The very old herding dog breed Briard (pronounced: BREE-ard) is a purebred dog that has made its name included down the history of time and has been popular for its flowing coat hair, rendering it a cute look along with its hanging ears (sometimes cropped, although, now becoming illegal in Europe), wide muzzle, long beard and moustache, black, square nose, large eyes, J-shaped tail, powerful, large feet. Their body length is almost the same as height.
|Other Names||Berger Briard, Berger de Brie|
|Coat||Double, long, fine|
|Color||Tawny, fawn, grey, black (with variations)|
|Group (of Breed)||Working, Herding|
|Lifespan||10 to 12 years|
|Weight/Size||Male: 66 to 88 pounds; Female: 55 to 77 pounds|
|Height||Male: 24 to 27 inches; Female: 23 to 26 inches|
|Temperament||Intelligent, aggressive, loving, protective, independent|
|Country of Origin||France|
|Litter Size||8 to 10 puppies|
|Good with Children||Yes|
|Competitive Registration||CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, KCGB, CKC, ANKC, NKC, NZKC, APRI, ACR, DRA, NAPR, ACA|
Loved by the French people since the middle ages, we find this breed has been mentioned in 12th-century records and depicted in 8th-century tapestries. Centuries back, they were used by their owners as guard against poachers and wolves. Briards started getting involved in more peaceful tasks after the French Revolution was over, like guarding master’s property or herding flocks. However, their history has not been documented well in USA, but some give credit to the Marquis de Lafayette for introducing the breed, however, Thomas Jefferson had also brought a few specimens of the briard in America.
These French dogs can make a ‘serious philosopher’ or a humorous clown. The faithful, protective and devoted briard would always try to stay at home and keep its family happy and look after the children with its long history of working with humans, however, willing to serve as an adventure companion as well. The self-assured and independent breed tends to be aggressive at times and is keen, watchful and reserved with strangers. Being bred for herding centuries back, the dog tends to guard its flock, wherein, it sees it family to be the ‘flock’ and the strangers as predators. This territorial, quick-moving and agile dog is good with other pets in the family, if raised together, however, they thrive on vigorous athletic activities. The light gait of this dog has been described as ‘quicksilver’, rendering them the ability to make abrupt turns, sudden stops or bouncing starts required of a sheepdog.
The foremost duty of the owner is to train it to socialize, which is especially important for this breed in order to ward off herding behavior that results in aggression towards strangers and smaller pets. Being stubborn and aggressive, this breed would want to establish leadership on its owner for which reason, act as the pack leader while training or going out for walks etc. Set rules clearly and firmly, encouraging it to accept more outsiders, or to stay away from habits like digging, chewing, nipping at heels etc. Crate training is also important, especially when still a puppy.
Briards tend to be obese and hence keeping an eye on what they eat is important, including growing healthy habits like dividing their meal into two parts, rather than one single meal, and with a 12-hour pace. Most kind of meat, vegetable, fruit and unmodified starch (potatoes, rice) table scraps are okay to add to their diet, provided it doesn’t exceed recommended calorie intake. For dry kibbles, 3 to 4 cups of high-quality food per day is enough.