The Briard is a very ancient breed of dog that has its roots in France and has been mentioned in several books and work of arts since the 14th century.
They were greatly used by early settlers as working dogs and to protect herds of sheep from predators (wolves) and poachers.
Legend has it that a Briard, together with Robert Macaire, tried to avenge its owner’s murder (Aubry of Montdidier) in a judicial court.
Some famous people who are said to have owned Briards include Charlemagne, Napoleon, Thomas Jefferson, and Lafayette.
The first known standard for the Briard was documented by a certain dog breeder’s club during the year 1897. In 1909, a French society called Les Amis du Briard was founded.
The said group was disbanded in the course of World War II but reformed again in 1923. Two years later, they established a more accurate standard for the Briard. The Briard Club of America (1928) adopted this standard with slight modification.
Traits and Behavior
Bright, alert, friendly, and generally an obedient companion, the Briard is among the most loved pet dog in Europe, and probably throughout the world. The Briard learns quickly and is eager to please his owner, thus it is easy to train.
These dogs are also excellent watchdogs. They tend to be very protective of their home and family.
Briards like to work. They are naturally wary of strangers and unfamiliar animals, but once they are introduced to each other, it won’t take long for them to become instant friends.
Generally, they are good and outgoing towards children, their fellow dogs, and as well as other pets.
One important thing to always remember is that if you allow these dogs to assume that they are above you, various behavioral issues might arise.
These includes (but not limited to): separation anxiety, obsessive barking, aggressiveness, stubbornness, and aloofness.
Without keeping their minds busy and activated, they can become hyperactive which people will surely find very annoying.
Pet Care and Diseases
The Briard is generally a healthy breed. However, some rare health concerns have been reported to several dogs of this same breed:
- Central progressive retinal atrophy
- Elbow dysplasia
- Hip dysplasia
- Progressive retinal atrophy
- Skin and allergy problems
- Stationary night blindness
- Von Willebrand’s disease
Health testing should be performed by all responsible breeders and anyone purchasing a puppy should be aware of the genetic problems which have been found in some individuals of this particular breed.
Pay close attention to the eyes and tear ducts. Some are allergic to fleas. The thick, coat is easy to maintain.
Using a soft bristle brush, comb or brush it twice every week or once daily when it is shedding.
The Briard is energetic and very active indoors, so it needs a good workout every day.
Also, aside from exercise, this breed needs a proper diet to maintain overall well being since it tends to become overweight so easily.
The extent of the workout depends on the size of the dog.
With the Briards, a good jog or long walk is enough. Actually, for most dogs, vigorous games and activities will do okay as long as the dog does it regularly, provided with enough rest.
The Briard is a large and strong herding dog. These dogs typically stand around 58-69 cm (22-27 inches) at the shoulders and weigh approximately 25-40 kg. Ear cropping is common in the breed.
However, more and more breeders are starting to leave the ears in their natural state ever since such a procedure become illegal in most European countries, including its native France.
The feet are large, compact and round. The nails are black.
All over its body, the undercoat is fine and tight while the outer coat appears dry and coarse, flat in long curls.
Adult Briard’s coat on the shoulders could grow up to 6 inches (16 cm) or more. Their eyebrows are long.
The wide muzzle has a long moustache and beard too. The coat comes in various colors except for white. The Briard can be black and in different shades of tawny and gray.
The breed is expected to live for 10-12 years. A litter may consist of 8-10 puppies. It is also known as the Berger de Brie or Berger Briard.
Visit these dog club websites dedicated to Briards. Click this link: