. A short smooth coat, a soft woolly coat, or an excessively long coat is to be severely penalized. While maintaining a harsh, wiry texture, the puppy coat may be shorter than that of an adult coat. Coats may be neatly groomed to present a dog natural in appearance. Extreme and excessive grooming to present a dog artificial in appearance should be severely penalized.
Color—The coat is liver and white, usually either liver and white spotted, liver roan, liver and white spotted with ticking and roaning or solid liver. The head is liver, sometimes with a white blaze. The ears are liver. Any black in the coat is to be severely penalized.
Gait—The dog should be evaluated at a moderate gait. The movement is free and smooth with good reach in the forequarters and good driving power in the hindquarters. The topline should remain firm.
Temperament—Of sound, reliable temperament, the German Wirehaired Pointer is at times aloof but not unfriendly toward strangers; a loyal and affectionate companion who is eager to please and enthusiastic to learn.
Approved July 9, 1985
Reformatted May 14, 1989
CHESAPEAKE BAY RETRIEVER
THE CHESAPEAKE BAY RETRIEVER IS ONE OF THE FEW BREEDS TO BE CREATED and developed in the United States.
In 1807, a British brig was wrecked off the coast of Maryland. An American ship, the Canton, rescued the crew and cargo. Among those plucked from the water were two Newfoundlands, a dingy red dog and a black bitch. The two dogs, Sailor and Canton, were presented to local landowners John Mercer and Dr. James Stew-art. Later, Governor Lloyd of Maryland acquired Sailor and took him to the Eastern Shore. The dog’s progeny later became well known on both shores as the “Sailor” breed. Whether Sailor and Canton themselves were ever paired is unknown, but the superior qualities of both resulted in an improvement of the local duck-hunting dogs being bred for waterfowl work.
Wealthy owners of duck clubs that lined both shores of the Chesapeake Bay set the breed’s basic type. Yellow and tan hounds were outcrosses used to help fix the brown and sedge color and provide superior water-scenting ability. Irish Water Spaniels contributed to the Chesapeake’s coat and water zeal. These crosses helped enhance the natural attributes of the original Newfoundland pair. By the time the AKC was established in 1884, a definite Chesapeake Bay Retriever type had been developed.
“Bay dogs” were expected to have the determination and perseverance to retrieve birds from the icy, rough waters of the Chesapeake Bay, often as many as 100 or 200 ducks in one day. A harsh, oily double coat helped to repel water, allowing the dog to work for long periods in adverse weather conditions. All of the colors seen in the breed today were present from the beginning: brown, sedge (red), deadgrass (varying shades of blond, including tan), and ash (a diluted shade of brown that is gray to taupe in color). The deadgrass color was favored in the American Midwest and in western Canada for hunting on the grain fields and prairie potholes common to those areas.
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a remarkable water dog. The American Chesapeake Club, the breed’s AKC parent club, was founded in 1918 and held its first licensed retriever trial in 1932. To those Chesapeakes that pass retrieving tests on land and water, the club issues certificates and titles: Working Dog (WD), Working Dog Excellent (WDX), and Working Dog Qualified (WDQ). The breed is active in all areas of AKC Competition and more. While still primarily a working gundog breed, Chesapeakes compete successfully in field trials, dog shows, companion events, and hunt tests.
Chesapeakes have also made excellent therapy, search-and-rescue, and drug-and bomb-detection dogs. The breed is valued for its bright and happy disposition; intelligence; quiet good sense; and affectionate, protective nature. They are physically tough dogs but can often be mentally soft. Whether they live in a house or an apartment, Chesapeakes do best and thrive when they spend most of the time with their family. It is recommended that this breed be well socialized from puppyhood and obedience trained for a correct owner-dog relationship.
OFFICIAL STANDARD FOR THE CHESAPEAKE BAY RETRIEVER
General Appearance—Equally proficient on land and in the water, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever was developed along the Chesapeake Bay to hunt waterfowl under the most adverse weather and water conditions, often having to break ice during the course of many strenuous multiple retrieves. Frequently the Chesapeake must face wind, tide and long cold swims in its work. The breed’s characteristics are specifically suited to enable the Chesapeake to function with ease, efficiency and endurance. In head, the Chesapeake’s skull is broad and round with a medium stop. The jaws should be of sufficient length and strength to carry large game birds with an easy, tender hold. The double coat consists of a short, harsh, wavy outer coat and a dense, fine, woolly undercoat containing an abundance of natural oil and is ideally suited for the icy rugged conditions of weather the Chesapeake often works in. In body, the Chesapeake is a strong, well-balanced, powerfully built animal of moderate size and medium length in body and leg, deep and wide in chest, the shoulders built with full liberty of movement, and with no tendency to weakness in any feature, particularly the rear. The power though, should not be at the expense of agility or stamina. Size and substance should not be excessive as this is a working retriever of an active nature.
Distinctive features include eyes that are very clear, of yellowish or amber hue, hindquarters as high or a trifle higher than the shoulders, and a double coat which tends to wave on shoulders, neck, back and loins only.
The Chesapeake is valued for its bright and happy disposition, intelligence, quiet good sense and affectionate protective nature. Extreme shyness or extreme aggressive tendencies are not desirable in the breed either as a gun dog or companion.
Disqualifications: Specimens that are lacking in breed characteristics should be disqualified.
Size, Proportion, Substance—Height—Males should measure 23 to 26 inches; females should measure 21 to 24 inches. Oversized or undersized animals are to be severely penalized. Proportion—Height from the top of the shoulder blades to the ground should be slightly less than the body length from the breastbone to the point of buttocks. Depth of body should extend at least to the elbow. Shoulder to elbow and elbow to ground should be equal. Weight—Males should weigh 65 to 80 pounds; females should weigh 55 to 70 pounds.
Head—The Chesapeake Bay Retriever should have an intelligent expression. Eyes are to be medium large, very clear, of yellowish or amber color and wide apart. Ears are to be small, set well up on the head, hanging loosely, and of medium leather. Skull is broad and round with a medium stop. Nose is medium short. Muzzle is approximately the same length as the skull, tapered, pointed but not sharp. Lips are thin, not pendulous. Bite—Scissors is preferred, but a level bite is acceptable.
Disqualifications:Either undershot or overshot bites are to be disqualified.
Neck, Topline, Body—Neck should be of medium length with a strong muscular appearance, tapering to the shoulders. Topline should show the hindquarters to be as high as or a trifle higher than the shoulders. Back should be short, well coupled and powerful. Chest should be strong, deep and wide. Rib cage barrel round and deep. Body is of medium length, neither cobby nor roached, but rather approaching hollowness from underneath as the flanks should be well tucked up. Tail of medium length; medium heavy at the base. The tail should be straight or slightly curved and should not curl over back or side kink.
Forequarters—There should be no tendency to weakness in the forequarters. Shoulders should be sloping with full liberty of action, plenty of power and without any restrictions of movement. Legs should be medium in length and straight, showing good bone and muscle. Pasterns slightly bent and of medium length. The front legs should appear straight when viewed from front or rear. Dewclaws on the forelegs may be removed. Well webbed hare feet should be of good size with toes well-rounded and close.
Hindquarters—Good hindquarters are essential. They should show fully as much power as the forequarters. There should be no tendency to weakness in the hindquarters. Hindquarters should be especially powerful to supply the driving power for swimming. Legs should be medium length and straight, showing good bone and muscle. Stifles should be well angulated. The distance from hock to ground should be of medium length. The hind legs should look straight when viewed from the front or rear. Dewclaws, if any, must be removed from the hind legs.
Disqualifications: Dewclaws on the hind legs are a disqualification.
Coat—Coat should be thick and short, nowhere over 11⁄2 inches long, with a dense fine woolly undercoat. Hair on the face and legs should be very short and straight with a tendency to wave on the shoulders, neck, back and loins only. Moderate feathering on rear of hindquarters and tail is permissible.
The texture of the Chesapeake’s coat is very important, as the Chesapeake is used for hunting under all sorts of adverse weather conditions, often working in ice and snow. The oil in the harsh outer coat and woolly undercoat is of extreme value in preventing the cold water from reaching the Chesapeake’s skin and aids in quick drying. A Chesapeake’s coat should resist the water in the same way that a duck’s feathers do. When the Chesapeake leaves the water and shakes, the coat should not hold water at all, being merely moist.
Disqualifications: A coat that is curly or has a tendency to curl all over the body must be disqualified. Feathering on the tail or legs over 13⁄4 inches long must be disqualified.
Color—The color of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever must be as nearly that of its working surroundings as possible. Any color of brown, sedge or deadgrass is acceptable, self-colored Chesapeakes being preferred. One color is not to be preferred over another. A white spot on the breast, belly, toes or back of the feet (immediately above the large pad) is permissible, but the smaller the spot the better, solid colored preferred. The color of the coat and its texture must be given every consideration when judging on the bench or in the ring. Honorable scars are not to be penalized.
Disqualifications: Black colored; white on any part of the body except breast, belly, toes or back of feet must be disqualified.
Gait—The gait should be smooth, free and effortless, giving the impression of great power and strength. When viewed from the side, there should be good reach with no restrictions of movement in the front and plenty of drive in the rear, with good flexion of the stifle and hock joints. Coming at you, there should be no sign of elbows being out. When the Chesapeake is moving away from you, there should be no sign of cowhockness from the rear. As speed increases, the feet tend to converge toward a center line of gravity.
Temperament—The Chesapeake Bay Retriever should show a bright and happy disposition with an intelligent expression. Courage, willingness to work, alertness, nose, intelligence, love of water, general quality and, most of all, disposition should be given primary consideration in the selection and breeding of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever.
Specimens lacking in breed characteristics.
Teeth overshot or undershot.
Dewclaws on the hind legs.
Coat curly or with a tendency to curl all over the body.
Feathering on the tail or legs over 13⁄4 inches long.
White on any part of the body except breast, belly, toes, or back of feet.
The question of coat and general type of balance takes precedence over any scoring table which could be drawn up. The Chesapeake should be well proportioned, an animal with a good coat and well balanced in other points being preferable to one excelling in some but weak in others.
POSITIVE SCALE OF POINTS
Approved November 9, 1993
Effective December 31, 1993
IN THE ABSENCE OF VERY EARLY RECORDS, THE ORIGIN OF THE CURLY-COATED Retriever must remain a matter of conjecture, but there appears little doubt that he is one of the oldest of all breeds now classified as retrievers. He is popularly believed to be descended from the sixteenth-century English Water Spaniel and from the Retrieving Setter. Some maintain the Irish Water Spaniel was his ancestor and it is more than probable that a cross was made with this breed from time to time.
Whichever spaniel was his progenitor, it is certain that added to the mixture of Water Spaniel and Retrieving Setter was the small or St. John’s Newfoundland, which, according to records, first arrived in England in 1835 as a ship’s dog aboard the boats that brought salted cod from Newfoundland. The St. John’s dog, curiously enough, is sometimes called a Labrador by early writers, a fact which has given rise to some confusion with respect to the modern Labrador.
In the early 1880s, the Curly is said to have been crossed again with the Poodle (the one-time retriever of France), this cross taken with the object of giving his coat a tight curl.
The popular gundog following the Old English Water Spaniel, the Curly was first exhibited in 1860 at Birmingham. In 1889, specimens were exported to New Zealand, where they have long been used for retrieving duck and California quail. In Australia, too, where they are used on duck in the swamps and lagoons of the Murray River, they are much admired as steady and tender-mouthed retrievers quite unsurpassed in the water.
The first breed club for the Curly-Coated Retriever was formed in England in 1896. The breed was introduced to the United States as early as 1907, but the first AKC registration was in 1924.
Many assert that the Curly Retriever is temperamentally easy to train. He is affectionate, enduring, hardy, and will practically live in the water. Moreover, his thick coat enables him to face the most punishing covert. He is a charming and faithful companion and an excellent guard.
