AKC Standard for the Briard
A dog of handsome form. Vigorous
and alert, powerful without coarseness, strong in bone and muscle,
exhibiting the strength and agility required of the herding dog. Dogs
lacking these qualities, however concealed by the coat, are to be
Size: Males 23 to 27 inches at the
withers; bitches 22 to 25 1/2 inches at the withers.
Disqualification: All dogs or bitches under the minimum.
Proportions: The Briard is not cobby in build. In males the
length of the body, measured from the point of the shoulder to the point
of the buttock, is equal to or slightly more than his height at the
withers. The female may be a little longer.
The head of a Briard always gives the impression of
length, having sufficient width without being cumbersome. The correct
length of a good head, measured from the occiput to the tip of the nose,
is about forty (40%) per cent of the height of the dog at the withers.
There is no objection to a slightly longer head, especially if the
animal tends to a longer body line. Viewed from above, from the front or
in profile, the fully-coated silhouette gives the impression of two
rectangular forms, equal in length but differing in height and width,
blending together rather abruptly. The larger rectangle is the skull and
the other forms the muzzle. The head joins the neck in a right angle and
is held proudly alert. The head is sculptured in clean lines, without
jowls or excess flesh on the sides, or under the eyes or temples.
Expression-the gaze is frank, questioning and confident.
Eyes: The eyes set well apart with the inner
corners and outer corners on the same level. Large, well opened and
calm, they must never be narrow or slanted. The color must be black or
black-brown with very dark pigmentation of the rim of the eyelids,
whatever the color of the coat.
Disqualification: yellow eyes or spotted
Ears: The ears should be attached high, have thick leather and be
firm at the base. Low-set ears cause the head to appear to be too
arched. The length of the natural ear should be equal to or slightly
less than one-half the length of the head, always straight and covered
with long hair. The natural ear must not lie flat against the head and,
when alert, the ears are lifted slightly, giving a square look to the
top of the skull. The ears when cropped should be carried upright and
parallel, emphasizing the parallel lines of the head; when alert, they
should face forward, well open with long hair falling over the opening.
The cropped ear should be long, broad at the base, tapering gradually to
a rounded tip.
Skull: The width of the head, as measured across the
skull, is slightly less than the length of the skull from the occiput to
the stop. Although not clearly visible on the fully-coated head, the
occiput is prominent and the forehead is very slightly rounded.
Muzzle: The muzzle with mustache and beard is somewhat wide and
terminates in a right angle. The muzzle must not be narrow or pointed.
Planes: The topline of the muzzle is parallel to the
topline of the skull, and the junction of the two forms a well-marked
stop, which is midway between the occiput and the tip of the nose, and
on a level with the eyes.
Nose: Square rather than round, always black with nostrils well
Disqualification: Any color other than
Lips: The lips are of medium thickness,
firm of line and fitted neatly, without folds or flews at the corners.
The lips are black.
Bite, Teeth: Strong, white and adapting perfectly in a scissors
Neck, Topline and Body
Neck: Strong and well constructed. The neck is in the shape of a truncated
cone, clearing the shoulders well. It is strongly muscled and has good
Topline: The Briard is constructed with a very slight incline,
downward from the prominent withers to the back which is straight, to
the broad loin and the croup which is slightly inclined. The croup is
well muscled and slightly sloped to give a well-rounded finish. The
topline is strong, never swayed nor roached.
Body: The chest is broad and deep with moderately curved ribs,
egg-shaped in form, the ribs not too rounded. The breastbone is
moderately advanced in front, descending smoothly to the level of the
elbows and shaped to give good depth to the chest. The abdomen is
moderately drawn up but still presents good volume.
Tail: Uncut, well feathered, forming a crook at the extremity,
carried low and not deviating to the right or to the left. In repose,
the bone of the tail descends to the point of
the hock, terminating in the crook, similar in shape to the printed "J"
when viewed from the dog's right side. In action, the tail is raised in
a harmonious curve, never going above the level of the back, except for
the terminal crook.
