GENERAL APPEARANCE: Small, long-haired working dog of great beauty, free from cloddiness and coarseness, action lithe and graceful. Outline symmetrical so that no part appears out of proportion to whole. Abundant coat, mane and frill, shapeliness of head and sweetness of expression combine to present the ideal.
CHARACTERISTICS: Alert, gentle, intelligent, strong and active.
TEMPERAMENT: Affectionate and responsive to his owner, calm and gentle temperament, never nervous. Super smart, super trainable.
HEAD AND SKULL: Head refined and elegant with no exaggerations; when viewed from top or side a long, blunt wedge, tapering from ear to nose. Width and depth of skull in proportion to length of skull and muzzle. Whole to be considered in connection with size of dog. Skull flat, moderately wide between ears, with no prominence of occipital bone. Cheeks flat, merging smoothly into well rounded muzzle. Skull and muzzle of equal length, dividing point inner corner of eye. Topline of skull parallel to topline of muzzle, with slight but definite stop. Nose, lips and eye rims black. The characteristic expression is obtained by the perfect balance and combination of skull and foreface, shape, colour and placement of eyes, correct position and carriage of ears.
EYES: Medium size obliquely set, almond-shape. Dark brown except in the case of merles, where one or both may be blue or blue flecked.
EARS: Small, moderately wide at base, placed fairly close together on top of skull. In repose, thrown back; when alert brought forward and carried semi-erect (preferred) with tips falling forward or erect (prick). Natural ears encouraged.
MOUTH: Jaws level, clean, strong with well-developed underjaw. Lips tight. Teeth sound with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws. A full complement of 42 properly placed teeth highly desired.
NECK: Muscular, well arched, of sufficient length to carry head proudly.
FOREQUARTERS: Shoulders very well laid back. At withers, separated only by vertebrae, but blades sloping outwards to accommodate desired spring of ribs. Shoulder joint well angled. Upper arm and shoulder blade approximately equal in length. Elbow equidistant from ground and withers. Forelegs straight when viewed from front, muscular and clean with strong, but not heavy, bone. Pasterns strong and flexible.
BODY: Slightly longer from point of shoulder to bottom of croup than height at withers. Chest deep, reaching to point of elbow. Ribs well sprung, tapering at lower half to allow free play of forelegs and shoulders. Back level, with graceful sweep over loins, croup slopes gradually to rear.
HINDQUARTERS: Thigh broad and muscular, thigh bones set into pelvis at right angles. Stifle joint has distinct angle, hock joint clean cut, angular, well let down with strong bone. Hocks straight when viewed from behind.
FEET: Oval, soles well padded, toes arched and close together.
TAIL: Set low; tapering bone reaches to at least hock; with abundant hair and slight upward sweep. May be slightly raised when moving but never over level of back. Never kinked.
GAIT/MOVEMENT: Lithe, smooth and graceful with drive from hindquarters, covering the maximum amount of ground with the minimum of effort. Pacing, plaiting, rolling, or stiff, stilted, up and down movement highly undesirable.
COAT: Double; outer coat of long hair, harsh-textured and straight. Undercoat soft, short and close. Mane and frill very abundant, forelegs well feathered. Hind legs above hocks profusely covered with hair, below hocks fairly smooth. Face smooth. The coat should fit the body and not dominate or detract from the outline of the dog. Smooth-coated specimens highly undesirable.
COLOR: Black, blue merle, sable merle, white, and sable (ranging from golden through mahogany); marked with varying amounts of white and/or tan.In the case of whites head should be fully colored.
SIZE: Under 13 inches at the withers.
FAULTS: Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.
NOTE: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.