What is a Breed Standard?

A Breed Standard is a blueprint or specification for the requirements of every thoroughbred dog that is intended for breeding. The parent club of the particular breed creates the Standard. It is a written document that lays out the requirement of the “ideal characteristics and performance, both physical and in temperament, of each breed of dog. Some countries have their own parent club, whilst others, work to the Standards approved by the Federation Cynologique Internationale (F.C.I). Each class of Terrier or other type of dog, has it’s own standard to which it must adhere. Israel is a member of the F.C.I and the dogs are judged according to the F.C.I Breed Standard.

Dog Shows provide the means of judging and evaluating the breeding stock. The dogs are judged according to their attainment of their relative breed standard. The breeder strives to breed his dogs as close to perfection of the standard as possible.

The entrants in the shows, are categorized into different groups of dogs:
Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Toy, Non-sporting and Herding.

Regarding the Terrier Group, "Terrier" comes from the Latin word, terra (ground) and the Bedlington Terrier was excellent at “going to ground” to chase and catch rats, rabbit, foxes and other vermin. It was mainly for this and for sporting purposes that they were bred and this trait is an important factor in their Behaviour/Temperament Breed Standard.

Bedlingtons and Breeding:
From those early years of the 19th century, when the Bedlington Terrier participated in Dog Shows in a class of its own, it became obvious that there must be uniformity within each breed in order to judge fairly. A Breed Standard was then drawn up which not only set out the physical requirements, but also specified the essential characteristics specific to the Bedlington Terrier, in order to ensure that these would be maintained through generations. The Breed Standard has changed of course since those early years. There are also very slight differences between the American, the UK and the F.C.I breed standards.

It takes serious and in-depth study and discussions between breeders before the Standard can be changed. The Kennel Club is the body that writes and revises the Standard. So, if you wish to be a serious breeder, you have to strive to produce dogs that are as close to the standard as possible, both in physical and general appearance, as well as in temperament.

Below is a copy of the Breed Standard for the Bedlington Terrier as approved by the FCI:

ORIGIN: Great Britain.
CLASSIFICATION F.C.I.: Group 3 Terriers.
Section 1 Large and medium-sized Terriers.
Without working trial.

GENERAL APPEARANCE: A graceful, lithe, muscular dog, with no signs of either weakness or coarseness. Whole head pear or wedge-shaped, and expression in repose, mild and gentle.
BEHAVIOUR / TEMPERAMENT: Spirited and game, full of confidence. An intelligent companion, with strong sporting instincts. Good-tempered, having an affectionate nature, dignified, not shy or nervous. Mild in repose, but full of courage when roused.

Covered with profuse silky top-knot which should be nearly white.
Skull: Narrow, but deep and rounded.
Stop: There must be no stop : the line from occiput to nose-end straight and unbroken.
Nose: Nostrils large and well defined. Blues and blue and tans must have black noses, liver and sandies must have brown noses.
Muzzle: Well filled up beneath eyes.
Lips: Close fitting, without flew.
Jaw/Teeth: Jaw long and tapering. Teeth large and strong. Scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square to the jaws.
Eyes: Small, bright and deep set. Ideal eye has appearance of being triangular. Blues have a dark eye; blue and tans have lighter eye with amber lights, livers and sandies a light hazel eye.
Ears: Moderately sized, filbert-shaped, set on low, and hanging flat to cheek. Thin and velvety in texture, covered with short fine hair with fringe of whitish silky hair at tip.

NECK: Long and tapering, deep base with no tendency to throatiness. Springs well up from shoulders, and head carried rather high.

BODY: Muscular and markedly flexible. Body slightly greater in length than height.
Back: Has natural arch over loin.
Loin: Arched loin with curved topline immediately above loins.
Chest: Deep and fairly broad. Flat ribbed, deep through brisket which reaches to elbow.
Underline: Arched loin creating a definite tuck-up of underline.

Moderate length, thick at root, tapering to a point and gracefully curved. Set on low, never carried over back.

FOREQUARTERS: Forelegs straight, wider apart at chest than at feet.
Shoulders: Flat and sloping.
Pasterns: Long and slightly sloping without weakness.

Muscular and moderate length. Hindlegs have appearance of being longer than forelegs.
Hocks: Strong and well let down, turning neither in nor out.
FEET: Long hare feet with thick and well closed-up pads.

GAIT / MOVEMENT: Capable of galloping at high speed and have appearance of being able to do so. Action very distinctive, rather mincing, light and springy in slower paces and slight roll when in full stride.

HAIR: Very distinctive. Thick and linty, standing well out from skin, but not wiry. A distinct tendency to twist, particularly on head and face.
COLOUR: Blue, liver, or sandy with or without tan. Darker pigment to be encouraged.

Height about 41 cm (16 inches) at withers. This allows for slight variation below in the case of a bitch and above in the case of a dog. Weight between 8,2-10,4 kg (18 - 23 lbs).

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.

Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.

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

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