Disqualification: Tail non-existent or cut.
Shoulder blades are long and sloping forming a
45-degree angle with the horizontal, firmly attached by strong muscles
and blending smoothly with the withers.
Legs: The legs are powerfully muscled with strong bone. The forelegs
are vertical when viewed from the side except the pasterns are very
slightly inclined. Viewed from the front or rear, the legs are straight
and parallel to the median line of the body, never turned inward or
outward. The distance between the front legs is equal to the distance
between the rear legs. The construction of the legs is of utmost
importance, determining the dog's ability to work and his resistance to
Dewclaws: Dewclaws on the forelegs may or may not be removed.
Feet: Strong and rounded, being slightly oval in shape. The feet
travel straight forward in the line of movement. The toes are strong,
well arched and compact. The pads are well developed, compact and
elastic, covered with strong tissue. The nails are always black and
The hindquarters are powerful, providing flexible,
almost tireless movement. The pelvis slopes at a 30-degree angle from
the horizontal and forms a right angle with the upper leg bone.
Legs: Viewed from the side, the legs are well angulated with the
metatarsus slightly inclined, the hock making an angle of 135 degrees.
Dewclaws: Two dewclaws are required on each rear leg, placed low
on the leg, giving a wide base to the foot. Occasionally the nail may
break off completely. The dog shall not be penalized for the missing
nail so long as the digit itself is present. Ideally the dewclaws form
additional functioning toes.
Disqualification: Anything less than two dewclaws on each
Feet: If the rear toes turn out very slightly when the hocks and
metatarsus are parallel, then the position of the feet is correct.
The outer coat is coarse, hard and dry (making a dry
rasping sound between the fingers). It lies down flat, falling naturally
in long, slightly waving locks, having the sheen of good health. On the
shoulders the length of the hair is generally six inches or more. The
undercoat is fine and tight on all the body. The head is well covered
with hair which lies down, forming a natural part in the center. The
eyebrows do not lie flat but, instead, arch up and out in a curve that
lightly veils the eyes. The hair is never so abundant that it masks the
form of the head or completely covers the eyes.
All uniform colors are permitted except white. The
colors are black, various shades of gray and various shades of tawny.
The deeper shades of each color are preferred. Combinations of two of
these colors are permitted, provided there are no marked spots and the
transition from one color to another takes place gradually and
symmetrically. The only permissible white: white hairs scattered
throughout the coat and/or a white spot on the chest not to exceed one
inch in diameter at the root of the hair.
Disqualification: White coat, spotted coat, white spot on
chest exceeding one inch in diameter.
The well-constructed Briard is a marvel of supple
power. His movement has been described as "quicksilver," permitting him
to make abrupt turns, springing starts and sudden stops required of the
sheepherding dog. His gait is supple and light, almost like that of a
large feline. The gait gives the impression that the dog glides along
without touching the ground. Strong, flexible movement is essential to
the sheepdog. He is above all a trotter, single-tracking, occasionally
galloping and he frequently needs to change his speed to accomplish his
work. His conformation is harmoniously balanced and strong to sustain
him in the long day's work. Dogs with clumsy or inelegant gait must be
He is a dog of heart, with
spirit and initiative, wise and fearless with no trace of timidity.
Intelligent, easily trained, faithful, gentle, and obedient, the Briard
possesses an excellent memory and an ardent desire to please his master.
He retains a high degree of his ancestral instinct to guard home and
master. Although he is reserved with strangers, he is loving and loyal
to those he knows. Some will display a certain independence.
All dogs or bitches under the minimum size limits
Yellow eyes or spotted eyes
Nose any color other than black
Tail non-existent or cut
Less than two dewclaws on each rear leg
White spot on chest exceeding one inch in diameter
Approved February 8, 1975
Reformatted January 12, 1992
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