The outer casing must be loose fitting and flexible to allow for plenty of movement, and be reasonably tough. The materials used should provide warmth and be very dark in colour, so that mud and dirt will not show. The coating will need to be soft to the touch and such that it can be brushed out to allow the removal of accumulated dust. The frame will be broad and strong, providing sufficient room inside for the apparatus that will power this formidable creature. The body needs to be set on strong, powerful supports that are themselves positioned on large pads so that a high level of stability is achieved. A broad head must be built with eyes that are dark in appearance, so as to complement the coat, but be bright in every other way. The nose will be sensitive to all scents and smells, no matter how faint, and the mouth strong, its bite firm.
The head should be filled with a large brain capable of clear thought and appreciation. Additional powers will be built-in that are beyond the scope of this description but can be summarized as ‘psychic’. The brain must have the facility to switch off peripheral thought and apply all its energy to a set task, usually determined by the brain itself (for example, chasing a pheasant in preference to walking to heel). This attribute will manifest itself in considerable bravery which, when alloyed to an immense sense of loyalty, can only be considered as being beyond price. The propensity for loyalty combined with the independence afforded by self belief will manifest itself in an interesting attitude towards affection. Basically, attention will be gratefully received and returned, but at arm’s length. Lap is a word associated with drinking not sleeping.
The physical appearance should be such that any reasonably sighted person would describe it as being beautiful, and such that it would bring a smile to the most ardent dog hater’s lips. This is achieved by every aspect of the form being in perfect proportion and of idea size. Faultlessness in looks is reflected in physical performance, and exceptional power will be on tap at a moment’s notice.
Vera: Black Labrador bitch. Born, Modbury Devon, December 3 1996. Died, Exmouth Devon, May 9 2012.