Fédération Cynologique Internationale

The Kennel Club

United Kennel Club

St. Bernard

(St. Bernhardshund - Bernhardiner)

St. Bernard

Saint Bernard

These illustrations do not necessarily show the ideal example of the breed.

ORIGIN

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FCI
Switzerland.

PUBLISHED

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FCI
04.04.2016.
KC
October 2009

UTILISATION

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FCI
Companion-, watch- and farmdog.

CLASSIFICATION

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FCI
Group 2Pinscher and Schnauzer - Molossoid
Section 2.2Molossoid breeds, Mountain type
Without working trial

KC
Working
UKC
Guardian Dog

TRANSLATION

:
FCI
Mrs.C.Seidler and Mrs. Pepper.

BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY

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FCI
At the height of the Great St. Bernard Pass, 2469 metres above sea level, a hospice was founded by monks in the 11th century as a place of refuge for travellers and pilgrims. There, large mountain dogs have been kept since the middle of the 17th century for guarding and protection. The existence of such dogs has been documented pictorially since 1695 and in a written document at the hospice in the year 1707. The dogs were soon in use as companion dogs and specially as rescue dogs for travellers lost in snow and fog. The chronicles about the numerous human lives saved by these dogs from the « white death », published in many languages, and the verbal reports of the soldiers who crossed the pass with Bonaparte’s army in 1800, spread the fame of the St. Bernard, called Barry-dog at that time, throughout Europe during the 19th century. The legendary dog « Barry » became the epitome of the rescue dog. The direct ancestors of the St. Bernard were the large farm dogs common in that region. Within a few generations and aiming to a defined ideal type, these dogs were developed to the present day type of breed. Heinrich Schumacher from Holligen near Bern was the first who began to issue genealogical documents for his dogs in 1867.
In February 1884 the “Schweizerisches Hundestammbuch” (SHSB), the Swiss Dog Stud Book, was started. The very first entry was the St.Bernard “Leon”, and the following 28 registrations also concerned St.Bernards. On the 15th March 1884, the Swiss St.Bernards-Club was founded in Basle. On the occasion of an international Canine Congress on June 2nd 1887, the St. Bernard dog was officially recognized as a Swiss breed and the breed standard was declared as binding. Since then , the St.Bernard has been regarded as the Swiss national dog.
UKC
In the 17th Century, the monks of the hospice of St. Bernard in Switzerland began to keep large, alpine farm dogs to serve as guardians, draft animals, turnspits, and bed warmers. The role that made them famous, however, was as finders and rescuers of lost travelers. The thousands of travelers who passed through the hospice made the breed famous but it was not until the middle of the 19th century that a breeder outside the hospice, Heinrich Schumacher, developed a standard and began to keep breeding records of the Saint Bernard. All modern Saints trace their ancestry to Schumacher’s dogs. Saints were introduced to the United States in the late 18th Century. The Saint Bernard was recognized by United Kennel Club in the 1920s.

GENERAL APPEARANCE

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FCI
There are two varieties of the St.Bernard: Short-haired variety (double coat, “Stockhaar”); Long-haired variety. Both varieties are of considerable size and of impressive general appearance. They have a balanced, powerful, sturdy, muscular body with impressive head and an alert facial expression.
KC
Well proportioned and of great substance.
UKC
The Saint Bernard is a large, massive, athletic dog with a broad head, medium-sized drop ears and a natural tail carried level with the back or with a slight upward curve. The Saint Bernard is nearly square and proportionally tall. The breed comes in two coat varieties, shorthaired and longhaired. In evaluating a Saint Bernard, exaggerations or faults should be penalized in proportion to how much they interfere with the dog’s ability to perform its historical task of alpine rescue.

IMPORTANT PROPORTIONS

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FCI

Ideal relation of height at withers to length of body (measured from the point of the shoulder to the point of buttocks) = 9 10.
Ideal relation of height at withers to depth of chest see sketch below.
The total length of the head is slightly more than one third of the height at withers.
The relation of depth of muzzle (measured at its root) to length of muzzle is almost 21.
Length of muzzle slightly longer than one third of the total length of the head.
KC
Distinctly marked, large-sized, mountain-rescue dog.

