The Breed Standard
for each breed of dog
is a list of ideal attributes, requirements, details of appearance that are required or depreciated, and attributes that are absolutely disallowed for that particular breed. This article
lists items that are frequently found in individual breed standards (but not in all standards, and not all of the items listed are always found in all standards, and they are not always described in this way.) Together with a subjective assessment of breed type
, the Breed Standard provides the outline for the decision of judges in making placements at conformation shows, and provides guidance for breeders in their selection of dogs for breeding.
Breed standards are written by individual breed clubs, and so the Standard for a particular breed may vary from club to club; but as dogs are usually bred and registered within one club, and compete within one club (and judges are certified by each club), this is not a problem. Some exceptional individuals of particular breeds may qualify under multiple club standards, and become inter-club or international champions.
Common "conformation points"
- Coat, includes colour, type, length, pattern and tactile quality
- Quality, quantity and distribution of markings
- Temperament (should be characteristic of breed) and general attitude
- Head shape; colour of head
- Bite (how the teeth meet when the jaws are closed)
- Eye shape and colour
- Shape, set and carriage of ears
- Size of animal
- Ratio of animal’s height to its length
- Skin health (and often pigmentation)
- Gait (quality and style of stride and general movement)
- Grooming, in breeds where that applies
- Tail shape, set and carriage
- Shape of feet
There are many other qualifiers, and many specifics within these. For example, in some breeds, skin must include an assessment of the quality of the wrinkles. In some breeds, an examination of the mouth includes measurement and judging of the flews, in most others, this does not apply.