Monday, October 10, 2011
Each dog breed in dog registries and associations such as the American Kennel Club, has a standard; a set of guidelines written to ensure that the dogs conform to specific attributes. Each breed standard is different, but all share some similar characteristics:
1. Appearance Every breed standard addresses the outward qualities of the dog, and includes factors such as general appearance; size, proportion, and substance; head (including eye and nose color); neck, topline, and body; forequarters; hindquarters; coat; and color.
2. Gait This describes how the dog should move.
3. Temperament Qualities like behavior, adaptability, trainability, intelligence, playfulness, and energy level differ from breed to breed.
4. Disqualifications It is important to know what a breed should not look and act like. Disqualifications could include rare color or coat, or wrong ear size or shape.
Why is a breed standard important?
Along with helping to ensure that breeds maintain a consistent look and personality, the standard also ensures the dogs maintain the functions for which they were originally bred.
For example, according to the AKC, Rottweilers were originally bred to herd cattle in the field. With selective breeding, their protective, courageous natures are still prevalent in their temperament even today.
For more information about breed standards, and to see listings of the standards of your favorite breeds, visit the AKC website.