top of page

Rocky Mountain Companion Dog

Breeders Standards


Our modern society has categorized most of the traits that define a dog breed. There are Retrievers, scent hounds, sight hounds, "police-dogs" and lurchers.   Now in our society there is a new category developing- the Companion dog.  This dog fits well into Urban or rural areas, no matter it's size. It is multi-functional; able to Netflix and Chill or accompany it's person on a two mile stroll.  It is quiet as it has no need to make its voice heard on the trail or across sheep meadows.  The companion dog is keen to man made things, and has a preference for human touch.  This dog will spend hours just observing it's people, and the very adept ones can be spotted imitating human behaviors.


These are the temperament traits I would like to capture in the dogs I create. I can tease them out of the breeds I have to work with but I couldn't really settle on what "type" of dog it will be.  It's not a Livestock guardian, it's not a Shepherd. It's certainly not a hound, and those listed traits would make a poor retriever.


Males should stand between 27" and 30" at the shoulder, and weigh between 100 and 125 lbs.

Females should be 25" to 28" at the shoulder and weigh 80 to 100 lbs.

Most of the weight should come from solid bone, not muscle.   The RMCD should have a square build, being as long as it is tall, with a natural grace that allows it to look comfortable with any pace.  Gaining all of it's front-end-heavy look from it's mane, head and chest fur the RMCD should have a natural ownership of it's body - neither throwing it's weight around or at any time being ungainly with it's carriage. Always giving the impression of being self-composed.


The Colorado Rocky Mountains eastern slope and higher elevations are famous for their changes in weather.  Hiking, camping and attending a concert in Denver require a PhD in dressing for the weather -  hail at noon being melted by 90 degree temps at 3 pm.  What we need is a dog with a thin enough over-coat to not overheat, but have a dense enough undercoat to protect the skin against our Colorado sun. The top coat should stand well away from both the under two layers and the dorsal area, allowing the RMCD to "Carry around it's own shade".   Slight furnishings on the face and over the eyes may also be a desirable protective option for the highest elevations. The top coat should be a lighter color, reflective white/blue is the goal - with a smoky darker undercoat, absorbing heat if necessary.  The combination of these two coat/texture colors should give the dog an over-all "Smoke" or "Ghost Blue" coloring.  

The face is important as the RMCD Companion dog personality must be Apparent to it's companions, and unreadable by those it will want to protect it's companions from.   Meaning it has a calm demeanor, does not over-react but stands and meets your gaze.  Does not stare,  but there is no doubt this dog is watching you. When the RMCD "Smiles", the whole face should open up, and lift to a friendly expression.  "Adoring" is what I have in mind. When the RMCD looks at it's people, it should be with an ADORING gaze.

Eyerims, lips and nose should all be a dark black pigment. ANY pink in these areas is undesirable.

EYES:  should be slightly almond shaped, and forward facing.  Eye color will be rimmed, marbled or speckled, with grey-green, yellow and brown fading out - darker on the outside, lighter toward the pupil. No two RMCD eyes should ever be exactly the same. 

Ears: Ideally the long term standard are small pricked ears that stand up high on the head. HOWEVER, pendant ears provide a softer look, not as wolfy as some of the RMCD's can appear.  This may be desirable for dogs that are in public often, and are better received by folks using them for Therapy or Service.

Muzzle/Skull/Head: The skull is elongated but not pointed. The forehead is long - slightly domed. 35-40 degrees above the plane of the muzzle. The stop is not defined and cheeks are flat. The width of the head should be approx. one half of the length.

BODY: To be able to easily handle changes in altitude and function well at most elevations, our RMCD's should have a hearty chest with good lung capacity.  Legs long enough to handle the ups and downs of most trails and rocky regions. Dews will have to be bred away, selecting for "clean legs".  Meaning little or no feathering on the legs or tail.  Groin and belly should be dense but not long, allowing shed hair to easily fall away and not get matted into a long undercoat.  A chest and neck mane is desired, with small erect ears tucking into the mane when folded back tightly.   The combination of these traits should give the impression of a Great Cat at first glance, it's slow light plodding reminiscent of a Mountain Lion. 

TAIL:  should be long, with a "Shepherd's crook"  not exaggerated, but enough so the tail can hang easily off the body when relaxed, or pulled up and carried over the back when pacing trails or riding in the canoe. 

LEGS: The legs have strong bone, are perfectly straight and well muscled with flexibility. Pasterns are to be not less than 75 degrees to the horizontal. Hindquarters are well angled, the thigh broad and muscular.  Stance is medium broad.

FEET: should be large and round with ample flexibility.   The shape of the foot should lend itself to natural nail wear, and the nails should be thick and short.  Pointy toes are undesirable.


"Stella" has the appropriate amount of furnishings on her face to help protect her eyes and nose against the Colorado sun, which can be harsh at higher elevations.


Bonnie's bright smile and adoring gaze will carry through nicely along with her light facial coloring. Her pink nose will be lost in a few generations.

American Alsatian August West
bottom of page