OFFICIAL STANDARD FOR THE CURLY-COATED RETRIEVER
General Appearance—This smartly upstanding, multi-purpose hunting retriever is recognized by most canine historians as one of the oldest of the retrieving breeds. Developed in England, the Curly was long a favorite of English gamekeepers. Prized for innate field ability, courage and indomitable perseverance, a correctly built and tempered Curly will work as long as there is work to be done, retrieving both fur and feather in the heaviest of cover and the iciest of waters. To work all day a Curly must be balanced and sound, strong and robust, and quick and agile. Outline, carriage and attitude all combine for a grace and elegance somewhat uncommon among the other retriever breeds, providing the unique, upstanding quality desired in the breed. In outline, the Curly is moderately angulated front and rear and, when comparing height to length, gives the impression of being higher on leg than the other retriever breeds. In carriage, the Curly is an erect, alert, self-confident dog. In motion, all parts blend into a smooth, powerful, harmonious symmetry. The coat, a hallmark of the breed, is of great importance for all Curlies, whether companion, hunting or show dogs. The perfect coat is a dense mass of small, tight, distinct, crisp curls. The Curly is wickedly smart and highly trainable and, as such, is cherished as much for his role as loyal companion at home as he is in the field.
Size, Proportion, Substance—Ideal height at withers: dogs, 25 to 27 inches; bitches, 23 to 25 inches. A clearly superior Curly falling outside of this range should not be penalized because of size. The body proportions are slightly off square, meaning that the dog is slightly longer from prosternum to buttocks as he is from withers to ground. The Curly is both sturdy and elegant. The degree of substance is sufficient to ensure strength and endurance without sacrificing grace. Bone and substance are neither spindly nor massive and should be in proportion with weight and height and balanced throughout.
Head—The head is a longer-than-wide wedge, readily distinguishable from that of all other retriever breeds, and of a size in balance with the body. Length of foreface is equal, or nearly equal, to length of backskull and, when viewed in profile, the planes are parallel. The stop is shallow and sloping. At the point of joining, the width of foreface may be slightly less than the width of the backskull but blending of the two should be smooth. The head has a nearly straight, continuous taper to the nose and is clean-cut, not coarse, blocky or cheeky. Expression— Intelligent and alert. Eyes—Almond-shaped, rather large but not too prominent. Black or brown in black dogs and brown or amber in liver dogs. Harsh yellow eyes and loose haws are undesirable. Ears— Rather small, set on a line slightly above the corner of the eye, and lying close to the head. Backskull— Flat or nearly flat. Foreface—Muzzle is wedge-shaped with no hint of snipiness. The taper ends mildly, neither acutely pointed nor bluntly squared-off but rather slightly rounding at the bottom. Mouth is level and never wry. Jaws are long and strong. A scissors bite is preferred. Teeth set straight and even. The lips are tight and clean, not pendulous. The nose is fully pigmented; black on black dogs, brown on liver dogs. Nostrils are large.
Neck, Topline, Body—Neck—Strong and slightly arched, of medium length, free from throatiness and flowing freely into moderately laid-back shoulders. Backline— The back, that portion of the body from the rear point of the withers to the beginning of the loin, is strong and level. The loin, that part of the body extending from the end of the rib cage to the start of the pelvis, is short and muscular. The croup, that portion of the body from the start of the pelvis to the tail set-on, is only slightly sloping. Body— Chest is decidedly deep and not too wide, oval in cross-section, with brisket reaching elbow. While the impression of the chest should be of depth not width, the chest is not pinched or narrow. The ribs are well-sprung, neither barrel-shaped nor slab-sided, and extend well back into a deep, powerful loin with a moderate tuck-up of flank. Tail— Carried straight or fairly straight, never docked, and reaching approximately to the hock. Never curled over the back and should not be kinked or crooked. Covered with curls and, if trimmed, tapering toward the point.
Forequarters—Shoulder blades are very long, well covered with muscle, and are moderately laid back at about a 55-degree angle. The width between shoulder blades is adequate to allow enough flexibility to easily retrieve game. Upper arm bones are about equal in length with shoulder blades and laid back at approximately the same angle as the blades, meaning the forelegs are set under the withers. The equal length of shoulder blade and upper arm bone and the balanced angulation between the two allows for good extension of the front legs. The forelegs are straight with strong, true pasterns. Feet are round and compact, with well-arched toes and thick pads. Front dewclaws are generally removed.
Hindquarters—Strong and in balance with front angulation. Thighs are powerful with muscling carrying well down into the second thigh. Stifle is of moderate bend. The hocks are strong and true, turning neither in nor out, with hock joint well let down. Rear dewclaws are generally removed.
Coat—The coat is a distinguishing characteristic and quite different from that of any other breed. The body coat is a thick mass of small, tight, crisp curls, lying close to the skin, resilient, water resistant, and of sufficient density to provide protection against weather, water and punishing cover. Curls also extend up the entire neck to the occiput, down the thigh and back leg to at least the hock, and over the entire tail. Elsewhere, the coat is short, smooth and straight, including on the forehead, face, front of forelegs, and feet. A patch of uncurled hair behind the withers or bald patches anywhere on the body, including bald strips down the back of the legs or a triangular bald patch on the throat, should be severely penalized. A looser, more open curl is acceptable on the ears. Sparse, silky, fuzzy or very harsh, dry or brittle hair is a fault. Trimming— Feathering may be trimmed from the ears, belly, backs of forelegs, thighs, pasterns, hocks and feet. On the tail, feathering should be removed. Short trimming of the coat on the ear is permitted but shearing of the body coat is undesirable.
Color—Black or liver. Either color is correct. A prominent white patch is undesirable but a few white hairs are allowable in an otherwise good dog.
Gait—The dual function of the Curly as both waterfowl retriever and upland game hunter demands a dog who moves with strength and power yet is quick and agile. The ground-covering stride is a well-coordinated melding of grace and power, neither mincing nor lumbering. The seemingly effortless trot is efficient and balanced front to rear. When viewed from the side, the reach in front and rear is free-flowing, not stilted or hackneyed. When viewed from the front or rear, movement is true: the front legs turn neither in nor out and the rear legs do not cross. Well-developed, muscular thighs and strong hocks do their full share of work, contributing to rear thrust and drive. The extension in front is strong and smooth and in balance with rear action. Balance in structure translates to balance in movement and is of great importance to ensure soundness and endurance; extremes of angulation and gait are not desirable.
Temperament—Self-confident, steadfast and proud, this active, intelligent dog is a charming and gentle family companion and a determined, durable hunter. The Curly is alert, biddable and responsive to family and friends, whether at home or in the field. Of independent nature and discerning intelligence, a Curly sometimes appears aloof or self-willed, and, as such, is often less demonstrative, particularly toward strangers, than the other retriever breeds. The Curly’s independence and poise should not be confused with shyness or a lack of willingness to please. In the show ring, a correctly-tempered Curly will steadily stand his ground, submit easily to examination, and might or might not wag his tail when doing so. In the field, the Curly is eager, persistent and inherently courageous. At home, he is calm and affectionate. Shyness is a fault and any dog who shies away from show ring examination should be penalized. Minor allowances can be made for puppies who misbehave in the show ring due to overexuberance or lack of training or experience.
Approved October 12, 1993
Effective November 30, 1993
WHEN IT BECAME POSSIBLE FOR MAN TO KILL GAME ON THE WING MANY different breeds of dogs were used to find and retrieve it, and any such dog was regarded a retriever. Eventually, by selective breeding for the perfection of this skill, the Retriever Proper, a large black dog, had come into existence in Britain by the early part of the nineteenth century. It was not accepted as a pure breed, but regarded as a mongrel because of its crossbred origin from various breeds—the Large Newfoundland, the setter, the sheepdog, spaniel-like water dogs.
The last named were invaluable as retrievers to fishermen and were the subjects of trade between Britain and North America, particularly with the cod fishery off Newfoundland during the nineteenth century. It was at this time that the term “Labrador” dog came into use and was applied indiscriminately to a number of different types of dogs associated with this area. These dogs, found in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and called the Small Labrador Dog, the Lesser Newfoundland, or St. John’s Newfoundland, contributed toward the Wavy-Coated (and subsequently the Flat-Coated) Retriever, but they must have had considerable British stock as ancestors. They should not be confused with the modern-day Labrador Retriever as they differed in coat, size, and structure.
The first British dog show was held in 1859, but classification for retrievers, comprising Curly-Coated and Wavy or Smooth-Coated, was not available until the following year. Records of awards and pedigrees, if known, were kept from the beginning of shows and published in the Kennel Club studbook in 1874.
From 1864 on, two bitches of a working strain of retrievers belonging to J. Hull, a gamekeeper, figured in the awards. These were Old Bounce, out of his bitch Boss and by Blaydon’s Black Sailor; and Young Bounce, her daughter, by Mr. Chattock’s Cato. It was this stock that produced an important nucleus to the development of the breed. The greatest credit for the integration of these retrievers into a stable type goes to S. E. Shirley, founder of the Kennel Club in 1873.
The breed gained enormous popularity, and numerous important breeders made their contribution to the quality and elegance of the Flat-Coated Retriever as well as to his excellent working abilities. The most famous patron was H. R. Cooke, who for more than seventy years kept the breed in his fabulous Riverside kennel—a kennel perhaps unique among those for any breed of dog in numbers, quality, and awards won in the field and on the show bench.
The liver-colored Flat-Coat became more popular after J. H. Abbott’s liver-colored dog Rust won at the Retriever Society’s official field trials in 1900. His prestigious win proved that this color was finally considered acceptable.
The Flat-Coated Retriever was admitted to the AKC Stud Book in 1915. By 1918 the breed’s popularity was overtaken by the modern Labrador Retriever, and by the end of the 1920s by the Golden Retriever. At times, particularly during the two world wars, registrations dwindled to dangerous levels. After World War II it was not easy to pick up the threads of disappearing lines. Stanley O’Neill, one of the greatest authorities on the breed, must be credited with a valuable contribution to this end. He showed selfless devotion in putting the breed on as sound a footing as possible and in advising new patrons on correct type. Stock continued to build up gradually until about the mid-1960s, when an appreciable increase in number and popularity took place in Britain and a keen demand for the breed appeared in Europe and America.
The parent club in the United States is the Flat-Coated Retriever Society of America, a flourishing and well-integrated club, whose members are very enthusiastic and anxious to further the best interests of the breed.
His fall from popularity has kept the Flat-Coat out of the hands of the commercial breeder and under control of those interested in retaining his great natural working abilities. He is unafraid of thick covert and cold water, shows drive and perseverance when out hunting, and retrieves tenderly to hand. He has a delightful and inimitable character and temperament, is highly intelligent and companionable, and retains his youthful outlook on life into old age, tail-wagging being the hallmark of the breed. In addition to these virtues, he is a handsome fellow.
OFFICIAL STANDARD FOR THE FLAT-COATED RETRIEVER
General Appearance—The Flat-Coated Retriever is a versatile family companion hunting retriever with a happy and active demeanor, intelligent expression, and clean lines. The Flat-Coat has been traditionally described as showing “power withoutlumber and raciness without weediness. ”
The distinctive and most important features of the Flat-Coat are the silhouette (both moving and standing), smooth effortless movement, head type, coat and character. In silhouette the Flat-Coat has a long, strong, clean, “one piece” head, which is unique to the breed. Free from exaggeration of stop or cheek, the head is set well into a moderately long neck which flows smoothly into well laid back shoulders. A level topline combined with a deep, long rib cage tapering to a moderate tuck-up create the impression of a blunted triangle. The brisket is well developed and the forechest forms a prominent prow. This utilitarian retriever is well balanced, strong, but elegant; never cobby, short legged or rangy. The coat is thick and flat lying, and the legs and tail are well feathered. A proud carriage, responsive attitude, waving tail and overall look of functional strength, quality, style and symmetry complete the picture of the typical Flat-Coat.
Judging the Flat-Coat moving freely on a loose lead and standing naturally is more important than judging him posed. Honorable scars should not count against the dog.
Size, Proportion, Substance—Size—Individuals varying more than an inch either way from the preferred height should be considered not practical for the types of work for which the Flat-Coat was developed. Preferred height is 23 to 241⁄2 inches at the withers for dogs, 22 to 231⁄2 inches for bitches. Since the Flat-Coat is a working hunting retriever he should be shown in lean, hard condition, free of excess weight.
