FCI standard Nº 113

Group 1 Sheepdogs and Cattle Dogs (except Swiss Cattle Dogs)
Section 1 Sheepdogs
With working trial
Acceptance on a definitive basis by the FCI
Tuesday 14 December 1954
Publication of the official valid standard
Tuesday 04 November 2008
Last update
Friday 23 January 2009
En français, cette race se dit
Berger de Brie
Diese Norm ist in deutscher Sprache sichtbar
Berger de Brie
En español, esta raza se dice
Pastor de Brie
In het Nederlands, wordt dit ras gezegd


Sheepdog and guard dog.

Brief historical summary

Known for a long time as Chiens de Berger français de Plaine (French Lowlands Sheepdog). It was in 1809, in the Abbot Rozier’s "Complete Agricultural Course", that the name "chien de Brie" appeared for the first time. It was bred and selected for its herd-driving and guarding aptitudes. The French army also used it during the two world wars as, among other activities, sentinel and ambulance dog searching for the wounded in the war fields.

General appearance

The Briard is hardy, supple, muscled and well proportioned; lively and alert.

Important proportions

The Briard is of medium build. The length of the body, from the point of shoulder to the point of buttock, should be slightly greater that the height at withers. The head is long: 2/5th of the height at withers. The width of the skull is slightly less than ½ of the length of the head. The skull and the muzzle are of equal length.

Behaviour / temperament

Balanced temperament, neither aggressive nor timid. The Briard should be steady and fearless.


Cranial region

Strong, long, covered with hair forming beard, moustache and eyebrows slightly veiling the eyes. Seen from the side, the lines of the skull and muzzle are parallel.
Strong, very slightly rounded seen from the side. 
Pronounced; at equal distance from the occiput and the tip of the nose.

Facial region

Strong. The nostrils are well open. The nose is always black except in blue dogs which have either a blue or bluish nose.
strong, sufficiently broad and never pointed.
Lips are tight fitting.
Nasal bridge
Jaws and teeth
Strong jaws; white teeth. Scissors bite.
Oval. Horizontal, well open, rather large and of dark colour. In blue dogs, paler coloured eyes are permitted.
Set on high, not plastered against the head and rather short if left natural. The length of the cartilage of the uncropped ear should be equal to or slightly less than half the length of the head. The ears are always flat and covered with long hair. If cropped, in countries where this practice is not forbidden, they should be carried erect, neither divergent nor convergent.


Muscled and springing well up from the shoulders.


The back is straight.
The loin is short and firm.
Only slightly sloping, of slightly rounded shape.
Wide and long, well let down to the elbows: ribs well sprung.


Natural, carried low, it reaches at least the hock joint, without deviation, forming a slight hook like a “J”. In action, the tail may be carried at the highest in prolongation of the topline.



Well muscled with strong bone and upright.
Oblique, well angulated, moderately long, fitting closely to the thoracic wall.
In line with the body.
Straight and muscled.
Slightly sloping, seen from the side.
Strong, round and well in axis with the body. The nails are always black (except in blues) and the pads hard. Toes should be well knit and arched.


Well muscled with strong bone and upright.
Upper thigh
Perfectly vertical, seen from behind.
Not too low down and well angulated.
Hind feet
Strong, round. The nails are always black (except in blues) and the pads hard. Toes should be well knit. Dewclaws : By tradition, the shepherds want to keep the double dewclaws. The dewclaws form thumbs, well separated and with nails, relatively close to the foot.

Gait and movement

Regular, supple, harmonious, in a manner which allows the dog to cover ground and accomplish its work with a minimum of effort and fatigue. The Briard should have a long trot with good reach and good thrust from behind.


Goat-like texture, dry, supple, long, with slight undercoat.
Black, fawn, fawn with black overlay (slight to medium) often with mask, grey or blue. A coat of warm fawn colour may show a lighter colour on the points and on the inclined parts of the body (fawn marked with sandy colour). Black, grey and blue coats can likewise display zones of a lighter shade. All colours may show different degrees of greying.

