Briard dogs are sizeable (but not heavyweight), handsome dogs with distinctive long coats. The most usual colours are black and fawn, although slate grey is also seen. They are muscular, rugged and well proportioned. Their muscular necks carry their heads with pride. In spite of all the hair they have around their eyes, they are very keen sighted! Adult females measure 58-65cm and weigh about 34kg; adult males measure 61-69cm and weigh about 38.5kg.
- Category size: Large
- Grooming requirements: Daily
- Shedding: Moderate
- Allergies: No
- Noise: Not too noisy
- Dog Group Kennel Club: Pastoral
- Alone: 1 to 3 hours
- Other pets: Medium
- Stability as a guard: Medium
The Briard dog breed 's exact origin is unknown, but it's thought that they were established in Europe in the Middle Ages, stemming from Oriental sheep-herding dogs with crosses to local guarding breeds. In France this combination created the Briard dog. One version of an ancient tale states that Aubry of Montdidier was murdered with the only witness being his dog. The dog followed the killer constantly and the King was made aware of the situation and ordered a dual between the killer and the dog (a common occurrence in the Middle Ages). The dog won! The Briard's physical and working abilities suggest descent from Aubry's dog. The breed took its name from a derivative of the French region of Brie.
Protective by nature, Briard dogs are tough, alert and brave dogs and can be problematic with other dogs if not handled correctly. They will accept other household pets if introduced properly. They are happiest in the home as part of the family and will regard strangers suspiciously. They are lively dogs that love to engage in games, but these can turn rough; therefore care should be taken if there are younger children in the household.
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.
Exercise requirements are high to satisfy the energy levels of this breed. They love swimming and running and should have two-plus hours of physical exercise each day, along with training to stimulate mind as well as body.
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 demands are considerable, although no specialised groomers are necessary. Plenty of brushing and combing of their coarse double coats 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.