Proportion—The Flat-Coat is not cobby in build. The length of the body from the point of the shoulder to the rearmost projection of the upper thigh is slightly more than the height at the withers. The female may be slightly longer to better accommodate the carrying of puppies. Substance—Moderate. Medium bone is flat or oval rather than round; strong but never massive, coarse, weedy or fine. This applies throughout the dog.
Head—The long, clean, well-molded head is adequate in size and strength to retrieve a large pheasant, duck or hare with ease. SkullandMuzzle—The impression of the skull and muzzle being “cast in one piece” is created by the fairly flat skull of moderate breadth and flat, clean cheeks, combined with the long, strong, deep muzzle which is well filled in before, between and beneath the eyes. Viewed from above, the muzzle is nearly equal in length and breadth to the skull. Stop—There is a gradual, slight, barely perceptible stop, avoiding a down or dish-faced appearance. Brows are slightly raised and mobile, giving life to the expression. Stop must be evaluated in profile so that it will not be confused with the raised brow. Occiput not accentuated, the skull forming a gentle curve where it fits well into the neck. Expressionalert, intelligent and kind. Eyesare set widely apart. Medium-sized, almond-shaped, dark brown or hazel; not large, round or yellow. Eye rims are self-colored and tight. Earsrelatively small, well set on, lying close to the side of the head and thickly feathered. Not low set (houndlike or setterish). Nose—Large open nostrils. Black on black dogs, brown on liver dogs. Lipsfairly tight, firm, clean and dry to minimize the retention of feathers. Jawslong and strong, capable of carrying a hare or a pheasant. Bite—Scissors bite preferred, level bite acceptable. Broken teeth should not count against the dog. SevereFaults—Wry and undershot or overshot bites with a noticeable gap must be severely penalized.
Neck, Topline, Body—Neckstrong and slightly arched for retrieving strength. Moderately long to allow for easy seeking of the trail. Free from throatiness. Coat on neck is untrimmed. Toplinestrong and level. Body—Chest (Brisket )—Deep, reaching to the elbow and only moderately broad. Forechest— Prow prominent and well developed. Rib cage deep, showing good length from forechest to last rib (to allow ample space for all body organs), and only moderately broad. The foreribs fairly flat showing a gradual spring, well arched in the center of the body but rather lighter towards the loin. Underline—Deep chest tapering to a moderate tuck-up. Loin strong, well muscled and long enough to allow for agility, freedom of movement and length of stride, but never weak or loosely coupled. Croup slopes very slightly; rump moderately broad and well muscled. Tailfairly straight, well set on, with bone reaching approximately to the hock joint. When the dog is in motion, the tail is carried happily but without curl as a smooth extension of the topline, never much above the level of the back.
Forequarters—Shoulders long, well laid back shoulder blade with upper arm of approximately equal length to allow for efficient reach. Musculature wiry rather than bulky. Elbows clean, close to the body and set well back under the withers. Forelegs straight and strong with medium bone of good quality. Pasterns slightly sloping and strong. Dewclaws—Removal of dewclaws is optional. Feet oval or round. Medium-sized and tight with well-arched toes and thick pads.
Hindquarters—Powerful with angulation in balance with the front assembly. Upper thighs powerful and well muscled. Stifle— Good turn of stifle with sound, strong joint. Second thighs (Stifle to hock joint)—Second or lower thigh as long as or only slightly longer than upper thigh. Hock—Hock joint strong, well let down. Dewclaws— There are no hind dewclaws. Feet oval or round. Medium-sized and tight with well-arched toes and thick pads.
Coat—Coat is of moderate length, density and fullness, with a high luster. The ideal coat is straight and flat lying. A slight waviness is permissible but the coat is not curly, woolly, short, silky or fluffy. The Flat-Coat is a working retriever and the coat must provide protection from all types of weather, water and ground cover. This requires a coat of sufficient texture, length and fullness to allow for adequate insulation. When the dog is in full coat the ears, front, chest, back of forelegs, thighs and underside of tail are thickly feathered without being bushy, stringy or silky. Mane of longer, heavier coat on the neck extending over the withers and shoulders is considered typical, especially in the male dog, and can cause the neck to appear thicker and the withers higher, sometimes causing the appearance of a dip behind the withers. Since the Flat-Coat is a hunting retriever, the feathering is not excessively long. Trimming—The Flat-Coat is shown with as natural a coat as possible and must not be penalized for lack of trimming, as long as the coat is clean and well brushed. Tidying of ears, feet, underline and tip of tail is acceptable. Whiskers serve a specific function and it is preferred that they not be trimmed. Shaving or barbering of the head, neck or body coat must be severely penalized.
Color—Solid black or solid liver. Disqualification—Yellow, cream or any color other than black or liver.
Gait—Sound, efficient movement is of critical importance to a hunting retriever. The Flat-Coat viewed from the side covers ground efficiently and movement appears balanced, free-flowing and well coordinated, never choppy, mincing or ponderous. Front and rear legs reach well forward and extend well back, achieving long clean strides. Topline appears level, strong and supple while dog is in motion.
Summary—The Flat-Coat is a strong but elegant, cheerful hunting retriever. Quality of structure, balance and harmony of all parts both standing and in motion are essential. As a breed whose purpose is of a utilitarian nature—structure, condition and attitude should give every indication of being suited for hard work.
Temperament—Character is a primary and outstanding asset of the Flat-Coat. He is a responsive, loving member of the family, a versatile working dog, multi-talented, sensible, bright and tractable. In competition the Flat-Coat demonstrates stability and a desire to please with a confident, happy and outgoing attitude characterized by a wagging tail. Nervous, hyperactive, apathetic, shy or obstinate behavior is undesirable. Severe Fault—Unprovoked aggressive behavior toward people or animals is totally unacceptable.
Character—Character is as important to the evaluation of stock by a potential breeder as any other aspect of the breed standard. The Flat-Coat is primarily a family companion hunting retriever. He is keen and birdy, flushing within gun range, as well as a determined, resourceful retriever on land and water. He has a great desire to hunt with self-reliance and an uncanny ability to adapt to changing circumstances on a variety of upland game and waterfowl.
As a family companion he is sensible, alert and highly intelligent; a lighthearted, affectionate and adaptable friend. He retains these qualities as well as his youthful good-humored outlook on life into old age. The adult Flat-Coat is usually an adequate alarm dog to give warning, but is a good-natured, optimistic dog, basically inclined to be friendly to all.
The Flat-Coat is a cheerful, devoted companion who requires and appreciates living with and interacting as a member of his family. To reach full potential in any endeavor he absolutely must have a strong personal bond and affectionate individual attention.
Yellow, cream or any color other than black or liver.
Approved September 11, 1990
Effective October 30, 1990
IN THE 1800s, WITH GAME PLENTIFUL IN SCOTLAND AND ENGLAND, HUNTING was both a sport and a practical way of obtaining food. Retrievers became popular when the use of breech-loading shotguns demanded an efficient retrieving dog for both waterfowl and upland game. All retriever breeds begin with the water-loving Saint John’s dog of Newfoundland, ancestor of the wavy-coated retriever that contributed to both the Flat-Coated and Golden retrievers.
The most complete records of the Golden Retriever’s origin as a specific strain are included in a record book kept from about 1840 to 1890 by Dudley Marjoribanks, the first Lord Tweedmouth, at his Guisachan estate in the Highlands, Inverness-shire, Scotland. These records were made public in 1952 by Tweedmouth’s great-nephew, the sixth Lord Ilchester. Further information from the original record book, and additional pedigree research, was published by Elma Stonex.
In 1865, Tweedmouth bought Nous (Greek for wisdom), the single yellow pup in a litter of black wavy-coated retrievers. Photos of Nous show a handsome, sturdy dog with a wavy coat, quite recognizably a Golden. Nous was bred to Belle, a Tweed Water Spaniel, resulting in four yellow pups that became the foundation of the breed. Two of these, Cowslip and Primrose, were retained at Guisachan; Crocus went to Tweedmouth’s eldest son, Edward, and Ada to his cousin the fifth Lord Ilchester. Through several generations of clever breeding, Tweedmouth created a consistent line of exceptional working retrievers. Always keeping the main line from Nous and Belle, he blended in another Tweed Water Spaniel, a couple of black wavy-coated retrievers, and a red setter, primarily retaining the yellow pups. Working ability and retrieving aptitude were paramount, requiring a strong, biddable dog that could withstand cold and the punishing topography of the Highlands.
The Tweed Water Spaniel, now extinct, was native to the east coast of southern Scotland, particularly in the Tweed River area near Berwick. The breed was used both to retrieve game and assist fishermen. According to Hugh Dalziel, Tweed spaniels were “light liver” in color, with a fairly short, close-curled coat only slightly feathered, and a head “conical” in shape. Stanley O’Neill, the Flat-Coat historian, described them as more retriever than spaniel in appearance. Liver at that time could be used to describe anything from dark brown to light sandy color.
Some of the Tweedmouth retrievers were given to friends and relatives, but the strain remained largely unknown until after 1900. In 1904, a Tweedmouth dog sired the winner of the first field trial for retrievers. A few “yellow retrievers” were registered with The Kennel Club (England) as “Retrievers (Wavy or Flat-Coated).” They finally appeared at dog shows in 1908, entered in classes for Flat-Coats “of any other color.” One of the earliest exhibitors, Mrs. W. M. Charlesworth, was nearly single-handedly responsible for recognition in 1913 of “Goldens” in their own right as “Retrievers (Yellow or Golden).” Mrs. Charlesworth always advocated the romantic story of the breed being based on a group of Russian circus dogs bought by Lord Tweedmouth, but there is no evidence whatever to substantiate this charming story.
Some Goldens were brought to North America before either the American Kennel Club or the Canadian Kennel Club officially recognized the breed, and the AKC registered its first Golden in 1925. But the real Golden Retriever foundation sire was Am./Can. Ch. Speedwell Pluto, whelped in 1929 in England. Through further imports and family connections, Goldens became established in several areas of the United States before World War II. After the war, the breed grew steadily in popularity, with a pronounced surge of registrations in the 1970s.
The Golden’s kindly expression and distinctive double golden coat are appealing, but their natural qualities of amiable temperament, trainability, willingness, useful size, and sturdy physique have equipped them for a variety of practical uses. In addition to serving as personal hunting dogs, they are excellent as guide dogs for the blind, assistance and service dogs, search-and-rescue dogs, and tracking and scenting specialists. In organized dog sports, the breed is widely popular in obedience trials (the first three Obedience Trial Champions were Goldens), hunt tests, and agility. Golden registrations have remained in the top ten of all breeds for years, attesting to their popularity as companions and family dogs as well as workers.
The Golden Retriever Club of America was organized in 1938. It is one of the strongest AKC parent clubs, with approximately 5,000 members and approximately fifty local specialty clubs, many of which hold specialty events. The GRCA sponsors an extensive array of programs, including the Working and Versatility Certificates, a very large national specialty and three regional specialties yearly, and the philanthropic Golden Retriever Foundation.
OFFICIAL STANDARD FOR THE GOLDEN RETRIEVER
General Appearance—A symmetrical, powerful, active dog, sound and well put together, not clumsy nor long in the leg, displaying a kindly expression and possessing a personality that is eager, alert and self-confident. Primarily a hunting dog, he should be shown in hard working condition. Overall appearance, balance, gait and purpose to be given more emphasis than any of his component parts. Faults—Any departure from the described ideal shall be considered faulty to the degree to which it interferes with the breed’s purpose or is contrary to breed character.
Size, Proportion, Substance—Males 23 to 24 inches in height at withers; females 211⁄2 to 221⁄2 inches. Dogs up to one inch above or below standard size should be proportionately penalized. Deviation in height of more than one inch from the standard shall disqualify. Length from breastbone to point of buttocks slightly greater than height at withers in a ratio of 12:11. Weight for dogs, 65 to 75 pounds; bitches, 55 to 65 pounds.
