When a “Break” is Dramatic

The word, “break” appears in many breeds standards, but its application varies.  In a Collie, a break refers to the slight but perceptible stop on the the top of the backskull and the top of the muzzle that lie in two approximately parallel, straight planes divided by the “break.”

In a Chow Chow, a drop ear is one which breaks at any point from its base to its tip or which isn’t carried stiffly erect but “lies parallel to the top of the skull.”

With the Parson Russell Terrier’s gait, pasterns break lightly on forward motion with no hint of hackney-like action or goose-steppi”ng.

A small white break in the blanket is acceptable,” in a Great Dane, and in most breeds, the opposite of a continuous smooth line in the top line is known as a break .

From head to ear to topline and toe, “break” shows up in breed standards as a descriptive word, but there’s one more use for the term we’ve not mentioned until now, and below, we’re showing you a series of photos to see if you can guess one more definition for the word, this one used in the dog fancy:

Photo of Daisy, a Pomeranian, shared by Wendy Webster Repsold


Alaskan malamute, Brazen – BISS RBIS AOM BBPIS GCHB NovaMals Autumn Uprising NTD CGN NS VN at 4 months and 4 years, shared by Lynsay Bayers


Photo of “Murphy,” a Leonberger, shared by Christina Merten


Gilbert, the Otterhound, shared by Kimberly Boutwell


Atlas, a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, shared by Lauren Betts


Photo of “Kilimanjaro,” a Tibetan Mastiff, at the top as a 10 week old, and at the bottom as an adult, photo shared by Debbie Peterson


Photo of “Finn,” a Pembroke Welsh Corgi, by Juliana du Pree


Photos of CH Keja’s Linus Barclay NS, a Poodle, by Crystal J Barclay


Photo of American Akita, Multi Ch Milaby by Niamh Carroll


Photo of Groot, a German Shorthaired Pointer, shared by Alex Dunn


Photo of CHᴮ Winquest’s Hey Jealousy TKN, an American Foxhound, by Lindsey May


Photo of “Ellis,” a Silky Terrier by Jean Evanoff


Photo of English Setter, Rhys, shared by Erin Altman


Photo of Scruggs at 8 weeks and again at 19 months shared by Emma J


Photo of GCH CH Lace Signed Sealed Delivered I’m Urs DCAT, an American Hairless Terrier, by Kellye Vesper Townsend


Photo of Longhair Dachshund, Solstice, bred by Kathleen Frizzell and Shelly Mills and photo shared by Kathleen Frizzell

By now, we’re guessing you’ve figured it out.

In dog parlance, a “break” is the changing coat color that happens in some breeds as puppies transition to adults. As you can see, this change can be dramatic in some breeds!

Our thumbnail photo is of the Bouvier des Flandres, GChB Ch Hillhaven’s Skye’s the Limit au dela des mers CD RN FDC CGCA CGCU VBB VBX, at 3 months of age. Below is the same dog at four years old, both photos provided by Nick Hill and taken by Elaine.


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