Quick Reference: Quadruped Postures
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Quick Reference: Quadruped Postures

Quadrupeds (four-legged creatures) come in many shapes and sizes. Pictured below are but a few of the myriad of creatures known to heraldry.

Antelope Bear Rabbit Dog Dragon Griffon
Lion Panther Squirrel Stag Tiger Unicorn

In addition to the many different types of four legged creatures found in heraldry, most all of the creatures can be depicted in many different manners, known as postures. Below is a list of standard heraldic postures, along with depictions and descriptions of each.

Defining Characteristics
Stylised Drawing
Rampant - Rearing Body erect, forelegs apart and out, back-rear leg off the ground. Rampant Rampant
Salient - Leaping Body erect and elongated, forelegs out and together, rear legs together and on the ground salient salient
Courant - Running Body elongated, head erect, all four legs extended. courant courant
Passant - walking Body horizontal, head angled or erect, three feet touching the ground with the right foreleg raised. passant passant
Statant - standing Body horizontal, head angled or erect, all four feet touching the ground. statant statant
Sejant - sitting Body angled, head erect, all four legs touching the ground, rear legs curved and front legs straight. sejant sejant
Sejant Erect - sitting upright Body and head erect, the rear legs as in sejant and the forelegs apart and out. sejant erect sejant erect
Sejant Affronty - sitting facing the viewer ("in full aspect") As Sejant, but viewed from the front, so the belly of the creature is fully visible. The 'knees' of the rear legs are splayed to give a better 'view'. Sejant Affronty Sejant Affronty
Sejant Erect Affronty - sitting upright facing the viewer As Sejant Affronty, but with the forelegs upraised and spread wide. Sejant erect Affronty Sejant erect Affronty
Couchant - lying down Body horizontal, head erect with legs tucked under the body. couchant couchant
Dormant - sleeping Body horizontal, legs tucked under body and head down in a sleeping position using forelegs as a pillow. dormant dormant

Finally, the position of the head, if not looking 'forward', is blazoned explicitly. If the beast is looking at the viewer, it is considered "gardant" and if it is looking back over it's shoulder, it is considered "regardant". Thus:
sejant sejant gardant sejant regardant
a lion sejant a lion sejant gardant a lion sejant regardant

This page originally appeared in a Heraldic Primer originally created by Iulstan Sigewealding (Stephen Gold) and expanded/updated by Meradudd Cethin (Timothy Shead). Some minor formatting changes, fixes, and updates have been made to bring it in alignment with current practice.