Head—Broad in skull, slightly arched laterally and longitudinally without prominence of frontal bones (forehead) or occipital bones. Stop well defined but not abrupt. Foreface deep and wide, nearly as long as skull. Muzzlestraight in profile, blending smooth and strongly into skull; when viewed in profile or from above, slightly deeper and wider at stop than at tip. No heaviness in flews. Removal of whiskers is permitted but not preferred. Eyesfriendly and intelligent in expression, medium large with dark, close-fitting rims, set well apart and reasonably deep in sockets. Color preferably dark brown; medium brown acceptable. Slant eyes and narrow, triangular eyes detract from correct expression and are to be faulted. No white or haw visible when looking straight ahead. Dogs showing evidence of functional abnormality of eyelids or eyelashes (such as, but not limited to, trichiasis, entropion, ectropion, or distichiasis) are to be excused from the ring. Earsrather short with front edge attached well behind and just above the eye and falling close to cheek. When pulled forward, tip of ear should just cover the eye. Low, hound-like ear set to be faulted. Noseblack or brownish black, though fading to a lighter shade in cold weather not serious. Pink nose or one seriously lacking in pigmentation to be faulted. Teethscissors bite, in which the outer side of the lower incisors touches the inner side of the upper incisors. Undershot or overshot bite is a disqualification. Misalignment of teeth (irregular placement of incisors) or a level bite (incisors meet each other edge to edge) is undesirable, but not to be confused with undershot or overshot. Full dentition. Obvious gaps are serious faults.
Neck, Topline, Body—Neckmedium long, merging gradually into well laid back shoulders, giving sturdy, muscular appearance. No throatiness. Backlinestrong and level from withers to slightly sloping croup, whether standing or moving. Sloping backline, roach or sway back, flat or steep croup to be faulted. Bodywell balanced, short coupled, deep through the chest. Chest between forelegs at least as wide as a man’s closed hand including thumb, with well developed forechest. Brisket extends to elbow. Ribs long and well sprung but not barrel shaped, extending well towards hindquarters. Loin short, muscular, wide and deep, with very little tuck-up. Slab-sidedness, narrow chest, lack of depth in brisket, excessive tuck-up to be faulted. Tailwell set on, thick and muscular at the base, following the natural line of the croup. Tail bones extend to, but not below, the point of hock. Carried with merry action, level or with some moderate upward curve; never curled over back nor between legs.
Forequarters—Muscular, well coordinated with hindquarters and capable of free movement. Shoulder blades long and well laid back with upper tips fairly close together at withers. Upper arms appear about the same length as the blades, setting the elbows back beneath the upper tip of the blades, close to the ribs without looseness. Legs, viewed from the front, straight with good bone, but not to the point of coarseness. Pasterns short and strong, sloping slightly with no suggestion of weakness. Dewclaws on forelegs may be removed, but are normally left on. Feetmedium size, round, compact, and well knuckled, with thick pads. Excess hair may be trimmed to show natural size and contour. Splayed or hare feet to be faulted.
Hindquarters—Broad and strongly muscled. Profile of croup slopes slightly; the pelvic bone slopes at a slightly greater angle (approximately 30 degrees from horizontal). In a natural stance, the femur joins the pelvis at approximately a 90-degree angle; stifles well bent; hocks well let down with short, strong rear pasterns. Feet as in front. Legs straight when viewed from rear. Cow-hocks, spread hocks, and sickle hocks to be faulted.
Coat—Dense and water-repellent with good undercoat. Outer coat firm and resilient, neither coarse nor silky, lying close to body; may be straight or wavy. Untrimmed natural ruff; moderate feathering on back of forelegs and on underbody; heavier feathering on front of neck, back of thighs and underside of tail. Coat on head, paws, and front of legs is short and even. Excessive length, open coats, and limp, soft coats are very undesirable. Feet may be trimmed and stray hairs neatened, but the natural appearance of coat or outline should not be altered by cutting or clipping.
Color—Rich, lustrous golden of various shades. Feathering may be lighter than rest of coat. With the exception of graying or whitening of face or body due to age, any white marking, other than a few white hairs on the chest, should be penalized according to its extent. Allowable light shadings are not to be confused with white markings. Predominant body color which is either extremely pale or extremely dark is undesirable. Some latitude should be given to the light puppy whose coloring shows promise of deepening with maturity. Any noticeable area of black or other off-color hair is a serious fault.
Gait—When trotting, gait is free, smooth, powerful and well coordinated, showing good reach. Viewed from any position, legs turn neither in nor out, nor do feet cross or interfere with each other. As speed increases, feet tend to converge toward centerline of balance. It is recommended that dogs be shown on a loose lead to reflect true gait.
Temperament—Friendly, reliable, and trustworthy. Quarrelsomeness or hostility towards other dogs or people in normal situations, or an unwarranted show of timidity or nervousness, is not in keeping with Golden Retriever character. Such actions should be penalized according to their significance.
Deviation in height of more than one inch from the standard either way. Undershot or overshot bite.
Approved October 13, 1981
Reformatted August 18, 1990
THE LABRADOR RETRIEVER DID NOT, AS HIS NAME IMPLIES, COME FROM
Labrador, but from Newfoundland, although there is no indication of by what means he reached the latter place. However, in 1822 a traveler in that region reported a number of small water dogs: “The dogs are admirably trained as retrievers in fowling, and are otherwise useful. . . . The smooth or short-haired dog is preferred because in frosty weather the long-haired kind become encumbered with ice on coming out of the water.”
Early in the nineteenth century, the Earl of Malmesbury reputedly saw one of the dogs that had been carried to England by fishermen and immediately arranged to have some imported. In 1830 the noted British sportsman Colonel Hawker referred to the ordinary Newfoundland and what he called the St. John’s breed of water dog, mentioning the former as “very large, strong of limb, rough hair, and carrying his tail high.” Referring to what is known now as the Labrador, he said they were “by far the best for any kind of shooting. He is generally black and no bigger than a Pointer, very fine in legs, with short, smooth hair, and does not carry his tail so much curled as the other; is extremely quick running, swimming and fighting . . . and their sense of smell is hardly to be credited. . . .”
The dogs were not at first generally known in England as Labradors. In fact, the origin of the name is shown in a letter written in 1887 by the Earl of Malmesbury: “We always call mine Labrador dogs, and I have kept the breed as pure as I could from the first I had from Poole, at that time carrying on a brisk trade with Newfoundland. The real breed may be known by its close coat which turns the water off like oil and, above all, a tail like an otter.”
The Labrador gradually died out in Newfoundland on account of a heavy dog tax that, with the English quarantine law, practically stopped the importations into England. Thereafter many Labradors were interbred with other types of retrievers. Fortunately, however, the Labrador characteristics predominated. And finally fanciers, desiring to stop the interbreeding, drew up a standard so as to discourage crossing with other retrievers.
There is a studbook of the Duke of Buccleuch’s Labrador Retrievers which made it possible to work out pedigrees of the two dogs that did most to produce the modern Labrador, Mr. A. C. Butter’s Peter of Faskally, and Major Portal’s Flapper. These pedigrees go back as far as 1878.
The Labrador Retriever was first recognized as a separate breed by The Kennel Club (England) in 1903. The first registration of Labradors by the American Kennel Club was in 1917—Brocklehirst Nell, a Scottish bitch import. From the late 1920s through the 1930s, there was a great influx of British dogs (and Scottish retriever trainers) that was to form the backbone of the breed in this country.
In England, no Labrador can become a show champion unless he has a working certificate, too—testament that he has also qualified in the field. In America, the Labrador became primarily a retriever trial and shooting dog, but the dual concept of retriever excellence combined with good looks, style, and proper type was established early. The fanciers of the 1930s who started the retriever trials—the Labrador Retriever Club (U.S.) was organized in 1931—also exhibited their field dogs at the bench shows with marked success.
The Labrador Retriever’s capabilities, fine temperament, and dependability have established it as one of the prime breeds for service as a guide dog for the blind or for search-and-rescue work.
OFFICIAL STANDARD FOR THE LABRADOR RETRIEVER
General Appearance—The Labrador Retriever is a strongly built, medium-sized, short-coupled dog possessing a sound, athletic, well-balanced conformation that enables it to function as a retrieving gun dog; the substance and soundness to hunt waterfowl or upland game for long hours under difficult conditions; the character and quality to win in the show ring; and the temperament to be a family companion. Physical features and mental characteristics should denote a dog bred to perform as an efficient retriever of game with a stable temperament suitable for a variety of pursuits beyond the hunting environment.
The most distinguishing characteristics of the Labrador Retriever are its short, dense, weather-resistant coat; an “otter” tail; a clean-cut head with broad back skull and moderate stop; powerful jaws; and its “kind,” friendly eyes, expressing character, intelligence and good temperament.
Above all, a Labrador Retriever must be well balanced, enabling it to move in the show ring or work in the field with little or no effort. The typical Labrador possesses style and quality without over refinement, and substance without lumber or cloddiness. The Labrador is bred primarily as a working gun dog; structure and soundness are of great importance.
Size, Proportion and Substance—Size—The height at the withers for a dog is 221⁄2 to 241⁄2 inches; for a bitch it is 211⁄2 to 231⁄2 inches. Any variance greater than one-half inch above or below these heights is a disqualification. Approximate weight of dogs and bitches in working condition: dogs 65 to 80 pounds; bitches 55 to 70 pounds.
The minimum height ranges set forth in the paragraph above shall not apply to dogs or bitches under twelve months of age.
Proportion—Short-coupled; length from the point of the shoulder to the point of the rump is equal to or slightly longer than the distance from the withers to the ground. Distance from the elbow to the ground should be equal to one-half of the height at the withers. The brisket should extend to the elbows, but not perceptibly deeper. The body must be of sufficient length to permit a straight, free and efficient stride; but the dog should never appear low and long or tall and leggy in outline. Substance—Substance and bone proportionate to the overall dog. Light, “weedy” individuals are definitely incorrect; equally objectionable are cloddy lumbering specimens. Labrador Retrievers shall be shown in working condition well-muscled and without excess fat.
Head—Skull—The skull should be wide; well developed but without exaggeration. The skull and foreface should be on parallel planes and of approximately equal length. There should be a moderate stop—the brow slightly pronounced so that the skull is not absolutely in a straight line with the nose. The brow ridges aid in defining the stop. The head should be clean-cut and free from fleshy cheeks; the bony structure of the skull chiseled beneath the eye with no prominence in the cheek. The skull may show some median line; the occipital bone is not conspicuous in mature dogs. Lips should not be squared off or pendulous, but fall away in a curve toward the throat. A wedge-shape head, or a head long and narrow in muzzle and back skull is incorrect as are massive, cheeky heads. The jaws are powerful and free from snippiness—the muzzle neither long and narrow nor short and stubby. Nose—The nose should be wide and the nostrils well-developed. The nose should be black on black or yellow dogs, and brown on chocolates. Nose color fading to a lighter shade is not a fault. A thoroughly pink nose or one lacking in any pigment is a disqualification. Teeth—The teeth should be strong and regular with a scissors bite; the lower teeth just behind, but touching the inner side of the upper incisors. A level bite is acceptable, but not desirable. Undershot, overshot, or misaligned teeth are serious faults. Full dentition is preferred. Missing molars or premolars are serious faults. Ears—The ears should hang moderately close to the head, set rather far back, and somewhat low on the skull; slightly above eye level. Ears should not be large and heavy, but in proportion with the skull and reach to the inside of the eye when pulled forward. Eyes— Kind, friendly eyes imparting good temperament, intelligence and alertness are a hallmark of the breed. They should be of medium size, set well apart, and neither protruding nor deep-set. Eye color should be brown in black and yellow Labradors, and brown or hazel in chocolates. Black or yellow eyes give a harsh expression and are undesirable. Small eyes, set close together, or round prominent eyes are not typical of the breed. Eye rims are black in black and yellow Labradors; and brown in chocolates. Eye rims without pigmentation is a disqualification.
