Breed Group Group 10: Pastoral and Stock Dog Breeds
Sub-group 10-A: X-Large Pastoral Dogs
Origin Country France
Weight Males: 70-100 pounds. Females: 65-95 pounds.
Height Males: 23-27 inches. Females: 22-26 inches.
Other Name(s) Berger de Brie, Brie Shepherd
Breed Type Pure
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Briard

Breed Group Group 10: Pastoral and Stock Dog Breeds
Sub-group 10-A: X-Large Pastoral Dogs
Origin Country France
Weight Males: 70-100 pounds. Females: 65-95 pounds.
Height Males: 23-27 inches. Females: 22-26 inches.
Other Name(s) Berger de Brie, Brie Shepherd
Breed Type Pure
click here for FULL BREED STANDARD

Origins

The history of the Briard is similar to that of the Berger de Beauce. Hailing from France, their history can be traced back to the 14th century books and tapestries. The ancestors of these breeds were kept for the task of herding and defending sheep and cattle herds. The dogs of this time ranged from medium in size to large, and they sported coats that ranged from short and smooth to shaggy. However, it wasn’t until the end of the 19th century that a distinction was made between the dogs based on their coats. Around the mid-1800s, the shaggy “Berger de Brie” began to rise in popularity after the Great Paris Dog Show. Charlemagne, Napoleon Bonaparte, Thomas Jefferson, and the Marquis de Lafayette were all rumored to have owned Briards at some point in their lives. During World War I and World War II, Briards were prominently used as sentinels, mine detectors, search and rescue dogs, food and ammunition deliverers on the front lines, and more. Today they are still used to guard and herd flocks. After the wars, the breed’s popularity continued to grow throughout Europe and eventually made its way to the United States.

Breed Characteristics

Head: Somewhat elongated mesaticephalic to slightly dolichocephalic skull-type, moderate in size, and fairly long, rectangular in appearance, and in proportion to the rest of the body. The head is fairly clean-cut without excess skin or wrinkle. The topskull fairly broad and flat when felt or viewed from profile or in front, and being just slightly arched at the temporal sides when viewed from the front. The topskull width is just shy of the length from the occiput to the stop. The median furrow is slightly marked to indicate strong temporalis muscle development. The occiput is only minimally protrusive. The head and face may range from somewhat chiseled to sufficiently padded to denote strength and substance, without appearing coarse or bulky.
Eyes: Moderate to somewhat large in size, somewhat oval to almond in shape, and ranging in color from medium to dark brown in color, with blue colored dogs exhibiting a slightly lighter eye color. Non-standard colors can include blue (including bi-colored, flecked, or marbled) in merle dogs, as well as amber or hazel. The corners of the eyes may range from horizontally set to just slightly oblique. The eye rims are well-fitted and well-pigmented. The eyes are never bulging. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes. Any signs of entropion or ectropion are incorrect for this breed.
Ears: Medium in size. Set fairly high on the skull, with the lower corner set slightly higher than the level of the eyes. Ears may be natural or surgically cropped. Natural ears preferably hang with the inner edges and tips away from the head (preferred rose or tulip) or half-pricked (semi-erect) with tips somewhat away from the head, or fully erect. Cropped ears are cut to a medium length and are held erect, however, an otherwise excellent specimen should not be penalized for an improper crop or fallen cropped ears.
Muzzle: The muzzle is full, deep, and broad throughout, from the broad base, and ending abruptly, giving a distinct rectangular appearance. The plane, or bridge of the muzzle, is straight and level. The muzzle is broad and deep throughout. Upper and lower jaws are well-developed, equal in length, have good bone substance, never appearing snipy, weak, or pointed.
Nose: The nose is well-pigmented and black, blue-gray, or self-colored in non-standard varieties. The nostrils are well-opened. The nose should never be “split-nosed.” The nose may protrude just slightly beyond, or may remain flush with the vertical line of the end of the muzzle.
Neck: Moderate in length to allow for proud and alert head carriage and powerfully muscled with a slight arch. The neck tapers smoothly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is clean-cut, without excess skin, throatiness, or dewlap.
Chest: Deep, broad, but never wider than deep. The brisket extends to the point of the elbows. The depth of the body (from withers to brisket) is equal or just slightly greater than the distance from the ground to the elbow and brisket. The forechest is well-developed, yet never overly prominent.
Body: Agile, powerful, and of good substance. The body is never racy or refined, or heavy and cloddy like that of a mastiff. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters.
Feet: Oval to round, compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads. One distinguishing characteristic of the Briard breed is that they are polydactyle on the hindlimbs. The Briard should exhibit two well-formed dewclaws (double-dewclaws), each with complete nails, on each rear pastern, close to the feet.
Tail: May be set somewhat low, to neither high nor low on the croup, but as a natural extension of the topline. It is thick at the base and tapering toward the tip. The tail is carried in accordance with the dog’s mood and energy level, usually in a neutral relaxed position, below the level of the topline, but never tucked, or carried up over the back. The ideal tail has a “hook” toward the end, forming a “J” when relaxed or neutral. When in motion, it is straightened and raised somewhat. Tails are never docked short. The natural tail is of a somewhat long length, with the tip of the last vertebrae extending to the hock joints when held down, or just slightly below.
Movement: Smooth, flowing gait with graceful movements. Energetic, effortless, and efficient. Capable of covering much ground with long strides. The characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the centerline of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.
Temperament: The Briard is a large dog with an even larger personality. His personality is only surpassed by his devotion to his family, especially children (and are sometimes known to intervene when the child is being scolded). An excellent working dog, he thoroughly enjoys his duties, but he can also be a lovable goof when comfortable and well-adjusted with his family. As with most herding breeds, Briards can range from indifferent to aloof with strangers. They are watchful of “their” property and quick to alert, making them excellent watch dogs. Because of their size, early training and socialization should be implemented to ensure that the Briard becomes the well-adjusted and discerning companion that his ancestors have been known as for centuries. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.
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Breed Standard

