The Briard’s exact origin is riddled with uncertainty but legend has it that they were established in Europe in the Middle Ages stemming from Oriental sheep-herding dogs with crosses to local guarding breeds, giving them their size and aggression. In France this combination created the Briard. 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. Charlemagne gave braces of Briards to friends and Napoleon took the breed on his military campaigns. Thomas Jefferson imported several dogs to assist American farmers and Lafayette asked them to be sent to him at his American estate. The breed gained a reputation as a trustworthy dog in combat and was named the official dog of the French army. These dogs carried supplies to the front lines, served as sentries and found the wounded. Their sturdy bodies enabled them to carry machine gun ammunition belts to the gunning replacements. They knew instinctively which soldiers needed help and which would die – it was said ‘that any man the Briard passed by was beyond assistance’. American soldiers were so impressed with the breed that it was not long before Briards were seen in America.
Briards are sizeable (but not heavyweight), handsome dogs with attractive, distinctive long coats. 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! They move effortlessly and cover the ground well. They are very supple and can turn quickly.
|Colour||The most usual colours are black and fawn, although slate grey is also seen. Scatterings of white throughout the coat are also possible.
|Coat Length||Medium Long|
|Weight/Height Range||Bitches measure between 56 to 64cms at the withers and weigh 34kgs; dogs measure between 62 to 68cms, weighing 38.5kgs.
In general, Briards are a healthy breed. Hip Dysplasia was common at one time but is now greatly reduced due to careful breeding. However, always insist on HD screening of parentage before purchasing a puppy. PRA Is also fairly infrequent but again eye screening is important. The most serious problem is bloat; the incidences of this occurring can be reduced with careful feeding and exercise programmes in place. Night blindness and certain heart and blood defects are also known.
|Breed Classification||Briards belong to the pastoral group and are used as guard dogs, herding dogs, and companions and seen in the show-ring.|
Feeding & Ownership
It will cost approximately $5 per week to feed a Briard.
|Food Cost||$15 to $20|
Being protective by nature, Briards make good family dogs. They do tend to bond more closely with one family member and have been known to protect the children from parental correction! They are tough, alert and brave dogs and can be slightly aggressive 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 gay, lively dogs that love to engage in games, which can turn rough but never nasty. Therefore care should be taken if there are younger children in the household. Please remember, if an eight week old puppy is allowed to play roughly, once the dog reaches adulthood, he will expect to play the same way!
|Intelligence||Adolescent Briards can be rather dominant and so it is imperative that training is started as early as possible. They must be socialised as pups, the younger the better, to ensure they grow up pliable and obedient. The combination of consistency, patience, love and a firm hand will all help achieve success|
|Suitability for Children||High|
|Tendency to Bark||Medium|
|Overall Exercise Requirement||Exercise requirements are high to satisfy the energy levels of this breed. They love swimming and running along side a bicycle is an excellent form of exercise for them.|
|Suitability as a Guard Dog||Medium|
|Ease of Transportation||Medium|
|Level of Aggression||Medium|
|Other Animal Compatibility||Medium|
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 as this will assist in the prevention of dermatitis and other skin problems. 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.
|Grooming Requirements||Every Day|
|Amount of Hair Shed||Little|
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