Neck, Topline and Body—Neck—The neck should be of proper length to allow the dog to retrieve game easily. It should be muscular and free from throatiness. The neck should rise strongly from the shoulders with a moderate arch. A short, thick neck or a “ewe” neck is incorrect. Topline—The back is strong and the topline is level from the withers to the croup when standing or moving. However, the loin should show evidence of flexibility for athletic endeavor. Body— The Labrador should be short-coupled, with good spring of ribs tapering to a moderately wide chest. The Labrador should not be narrow chested; giving the appearance of hollowness between the front legs, nor should it have a wide spreading, Bulldog-like front. Correct chest conformation will result in tapering between the front legs that allows unrestricted forelimb movement. Chest breadth that is either too wide or too narrow for efficient movement and stamina is incorrect. Slab-sided individuals are not typical of the breed; equally objectionable are rotund or barrel chested specimens. The underline is almost straight, with little or no tuck-up in mature animals. Loins should be short, wide and strong; extending to well-developed, powerful hindquarters. When viewed from the side, the Labrador Retriever shows a well-developed, but not exaggerated forechest. Tail—The tail is a distinguishing feature of the breed. It should be very thick at the base, gradually tapering toward the tip, of medium length, and extending no longer than to the hock. The tail should be free from feathering and clothed thickly all around with the Labrador’s short, dense coat, thus having that peculiar rounded appearance that has been described as the “otter” tail. The tail should follow the topline in repose or when in motion. It may be carried gaily, but should not curl over the back. Extremely short tails or long thin tails are serious faults. The tail completes the balance of the Labrador by giving it a flowing line from the top of the head to the tip of the tail. Docking or otherwise altering the length or natural carriage of the tail is a disqualification.
Forequarters—Forequarters should be muscular, well coordinated and balanced with the hindquarters. Shoulders—The shoulders are well laid-back, long and sloping, forming an angle with the upper arm of approximately 90 degrees that permits the dog to move his forelegs in an easy manner with strong forward reach. Ideally, the length of the shoulder blade should equal the length of the upper arm. Straight shoulder blades, short upper arms or heavily muscled or loaded shoulders, all restricting free movement, are incorrect. Front Legs—When viewed from the front, the legs should be straight with good strong bone. Too much bone is as undesirable as too little bone, and short legged, heavy-boned individuals are not typical of the breed. Viewed from the side, the elbows should be directly under the withers, and the front legs should be perpendicular to the ground and well under the body. The elbows should be close to the ribs without looseness. Tied-in elbows or being “out at the elbows” interfere with free movement and are serious faults. Pasterns should be strong and short and should slope slightly from the perpendicular line of the leg. Feet are strong and compact, with well-arched toes and well-developed pads. Dew claws may be removed. Splayed feet, hare feet, knuckling over, or feet turning in or out are serious faults.
Hindquarters—The Labrador’s hindquarters are broad, muscular and well developed from the hip to the hock with well-turned stifles and strong short hocks. Viewed from the rear, the hind legs are straight and parallel. Viewed from the side, the angulation of the rear legs is in balance with the front. The hind legs are strongly boned, muscled with moderate angulation at the stifle, and powerful, clearly defined thighs. The stifle is strong and there is no slippage of the patellae while in motion or when standing. The hock joints are strong, well let down and do not slip or hyper-extend while in motion or when standing. Angulation of both stifle and hock joint is such as to achieve the optimal balance of drive and traction. When standing the rear toes are only slightly behind the point of the rump. Over angulation produces a sloping topline not typical of the breed. Feet are strong and compact, with well-arched toes and well-developed pads. Cowhocks, spread hocks, sickle hocks and over-angulation are serious structural defects and are to be faulted.
Coat—The coat is a distinctive feature of the Labrador Retriever. It should be short, straight and very dense, giving a fairly hard feeling to the hand. The Labrador should have a soft, weather-resistant undercoat that provides protection from water, cold, and all types of ground cover. A slight wave down the back is permissible. Woolly coats, soft silky coats, and sparse slick coats are not typical of the breed, and should be severely penalized.
Color—The Labrador Retriever coat colors are black, yellow and chocolate. Any other color or a combination of colors is a disqualification. A small white spot on the chest is permissible, but not desirable. White hairs from aging or scarring are not to be misinterpreted as brindling. Black—Blacks are all black. A black with brindle markings or a black with tan markings is a disqualification. Yellow—Yellows may range in color from fox-red to light cream, with variations in shading on the ears, back, and underparts of the dog. Chocolate—Chocolates can vary in shade from light to dark chocolate. Chocolate with brindle or tan markings is a disqualification.
Movement—Movement of the Labrador Retriever should be free and effortless. When watching a dog move toward oneself, there should be no sign of elbows out. Rather, the elbows should be held neatly to the body with the legs not too close together. Moving straight forward without pacing or weaving, the legs should form straight lines, with all parts moving in the same plane. Upon viewing the dog from the rear, one should have the impression that the hind legs move as nearly as possible in a parallel line with the front legs. The hocks should do their full share of the work, flexing well, giving the appearance of power and strength. When viewed from the side, the shoulders should move freely and effortlessly, and the foreleg should reach forward close to the ground with extension. A short, choppy movement or high knee action indicates a straight shoulder; paddling indicates long, weak pasterns; and a short, stilted rear gait indicates a straight rear assembly; all are serious faults. Movement faults interfering with performance including weaving; side-winding; crossing over; high knee action; paddling; and short, choppy movement, should be severely penalized.
Temperament—True Labrador Retriever temperament is as much a hallmark of the breed as the “otter” tail. The ideal disposition is one of a kindly, outgoing, tractable nature; eager to please and non-aggressive toward man or animal. The Labrador has much that appeals to people; his gentle ways, intelligence and adaptability make him an ideal dog. Aggressiveness toward humans or other animals, or any evidence of shyness in an adult should be severely penalized.
Any deviation from the height prescribed in the Standard.
A thoroughly pink nose or one lacking in any pigment.
Eye rims without pigment.
Docking or otherwise altering the length or natural carriage of the tail.
Any other color or a combination of colors other than black, yellow or chocolate as describedin the Standard.
Approved February 12, 1994
Effective March 31, 1994
NOVA SCOTIA DUCK TOLLING RETRIEVER
THE NOVA SCOTIA DUCK TOLLING RETRIEVER, COMMONLY CALLED THE
Toller, is a medium-sized, powerful, compact, balanced dog and the smallest of the retrievers. The height at the withers for males is 18 to 21 inches, with the ideal being 19. Corresponding height for females is 17 to 20 inches, with the ideal at 18 inches. Weight is in proportion to the height and bone of the dog. The Toller’s attitude and bearing suggest strength with a high degree of agility. They are alert, determined, and quick, with a keen desire to work and please.
This breed was developed in Nova Scotia in the early ninteenth century to toll (or lure) and retrieve waterfowl. The tolling dog runs, jumps, and plays along the shoreline, occasionally disappearing from sight, then quickly reappearing in full view of a flock of ducks. The hunter, who throws a ball or small sticks for the dog, aids this action. The dog’s playful actions arouse the curiosity of ducks swimming offshore, which are then lured within gunshot range. The Toller is subsequently sent out to retrieve any dead or wounded birds.
The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever has broken free from the constraints of the hunting technique for which it is named. Today, the Toller is multifaceted. You get the ideal dog—a retriever, hunter, loyal watchdog, competition dog, and wonderful loving pet—all rolled into one breed that has more simple zest and joy for life than most others. Tollers wholly involve themselves in everything. Whether stealing from the counter, chasing a ball, breaking ice to get a bird, or curling up on the couch, everything is done 100 percent.
Toller owners love their dogs but know that it is not the breed for everyone. Tollers are ardent observers of life and as young dogs are full of energy and easily distracted. This breed can be mischievous, wild, or even take over the household. They are not always ideal, loving companions. Toller energy needs to be channeled in constructive ways. Though they learn quickly, they also bore quickly. Training sessions must be kept short, light, fun, and challenging.
People choose Tollers after months of research for many reasons. They fell in love with the breed and may have done so because the dogs are not couch potatoes. Most people were looking for a dog with high intelligence, one that would be a companion but would also think for itself. They were looking for a dog that could keep up with the family’s outdoor activities and still have lots of get-up-and-go at the end of the day. Some were looking for a dog that would challenge them and their training abilities. In the Toller you get it all!
This personality may not be what everyone is looking for. Consider the whole breed, not just one dog you see in a given situation. The dogs you see may not be themselves or may have been trained to be calm and responsive. People who are looking for a smaller version of a Golden or Labrador in obedience, field trials, or hunting will find major differences in the personalities of this breed. Tollers have a special spark.
What makes the Toller different from other retrievers? Size is the biggest difference. They may be the smallest of the retrievers, but they have a spirit and attitude bigger than life. Tollers are happy and a bit full of themselves. They have fun and goof off a little. You won’t see that quiet “ho-hum, well, here we are” attitude. What you will see is, “Well, what’s next?”
Tollers are working retrievers with no excessive coat. They are well-muscled and athletic. The breed is well-balanced and sports an air of confidence. Toller movement should appear powerful, smooth, and effortless. They are ready to spring into action at any time, or with any indication that retrieving is right around the corner!
OFFICIAL STANDARD FOR THE NOVA SCOTIA DUCK TOLLING RETRIEVER
General Appearance—The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever (Toller) was developed in the early nineteenth century to toll, lure, and retrieve waterfowl. The playful action of the Toller retrieving a stick or ball along the shoreline arouses the curiosity of the ducks offshore. They are lured within gunshot range, and the dog is sent out to retrieve the dead or wounded birds.
This medium sized, powerful, compact, balanced dog is the smallest of the retrievers. The Toller’s attitude and bearing suggest strength with a high degree of agility. He is alert, determined, and quick, with a keen desire to work and please.
Many Tollers have a slightly sad or worried expression when they are not working. The moment the slightest indication is given that retrieving is required, they set themselves for springy action with an expression of intense concentration and excitement. The heavily feathered tail is held high in constant motion while working.
The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Club (USA) feels strongly that all Tollers should have these innate abilities, and encourages all Tollers to prove them by passing an approved Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Club (USA) field test.
Size, Proportion and Substance—Size: Height at the withers-males, 18–21 inches. The ideal is 19 inches. Females, 17–20 inches. The ideal is 18 inches. Bone: is medium. Weight is in proportion to height and bone of the dog. The dog’s length should be slightly longer than height, in a ratio of 10 to 9, but should not give the impression of a long back.
Head—Skull: The head is clean-cut and slightly wedge shaped. The broad skull is only slightly rounded, giving the appearance of being flat when the ears are alert. The occiput is not prominent. The cheeks are flat. The length of the skull from the occiput to the stop is slightly longer than the length of the muzzle from the stop to the tip of the nose. The head must be in proportion to body size. Expression: The expression is alert, friendly, and intelligent. Many Tollers have a slightly sad expression until they go to work, when their aspect changes to intense concentration and desire. Eyes: The eyes are set well apart, slightly oblique and almond in shape. Eye color blends with the coat or is darker. Eye rims must be self-colored or black, matching the nose and lips. Faults: Large round eyes. Eye rims and/or eyes not of prescribed color. Ears: The high set ears are triangular in shape with rounded tips, set well back on the skull, framing the face, with the base held slightly erect. Ear length should reach approximately to the inside corners of the eyes. Ears should be carried in a drop fashion. Ears are short-coated, and well feathered only on the back of the fold. Stop: The stop is Moderate. Muzzle: The muzzle tapers in a clean line from stop to nose, with the lower jaw not overly prominent. The jaws are strong enough to carry a sizable bird, and softness in the mouth is essential. The underline of the muzzle is strong and clean. Fault: dish face. Nose: The nose is fairly broad with the nostrils well open, tapering at the tip. The color should blend with that of the coat, or be black. Fault: bright pink nose. Disqualification: butterfly nose. Lips andflews: Lips fit fairly tightly, forming a gentle curve in profile, with no heaviness in the flews. Bite: The correct bite is tight scissors. Full dentition is required. Disqualifications: undershot bite. Wry mouth. Overshot by more than 1⁄8 inch.
Neck, Backline, Body—Neck: The neck is strongly muscled and well set on, of medium length, with no indication of throatiness. Backline: level. Faults: roached or sway back. Body: The body is deep in chest, with good spring of rib, the brisket reaching to the elbow. Ribs are neither barrel shaped nor flat. The back is strong, short and straight. The loins are strong and muscular, with moderate tuck-up. Fault: slack loins. Tail: The tail follows the natural very slight slope of the croup, is broad at the base, and is luxuriant and well feathered, with the last vertebra reaching at least to the hock. The tail may be carried below the level of the back except when the dog is alert, when it is held high in a curve, though never touching the body. Faults: tail too short, kinked, or curled over touching the back. Tail carried below the level of the back when the dog is gaiting.