Size and weight

Height at withers
Males 62 – 68 cm, females 56 – 64 cm.


• Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and its ability to perform its traditional work.
• Faults listed should be in degree of seriousness.

Serious faults

 Severe faults in limbs.
 Overall coat colour too light.
 Coat: insufficient length (less than 7cm), hair soft or woolly.

Disqualifying faults

 Aggressive or overly shy.
 Stop absolutely not marked.
 Nose of colour other than black or blue; presence of pink (unpigmented areas).
 Overshot or undershot with loss of contact of incisors; absence of 2 lower PM4 or absence of 3 teeth or more whichever they are (except for PM1).
 Eye too light (yellow), wall eye.
 Ears curling inwards, set on too low beneath eye level, covered with short hair, naturally erect.
 Tail curled up or carried vertically.
 Single dewclaw or total absence of dewclaws on hindlegs.
 White, brown or mahogany colour; coat of two distinct colours; white blaze, white hairs on the extremities of the limbs, fawn coat with saddle.
 Size outside the limits of the standard with tolerance of +2cm or -1cm.
 Fraudulent modification of the dog or evidence of such practice by use of substances or surgery.

NB :

• Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
• The above mentioned faults when occurring to a highly marked degree or frequently are disqualifying.
• Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
• Only functionally and clinically healthy dogs, with breed typical conformation should be used for breeding.



Detailed history

As his close cousin Beauceron, Berger de Brie, or Briard, probably does not draw his name from its geographical origin, and we can not say with certainty that this breed very old, perhaps from the dog peat bogs known from prehistory, was born in this or that province.

Although some lend it a more distant origin, linked to the legend of the dog Montargis, the name of Berger de Brie appears for the first time in 1809 in the course of agriculture of the abbot Rozier, which differentiates the two big Shepherds' families then present on our territory: "In the countries of plain, open hillsides and in the daytime walks of woolly animals, the dog of Brie is the one who is employed. This dog has short ears and tail directed horizontally or curved upwards or sometimes hanging, his hair is long on the whole body, black is the dominant color. It is not his beauty that makes his merit, his perfections are born of his obedience, his activity, his industry. We do not see what is the custom of cutting his tail and ears, but we can see why it is prudent to cut the hooks at six months if he announces to become too ardent. His job is to make the wool beasts obey by his voice and his combined movements and not by his bites. For countries of woods and mountains, rugged or strewn with thick bushes or for night-watch, and finally for all the places which favor the voracity of the wolves, the shepherds will have to join to the dog of Brie more robust defenders, mastiffs of strong race. "

To the Berger de Brie, therefore, the role of herdsman, to the ancestor of the Beauceron, since it is him who is at stake, the guard of the beasts against their predators. If the description of the abbot Rozier evokes in certain points the Briard as we know it today, it also reveals the rather great heterogeneity which reigned at the time within the same group of dogs. This is not surprising, considering that, until the end of the nineteenth century, the evolution of animal races was more a part of natural self-selection than of rational breeding and, on the other hand, as the quoted text clearly shows, that the aesthetics of the animal was then quite negligible in its working qualities.

The first modern document available to us was a photograph taken in 1863 by Léon Crémière as part of the first canine exhibition in Paris, an event of which he immortalized all the laureates. She shows a dog named Charmante who, ranked first among the sheepdogs, has some similarities with our Briard today.

In 1888, in his newspaper L'Éleveur, the military veterinarian Pierre Mégnin returns to the distinction between the Long-haired Shepherd called "de Brie" and the short-haired shepherd that he suggested to christen "de Beauce" to better differentiate him from the Briard: "Brie's dog," he writes, "is the result of crossing Barbet with the Beauceron. It has the same proportions, as it has short ears and straight, but differs in its long fur and woolly, usually slate, dark or black dyed. He is often cut off the tail. It has the same qualities as the old French sheepdog. And, to complete his description, Pierre Mégnin publishes a drawing of a dog of this type, baptized Sans Gêne, first prize and gold medal of the Minister of Agriculture.

