|Country of origin:||France|
|Registries:||AKC, UKC, CKC|
|Size:||22 to 27 in tall; 70 to
|Longevity:||10 to 12 years
|Training:||Moderate; hard to
With an ancestry that may include the Beauceron and the Barbet, this breed is named after the French province of Brie, although it is far from certain that it originated there. The Briard has been a shepherd’s guardian for centuries, becoming more widely popular in the latter part of the 19th century, and is one of France’s most popular companion breeds today. Used by the French army in World War I, it was taken to the United States by returning soldiers, but took 50 years to become established there. Breeders have worked to eliminate shyness and aggression, and the best Briards make lively but well-mannered companions and guard dogs.
Breed name synonyms: Berger Briard, Berger de Brie
The Briard is considered to be one of the oldest known breeds in the world. It is a French sheepdog of ancient heritage. The Briard is a treasure handed down from the days of Napoleon and CharlemagneIt. Other loyal fanciers of the breed were Tomas Jefferson and Lafayette.
Originally Briards were used as sheep dogs. They were supposed to protect the herds from wolfs and poachers. Later on, because of their incredible sense of hearing, the French Army used them as messengers and a search dogs for wounded soldiers.
The name of the breed is quite controversial. According to one theory it is after Aubry of Montidier, who supposedly owned an early Briard. Another, widely accepted theory is that the dog was named after the French province of Brie, even though it did not originate from there.
The breed standard waxes poetic about the Briard’s temperament. He is said to be a dog of heart, with untamed spirit and enthusiastic initiative, wise and fearless and with no trace of shyness or timidity. The Briard should also be easily trained, faithful, curious, gentle and obedient, brave, independent with an excellent memory and an ardent desire to please.
This often referred to as a “heart wrapped in fur” dog, is true to his French roots – he is aloof with strangers, but affectionate and loving toward members of his pack. Briards thrive on participating in family activities. They are very emotional and capable of crying for a long time after their owners’ departure.
The Briard’s outward appearance does not quite give the correct impression of the dog. While he may look like a cute fluffy teddy bear, the Briard is a large, strong and muscular herding dog. Females weight 50-80lb (22.5-36.5 kg) and their height at withers is 22-25.5” (56-65cm), while the males weight 60-100lb (27.5-45.5kg) and their height at withers is 23-27” (58.5-68.5cm).
The Briard’s at least 6’’ long coat is wavy, silky and glossy. All colors except white are accepted. The most common colors are black, gray and shades of tawny. It is okay to have more than one color on a dog, as long as the change is gradual.
Training and socialization are of paramount importance when raising a Briard. Briards have the potential to be wonderful well-behaved dogs, but they do not come that way automatically. They are highly trainable dogs and thrive on mastering new tasks.
The first step toward successful training and handling a Briard is establishing yourself as the Alpha of the pack. Rewards based regimens are good but one should always bear in mind that treats can be great motivators, but if the dog only obeys for a treat, then he is in charge of his obedience, not the owner.
Briards can suffer from some musculoskeletal conditions such as hip dysplasia and panosteitis (a painful condition that can cause severe limping); ocular conditions such as central progressive retinal atrophy (CPRA) or retinal pigment epithelial dystrophy (RPED) and hereditary retinal dystrophy (congenital stationary night blindness) and endocrine diseases such as hypothyroidism (a common hormonal disease in dogs in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroxin). Other health problems that may affect the Briard include cutaneous lymphoma, hemangiosarcoma and von Willerbrand disease (a life threatening bleeding disorder).
Although gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV) affects primarily large, deep chested breeds, the Briard has a genetic predisposition towards this condition.
The Briard’s lifespan is estimated to be 14-16 years.