GENERAL APPEARANCE: The NGSD is a small-to-medium-sized dog of fox-like appearance with a wedge-shaped head, prick ears, obliquely-set triangular eyes, plush coat, and a brushy tail. The NGSD is extremely agile and graceful. This breed is presented in a completely natural condition with no trimming, even of whiskers.
CHARACTERISTICS: The NGSDs most unique characteristic is its dramatic ability to vary the pitch of its howl. They do not bark repetitively but have a complex vocal behavior including yelps, whines, and single-note howls. NGSDs are active, lively, and alert. They are constantly exploring everything in their environment, using all five senses, including taste. Their incredible structural flexibility allows them to pass their bodies through any opening wide enough to admit their head. Their hunting drive is very intense and may overwhelm any training when prey is detected. They use their acute sense of hearing in addition to sight and scent to locate prey. Although gentle and affectionate with people they know, they can be aloof with strangers. NGSDs can be aggressive toward other dogs, especially of the same sex.
HEAD: SKULL: The head is wedge-shaped both from the top and side views. The stop is prominent and there is a shallow furrow running vertically from the stop to the occiput. In adults, the skin on the face and skull is free from wrinkles.
MUZZLE: The muzzle tapers from base to nose. The distance from the stop to nose is slightly shorter than the length of skull from occiput to stop. The bridge of the muzzle is level and roughly parallel to the top of the skull. The nose is always solid black. Lips are close-fitting and the back corners turn up slightly, giving the impression of a "grin."
TEETH: The teeth are large for the size of the dog and dentition is full. The teeth meet in a scissors or level bite. EYES: The eyes are small, triangular, and obliquely set. The color may range from dark amber to very dark brown. Eye rims are dark-pigmented. The white portion of the eyeball often shows in the inner corners of the eyes, giving the dog a sly or mischievous expression.
EARS: The ears are erect, small, triangular, and set wide apart on the head with the tips pointing slightly outward away from each other when the dog is relaxed. Their shape has a cupped base and resembles a tulip petal. When the dog is alert, the ears tilt forward at an angle of approximately 60 degrees to the top of the skull. Viewed from the side, the ears appear to be an extension of the curve of the back of the neck.
NECK: The neck is long and slightly arched. The skin on the neck is pliable but does not form a prominent dewlap.
FOREQUARTERS: Angulation in the forequarters is moderate. The shoulder blades are well laid back. The shoulder blade and the upper arm are roughly equal in length. Elbows are close to the body. The forelegs are straight and the pasterns fairly long and slightly sloped. FEET: The feet are small, compact, and cat-like. The front feet may turn slightly outward. Dewclaws should not be removed from the front feet but may be removed from the back feet.
BODY: In proportion, the side profile of the body from point of shoulder to point of rump is about 20% longer than the height at the withers. The topline is level or slightly roached with the rump on a level with or slightly lower than the withers. Ribs are well sprung but not barrel-shaped. The brisket reaches to the elbows in mature animals. Tuck-up is moderate with a clearly defined waist at the flank. The body is extremely flexible, well-muscled and hard.
HINDQUARTERS: The hocks are well let down and parallel to each other when viewed from the rear. Thighs are muscular and the stifle moderately angulated. Because of the high percentage of unilateral cryptorchids in the still small NGSD population, unilateral cryptorchidism is acceptable but not preferred.
TAIL: The tail must reach at least to the hock. It is strong at the base and set on as a continuation of the topline. There must be a thick brush on the underside that is either white or very light tan in color. A white tip is desired. When the dog is alert, the tail is carried over the back in a gentle curve resembling a question mark. When the dog is stressed, the tail may be carried tucked under. During gaiting, it may be carried flowing out behind. Kinks, short tails that do not reach the hock, and tails that curl more than a half circle are serious faults.
COAT: The coat is short, dense, and double. The texture is plush, with the undercoat often visible through the guard hairs. Hairs are longest on the shoulders, center of the back, and backs of the thighs, but should not exceed about 1½ inches in length, nor form feathering, or otherwise obscure the clean-cut outline of the dog. The skin is very pliable. Honorable scars are not to be faulted.
COLOR: The undercoat may be of a lighter or darker color than the outer coat for all permissible colors. The following colors and patterns are acceptable: Red: This color ranges from fawn to deep rust. Sable: Shades of red with dark brown or black tipping on the guard hairs. This tipping provides a subtle shaded effect and is not concentrated in small areas so as to make the dog appear mottled or blotchy. Black And Tan: The black is a glossy jet-black and the tan markings range from fawn to deep rust. The tan markings may occur on the cheeks, the sides of the muzzle, the chest, the feet and legs, in a spot over each eye, and around the vent. The brush on the underside of the tail is a very pale tan to cream.White markings are common but should not form more than one-third of the body's total color. White markings are permissible only in the following areas and may not form spots or patches on the body: Muzzle, face, neck (may extend onto the shoulders), belly, legs, feet, and tail tip. A black muzzle or mask may be present in red or sable dogs. This usually fades with maturity. Disqualification: Albinism.
HEIGHT AND WEIGHT: Height for mature dogs averages between 14 and 18 inches at the withers and for bitches between 13 and 17 inches. Weight averages between 17 and 30 pounds. At all weights, the appearance is lean and muscular with substantial, but not heavy, bone.
GAIT: Movement is free and graceful, with moderate reach and drive. The dog almost appears to be floating above the ground with quick, flowing motions.
DISQUALIFICATIONS: Viciousness or extreme shyness. An unprovoked attack upon any person is cause for disqualification. Bilateral cryptorchid. Albinism.