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Image from 1926 book
                                                                   Le Berger de Brie by Sédir

Briard Club of America 2014 National Specialty Critique

              Can You See What I See? Judge, Margaret Shappard

It was such an honor to be invited to judge our 2014 National      flowing reach. Those with short, choppy, or restricted steps may
Specialty. I want to thank the show committee, my ring stew-       be lacking in layback and/or have a short upper arm. Unfortu-
ards Joyce and Fran, the breeders, and exhibitors for the hospi-   nately, I found a considerable number of Briards in the classes
tality shown to me during my stay in Sturbridge.                   with problematic shoulder assemblies.
As most of you know, a conformation judge is charged with          As previously stated, most croups and tails were good. A
using her experience and education to reward those dogs that       well-angulated rear will balance with the forequarters – more on
can best make a positive contribution to the future of the breed.  this later. “Two dewclaws are required on each rear leg;” we had
Considering the way that the AKC shows are configured, only        a number that were just above the feet (including the male who
a few of the many deserving animals, especially at the National    decided that his dews were to be protected at all costs) – won-
Specialty, can be acknowledged. I was so pleased with the qual-    derful!
ity of the “last Briards standing;” all thirteen of them plus WD   The range of color in tawnys was all good, especially consider-
and WB and several veterans were, in my opinion, very good         ing the age range, and some was even excellent. Coat texture is
to excellent representatives of the breed. My evaluation of the    often difficult to assess due to bathing, product, etc., but I found
Winners Dog should be apparent, as I awarded him BOW and           none of particular concern and quite a few very good. Condi-
BOB. Briards of his quality are not often seen; I feel privileged  tioning could be improved in many, and a few were overweight
to have had him in my ring.                                        (think about those joints as the dogs get older).
I would like to share with you my overall view of this year’s      Now, on to the tough stuff. . . these problems are not new to the
entry as well as some problem areas that need attention.           breed; I have noticed them for years.
The temperament of the dogs entered was good generally; the        Head – our standard calls for “two rectangular forms, equal in
one cautious and one silly puppy were of no concern. For the       length but differing in height and width.” This means that the
most part size and proportion (height to length of body) were      muzzle should be as long as the back skull; many are not. Going
also good. Dark eyes and pigmentation as well as the required      hand-in-hand with the shorter muzzle is usually small teeth
black nose were in abundance, as were correct ear set and car-     and level bites—a coincidence? I think not. From the standard,
riage.                                                             “Bite, Teeth – strong, white, and adapting perfectly in a scissors
Most necks were in balance with the bodies, which showed           bite.”
good strength of topline. I was very pleased with the correct      Neck – a hint to those of you showing natural-eared Briards –
spring of rib and broad loin. There were some croup prob-          when the judge is viewing your dog in profile, the long coat on
lems (either too flat or too sloped), but most were good, as was   the ears blends into the neck, which can make the neck appear
reflected in the carriage of the tails. Some of the dogs carried   short. By using your collar or fingertips to lift the ears a bit
their tales too high, but I credited that to exuberance. The dogs  forward at the base, you will give the judge a better view of the
with short tails also had minimal or no crochet.                   neck.
The dogs with correct shoulder angulation should be obvious
to any educated observer because they move with a strong,

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