ESS Breed Standard

11-May-06

Published with kind permission from:
The Kennel Club ©The Kennel Club

A Breed Standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function. Absolute soundness is essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be careful to avoid obvious conditions or exaggerations which would be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed. From time to time certain conditions or exaggerations may be considered to have the potential to affect dogs in some breeds adversely, and judges and breeders are requested to refer to the Kennel Club website for details of any such current issues. If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure.

General Appearance
Symmetrically built, compact, strong, merry, active. Highest on leg and raciest in build of all British land Spaniels.

Characteristics
Breed is of ancient and pure origins, oldest of sporting gundogs; original purpose was finding and springing game for net, falcon or greyhound. Now used to find, flush and retrieve game for gun.

Temperament
Friendly, happy disposition, biddable. Timidity or aggression highly undesirable.

Head and Skull

Skull of medium length, fairly broad, slightly rounded, rising from foreface, making a brow or stop, divided by fluting between eyes, dying away along forehead towards occipital bone which should not be prominent. Cheeks flat. Foreface of proportionate length to skull, fairly broad and deep, well chiselled below eyes, fairly deep and square in flew. Nostrils well developed.

Eyes
Medium size, almond-shaped, not prominent nor sunken, well set in (not showing haw), alert, kind expression. Dark hazel. Light eyes undesirable.

Ears
Lobular, good length and width, fairly close to head, set in line with eye. Nicely feathered.

Mouth
Jaws strong, with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.

Neck

Good length, strong and muscular, free from throatiness, slightly arched, tapering towards head.

Forequarters
Forelegs straight and well boned. Shoulders sloping and well laid. Elbows set well to body. Strong flexible pasterns.

Body
Strong, neither too long nor too short. Chest deep, well developed. Well sprung ribs. Loin muscular, strong with slight arch and well coupled.

Hindquarters
Hindlegs well let down. Stifles and hocks moderately bent. Thighs broad, muscular, well developed. Coarse hocks undesirable.

Feet

Tight, compact, well rounded, with strong, full pads.

Tail
Previously customarily docked.
Docked: Set low, never carried above level of back. Well feathered with lively action.
Undocked: Set low, never carried above level of back. Well feathered with lively action. In balance with the rest of the dog.

Gait/Movement
Strictly his own. Forelegs swing straight forward from shoulder, throwing feet well forward in an easy free manner.
Hocks driving well under body, following in line with forelegs. At slow movement may have a pacing stride typical of this breed.

Coat
Close, straight and weather resisting, never coarse. Moderate feathering on ears, forelegs, body and hindquarters.

Colour
Liver and white, black and white, or either of these colours with tan markings.

Size
Approximate height: 51 cms (20 ins).

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, and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.

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