BEHAVIOUR / TEMPERAMENT

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FCI
Friendly by nature. Temperament calm to lively; watchful.
KC
Steady, kindly, intelligent, courageous, trustworthy and benevolent.
UKC
The Saint Bernard is noted for its large size, great substance, and friendly, eager-to-please temperament. The ideal Saint Bernard is a gentle giant, friendly with strangers and affectionate with his family. This breed is typically not aggressive with other dogs, regardless of sex.

HEAD

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FCI
Powerful, imposing and very expressive.
KC
Large, circumference of skull being more than double its length. Muzzle short, full in front of eye and square at nose end. Cheeks flat, great depth from eye to lower jaw. Lips deep but not too pendulous. From nose to stop perfectly straight and broad. Stop somewhat abrupt and well defined. Skull broad, slightly rounded at top, with fairly prominent brow. Nose large and black with well developed nostrils.
UKC
The correct Saint Bernard head is large, imposing and well chiseled. The head is nearly as deep as it is long and is wider than long. Viewed from the side, the ratio of the length of skull to muzzle is 2:1. A median furrow extends from the occiput to the nose. The furrow deepens from occiput to stop where it is strongly marked, then becomes wider and shallow as it runs down the bridge of the muzzle.

CRANIAL REGION

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Skull

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FCI
Strong, broad, seen in profile and from the front slightly rounded. When the dog is alert, the set-on of the ears and the top of the skull form a straight line which slopes at the sides in a gentle curve to the strongly developed high cheek bones. Forehead falling away steeply towards the muzzle. Occipital bone only moderately developed, superciliary ridges strongly developed. The frontal furrow, which starts at the base of the forehead, is distinctly developed and runs up right in the middle of the skull.
The skin of the forehead forms slight wrinkles above the eyes that converge towards the frontal furrow. When the dog is at attention, they are moderately visible; otherwise they are rather inconspicuous.
UKC
The skull is massive, broad and gently arched laterally and longitudinally. The skull is broadest at the zygomatic arch, which is very prominent. The occiput is moderately developed. The supraorbital arches are strongly developed and form a nearly right angle with the horizontal axis of the head. When the dog is alert, the skin above the eyes will form wrinkles, which contribute to proper Saint Bernard expression.

Stop

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FCI
Dinstinctly pronounced.

FACIAL REGION

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Nose

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FCI
Black, broad and square. Nostrils well opened.
UKC
The nose is broad with nostrils well open. Nose leather is black. In profile, the top of the nose does not rise above the bridge of the muzzle.

Muzzle

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FCI
Of even width. Nasal bridge straight, with slight groove.
KC
Jaws strong with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws. Well developed teeth of good size.
UKC
The muzzle is broad, blunt and deep, with no taper in any direction. The muzzle is relatively short, about one-half the length of the skull, and deeper than wide with a ratio of 11:8. The width of the muzzle is approximately equal to its length. Viewed in profile, the bridge of the muzzle is straight. Flews of the upper jaw are strongly developed and slightly overhanging, forming a gentle curve into the lower edge. Lips are black.

Lips

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FCI
Edge of lips black pigmented. Flews of upper jaw strongly developed, firm and not too pendulous, forming a wide curve towards the nose. Corners of mouth remain visible.

Jaws/Teeth

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FCI
Upper and lower jaw strong, broad, equal in length. Well developed, regular and complete scissor or pincer bite. Close fitting undershot mouth without any space between the lower and the upper incisors acceptable. Absence of PM 1 (premolar 1) and M3 tolerated.
UKC
The Saint Bernard has a complete set of evenly spaced, white teeth meeting in a scissors bite. A level bite is acceptable but not preferred. It is desirable for the roof of the mouth to be black.

Eyes

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FCI
Of medium size. Colour dark brown to nut-brown. Moderately deep set with a friendly expression. Natural tightness of lids desired. A small angular fold on the lower lids with the haws only slightly visible as well as a small fold on the upper lids are permitted. Eyerims completely pigmented.
KC
Of medium size, neither deep set nor prominent, eyelids should be reasonably tight. Excessive haw must be heavily penalised. Dark in colour and not staring. There should be no excessive loose wrinkle on brow which would detract from a healthy eye. Free from obvious eye problems.
UKC
Eyes are medium in size and dark brown in color. They are set moderately deep and more to the front of the skull than the sides. Each eyelid has a slight fold, causing the eye to have a diamond-shaped appearance. Expression is kindly and intelligent.

