Breed Standard

This Breed Standard exists to provide guidelines for breeders who wish to maintain and improve the quality of the Colorado Mountain Dog; to advance the breed to a state of similarity throughout the world; and as a guide for competitive judging. Breeders and judges have the responsibility to avoid and discourage breed abnormalities that compromise the essence and soundness of the breed. Departures from the Standard should be considered Faults:. The degree that a fault prevents the dog from fulfilling its described purpose determines its severity.

UTILIZATION: Livestock Guardian Dogs are used mainly for the protection of flocks and guarding of properties– specifically from predatory animals, with traits selected for small acreage farming, acceptance of unknown people, less barking. Secondarily, the CMD will protect people from predatory animals in agricultural settings and on the hiking trail.

BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY: The Colorado Mountain Dog was founded by Wendy Francisco beginning in 2008, to meet the needs of farmers, ranchers and families on smaller rural properties in Colorado where predatory animals are a concern. Common traits of traditional LGD breeds, such as wandering, aggression towards humans or over-barking, can make their use by small-acreage owners problematic. While many LGD breeds are bred to protect flocks from both human and animal threats, the Colorado Mountain Dog will openly greet unfamiliar people, and will wander and bark less.

GENERAL APPEARANCE: The Colorado Mountain Dog is a large beautiful dog, strongly built, taller and leaner than some other LGD breeds. In proportion to its size, it is a medium-weight dog whose body is square, not elongated, standing tall on long well-boned legs and large powerful feet. The appearance is soft, the size impressive, and the demeanor relaxed.

TEMPERAMENT: The Colorado Mountain Dog should present itself to people and domestic animals with a relaxed posture. In a herd, it should only glance briefly at the animals, and then turn it’s head away, which creates peace in the herd. It should not lock a stare, attempt to herd or move animals, unless it is to gather animals into the barn in the presence of a threat. It should not play with animals, although immature CMDs sometimes do. Older dogs should mentor younger ones away from this habit. A mature CMD is gently affectionate with its charges, laying with them, grooming them, and bonding with them. If fed with animals, it should guard its food in a reasonable manner, never harming an animal. The Colorado Mountain Dog should be vigilant, but not a constant barker. It should greet people openly and with affection. The Colorado Mountain Dog will bark when it suspects a predator is nearby, and will chase off or kill predators that threaten the flocks or herds. All these behaviors are dependent on having a minimum of two dogs, so that their own social needs are met, and as added strength for deterring larger predators, or packs of predators. Colorado Mountain Dogs are bred to be working dogs but certain individuals can be wonderful family companions if properly socialized, although work drives vary, and some individuals are sometimes aggressive to other family dogs.

COAT: Hair: Unusually soft and smooth to the touch; silky, outer guard hairs are not cottony or wiry; coat tends to stay clean. Body hairs are of medium to medium long length, laying flat on the body; a slight wave is acceptable. Abundant thick long mane around the neck, feathered legs, and bloomers on the hind legs. The hair on the muzzle, skull and front of the limbs is short. The undercoat is only thick during the winter. Overall the coat is non-matting and easy to care for. Color: The Colorado Mountain Dog is white, brindle, tan with dark muzzle, or badger and fading badger markings.

WEIGHT, HEIGHT AND SIZE: Weight: Males: 110 to 150+ lbs. Females: 80 to 120+ lbs. A heavier weight should be associated with a taller dog rather than a stockier one. Height: Males: 28-33+ inches. Females: 26-31+ inches. Heights above the general standard are accepted. Faults:: Too heavy proportionally; height below the standard.

Skull: The skull is a little larger on the male than on the female. The crown is pronounced and rounded rather than flat, with a sloped muzzle and rounded forehead.
Muzzle: The muzzle top line of the CMD has a graceful, concave slope, traveling up to a rounded forehead and crown. The muzzle may straighten or be a bit convex near the nose. The muzzle is proportionally long, clean, and graceful rather than blunt, and the jowl is slightly loose. Faults:: Too straight, too concave or convex a muzzle; heavy jowls; drooling.  Disqualifications: A short muzzle.
Teeth: A full complement of strong, white teeth meet in a perfect scissors bite, with the upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square to the jaw. Disqualifications: Overbite or underbite.
Eyes: The eyes are large, wide set, open, and soulful; the skin is not heavy around the eyes, and the eyes do not appear deep set into folds of skin; color is deep brown to amber, and the expression is soft. Faults:: Small eyes; closely set eyes; eyes that are deeply set in a fleshy forehead.
Nose: The nose is black; some fading from the sun is permissible.
Neck: The neck of the CMD is of medium length proportionally, gracefully connecting the head to the tall, lean body.
Ears: The ears are not large, but V-shaped with rounded tips. They hang down at the sides of the head, but when the dog is alerted the ears rise to a semi-erect position.

The shoulders should be long, sloping, proportionally muscled, and free in movement. The chest is of medium-narrow-to-medium width proportionally. Faults:: too narrow or too wide a chest. The bottom line of the ribcage is not extreme, but has a medium curve up to the abdomen.

Hindquarters: The hindquarters are powerful, but not overloaded with muscle. They are proportional, well-boned. There is not a look of weakness in the hindquarters or in their attachment to the body. LEGS: Long and well-boned legs are hallmarks of the CMD; not overly muscled.

Feet: The feet of a Colorado Mountain Dog should be large and powerful, with toes moderately splayed, finishing out the long well-boned legs. Dew-claws are acceptable but not preferred; however, their surgical removal is not encouraged. Fault: proportionally small, refined feet.

Tail: The tail is abundantly furred with the longest hair on the dog; has an average set; is carried hanging down when the dog is at rest, and carried arched loosely over the back when active. The tail has a medium curl, neither straight nor tight; it may be curled more tightly towards its tip. It is generally carried to the center of the dog, not curved to one side or carried against the body. The looseness and flow of the tail matches the large, loose open frame of the dog. Faults:: A tail that is held tightly against the body; a straight tail; medium length hair on the tail.

GAIT: Movement is well extended with a fluidity that is noticeable and impressive. As the dog moves the appearance is not tight, but loose, fluid, long reaching, and smooth. The large frame of the CMD may appear floppy or clumsy during short quick movements at low speed, but at a run it creates powerful forward movement with eye-catching fluidity. Beautiful and functional movement is an important aspect of the breed. Faults:: Mincing or tight gait; hackneyed action; stiffness, choppiness or heaviness of gait.

COLOR: Colorado Mountain Dogs are usually white but may also be tan with black muzzle, brindle, badger, faded badger, black and white.

FAULT: A fault is any departure from this Standard. The seriousness of a fault should be decided in proportion to its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and its ability to perform its work. SEVERE FAULTS:: Short stocky build; heavy head; loose jowls and drooling; wide chest; hyperactivity; over-barking.

DISQUALIFICATIONS: Aggression or suspicion displayed toward humans; any dog clearly showing physical or behavioral abnormalities.