Breed Category: Working
Country of Origin: France
Average Size: 57-65 cm (at the withers)
Average Weight: 33-37 kg
Average Life Span: 11-13 years
Grooming Requirements: High
Exercise Requirements: High

History

The Briard is a large multi-purpose dog that has been seen in its native France for close to 1,000 years. It has ties to famous French leaders such as Napoleon and Charlemagne. It is skilled at guarding, herding and has even excelled at hunting. Its size ensures that it is a powerful dog, but it also has the determination, athleticism and intelligence of other herding breeds. The Briard is a well-round breed that has also come to be a beloved family dog.

This is a very focused and determined dog and will herd anything if given the chance. It also protects the animals it herds, which are commonly flocks of sheep. The Briard is an intelligent dog and has been used for centuries in military and police work. It has performed countless search and rescue missions with great success due to its determination and keen eyesight and hearing. The breed’s population has been low since the World War I, and though it is not a widely popular breed, it is not considered endangered.

Appearance

The Briard has a long coat that is solid in colour. Virtually any colour is permitted, though white is not an accepted colour in show dogs. The most common shades of this breed include fawn, tan, brown and black. Darker shades are preferred.

This dog has a naturally long, slightly wavy outer coat that requires brushing nearly every day to avoid matting. For a working breed with a long coat, this breed stays relatively clean and does not usually require frequent bathing. Trimming of the fur may occasionally be necessary, especially on the paws and inside the ears. It has a beard and moustache and fur usually covers its big, dark eyes.

Its ears are naturally long and draped in fur, though they have historically been cropped in areas that permit the practice. It has a long, furry tail that curves upward at the end.

The Briard averages 57-65 cm in height and 33-37 kg in weight.

Temperament

Regular physical activity is crucial to the overall health of the Briard. This is not a dog that will be at peace spending a great deal of time indoors. If it is not used in a traditional herding or guarding role, it will find other ways to satisfy these urges. It will good-naturedly herd its family, especially young kids and small animals. It will also be innately protective of them and it is generally wary of strangers until a proper introduction is given. It bonds quickly to its family and loves all members of its household, both young and old.

Socialisation is crucial in the Briard, as it will help it learn how to properly behave around people and other animals. Discipline and obedience are also necessary. This dog is smart and takes well to training, but will quickly become dominant and potentially aggressive if it does not feel that it has a leader in its owner.

Several long and varied walks or runs each day will help tire this athletic dog. It also typically enjoys swimming and it excels at agility, herding and other organised exercises. The Briard is most content when it is physically active and when it spends time with its family. This breed is tough, tenacious and has a wonderful working attitude, but it will also serve as a loyal and affectionate family dog.

Health

Though injuries may occur when this busy dog is at its most active, the Briard is a healthy breed overall. It may experience one of several known genetic conditions that affect the breed, including cataracts, hip dysplasia and progressive retinal atrophy. Gastric torsion is another possible health problem, but frequent meals of a small size will help with this.

The average Briard lives to be 11-13 years of age, though some may certainly live longer.

Briard Dog Organisations in Australia
No club information listed

Briard Dog Organisations in the UK
American Kennel Club – Breed Rescue

Briard Dog Organisations in the US
American Kennel Club – Briard
Briard Rescue

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