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Your Pet, Our Passion.

Briard

The Briard is a big, shaggy, rugged and sturdy dog with a distinctive long coat. Muscular and well proportioned they are an impressive and handsome - with keen eyesight despite the long hair over their eyes.

  • Dog suitable for experienced owners
  • Extra training required
  • Enjoys vigorous walks
  • Enjoys walking more than two hours a day
  • Large dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming daily
  • Non hypoallergenic breed
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Guard dog. Barks, alerts and it's physically protective
  • May require training to live with other pets
  • May require training to live with kids

Key Facts

Lifespan: 10 – 12 years
Weight:  34 – 38.5kg
Height:  58 – 69cm
Colours:  Coats come in various shades of fawn with or without darker markings
around the face and ears and back, slate grey or black
Size:  Large
UK Kennel Club Groups: Pastoral

Ratings

Family-friendly: 4/5
Exercise needs: 4/5
Easy to train: 4/5
Tolerates being alone: 3/5
Likes other pets: 5/5
Energy level: 4/5
Grooming needs: 2/5
Shedding: 1/5
Briard sitting in the field

Personality

Protective and alert, the Briard will be true to their herding, guarding ancestry, and this can be a problem if not socialised and trained early on. Happiest as part of a family home and involved in family activities, they are a lively and energetic dog who will enjoy games and play. Clever and quick to learn with the right motivation, the Briard doesn’t mind what job they are taught to do, as long as they get to do it with you!

Briard standing on the road

History and Origins

Country of Origin: France

The exact origin of the Briard is unclear, it is thought they arrived in France in the Middle Ages as the sheep herding dogs that accompanied nomadic peoples and their animals from the East. These were then crossed with local guarding and herding breeds along the way, and eventually became established in France as the ‘Chien Berger de Brie’ or ‘Sheepdog of Brie’, an ancient region near Paris.

There is a rather romantic 14th century tale that states Sir Aubry de Montdidier was murdered with his dog the only witness. The dog followed the murderer relentlessly until the King heard of this matter. To resolve the issue the King ordered a trial by combat, pitting the dog against the alleged murderer. Of course, legend has it the faithful dog won and became known as Aubry’s Dog or ‘Chien de Aubry” which easily becomes ‘Chien de Brie’ through common usage. We will never know what the truth of the matter is, but the Briard has a longstanding history in rural regions of France as a multi-purpose pastoral breed, herding, driving and guarding livestock against theft and predation.

During World War I they were used as Red Cross dogs, sentry dogs and ammunition carriers, which sadly depleted the population, and as such were not introduced to the UK until the late 1960’s.

Health and Common Issues

In general, Briard dogs are a healthy breed. However as with many breeds, they can suffer from various hereditary eye disorders, and hip dysplasia (a condition that can lead to mobility problems). Eye testing and hip scoring of dogs prior to breeding is therefore important.

The breed club monitor the health of the breed carefully and should be contacted for the most up-to-date information and details of any DNA or additional testing they recommend. Breed Clubs can be found on the Kennel Club website.

Exercise Needs

A minimum of two hours physical exercise including free running, training - and possibly even swimming - is imperative to keep the Briard happy and pleasant to live with. You should also add some time for mental exercise in the form of enrichment, problem solving and games.

Space Requirements

This is a large dog with a long coat, as such you’ll need space to groom and space to offer a wet dog room to dry off without covering the rest of the house in water and mud! A large secure garden is a must as is access to a wide variety of interesting walks with secure areas to let them run off lead. This is a dog better suited to the rural suburbs or a countryside home due to both their size and guarding instincts.

Nutrition and Feeding

Large breeds like the Briard dog, as well as having large appetites, benefit from a different balance of nutrients including minerals and vitamins compared to smaller-breed dogs.

Briards are prone to bloating and stomach problems; smaller, more frequent meals can help minimise this risk.

Grooming Briard

Grooming demands are considerable as this is a dog with a lot of coat who loves the great outdoors. Plenty of brushing and combing of their coarse double coat is required to help limit shedding, to prevent matting and to keep the coat clean and tangle-free. Line-brushing (the technique of brushing upwards layer by layer) down to the skin is recommended. The inside of the ears must be kept clean and any excessive hair removed. Likewise, the excess hair between the pads of their feet must be trimmed regularly.

Training Briards

With the right motivation and an understanding of the activities a Briard enjoys, this is not a difficult breed to train. Remember they are an independent thinker used to making decisions for themselves, so you need to work hard to get them to listen to you and follow your guidance. Positive reinforcement via the use of food, toys and the opportunity to perform inherently reinforcing behaviours such as herding or moving objects will work wonders. Pay particular attention to early socialisation with people outside the family, as well as other animals and livestock. As this breed has a long coat, you should get them used to grooming early as well.

Best Family Dog Breeds

The Briard is often described as a ‘heart wrapped in fur’ in reference to how loving they are to their family. However as young dogs they are large and exuberant which may make them unsuitable for homes with young children or frail/unsteady people. Ideally suited to active families who enjoy long walks and dog training as a hobby in its own right. Older children and teenagers may enjoy training or working a Briard in a variety of competitions and sports. Their exercise and grooming requirements will take up multiple hours per day so keep this in mind.

While many dogs are traditionally thought of as being good with children, all dogs and children need to be taught to get on with and respect each other, and be safe together. Even so, dogs and young children should never be left alone together and adults should supervise all interactions between them.

did you know?

Did You Know?

  • Briards have featured in a number of films, TV series and cartoons, notably, Get Smart, Married…With Children, Dharma & Greg, Addams Family, Dennis the Menace (1993 live action film), Looney Tunes and quite a few more.
  • Traditionally the Briards ears were cropped and made to stand upright giving the dog a very different appearance, however this practice is thankfully now illegal in most of Europe including Britain and France, and hopefully the practice will die out worldwide as it is inhumane, wholly unnecessary and extremely painful for the dog.
  • Owners of the breed often report on how affectionate they are. Many even say that they ‘grieve’ when separated from their humans!
  • The Briard is a breed of many talents and have been used as service dogs and therapy dogs.
  • They have double dew claws which helps them balance, even on the most uneven of terrains!

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