Forequarters—The shoulder should be muscular, strong, and well angulated, with the blade roughly equal in length to the upper arm. The elbows should work close to the body, cleanly and evenly. When seen from the front, the forelegs’ appearance is that of parallel columns. The pasterns are strong and slightly sloping. Fault: down in the pasterns. Feet: The feet are strongly webbed, slightly oval medium in size, and tight, with well-arched toes and thick pads. Front dewclaws may be removed. Faults: splayed or paper feet.
Hindquarters—The hindquarters are muscular, broad, and square in appearance. The croup is very slightly sloped. The rear and front angulation should be in balance. The upper and lower thighs are very muscular and equal in length. The stifles are well bent. The hocks are well let down, turning neither in nor out. Rear dewclaws must not be present. Disqualification: rear dewclaws.
Coat—The Toller was bred to retrieve from icy waters and must have a water-repellent double coat of medium length and softness, and a soft dense undercoat. The coat may have a slight wave on the back but is otherwise straight. Some winter coats may form a long loose curl at the throat. Featherings are soft and moderate in length. The hair on the muzzle is short and fine. Seasonal shedding is to be expected. Over-coated specimens are not appropriate for a working dog and should be faulted. While neatening of the feet, ears, and hocks for the show ring is permitted, the Toller should always appear natural, never barbered. Whiskers must be present. Faults: coat longer than medium length. Open coat.
Color—Color is any shade of red, ranging from a golden red through dark coppery red, with lighter featherings on the underside of the tail, pantaloons, and body. Even the lighter shades of golden red are deeply pigmented and rich in color. Disqualifications: brown coat, black areas in coat, or buff. Buff is bleached, faded, or silvery. Buff may also appear as faded brown with or without silver tips. Markings: the Toller has usually at least one of the following white markings—tip of tail, feet (not extending above the pasterns), chest and blaze. A dog of otherwise high quality is not to be penalized for lack of white. Disqualifications: white on the shoulders, around the ears, back of neck, or across the flanks.
Gait—The Toller combines an impression of power with a springy gait, showing good reach in front and a strong driving rear. Feet should turn neither in nor out, and legs travel in a straight line. In its natural gait at increased speeds, the dog’s feet tend to converge towards a center line, with the backline remaining level.
Temperament—The Toller is highly intelligent, alert, outgoing, and ready for action, though not to the point of nervousness or hyperactivity. He is affectionate and loving with family members and is good with children, showing patience. Some individuals may display reserved behavior in new situations, but this is not to be confused with shyness. Shyness in adult classes should be penalized. The Toller’s strong retrieving desire coupled with his love of water, endurance and intense birdiness, is essential for his role as a tolling retriever.
Undershot bite, wry mouth, overshot by more than 1⁄8 inch.
Brown coat, black areas in coat, or buff. Buff is bleached, faded or silvery. Buff may also appear as faded brown, with or without silver tips.
White on the shoulders, around the ears, back of the neck, or across the flanks.
Approved June 11, 2001
Effective September 1, 2001
THE BEST AUTHORITIES ON THE SUBJECT TELL US THAT THE ENGLISH SETTER was a trained bird dog in England more than 400 years ago. A perusal of some old writings leads us to believe the English Setter evolved from some of the older land spaniels that originated in Spain. We are indebted to Hans Bols, who, in Partridge Shooting and Partridge Hawking (1852), presented quite definite pictorial evidence that the setter and the spaniel breeds were quite different in appearance. Even at that time, the tails of the spaniels appeared to have been docked as they are today, and the tails of setters were left as nature intended them.
There is some evidence in the earlier writings of sportsmen to suggest that the old English Setter was originally produced from crosses of the Spanish Pointer, the large Water Spaniel, and the Springer Spaniel. By careful cultivation, breeders produced dogs that attained a high degree of proficiency in finding and pointing game in open country. We can see from examination of the sketches in many of the old writings, that this setter-spaniel was an extremely handsome dog. Many had a head much longer with a more classical cut than that of the spaniel, while others had the short spaniel-like head, lacking the well-defined profile of the skull and foreface of modern dogs. Also, most of these older setters had coats that were quite curly, particularly at the thighs. It can be seen from this brief review that even our oldest authorities were not entirely in accord as to the origin of the breed.
There is little doubt that the major credit for developing the modern setter goes to Edward Laverack. In about 1825, he obtained Pronto and Old Moll from Reverend A. Harrison. Reverend Harrison had apparently kept this breed pure for thirty-five years or more. From these two setters, Edward Laverack produced Prince, Countess, Nellie, and Fairy, which were marvelous specimens of the English Setter. This was accomplished through a remarkable process of inbreeding.
The first show for English Setters was held at Newcastle-on-Tyne on January 28, 1859. From then on, dog shows flourished throughout England, gradually increasing in popularity.
In 1874, Laverack sold a pair of dogs to Charles H. Raymond, of Morris Plains, New Jersey. During the next ten years, the English Setter became increasingly popular.
About this time, many setters bred by R. L. Purcell Llewellin were imported to the United States and Canada. In considering the so-called Llewellin strain, Dr. William A. Bruette recorded that when the Laverack was at its zenith in England, Llewellin purchased a number of Laverack’s best show dogs. These were from Laverack’s pure Dash-Moll and Dash-Hill lines. They were crossed with some entirely new blood, which Llewellin obtained from the north of England. This new blood was from Mr. Statter’s and Sir Vincent Corbet’s strain, since referred to as the Duke-Rhoebes, so named for the two most prominent members of the strain. The results of these crosses were eminently successful, particularly at field trials. Llewellin’s primary focus was to breed a dog that could win field trials. His dogs’ reputation spread to North America. Many were purchased by sportsmen in different sections of the United States and Canada, firmly establishing Llewellin’s line on this side of the Atlantic.
During the last hundred years, a divergence in type has appeared and has constantly widened, so that in the United States and Canada there are now two distinct types of English Setters being bred, each having its own devotees. The Llewellin type is the field trial dog, and the Laverack type is the show dog. Both, however, can be excellent gundogs.
Primarily because of both usefulness and beauty, the English Setter thrives in this country. As a result of intelligent breeding, it has been brought to a high state of perfection. A representative entry can usually be found at both conformation shows and field trials.
The mild, sweet disposition characteristic of this breed, combined with the beauty, intelligence, and aristocratic appearance, both in the field and in the home, has endeared it to gundog owners as well as all lovers of a beautiful, active, and rugged outdoor dog. A lovable disposition makes the English Setter truly an ideal companion.
OFFICIAL STANDARD FOR THE ENGLISH SETTER
General Appearance—An elegant, substantial and symmetrical gun dog suggesting the ideal blend of strength, stamina, grace and style. Flat-coated with feathering of good length. Gaiting freely and smoothly with long forward reach, strong rear drive and firm topline. Males decidedly masculine without coarseness. Females decidedly feminine without over-refinement. Overall appearance, balance, gait, and purpose to be given more emphasis than any component part. Above all, extremes of anything distort type and must be faulted.
Head—Size and proportion in harmony with body. Long and lean with a well-defined stop. When viewed from the side, head planes (top of muzzle, top of skull and bottom of lower jaw) are parallel. Skull—Oval when viewed from above, of medium width, without coarseness, and only slightly wider at the earset than at the brow. Moderately defined occipital protuberance. Length of skull from occiput to stop equal in length of muzzle. Muzzle—Long and square when viewed from the side, of good depth with flews squared and fairly pendant. Width in harmony with width of skull and equal at nose and stop. Level from eyes to tip of nose. Nose—Black or dark brown, fully pigmented. Nostrils wide apart and large. Foreface—Skeletal structure under the eyes well chiseled with no suggestion of fullness. Cheeks present a smooth and clean-cut appearance. Teeth—Close scissors bite preferred. Even bite acceptable. Eyes—Dark brown, the darker the better. Bright, and spaced to give a mild and intelligent expression. Nearly round, fairly large, neither deep-set nor protruding. Eyelid rims dark and fully pigmented. Lids fit tightly so that haw is not exposed. Ears—Set well back and low, even with or below eye level. When relaxed carried close to the head. Of moderate length, slightly rounded at the ends, moderately thin leather, and covered with silky hair.
Neck and Body—Neck—Long and graceful, muscular and lean. Arched at the crest and clean-cut where it joins the head at the base of the skull. Larger and more muscular toward the shoulders, with the base of the neck flowing smoothly into the shoulders. Not too throaty. Topline—In motion or standing appears level or sloping slightly downward without sway or drop from withers to tail forming a graceful outline of medium length. Forechest—Well developed, point of sternum projecting slightly in front of point of shoulder/upper arm joint. Chest—Deep, but not so wide or round as to interfere with the action of the forelegs. Brisket deep enough to reach the level of the elbow. Ribs—Long, springing gradually to the middle of the body, then tapering as they approach the end of the chest cavity. Back—Straight and strong at its junction with loin. Loin—Strong, moderate in length, slightly arched. Tuck-up moderate. Hips— Croup nearly flat. Hip bones wide apart, hips rounded and blending smoothly into hind legs. Tail—A smooth continuation of the topline. Tapering to a fine point with only sufficient length to reach the hock joint or slightly less. Carried straight and level with the back. Feathering straight and silky, hanging loosely in a fringe.
Forequarters—Shoulder—Shoulder blade well laid back. Upper arm equal in length to and forming a nearly right angle with the shoulder blade. Shoulders fairly close together at the tips. Shoulder blades lie flat and meld smoothly with contours of body. Forelegs—From front or side, forelegs straight and parallel. Elbows have no tendency to turn in or out when standing or gaiting. Arm flat and muscular. Bone substantial but not coarse and muscles hard and devoid of flabbiness. Pasterns—Short, strong and nearly round with the slope deviating very slightly forward from the perpendicular. Feet—Face directly forward. Toes closely set, strong and well arched. Pads well developed and tough. Dewclaws may be removed.
Hindquarters—Wide, muscular thighs and well-developed lower thighs. Pelvis equal in length to and forming a nearly right angle with upper thigh. In balance with forequarter assembly. Stifle well bent and strong. Lower thigh only slightly longer than upper thigh. Hock joint well bent and strong. Rear pastern short, strong, nearly round and perpendicular to the ground. Hind legs, when seen from the rear, straight and parallel to each other. Hock joints have no tendency to turn in or out when standing or gaiting.
Coat—Flat without curl or woolliness. Feathering on ears, chest, abdomen, underside of thighs, back of all legs and on the tail of good length but not so excessive as to hide true lines and movement or to affect the dog’s appearance or function as a sporting dog.
Markings and Color—Markings—White ground color with intermingling of darker hairs resulting in belton markings varying in degree from clear distinct flecking to roan shading, but flecked all over preferred. Head and ear patches acceptable, heavy patches of color on the body undesirable. Color—Orange belton, blue belton (white with black markings), tricolor (blue belton with tan on muzzle, over the eyes and on the legs), lemon belton, liver belton.
Movement and Carriage—An effortless graceful movement demonstrating endurance while covering ground efficiently. Long forward reach and strong rear drive with a lively tail and a proud head carriage. Head may be carried slightly lower when moving to allow for greater reach of forelegs. The back strong, firm, and free of roll. When moving at a trot, as speed increases, the legs tend to converge toward a line representing the center of gravity.
Size—Dogs about 25 inches; bitches about 24 inches.
Temperament—Gentle, affectionate, friendly, without shyness, fear or viciousness.
Approved November 11, 1986
BEAUTY, BRAINS, AND BIRD SENSE ARE THE OUTSTANDING QUALITIES OF THIS handsome black-and-tan setter from Scotland. Breed lineage dates back at least to 1620 when a writer of the time praised the “black and fallow setting dog” as “hardest to endure labor.”
Popular among hunters in Scotland for decades, the black-and-tan (or occasionally black, white, and tan) setter came into prominence in the kennels of the fourth Duke of Gordon in the late 1820s. Commenting on this kennel, a writer familiar with the duke’s setters described them much as a sportsman would describe a Gordon of today:
The Castle Gordon Setters are, as a rule, easy to break and naturally back well. They are not fast dogs but they have good staying powers and can keep on steadily from morning until night. Their noses are first-class and they seldom make a false point on what is called at field trials a sensational stand. . . . When they stand you may be sure there are birds.
