The Head

The head is strong and must be in balance with other proportions of the dog and in keeping with its general conformation. The broad skull is slightly curved between the ears, flattening to a slight but definite stop. The cheeks are muscular, neither coarse nor prominent with the underjaw strong, deep and well developed. The foreface is broad and well filled in under the eyes, tapering gradually to form a medium length, deep powerful muzzle with the skull and muzzle on parallel planes. The lips are tight and clean. Nose black.

The head must be balanced, wedge shaped with a broad skull and muscular The breadth between the ears should be approximately 1/4 of the dog’s overall height. The head should be in three equal parts. The muzzle from tip of nose to stop is one part, the stop to the occiput is one part and the ear from base to tip is one part. From tip of erect ear to erect ear should be 2 parts. You are not looking for an equilateral triangle but a clean wedge measuring1.5 to 1.

  • The skull and muzzle must be on parallel planes.
  • The stop is not 90 degrees but a slight break between the eyes.

When observing the head from the front, there should be no falling away under the eye, or big heavy cheeks. You should see a clean wedge. Far to often one hears breeders and judges refer to the ACD as “must have a big head”. This is incorrect. The standard calls for the head in balance with the dog, NOT a big head.

Problems that are very evident are prominent stops, domed skulls, short muzzles, equilateral triangle shaped heads, boxed heads and heads that are too small or too large in proportion to the dog.

“Kaleski writes”. The head must taper to a point at muzzle meaning that the least weight is at the business end, ensuring that the dog can get his bite in quickly and drop out of danger, on the same principle as the boxer using light gloves instead of heavy ones – his hitting is much quicker. He must be full under the eye, ensuring that the muscles which move the lower jaw are very strong, which is very necessary, as they correspond to the biceps of a boxer and give the dog power to do his work. A dog deficient there cannot continue biting long; his jaw muscles become tired. Strong and muscular in the jaws is vital for if there is a deficiency here, when a shod horse kicks a dog he has his jaw broken because there is no cushion of muscle to protect the bone; hence, if injured, he is useless.

The neck is extremely strong, powerful, muscular, and of medium length broadening to blend into the body and free from throatiness. In male dogs it is common to see heavier coat on the neck resembling a ruff.