BREED GROUP 10: Pastoral and Stock Dog Breeds

Proportions: Off-square to slightly rectangular, with the length of the body, measured from the point of the forechest to the point of the rump, being just slightly longer than the height at the withers. The wither height should equal approximately 86% of the total body length. The ideal body height-to-length ratio is approximately 10:9 to 5:4. Females may be slightly longer. The body is well put together, with great substance and sturdy bone. Males should appear masculine, being more substantial in size and mass, while females should appear more feminine and slightly less substantial. Neither should lack overall type. The Briard is a rugged, hardy, muscular, yet agile breed. Like all herding breeds, the Briard draws his strength from moderation and the avoidance of extremes.

Head

General Appearance: Somewhat elongated mesaticephalic to slightly dolichocephalic skull-type, moderate in size, and fairly long, rectangular in appearance, and in proportion to the rest of the body. The head is fairly clean-cut without excess skin or wrinkle. The topskull fairly broad and flat when felt or viewed from profile or in front, and being just slightly arched at the temporal sides when viewed from the front. The topskull width is just shy of the length from the occiput to the stop. The median furrow is slightly marked to indicate strong temporalis muscle development. The occiput is only minimally protrusive. The head and face may range from somewhat chiseled to sufficiently padded to denote strength and substance, without appearing coarse or bulky.
Expression: Proud, self-confident, self-composed, alert, and often times, with a hint of mischievousness
Stop: The stop is pronounced.
Skull: The ideal muzzle-to-skull ratio is 1:1 to 2:3, with the topskull being equal to or just longer than the muzzle.
The ideal muzzle-to-skull axis is parallel.
Muzzle: The muzzle is full, deep, and broad throughout, from the broad base, and ending abruptly, giving a distinct rectangular appearance. The plane, or bridge of the muzzle, is straight and level. The muzzle is broad and deep throughout. Upper and lower jaws are well-developed, equal in length, have good bone substance, never appearing snipy, weak, or pointed.
Lips or Flews: Lips are well-pigmented, fairly clean, and fit fairly tightly over the teeth and jaws. The lips should never extend beyond the lower plane of the bottom jawline.
Nose: The nose is well-pigmented and black, blue-gray, or self-colored in non-standard varieties. The nostrils are well-opened. The nose should never be “split-nosed.” The nose may protrude just slightly beyond, or may remain flush with the vertical line of the end of the muzzle.
Cheeks: The cheeks are smoothly muscled to denote strength of masseter muscles. They should not appear chiseled or coarse.
Dentition and Bite: Forty-two strong, clean, white teeth. Bite may be level or scissor. Contact must be made between the top and bottom incisors. Missing or broken teeth as a result of routine work is not to be penalized.
Eyes: Moderate to somewhat large in size, somewhat oval to almond in shape, and ranging in color from medium to dark brown in color, with blue colored dogs exhibiting a slightly lighter eye color. Non-standard colors can include blue (including bi-colored, flecked, or marbled) in merle dogs, as well as amber or hazel. The corners of the eyes may range from horizontally set to just slightly oblique. The eye rims are well-fitted and well-pigmented. The eyes are never bulging. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes. Any signs of entropion or ectropion are incorrect for this breed.
Ears: Medium in size. Set fairly high on the skull, with the lower corner set slightly higher than the level of the eyes. Ears may be natural or surgically cropped. Natural ears preferably hang with the inner edges and tips away from the head (preferred rose or tulip) or half-pricked (semi-erect) with tips somewhat away from the head, or fully erect. Cropped ears are cut to a medium length and are held erect, however, an otherwise excellent specimen should not be penalized for an improper crop or fallen cropped ears.

