Body Conformation

The length of the body from the point of the breast bone, in a straight line to the buttocks, is greater than the height at the withers, as 10 is to 9.

The topline is level, back strong with ribs well sprung and carried well back with the loins broad, strong and muscular and the flanks deep. The dog is strongly coupled.

The cattle dog is required to be able turn quickly away from danger, therefore a dog that is too short or too long in body lacks the ability to work effectively. Unfortunately far to many dogs are being bred too short in body which does not give the flexibility to turn quickly thus restricts movement. The dog should be 10% longer than high.

The cattle dog is NOT a square dog. Must be well ribbed back with a deep and powerful chest allowing for plenty of lung and heart room for maximum endurance. Proportions should be 2/3 ribcage and 1/3 loin. Deep, broad and muscular loins with deep flanks coupled together with balanced strong forequarters and powerful hindquarters. When viewed from above the well muscled shoulders and loins should be in a straight line with a clearly defined waistline with very little tuck up. The topline should be level with a straight back. The standard is not looking for a table top and a dog that is strongly coupled and fit will often have a very slight rise over the loin which is purely musculation This should never be confused with a “roach” topline.

Kaleski writes “The legs are clean, because a hairy-legged dog becomes weighted with mud on soft roads and soon tires. Fair amount of bone to carry a fairly heavy body. If too light in bone he is top-heavy. Great muscular development, because without it he lacks the driving power to do the work; hence he is useless. Back is straight, because a hollow-backed dog is always weak in the loins, and hence cannot drop or come back quickly enough when biting. Ribs are well-sprung or “casky” which denotes a strong, hardy constitution; “well-ribbed up” means that the last rib is close to the hip, thus enabling the dog to turn and twist his body easily”

The height at the withers should be Dogs 46-51cms (approx 18-20ins) Bitches 43-48cms (approx 17-19ins). Dogs or bitches over or under these specified sizes should be penalised. As there is a good range of 51mm or 2 inches allowable for dogs and bitches, examples over or under desirable heights should be penalised.

Kaleski writes “Height of about twenty inches has been found by experience to be the best height for working purposes. They work well in all heights, but do not stand the constant work like the dog of around twenty inches; just as the medium-sized man is always the best for constant work, as against a big or a little one. Bitches of course should always be a little finer and smaller than the dog”.