The Shorthair is a versatile hunter, an all-purpose gundog capable of high performance in field and water. The judgment of Shorthair’s in the show-ring should reflect this basic characteristic.
The overall picture which is created in the observer’s eye, is that of an aristocratic, well-balanced, symmetrical animal, with conformation indication power, endurance, and agility and a look of intelligence and animation. The dog is neither small nor conspicuously large. It gives the impression of medium size, but is like the proper hunter (hunter in this context refers to a horse used for hunting with pack-hounds), with a short back, but standing over plenty of ground.
Tall leggy dogs, or dogs which are ponderous or unbalanced because of excess substance should be definitely rejected. The first impression is that of keenness, which denotes full enthusiasm for work without indication of nervous or flighty character. Movements are alertly coordinated without waste of motion. Grace of outline, clean-cut head, sloping shoulders, deep chest, powerful back, strong quarters, good bone composition, adequate muscle, well-carried tail and taut coat, all combine to produce a look of nobility and an indication of anatomical structure essential to correct gait which must indicate a heritage of purposefully conducted breeding. Doggy bitches and bitchy dogs are to be faulted. A judge must excuse a dog from the ring if it displays extreme shyness or viciousness towards its handler or the judge. Aggressiveness or belligerence toward another dog is not to be considered viciousness.
Symmetry and field quality are most essential. A dog in hard and lean field condition is not to be penalized. However, overly fat or poorly muscled dogs are to be penalized. A dog well-balanced in all points is preferable to one with outstanding good qualities and defects.
Clean-cut, neither too light nor too heavy, in proper proportion to the body. Skull is reasonably broad, arched on the side and slightly round on top. Scissura (median line between the eyes and the forehead) not too deep, occipital bone not as conspicuous as in the case of the Pointer. The foreface rises gradually from nose to forehead. The rise is more pronounced in the dog than in the bitch as befitting his sex. The chops fall away from the somewhat projecting nose. Lips are full and deep, never flewy. The chops do not fall over too much, but form a proper fold in the angle. The jaw is powerful and the muscles well developed. The line to the forehead rises gradually and never has a definite stop as that of the Pointer, but rather a stop effect when viewed from the side, due to the position of the eyebrows. The muzzle is sufficiently long to enable the dog to seize properly and to facilitate his carrying game a long time. A pointed muzzle in not desirable. The entire head never gives the impression of tapering to a point. The depth is in the right proportion to the length, both in the muzzle and in the skull proper. The length of the muzzle should equal the length of the skull. A pointed muzzle is a fault. A dish-face is a fault. Too many wrinkles in the forehead is a fault.
The eyes are of medium size, full of intelligence and expressive, good humored and yet radiating energy, neither protruding nor sunken. The eye is almond shaped, not circular. The eyelids close well. The best color is dark brown. Light yellow (Bird of Prey) eyes are not desirable, and are a fault. Closely set eyes are to be faulted. China or wall eyes are to be disqualified.
Brown, the larger the better, nostrils well-opened and broad. Spotted nose not desirable. Flesh colored nose disqualifies.
The teeth are strong and healthy. The molars inter-mesh properly. The bite is a true scissors bite. A perfect level bite (without overlapping) is not desirable and must be penalized. Extreme overshot or undershot bite disqualifies.
Of the proper length to permit the jaws reaching the game to be retrieved, sloping downwards on beautiful curving lines. The nape is rather muscular, becoming gradually larger towards the shoulders. Moderate hound-like throatiness permitted
The chest in general gives the impression of depth rather than breadth; for all that, it should be in correct proportion to the other parts of the body with a fair depth. The chest reaches down to the elbows, the ribs forming the thorax show a rib spring and are not flat or slab-sided; they are not perfectly rounded or barrel-shaped. Ribs that are entirely round prevent the necessary expansion of the chest when taking breath. The back ribs reach well down. The circumference of the thorax immediately behind the elbows is smaller than the thorax about a hand’s-breadth behind elbows, so that the upper arm has room for movement.
BACK, LOINS, AND CROUP
Back is short, strong, and straight with a slight rise from the root of tail to withers. Loin strong, of moderate length, and slightly arched. Tuck-up is apparent. Excessively long, roach or swayed back must be penalized.
The shoulders are sloping, movable, well-covered with muscle. The shoulder blades lie flat and are well laid back nearing a 45 degree angle. The upper arm (the bones between the shoulder and elbow joints) is as long as possible, standing away somewhat from the trunk so that the straight and closely muscled legs, when viewed from the front, appear parallel.
Elbows which stand away from the body or are too close indicate toes turning inwards or outwards, which must be regarded as faults. Pasterns are strong, short and nearly vertical with a slight spring. Loose, short-bladed or straight shoulders must be faulted. Down in the pasterns is to be faulted.
The hips are broad with hip sockets wide apart and fall slightly towards the tail in a graceful curve. Thighs are strong, well-muscled. Stifles well bent. Hock joints are well angulated and strong, straight bone structure from hock to pad. Angulation of both stifle and hock joint is such as to combine maximum combination of both drive and traction. Hocks turn neither in nor out. A steep croup is a fault. Cow-hocked legs are a serious fault.
Are compact, close-knot, and round to spoon-shaped. The toes sufficiently arched and heavily nailed. The pads are strong, hard and thick. Dewclaws on the hind legs must be removed. Dewclaws on the forelegs may be removed. Feet pointing in or out is a fault.
COAT AND SKIN
The skin is close and tight. The hair is short and thick and feels tough to the hand; it is somewhat longer on the underside of the tail and the back of the haunches. It is softer, thinner and shorter on the ears and the head. Any dog with long hair in the body coat is to be severely penalized.
Is set high and firm, and must be docked leaving 40 percent of length. The tail hangs down when the dog is quiet, is held horizontally when he is walking. The tail must never be curved over the back towards the head when the dog is moving. A tail curved or bent towards the head is to be severely penalized.
Thin and fine bones are by no means desirable in a dog which must possess strength and be able to work over any and every country. The main importance accordingly is laid not so much on the size of bones, but rather on their being in proper proportion to the body. Bone structure too heavy or too light is a fault. Dogs with coarse bones are handicapped in agility of movement and speed.
WEIGHT AND HEIGHT
Dogs, 55 to 70 pounds (25 to 31.8 kgs).
Bitches, 45 to 60 pounds (20.4 to 27.2 kgs).
Dogs, 23 to 25 inches (58.4 to 63.5 cm) at the withers.
Bitches, 21 to 23 inches (53.3 to 58.4 cm) at the withers.
Deviations of 1 inch (2.5 cm) over or above the described heights are to be severely penalized.
The coat may be solid liver or any combination of liver and white such as liver and white ticked, liver spotted and white ticked, or liver roan. A dog with any area of black, red, orange, lemon, or tan or a dog solid white will be disqualified.
A smooth, light gait is essential. It is to be noted that as gait increases from the walk to a faster speed, the legs converge beneath the body. The tendency to single track is desirable. The forelegs reach well ahead as if to pull in the ground without giving the appearance of a hackney gait, and are followed by the back legs which give forceful propulsion. Dragging the rear feet is undesirable.
China or wall eyes.
Flesh colored nose.
Extreme overshot or undershot.
A dog with any area of black, red, orange, lemon, or tan, or a dog solid white.