Body and Tail

General Description: Agile, powerful, and of good substance. The body is never racy or refined, or heavy and cloddy like that of a mastiff. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters.
Neck: Moderate in length to allow for proud and alert head carriage and powerfully muscled with a slight arch. The neck tapers smoothly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is clean-cut, without excess skin, throatiness, or dewlap.
Chest: Deep, broad, but never wider than deep. The brisket extends to the point of the elbows. The depth of the body (from withers to brisket) is equal or just slightly greater than the distance from the ground to the elbow and brisket. The forechest is well-developed, yet never overly prominent.
Topline: The topline may be straight and level from slightly prominent withers to croup, or straight with just a very slight incline from the slightly prominent withers to the croup. The back is broad, strongly muscled, and straight, yet supple. The loin is short, taut, flat and level, or slightly arched, yet supportive. The back is never elongated, swayed, or roached.
Croup: Powerful, and gently sloped.
Underline: A slight to moderate tuck up present. The underline is taut and firm, without any indication of sagging or excess weight.
Ribs: Long, well-sprung, well-laid-back, oval-shaped, never barrel-chested or slab-sided.
Tail: May be set somewhat low, to neither high nor low on the croup, but as a natural extension of the topline. It is thick at the base and tapering toward the tip. The tail is carried in accordance with the dog’s mood and energy level, usually in a neutral relaxed position, below the level of the topline, but never tucked, or carried up over the back. The ideal tail has a “hook” toward the end, forming a “J” when relaxed or neutral. When in motion, it is straightened and raised somewhat. Tails are never docked short. The natural tail is of a somewhat long length, with the tip of the last vertebrae extending to the hock joints when held down, or just slightly below.

Forequarters and Hindquarters

Forequarters: Forequarters are always in balance with the hindquarters. Forequarters are well-angulated with well-laid-back shoulder blades. Shoulder blades are long and approximately equal in length to the upper arm and forearm.
Elbows: Elbows are close to the body. The distance from the withers to the brisket may be equal to, or just greater than, the distance from the elbows to the ground.
Forelegs: Frontal View: Straight, of good muscle, sturdy bone, and parallel to one another.
Side View: The forelimbs appear straight with strong pasterns.
Pasterns: Never weak or broken.
Hindquarters: Upper thigh and lower thigh are long, and equal in length, strong, of sturdy bone, and well-muscled.
Rear View: When viewed from the rear, the rear pasterns are parallel to one another.
Side View: Good angulation will allow the rear toes to align with the point of the rump or within one to two paw-lengths behind the point of the rump, with the rear pasterns remaining perpendicular to the ground and parallel to one another.
Stifle Joint: Well-angulated with a good bend to well-let-down rear pasterns.
Angulations: Angulation of hindquarters is always in balance with angulation of forequarters.
Feet: Oval to round, compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads. One distinguishing characteristic of the Briard breed is that they are polydactyle on the hindlimbs. The Briard should exhibit two well-formed dewclaws (double-dewclaws), each with complete nails, on each rear pastern, close to the feet.

Coat

Skin: Well-fitted, yet supple. The skin should never obstruct the outline of the dog.
Coat Type: The coat is protective, coarse, shaggy, dry, and of a medium-long length on the body. The coat on the shoulders, chest, and neck is slightly more profuse and longer, reaching to approximately 6 inches as an adult. The coat should never appear so long as to obstruct the overall outline of the dog, nor should it appear long and silky. The undercoat is soft and fine throughout. The head and face is well furnished, with eyebrows that arch up and outward, along with a well-developed moustache and beard. The ears and tail are well fringed as well. The Briard is a working dog, and softness of coat, extreme coat thickness and length should be penalized, as this is a trend found in the breed. Proper coats have been likened to that of a long-haired goat: rugged, harsh, durable, and protective. The Briard should also be shown and exhibited in as natural a coat as possible. The coat should be clean, and free from tangles, clipping, and fuss.
Coat Color or Pattern: CKC recognizes two color varieties of the Briard breed: the standard color and nonstandard color variety.

Standard coat color variety: Solid colors including black, blue, gray, tan, tawny, wheaten, or fawns (tan to red with melanistic mask), black, blue, or gray clear, tipped, or shaded sable, black, blue, gray with varying amounts of tan or red points, or creeping tan or red, black, blue, gray saddle with tan or red. All with or without melanistic mask or mask extension of black, blue, or gray. A small amount of white is permissible on the chest and toes.

Nonstandard coat color variety: Includes colors and texture not defined by the standard color, including liver, piebald, or solid white.

Movement

Smooth, flowing gait with graceful movements. Energetic, effortless, and efficient. Capable of covering much ground with long strides. The characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the centerline of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.

Temperament

The Briard is a large dog with an even larger personality. His personality is only surpassed by his devotion to his family, especially children (and are sometimes known to intervene when the child is being scolded). An excellent working dog, he thoroughly enjoys his duties, but he can also be a lovable goof when comfortable and well-adjusted with his family. As with most herding breeds, Briards can range from indifferent to aloof with strangers. They are watchful of “their” property and quick to alert, making them excellent watch dogs. Because of their size, early training and socialization should be implemented to ensure that the Briard becomes the well-adjusted and discerning companion that his ancestors have been known as for centuries. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.

Faults

All dogs should be in proper healthy condition, free from disease or defect. Any departure from this description is considered a fault. Unless altered, all male dogs should have two fully descended testicles.