The Briard’s Coat: A Variation of Scratch n’ Sniff

Like most herding breeds, the Briard’s coat is an important part of its conformation. As a working dog performing in all manner of weather, a Briard’s coat must have proper texture to withstand the elements. In some breed descriptions, such as the one presented by the British Briard Club, the ideal texture is described as a “goat’s coat:” Somewhat coarse, but smooth and falling naturally into undulating locks (as an aside, a reference to a “goat-like” coat in a herding breed isn’t limited to the British Briard Club’s coat description for the Briard. Both the Bergamasco and Pyrenean Shepherd AKC standards discuss it, as well).

While the Briard’s AKC standard makes no mention of a “goat coat,” it does provide a brief, but vivid hands-on “exercise” on how a proper Briard coat should not only feel, but sound: “Coat: 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.”

The “rub and hear” variation to “scratch and sniff.”

From our point of view, standards that have been “standardized” (or made uniform the way they are in England’s Kennel Club), leave out the wonderful descriptions, terms, and phrases that make our breeds so unique from each other. Bravo to the Briard Club of America and the AKC for maintaining language that is so illustrative.

Image: “The Briard” by Gretchen Bjornson is available as art, lifestyle items, and home decor here


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