Ears

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FCI
Of medium size, set on high and wide. Strongly developed burrs. Flaps pliable, triangular with rounded tips. The rear edges slightly standing off, the front edges lying closely to the cheeks.
KC
Medium size, lying close to cheeks, not heavily feathered.
UKC
Ears are drop, of medium-size, and set fairly high. The base of the ear is well developed so that the rear edge of the ear leather stands away from the skull while the front edge hangs close to the head. The earflap forms a rounded triangle, slightly elongated toward the point.

NECK

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FCI
Strong and of sufficient length. Dewlap and loose skin on the neck moderately developed.
KC
Long, thick, muscular, slightly arched, dewlap well developed.
UKC
The neck is extremely muscular and thick, slightly arched, rather high set, and blends smoothly into the shoulders. The neck is of moderate length but appears short due to its extreme thickness. There is an observable dewlap on the neck and throat.

BODY

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FCI
General appearance imposing, balanced, impressive and well muscled.
KC
Back broad, level, ribs well rounded. Loin wide, very muscular. Broad croup sloping slightly to set on of tail. Chest wide and deep, but never projecting below elbows.
UKC
The body is massive and muscular but sufficiently agile to navigate mountainous terrain. A properly proportioned Saint Bernard is square with the length of body (measured from prosternum to point of buttocks) equal to height (measured from the withers to the ground). The length of the front leg (measured from point of elbow to the ground) is equal to half the dog’s height. The topline inclines very slightly downward from well-developed withers to a broad and level back. The loin is short, broad and so distinctly muscular that there is a well-defined break between the muscles of the loin and the belly below. The croup is slightly sloping. The ribs extend well back and are well sprung out from the spine, then curving downward and inward. The ribs in the forward section of the rib cage are flatter to allow for efficient movement. Viewed from the side, the brisket extends to the elbow and the forechest extends in a gentle curve slightly beyond the point of shoulder. Viewed from the front, the chest is well filled and is at least as wide as a man’s closed hand. The belly is firm with very little tuck-up.

Withers

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FCI
Well defined.

Back

:
FCI
Broad, strong, firm. Topline straight and horizontal up to the loins.

Croup

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FCI
Long, hardly sloping, merging gently with the root of the tail.

Chest

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FCI
Brisket moderately deep with well sprung ribs, but not barrel-shaped. Not projecting below elbow level.

Underline and belly

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FCI
Slight tuck up towards rear.

TAIL

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FCI
Set-on broad and strong. Tail long and heavy. The last vertebra reaching at least to the hock joint. When in repose, the tail hangs straight down or slightly upturned in the lower third. When animated, it is carried higher.
KC
Set on rather high, long, carried low when in repose, when excited or in motion should not curl over back.
UKC
The tail is set on as a natural extension of the topline. It is thick and muscular at the base and tapers to the tip. When the dog is in repose, the tail just reaches to the hock. It is acceptable for the bottom third of the tail to curve gently upward. When the dog is moving or alert, the tail is carried level with the back or with a slight upward curve. It is never vertical, curled, or tucked between the legs.

LIMBS

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FOREQUARTERS

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FCI
Forelegs straight and parallel seen from the front. Standing moderately broad.
KC
Shoulders broad and sloping, well up at withers. Legs straight, strong in bone, of good length.
UKC
Shoulders are muscular and moderately angulated. Shoulder blades are flat and approximately equal in length to the upper arms. The tips of the shoulder blades are fairly close together.

Shoulder

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FCI
Shoulder blades oblique, muscular and well attached to the chest wall.

Elbow

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FCI
Close fitting.

FORELEGS

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UKC
Elbows are close to the body, with the point of elbow set under the withers. The forelegs are straight, heavy-boned, and very muscular. Viewed from the front, the forelegs are parallel and moderately wide. Viewed from the side, the pasterns are short, powerful and slightly sloping.

