Terrier Breed Standard
(From The AKC Standard)
Should be well balanced with little apparent difference between the length
of skull and foreface.
Should be long and flat, not too broad between the ears and narrowing very
slightly to the eyes. Scalp should be free from wrinkles, stop hardly visible
and cheeks level and free from fullness.
Should be V-shaped with carriage rather to the side of the head, not pointing
to the eyes, small but not out of proportion to the size of the dog. The topline
of the folded ear should be above the level of the skull.
Should be deep, powerful, strong and muscular. Should be well filled up before
Should be dark, small, not prominent, full of terrier expression, keenness
Should be tight.
Should be black and not too small.
Should be strong and white, free from discoloration or defect. Bite either
level or vise-like. A slightly overlapping or scissors bite is permissible
Should be of moderate length and thickness gradually widening towards the
shoulders. Skin tight, not loose.
Shoulders and Chest
Shoulders long and sloping well into the back. Shoulder blades flat. From
the front, chest deep but not broad. The depth of the chest should be approximately
on a level with the elbows.
Back should be short, strong and level. Ribs well sprung. Loins muscular and
of good width. There should be but little space between the last rib and the
Should be strong and muscular with no droop.
The root of the tail should be set well up on the back. It should be carried
gaily but not curled over the back. It should be of good strength and substance
and of fair length.
Forelegs should be perfectly straight, with plenty of muscle and bone. Elbows
should be perpendicular to the body, working free of sides. Thighs should
be long and powerful with muscular second thigh, stifles well bent, not turned
either in or out, hocks well let down parallel with each other when viewed
from behind. Feet should be small, round and compact with a good depth of
pad, well cushioned; the toes moderately arched, not turned either in or out.
Should be hard, dense and wiry, lying straight and close, covering the dog
well over the body and legs. Some of the hardest are crinkling or just slightly
waved. At the base of the hard very stiff hair should be a shorter growth
of softer hair termed the undercoat.
The head and ears should be tan, the ears being of a darker shade than the
rest. Dark markings on either side of the skull are permissible. The legs
up to the thighs and elbows and the under-part of the body and chest are also
tan and the tan frequently runs into the shoulder. The sides and upper parts
of the body should be black or dark grizzle. A red mixture is often found
in the black and is not to be considered objectionable. A small white blaze
on the chest is a characteristic of certain strains of the breed.
Dogs should measure approximately 23 inches in height at the shoulder; bitches,
slightly less. Both sexes should be sturdy, well muscled and boned.
Movement or action is the crucial test of conformation. Movement should be
free. As seen from the front the forelegs should swing perpendicular from
the body free from the sides, the feet the same distance apart as the elbows.
As seen from the rear the hind legs should be parallel with each other, neither
too close nor too far apart, but so placed as to give a strong well-balanced
stance and movement. The toes should not be turned either in or out.
Yellow eyes, hound ears, white feet, soft coat, being much over or under the
size limit, being undershot or overshot, having poor movement, are faults
which should be severely penalized.
From the AKC Standard - Approved July 14, 1959