A later and illustrious authority, Idstone, wrote: “I have seen better Setters of the black and tan, than of any other breed.”
In 1842, George Blunt, attracted by the Gordon’s beauty and superior hunting ability, imported a brace from Castle Gordon to America. Drawings of the pair, Rake and Rachel, show Rake to be a mostly white, curly-coated dog with a black saddle; Rachel was black with tan markings, and was given to Daniel Webster. Other imports from Great Britain and Scandinavia followed, and the perfecting of the American strains helped the Gordon achieve great popularity as a pet and faithful gundog. This was particularly true in the period when game was marketed commercially, and a real “meat dog” assured a full bag at the end of the day’s shooting.
With the arrival of field trial competition Gordon popularity waned for a time, as the dog’s habit of quartering thoroughly and working close to the gun placed the breed at a disadvantage where flashing speed was demanded. The comment that their coloring makes Gordons difficult to see in the field has doubtless been made by those who have never seen them there. Against the tan sedge grass of fall or an early snow, a black dog is highly conspicuous. When it is difficult to distinguish this black dog against the background, it is then too dark to shoot with safety. As a personal shooting dog, the Gordon Setter knows no peer.
Characteristic eagerness to work for a loving owner has never changed over the centuries, nor have the Gordon’s keen intellect and retentive memory, which enable this breed to improve with age without the need for retraining each season. Gordon breeders, backed by a strong national club, make no distinction between field or show types in their breed standard.
In many countries, benched-show champions are used regularly for hunting and give a good account of themselves in the field, as do the field trial winners at a benched show. The Gordon Setter Club of America and several independent Gordon clubs hold approximately fifteen field trials, thirty hunt tests, and twenty-two specialty shows each year. Several of these specialties offer obedience or agility competition. Gordons excel in all of these endeavors.
A true setter, the Gordon is a distinctive breed, resembling English or Irish setters in general type only. In field trial competition the smaller but not light-boned Gordon has been more favored, while the larger dog is preferred for benched-show competition. The official breed standard allows considerable range in size primarily because individual hunters from various corners of the nation prefer their Gordons of a size to suit the local hunting terrain. There is general agreement, however, on the aristocratic beauty of Gordon Setters: They are sturdy but stylish with a silky black coat, rich mahogany markings, and well-feathered legs. The finely chiseled, somewhat heavy head with long, low-set ears is distinctive for its intelligent expression. A good-sized, sturdy build with plenty of bone and substance combined with an upstanding, stylish gait give the necessary stamina to match the breed’s enthusiasm for long days in the field.
The quality that most endears Gordon Setters to pet owners or sensitive sportsmen is their devotion and loyalty to family members. Gordons and their families are happiest when they have adequate exercise. Suspicious of unwanted intruders, Gordons are not chums to every passerby, but live for the pleasure of being near their owners. This almost fanatic devotion has not only helped make Gordons responsive gundogs but also mannerly, eager-to-please dogs in the home. Slow to mature, Gordons are like puppies well into their middle years but retain stamina and function well into old age.
OFFICIAL STANDARD FOR THE GORDON SETTER
General Appearance—The Gordon Setter is a good-sized, sturdily built, black and tan dog, well muscled, with plenty of bone and substance, but active, upstanding and stylish, appearing capable of doing a full day’s work in the field. He has a strong, rather short back, with well sprung ribs and a short tail. The head is fairly heavy and finely chiseled. His bearing is intelligent, noble, and dignified, showing no signs of shyness or viciousness. Clear colors and straight or slightly waved coat are correct. He suggests strength and stamina rather than extreme speed. Symmetry and quality are most essential. A dog well balanced in all points is preferable to one with outstanding good qualities and defects. A smooth, free movement, with high head carriage, is typical.
Size, Proportion, Substance—Size—Shoulder height for males, 24 to 27 inches; females, 23 to 26 inches. Weight for males, 55 to 80 pounds; females, 45 to 70 pounds. Animals that appear to be over or under the prescribed weight limits are to be judged on the basis of conformation and condition. Extremely thin or fat dogs are discouraged on the basis that under or overweight hampers the true working ability of the Gordon Setter. The weight-to-height ratio makes him heavier than other Setters. Proportion—The distance from the forechest to the back of the thigh is approximately equal the height from the ground to the withers. The Gordon Setter has plenty of bone and substance.
Head—Head deep, rather than broad, with plenty of brain room. Eyesof fair size, neither too deep-set nor too bulging, dark brown, bright and wise. The shape is oval rather than round. The lids are tight. Earsset low on the head approximately on line with the eyes, fairly large and thin, well folded and carried close to the head. Skull nicely rounded, good-sized, broadest between the ears. Below and above the eyes is lean and the cheeks as narrow as the leanness of the head allows. The head should have a clearly indicated stop. Muzzlefairly long and not pointed, either as seen from above or from the side. The flews are not pendulous. The muzzle is the same length as the skull from occiput to stop and the top of the muzzle is parallel to the line of the skull extended. Nose broad, with open nostrils and black in color. The lip line from the nose to the flews shows a sharp, well-defined, square contour. Teethstrong and white, meeting in front in a scissors bite, with the upper incisors slightly forward of the lower incisors. A level bite is not a fault. Pitted teeth from distemper or allied infections are not penalized.
Neck, Topline, Body—Neck—long, lean, arched to the head, and without throatiness. Toplinemoderately sloping. Bodyshort from shoulder to hips. Chest deep and not too broad in front; the ribs well sprung, leaving plenty of lung room. The chest reaches to the elbows. A pronounced forechest is in evidence. Loins short and broad and not arched. Croup nearly flat, with only a slight slope to the tailhead. Tailshort and not reaching below the hocks, carried horizontal or nearly so, not docked, thick at the root and finishing in a fine point. The placement of the tail is important for correct carriage. When the angle of the tail bends too sharply at the first coccygeal bone, the tail will be carried too gaily or will droop. The tail placement is judged in relationship to the structure of the croup.
Forequarters—Shoulders fine at the points, and laying well back. The tops of the shoulder blades are close together. When viewed from behind, the neck appears to fit into the shoulders in smooth, flat lines that gradually widen from neck to shoulder. The angle formed by the shoulder blade and upper arm bone is approximately 90 degrees when the dog is standing so that the foreleg is perpendicular to the ground. Forelegs big-boned, straight and not bowed, with elbows free and not turned in or out. Pasterns are strong, short and nearly vertical with a slight spring. Dewclaws may be removed. Feet catlike in shape, formed by close-knit, well arched toes with plenty of hair between; with full toe pads and deep heel cushions. Feet are not turned in or out.
Hindquarters—The hind legs from hip to hock are long, flat and muscular; from hock to heel, short and strong. The stifle and hock joints are well bent and not turned either in or out. When the dog is standing with the rear pastern perpendicular to the ground, the thighbone hangs downward parallel to an imaginary line drawn upward from the hock. Feet as in front.
Coat—Soft and shining, straight or slightly waved, but not curly, with long hair on ears, under stomach and on chest, on back of the fore and hind legs, and on the tail. The feather which starts near the root of the tail is slightly waved or straight, having a triangular appearance, growing shorter uniformly toward the end.
Color and Markings—Black with tan markings, either of rich chestnut or mahogany color. Black penciling is allowed on the toes. The borderline between black and tan colors is clearly defined. There are not any tan hairs mixed in the black. The tan markings are located as follows: (1) Two clear spots over the eyes and not over three-quarters of an inch in diameter; (2) On the sides of the muzzle. The tan does not reach to the top of the muzzle, but resembles a stripe around the end of the muzzle from one side to the other; (3) On the throat; (4) Two large clear spots on the chest; (5) On the inside of the hind legs showing down the front of the stifle and broadening out to the outside of the hind legs from the hock to the toes. It must not completely eliminate the black on the back of the hind legs; (6) On the forelegs from the carpus, or a little above, downward to the toes; (7) Around the vent; (8) A white spot on the chest is allowed, but the smaller the better. Predominantly tan, red or buff dogs which do not have the typical pattern of markings of a Gordon Setter are ineligible for showing and undesirable for breeding. Predominantly tan, red or buff dogs are ineligible for showing and undesirable for breeding.
Gait—A bold, strong, driving free-swinging gait. The head is carried up and the tail “flags” constantly while the dog is in motion. When viewed from the front the forefeet move up and down in straight lines so that the shoulder, elbow and pastern joints are approximately in line. When viewed from the rear the hock, stifle and hip joints are approximately in line. Thus the dog moves in a straight pattern forward without throwing the feet in or out. When viewed from the side the forefeet are seen to lift up and reach forward to compensate for the driving hindquarters. The hindquarters reach well forward and stretch far back, enabling the stride to be long and the drive powerful. The overall appearance of the moving dog is one of smooth-flowing, well balanced rhythm, in which the action is pleasing to the eye, effortless, economical and harmonious.
Temperament—The Gordon Setter is alert, gay, interested, and confident. He is fearless and willing, intelligent and capable. He is loyal and affectionate, and strong-minded enough to stand the rigors of training.
Predominantly tan, red or buff dogs.
SCALE OF POINTS
To be used as a guide when judging the Gordon Setter:
Approved October 7, 2002
Effective November 27, 2002
THE IRISH SETTER FIRST CAME INTO POPULAR NOTICE EARLY IN THE EIGHTEENTH century and less than a hundred years later his reputation was firmly established, not only in his native Ireland but throughout the British Isles. Speculations as to his origin are little more than guesswork. Various breeds have been named as his progenitors, but none can boast a clear title to the honor. Among the conjectures is that he was developed from an Irish Water Spaniel–Irish Terrier cross, but it is far more believable that an English Setter–spaniel-pointer combination, with a dash of Gordon thrown in, was the true formula.
The Irish Red Setter was the name originally chosen by the Irish Setter Club of America to designate the breed in this country. His earliest ancestors in the Emerald Isle, on the contrary, were rarely self-colored dogs. By far the larger number were red and white, the white frequently predominating over the red, and even today many individuals across the water are parti-colored. In America, however, solid reds or reds with small and inconspicuous white markings are the only ones accepted as typical. The Irishman’s rich mahogany coat is thoroughly distinctive and has done much to make its wearer the show-ring favorite he is today.
The solid-red setter, as distinguished from the red and white, first appeared in Ireland in the nineteenth century. Jason Hazzard of Timaskea, County Fermanagh, Sir St. George Gore, and the Earl of Enniskillen all bred self-colored dogs, and it is a matter of record that in 1812 the earl would have nothing else in his kennels. A few years later Stonehenge wrote:
The blood red, or rich chestnut or mahogany color is the color of an Irish Setter of high mark. This color must be unmixed with black; and studied in a strong light, there must not be black shadows or waves, much less black fringes to the ears, or to the profile of the form.
The mention of black in the above is significant as indicating the possibility of the Gordon cross already mentioned. Today, this color is absolutely taboo and even a few black hairs are faulted at the shows.
So much for the external appearance of the Irish Setter. Now for more important if less obvious characteristics. The breed is essentially a sporting one, and it is as a gundog, after all, that this flashy red fellow must stand or fall. The first individuals imported into this country were brought over for use on game and, in spite of the fact that our ruffed grouse, quail, and prairie chicken were new and strange to them, they made good immediately. Elcho, imported in 1875 and one of the first of his breed to make a reputation for himself and his progeny in the United States, was not only a sensational success on the bench, but a thoroughly trained and capable shooting dog. To quote A. F. Hochwalt, in his book The Modern Setter, “All through the early field-trial records we find the Irish Setter holding his own with the ‘fashionable blue bloods.’ Had the Irish Setter fanciers continued on, their favorite breed would no doubt now be occupying a place as high in field trials as the other two breeds”; by which he means, of course, the English Setter and Pointer.
