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|
Briard Dog Video: Norman scooting
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.
Temperament and Behavior
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.
Being working dogs, the briard would become restless and acquire behavioral issues if they are not given the proper form of daily exercise and activities, including jogging, long walking, or even better, to let it run with its owner’s bicycle and swimming, which they are actually fond of.
Although the briard’s coat is not prone to catch dirt naturally (similar to goat’s coat), however, they need vigorous grooming for keeping their long fur glossy and healthy, as also to make it shed lesser and prevent getting matted. Keep ears clean and cut off excessive hair their and on the foot-pads, bath them once every 6 to 8 weeks, brush their teeth 2 to 3 times a week, trim nails fortnightly, and for best results, devote at least two hours per week on your dog.
Commonly screened for congenital SNB (Stationary Night Blindness) with DNA test inherited through recessive genes, this breed is even vulnerable to losing eyesight, especially at older age, including other diseases like CHD, night blindness, PRA, gastric torsion, cardiac problems, hip dysplasia etc.
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.
- Press accounts dating back to 1982 have tied the Briard to 2 human attacks, including one death.
- Briards would tend to push people and other family pets with head in order to keep them ‘within boundaries’.
- These dogs are suited ideally to defense dog/police dog trials.
- These purebreds have been mixed in recent times by breeders, like the Afghan Hound / Briard mixes, popular as the ‘Afaird’.
- In ‘Dennis the Menace’, there is a briard character called Ruff.
- A briard named Norman made its name across the net for its videos showing its scooting skills (see video below).
- The largest recorded litter size of the briard is 17.
- Historical characters like Napoleon, Charlemagne, Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson all owned their own briard dogs.