It will still take five years for these two categories of dogs to be truly recognized because, as Pierre Mégnin later wrote, "Until 1893, even in dog shows, no race was distinguished; the various appellations: dogs of Brie, Beauce, Pyrenees, Picard, Crau, Languedoc, Ardennes, etc., only related to their country of origin.

It was finally in January 1896 that a commission, composed of competent personalities gathered for the occasion in the great market hall of La Villette under the presidency of Emmanuel Boulet, was to lay the foundations of the first standards and encourage the creation of the Club. French Shepherd Dog, which, sponsored and subsidized by the Ministry of Agriculture, will meet for the first time the following year. Its statutes, as published shortly thereafter in the Official Journal, assign it precise objectives, summed up by veterinarian, judge and international cynological expert Maurice Luquet in his book Les Chiens de Berger français: "Encourage, by all possible means, the breeding, raising and training of our very useful breeds of French Shepherds, by organizing sheepdog competitions at work and exhibitions, by popularizing by engraving the beautiful types and by adding the description of each variety so to facilitate the choice of breeders and to inform the breeders, by inviting the members to register their students well typed in the French Book of Origins (LOF), in order to make known to the amateurs the dogs of the race followed ". For some time, the standard of the Berger de Brie distinguished two varieties of dogs, one with woolly hair, the other with goat hair, but only the latter survived because the hair the ineux had too many disadvantages, including a significant tendency to felting. Thanks to the foundation, in 1909, at the initiative of Mr. Lamarque, the club "Friends of Briard", thanks also to the efforts of breeders and exhibitors, the Berger de Brie was soon to know a very large success in his country of origin first, then abroad, while progressively evolving towards the type we know today.

Under the pseudonym of Sédir, Yvon Le Loup published in 1926 a study on Briard called The Shepherd of Brie, dog of France, in which he wrote in particular: "In a general way, I think that the dogs with long hair seem to be smarter than those with short hair. They understand better what their master asks of them, and learn faster. They have a gentleness, a loyalty, a fidelity above average. Brie's dog possesses these qualities to the highest degree. If Sedir's thesis is far, and for good reason, to be unanimous among dog-lovers, he is not, on the other hand, an amateur of Briard who does not share his enthusiasm for the moral qualities of a dog of which Gaby Morlay said with a consumed sense of the formula: "It's a heart with hair around. Indeed, a true Briard seduces at first sight with his equilibrium, his calmness, his delicacy also, astonishing in such a powerful athlete, and by love; the word is not for once too strong; that he is devoted to his master and his family. A love that is read in his big dark eyes and which, born of mutual respect, feeds on instinctive understanding; some even say divination; of what can satisfy his entourage.

It is only to observe a Briard in his family circle to measure his innate sense of adaptation to situations and people: big plush soft for the little ones on which he watches, without seeming, with a jealous care, complicit in games and playfulness of the greatest, tireless partner of adults walking, skiing or on the beach, he also knows how to temper his natural exuberance in the presence of the weaker or the elderly, and even, supreme virtue in this great sensitive always looking for affection, to be forgotten at the restaurant or traveling. But, make no mistake. This great companion dog, that fat, ruffled man who is so gentle with children, has remained a shepherd dog in his soul, and woe to whom his loved ones or their property would be threatened. Because, beneath his outside of big friendly teddy bear, the Briard is also a guardian-born, heir of a long tradition of dedication and courage, which will defend until the end those whom he likes.

Distrustful by nature with strangers, it is not aggressive, provided that it is not attached to a chain or locked in a kennel. The Briard indeed needs a permanent contact with his master to flourish and develop his intelligence, which is great. With him, no problem of training. He knows instinctively what is expected of him, and his excellent memory allows him to quickly assimilate the notions taught to him. His education will be undertaken from an early age, firmly, certainly, but above all with tenderness. Because, with him, brutality really does not pay: it is on the contrary the surest way to "break" the character, to make a dog fearful or, worse, vindictive, which will never be a real Briard. And all the experts confirm it: the best watchdogs and defense dogs are not recruited from the tainted subjects, but, on the contrary, among the balanced dogs, sure of themselves and their strength.

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