But the Irish Setter men didn’t continue on, insofar as field trials were concerned, with the result that the Llewellin Setter and the Pointer have practically cornered the market in public competition in that field. Yet, in spite of this handicap, the red dog from Erin has lost none of the attributes of the good hunting companion, and given a fair chance, can and does demonstrate his quality as a high-class gundog on all kinds of game. Strange as it may seem, his good looks have been his undoing in a way. His fatal gift of beauty, together with his gaiety, courage, and personality, have made him an ideal show dog. For this reason many fanciers have yielded to the temptation to breed for the ring only and to sacrifice to this most worthwhile object, field ability equally worthwhile and in no way incompatible with proper color, good size, and correct breed type.
Just a word regarding the characteristic personality of the red dog. There is a devil-may-care something about him that not only makes him tremendously likeable but also adds to his value as a bird dog in rough country and briers. He is bold and at the same time gentle and lovable and loyal. He is tough—good and tough. He can stand continued work in the brush, is almost never stiff or sore, has the best of feet and running gear, and almost never gets “sour” when corrected in his work. He is not an early developer and frequently requires more training than some other breeds, but he is not as a rule headstrong in the sense that he is hard to handle in the brush. His outstanding fault as a field-trial performer is that he is not independent enough and pays too much attention to his handler. In reply to the criticism that he develops slowly, it is only fair to say that, once trained on birds, he is trained for the rest of his life and does not require a repetition of the process every fall. When you own a good Irishman, you own him for many years, every day of which you can be proud of his appearance, his personality, and his performance.
OFFICIAL STANDARD FOR THE IRISH SETTER
General Appearance—The Irish Setter is an active, aristocratic bird dog, rich red in color, substantial yet elegant in build. Standing over two feet tall at the shoulder, the dog has a straight, fine, glossy coat, longer on ears, chest, tail and back of legs. Afield, the Irish Setter is a swift-moving hunter; at home, a sweet natured, trainable companion.
At their best, the lines of the Irish Setter so satisfy in overall balance that artists have termed it the most beautiful of all dogs. The correct specimen always exhibits balance, whether standing or in motion. Each part of the dog flows and fits smoothly into its neighboring parts without calling attention to itself.
Size, Proportion, Substance—There is no disqualification as to size. The make and fit of all parts and their overall balance in the animal are rated more important. 27 inches at the withers and a show weight of about 70 pounds is considered ideal for the dog; the bitch 25 inches, 60 pounds. Variance beyond an inch up or down is to be discouraged. Proportion—Measuring from the breastbone to rear of thigh and from the top of the withers to the ground, the Irish Setter is slightly longer than it is tall. Substance—All legs sturdy with plenty of bone. Structure in the male reflects masculinity without coarseness. Bitches appear feminine without being slight of bone.
Head—Long and lean, its length at least double the width between the ears. Beauty of head is emphasized by delicate chiseling along the muzzle, around and below the eyes, and along the cheeks. Expressionsoft, yet alert. Eyessomewhat almond shaped, of medium size, placed rather well apart, neither deep-set nor bulging. Color, dark to medium brown. Earsset well back and low, not above level of eye. Leather thin, hanging in a neat fold close to the head, and nearly long enough to reach the nose. The skullis oval when viewed from above or front; very slightly domed when viewed in profile. The brow is raised, showing a distinct stop midway between the tip of the nose and the well-defined occiput (rear point of skull). Thus the nearly level line from occiput to brow is set a little above, and parallel to, the straight and equal line from eye to nose. Muzzlemoderately deep, jaws of nearly equal length, the underline of the jaws being almost parallel with the topline of the muzzle. Nose black or chocolate; nostrils wide. Upper lips fairly square but not pendulous. The teethmeet in a scissors bite in which the upper incisors fit closely over the lower, or they may meet evenly.
Neck, Topline, Body—Neckmoderately long, strong but not thick, and slightly arched; free from throatiness and fitting smoothly into the shoulders. Toplineof body from withers to tail should be firm and incline slightly downward without sharp drop at the croup. The tailis set on nearly level with the croup as a natural extension of the topline, strong at root, tapering to a fine point, nearly long enough to reach the hock. Carriage straight or curving slightly upward, nearly level with the back. Bodysufficiently long to permit a straight and free stride. Chestdeep, reaching approximately to the elbows with moderate forechest, extending beyond the point where the shoulder joins the upper arm. Chest is of moderate width so that it does not interfere with forward motion and extends rearward to well sprung ribs. Loinsfirm, muscular, and of moderate length.
Forequarters—Shoulder blades long, wide, sloping well back, fairly close together at the withers. Upper arm and shoulder blades are approximately the same length, and are joined at sufficient angle to bring the elbows rearward along the brisket in line with the top of the withers. The elbows moving freely, incline neither in nor out. Forelegsstraight and sinewy. Strong, nearly straight pastern. Feetrather small, very firm, toes arched and close.
Hindquarters—Hindquarters should be wide and powerful with broad, well-developed thighs. Hind legs long and muscular from hip to hock; short and perpendicular from hock to ground; well angulated at stifle and hock joints, which, like the elbows, incline neither in nor out. Feet as in front. Angulation of the forequarters and hindquarters should be balanced.
Coat—Short and fine on head and forelegs. On all other parts of moderate length and flat. Feathering long and silky on ears; on back of forelegs and thighs long and fine, with a pleasing fringe of hair on belly and brisket extending onto the chest. Fringe on tail moderately long and tapering. All coat and feathering as straight and free as possible from curl or wave. The Irish Setter is trimmed for the show ring to emphasize the lean head and clean neck. The top third of the ears and the throat nearly to the breastbone are trimmed. Excess feathering is removed to show the natural outline of the foot. All trimming is done to preserve the natural appearance of the dog.
Color—Mahogany or rich chestnut red with no black. A small amount of white on chest, throat or toes, or a narrow centered streak on skull is not to be penalized.
Gait—At the trot the gait is big, very lively, graceful and efficient. At an extended trot the head reaches slightly forward, keeping the dog in balance. The forelegs reach well ahead as if to pull in the ground without giving the appearance of a hackney gait. The hindquarters drive smoothly and with great power. Seen from front or rear, the forelegs, as well as the hind legs below the hock joint, move perpendicularly to the ground, with some tendency toward a single track as speed increases. Structural characteristics which interfere with a straight, true stride are to be penalized.
Temperament—The Irish Setter has a rollicking personality. Shyness, hostility or timidity are uncharacteristic of the breed. An outgoing, stable temperament is the essence of the Irish Setter.
Approved August 14, 1990
Effective September 30, 1990
AMERICAN WATER SPANIEL
EXACTLY HOW, WHEN, AND WHERE THE AMERICAN WATER SPANIEL ORIGINATED is something of a mystery. Nevertheless, the virtues of the breed have long been appreciated by sportsmen in many parts of the United States. It is principally in the Midwest, however, that the present-day specimen evolved, since the dogs from that section had been known to breed true to type for countless generations. Color, coat, and conformation combine to suggest the Irish Water Spaniel and the Curly-Coated Retriever, together with the latter’s forebear the old English Water Spaniel, as progenitors, although this cannot be advanced categorically.
Before recognition by the American Kennel Club in 1940, the American Water Spaniel had been purely a working gundog. He had never been introduced to the show ring since his admirers evidently feared that bench shows might damage his prowess as a hunter. But they were soon to learn that selective breeding along with show-ring competition actually enhances the value of a dog no matter how well that dog may have been endowed by nature.
As a retriever the American Water Spaniel leaves little to be desired. He will watch the huntsman drop perhaps four or five birds, then work swiftly and merrily until every one is brought in. Rabbits, chickens, grouse, quail, pheasant, ducks—he handles all with unfailing dispatch and tender care. He swims “like a seal,” hence few wounded waterfowl escape him; his tail serves as a rudder to aid him, especially in turbulent water.
He is, as well, an all-around shooting dog possessed of an excellent nose; he works thicket, rough ground, or covert depending on body scent for location of game. His enthusiasm and thoroughness are an inspiration to the huntsman, while his desire to please makes him easily taught. He learns quickly to drop to shot and wing, although occasionally his eagerness may render him overanxious. He does not point game; instead, he springs it. In addition, he is an efficient watchdog who fits agreeably into the family circle.
OFFICIAL STANDARD FOR THE AMERICAN WATER SPANIEL
General Appearance—The American Water Spaniel was developed in the United States as an all-around hunting dog, bred to retrieve from skiff or canoes and work ground with relative ease. The American Water Spaniel is an active muscular dog, medium in size with a marcel to curly coat. Emphasis is placed on proper size and a symmetrical relationship of parts, texture of coat and color.
Size, Proportion, Substance—15 to 18 inches for either sex. Males weighing 30 to 45 lbs. Females weighing 25 to 40 lbs. Females tend to be slightly smaller than the males. There is no preference for size within the given range of either sex providing correct proportion, good substance and balance are maintained. Proportionis slightly longer than tall, not too square or compact. However, exact proportion is not as important as the dog being well-balanced and sound, capable of performing the breed’s intended function. Substance, a solidly built and well-muscled dog full of strength and quality. The breed has as much substance and bone as necessary to carry the muscular structure but not so much as to appear clumsy.
Head—The head must be in proportion to the overall dog. Moderate in length. Expressionis alert, self-confident, attractive and intelligent. Medium size eyesset well apart, while slightly rounded, should not appear protruding or bulging. Lids tight, not drooping. Eye color can range from a light yellowish brown to brown, hazel or of dark tone to harmonize with coat. Disqualify yellow eyes. Yellow eyes are a bright color like that of lemon, not to be confused with the light yellowish brown. Earsset slightly above the eye line but not too high on the head, lobular, long and wide with leather extending to nose.
Skull rather broad and full, stopmoderately defined, but not too pronounced. Muzzlemoderate in length, square with good depth. No inclination to snipiness. The lips are clean and tight without excess skin or flews. Nose dark in color, black or dark brown. The nose sufficiently wide and with well-developed nostrils to insure good scenting power. Biteeither scissors or level.
Neck, Topline, Body—Neckround and of medium length, strong and muscular, free of throatiness, set to carry head with dignity, but arch not accentuated. Toplinelevel or slight, straight slope from withers. Bodywell-developed, sturdily constructed but not too compactly coupled. Well-developed brisket extending to elbow neither too broad nor too narrow. The ribs well-sprung, but not so well-sprung that they interfere with the movement of the front assembly. The loins strong, but not having a tucked-up look. Tailis moderate in length, curved in a rocker fashion, can be carried either slightly below or above the level of the back. The tail is tapered, lively and covered with hair with moderate feathering.
Forequarters—Shoulders sloping, clean and muscular. Legs medium in length, straight and well-boned but not so short as to handicap for field work or so heavy as to appear clumsy. Pasterns strong with no suggestion of weakness. Toes closely grouped, webbed and well-padded. Size of feet to harmonize with size of dog. Front dewclaws are permissible.
Hindquarters—Well-developed hips and thighs with the whole rear assembly showing strength and drive. The hock joint slightly rounded, should not be small and sharp in contour, moderately angulated. Legs from hock joint to foot pad moderate in length, strong and straight with good bone structure. Hocks parallel.
Coat—Coat can range from marcel (uniform waves) to closely curled. The amount of waves or curls can vary from one area to another on the dog. It is important to have undercoat to provide sufficient density to be of protection against weather, water or punishing cover, yet not too coarse or too soft. The throat, neck and rear of the dog well-covered with hair. The ear well-covered with hair on both sides with ear canal evident upon inspection. Forehead covered with short smooth hair and without topknot. Tail covered with hair to tip with moderate feathering. Legs have moderate feathering with waves or curls to harmonize with coat of dog. Coat may be trimmed to present a well-groomed appearance; the ears may be shaved; but neither is required.
Color—Color either solid liver, brown or dark chocolate. A little white on toes and chest permissible.
Gait—The American Water Spaniel moves with well-balanced reach and drive. Watching a dog move toward one, there should be no signs of elbows being out. Upon viewing the dog from the rear, one should get the impression that the hind legs, which should be well-muscled and not cow-hocked, move as nearly parallel as possible, with hocks doing their full share of work and flexing well, thus giving the appearance of power and strength.
Temperament—Demeanor indicates intelligence, eagerness to please and friendly. Great energy and eagerness for the hunt yet controllable in the field.