The Guild of Shepherds & Collies

5 Types of Herding Breed Dog “Bites”

types of herding breed dog bites

There are five basic types of herding breed dog bites - which bite does your dog have?

“How is his bite?” When dog fanciers ask a friend this, they aren’t referring to the temperament and aggression of the dog in question. Instead, they are wondering about the occlusion or alignment of the dog’s teeth. There are a few types of herding breed dog bites, but only one is the most preferred.

Most herding breed standards (the description of a “perfect” example of the breed, as determined by the parent club for the breed) ask for a “scissors bite”. The Briard standard is an example: “Bite, Teeth--strong, white and adapting perfectly in a scissors bite” (AKC Briard Club of America). Many standards, such as the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, do allow for a “level bite”, but scissors is almost universally preferred.

So what does this all mean and why is it important? First, the “bite” of a herding breed dog is important due to their origins. While ideally your herding dog would not have to nip or grip to move livestock, there are times when it has to be done. A recalcitrant steer or an aggressive ram may both need an added incentive to move along. The AKC judges guidelines on dentition mention that herding dogs should not be docked for broken teeth or teeth that may have been knocked out while working. In general, that would apply to incisors or possibly canines that could be injured by a kick or a rough fall. Missing premolars and molars are faulted in many standards.

Here are three types of “bites” your herding breed dog may have:

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