Forearm

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FCI
Straight, strong in bone, with lean musculature.

Pastern

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FCI
Seen from the front vertical in prolongation of the forearms; slightly oblique seen from the side.

FEET

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KC
Large, compact with well arched toes.
UKC
The feet are large, round and compact with well-arched toes and thick, elastic pads. Feet do not turn in or out. Rear feet are just slightly longer than front feet. Rear dewclaws may be removed.

Forefeet

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FCI
Broad, with strong, tight, well arched toes.

HINDQUARTERS

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FCI
Muscular with moderate angulation. Seen from the back, hind legs are parallel, not standing closely together.
KC
Broad, strong and well muscled. Legs heavy in bone. Moderate bend of stifle with firm, strong hocks. Well developed first and second thighs. When viewed from the rear the hindlegs are perfectly straight, turning neither in nor out and not too close together. Straight hocks are highly undesirable.
UKC
The angulation of the hindquarters is in balance with the angulation of the forequarters. Hindquarters are broad and thick.

Thigh

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FCI
Strong, muscular, broad.

Stifle

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FCI
Well angulated, turning neither in nor out.

HIND LEGS

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UKC
The muscles in the upper thigh of an adult male should be so massive that an average man’s two hands cannot span them. When the dog is standing, the short, thick rear pasterns are perpendicular to the ground and, viewed from the rear, parallel to each other.

GAIT / MOVEMENT

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FCI
Harmonious far reaching movement with good drive from the hindquarters, the back remaining stable and firm. Front and hind feet move forward in a straight line.
KC
Easy extension, unhurried and smooth, with power from the hindquarters. Back remaining level and firm. The feet should move along straight lines with the rear feet tracking the fore. Capable of covering difficult terrain. Absolute soundness essential.
UKC
When trotting, the gait is effortless, smooth, powerful and well coordinated, showing moderate reach in front and similar moderation behind. When moving, the dog’s head moves slightly forward and downward. The backline remains level with only a slight flexing to indicate suppleness. 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 the centerline of balance. It is recommended that dogs be shown on a loose lead and moved at a moderate speed to reflect true gait.

COAT

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HAIR

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FCI

Short-haired variety (Stockhaar, double coat): Topcoat dense, smooth; close-lying and coarse. Plenty of undercoat. Thighs with slight breeches. Tail covered with dense hair.
Long-haired variety: Topcoat plain, of medium length with plenty of undercoat. Short hair on face and ear; hair over the haunches and the croup usually somewhat wavy. Front legs feathered. Thighs with good breeches. Bushy tail.
KC
Roughs: dense and flat, rather fuller round neck, thighs and tail well feathered. Smooths: close and hound-like, slight feathering on thighs and tail.
UKC
The Saint Bernard has a dense, insulating double coat. The outer coat is thick, close lying and resilient without being coarse. The outer coat is straight but some waviness over the loin and pelvis is acceptable. The undercoat is short, very dense, and soft. Saint Bernards come in two coat types, shorthaired and longhaired. Longhaired: The coat is of medium length except that it is longer, but not abundant, on the ears, neck, back of legs, brisket and lower chest, back of thighs and tail. The coat forms a ruff around the head and neck. There is feathering on the forelegs and belly. The coat on the thighs and tail is very bushy. Feet may be trimmed and stray hairs neatened, but neither the natural appearance of the coat nor the outline of the dog should be altered by trimming. Shorthaired: The coat is short over the entire dog except that the hair on the thighs and tail is longer and thicker. The longer coat at the base of the tail gradually shortens toward the tip.

COLOUR

:
FCI

Primary colour white with smaller or larger reddish-brown patches (splash-coated dogs) up to an unbroken reddish-brown mantle covering back and flanks (mantle dogs). A broken reddish-brown mantle is of equal value. A brindle reddish-brown colour permissible. Brownish-yellow tolerated. Dark shadings on head desirable. Slight touch of black on body tolerated.
Required white markings: Chest, feet, tip of tail, muzzle band, blaze and patch on neck.
Desirable markings: White collar. Symmetrical dark mask.
KC
Orange, mahogany-brindle, red-brindle, white with patches on body of any of the above named colours. Markings as follows: White muzzle, white blaze on face, white collar, white chest, white forelegs, feet and end of tail, black shadings on face and ears.
UKC
All shades of red and white; brindle and white; or any shade of brown and white. The following white markings are required: white chest, white feet and tip of tail, white nose band, and white collar or white spot on the nape of the neck. The following white markings are highly desirable: white collar, white muzzle, white blaze between the eyes, white belly and legs, and white on the lower half of the tail. A dark mask around the eyes and dark color on the ears are highly desirable but their absence is not a fault. Black on any other part of the dog is a minor fault.

