EXAMINING THE BRIARD
by THE BRIARD CLUB OF AMERICA Breed Education Committee
T he Briard is handsome, alert and powerful without coarse- ness. He must possess the structural integrity and men- tal versatility necessary to accomplish his roles as a herding dog used to keep his flock within the boundaries of a des- ignated graze and an all purpose farm dog, serving the shepherd in diverse tasks. These roles which keep him on the move for long hours demand sound- ness, efficiency and athleticism above all other things. A hands-on examination and evalua- tion of movement is necessary to deter- mine the details of the breed standard. Touching the dog to verify what the coat covers is critical to the evaluation of the Briard. Learning to identify the landmarks under the coat will assist the eye in scrutinizing the movement which can be shrouded by the dense Briard coat. There is ample range allowed in size, keeping in mind that under- size is a disqualification. Dogs range from 23"-27", bitches 22"-25 ½ ". The dog should appear masculine and the bitch feminine, irrespective of size. It is perfectly possible that there will be dogs in the ring that are smaller than bitches. The acceptable size range allows for dogs that might be shorter in
height than bitches, yet are well within standard height. Briard proportion can create some visual confusion, primarily due to the illusion the coat can create. The mea- suring points are clearly defined by the standard. The Briard is equal to or slight- ly longer than its height at the withers, measured from the point of shoulder to point of buttock. Bitches may be a little longer, which is not a mandate but rather a possibility. The word “slightly” is defined as, “very small in size, degree, amount or importance”. When explain- ing the significance of “slightly”, in the breed we often say that if one were to be at the edge of the Grand Canyon, and you were asked to step forward slightly, how far forward would you go? It is indeed a very small measurement. This image clarifies the nuance of the word. Being a coated and tailed breed call- ing for a “moderately advanced breast- bone”, the Briard will appear off-square. As specifically stated in the AKC stan- dard, “The Briard is not cobby in build”. It is believed that the word cobby was used in its literal sense per its defini- tion: “cobby, as that of a Cobb horse, small, usually of stout build”, referring to a type of body and not to describe the length of back as the word is often used in the dog world today. The “cob- by” image calls to mind a Briard that
is heavy and inelegant, like that of a draft horse. The withers are prominent, the back straight, the loin broad, with croup slightly sloped. The ribs are moderately curved in an inverted egg shape. The correlation between the depth of chest, breastbone and ribcage are important, as they enhance the correct shape of the dog but most importantly of all, pro- vide a body shape that promotes lung and heart capacity, essential to the abil- ity to work a full day with endurance and resistance to fatigue. A Briard head gives the impression of length and sufficient width, its length being about 40% of the height of the dog at the withers. Skull and muzzle are of equal length, strong and cleanly sculptured with the planes of the head being parallel. The occiput is surpris- ingly prominent. The nose is square and must be black, no matter the color of the dog. Ears are to be set high, and may either be cropped or left natural. There is no preference given to either, but the ears should be expressive and mobile, but will not necessarily be in a constant state of alert. The eyes are set well apart, large, neither round nor almond with a horizontal axis and the upper lid is somewhat arched. They are black or black-brown, with a confident, questioning expression.
“BRIARD MOVEMENT CLEARLY DISPLAYS THE BALANCE, POWER, FLEXIBILITY AND SOUNDNESS SYNONYMOUS WITH ITS CORRECT STRUCTURE.”
S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , S EPTEMBER 2018 • 341
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