SIZE

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KC
Minimum height: dogs 75 cms (30 ins), bitches 70 cms (28 ins). Size is desirable but only is combined with quality, correct balance and absolute soundness.

Height at withers

:
FCI

For dogs minimum 70 cm, for bitches minimum 65 cm.
For dogs maximum 90 cm, for bitches maximum 80 cm.
Dogs which exceed the maximum height will not be penalised, provided their general appearance is balanced and their movement is correct.
UKC
The ideal height for an adult Saint Bernard male is 30 inches at the withers and for a female, 28 inches. A one-inch deviation from the ideal is acceptable. A Saint Bernard must be massive, powerful and well boned with hard, firm muscles and moderately dry skin.

FAULTS

:
FCI

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.
  • Lack of sexual characteristics.
  • Unbalanced general appearance.
  • Too short legs in relation to size (short-legged).
  • Heavy folds on head and neck.
  • Muzzle too short or too long.
  • Flews of the lower jaw turning outwards.
  • Missing teeth other than PM 1 (premolar 1) and M3. Small teeth (especially incisors).
  • Slightly undershot mouth.
  • Light eyes.
  • Eyelids too loose.
  • Sway back or roach back.
  • Croup higher than withers or falling away.
  • Tail carried curled on the back.
  • Absence of required markings.
  • Crooked or severely turned out front legs.
  • Poorly angulated, open-hocked or cow-hocked hindquarters.
  • Faulty movement.
  • Curly coat.
  • Incomplete or totally absent pigmentation on nose leather, around the nose, on the lips or the eyelids.
  • Faulty primary colour e.g. reddish-brown dots or ticks in the white.
KC
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.
UKC

Muzzle: Roman nose, lumps on bridge of nose, folds of skin on top or sides of muzzle, curved bridge of muzzle.
Teeth: Overshot or undershot bite.
Nose: Incomplete nose pigment.
Eyes: Light eyes; very visible haw; exposed lachrymal glands.
Neck: Excessive dewlap on neck or throat.
Forelegs: Excessive or lack of adequate angulation.
Body: Slab-sidedness, narrow or shallow chest; sloping backline; roach, sway or long back; excessive tuck-up; flat or steep croup.
Hind Legs: Cow hocks; open hocks; sickle hocks.
Coat: Open or standoff coat; excessive hair length; soft coat.
Color: Black color anywhere but on the ears and mask around the eyes.
Height: Deviation from the ideal height by more than one inch but less than 2½ inches.

SERIOUS FAULTS

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UKC

Head: Absence of median furrow.
Skull: Excessive skin on the head.
Muzzle: Absence of median groove on muzzle; flews hanging more than 1½ inches below the lower edge of the underjaw; flews too sharply cut back.
Teeth: More than two missing teeth.
Eyes: Functional abnormality of eyelids or eyelashes; bulging, round eyes.
Ears: Low-set ears.
Hind Legs: Lack of muscle mass.
Feet: Flat or splayed feet.

DISQUALIFYING FAULTS

:
FCI

  • Weak temperament, aggressiveness.
  • Overshot mouth, distinctly undershot mouth.
  • Wall eye.
  • Ectropion, entropion.
  • Solid white or solid reddish-brown coat (absence of the primary colour).
  • Coat of any other colour.
  • Height at withers below minimum size.
Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
UKC

Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid. Viciousness or extreme shyness. Nose color other than black. Blue eyes. Solid-colored dog. Absence of white. Black and white dog. Albinism.
Nose: Nose color other than black.
Eyes: Blue eyes.
Color: Solid-colored dog; absence of white; black and white dog; albinism.


Anatomical Features of the dog

N.B.:

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