Temperament: Confident, Smart, Faithful
- Height: 23-27 inches (male), 22-25.5 inches (female)
- Weight: 55-100 pounds
- Life Expectancy: 12 years
- Group: Herding Group
The Briard packs so much loyalty, love, and spirit into its ample frame that it's often described as a "heart wrapped in fur." The dashing good looks of these muscular Frenchmen radiate a distinct aura of Gallic romance and elegance.
About the Briard
Briards are herders known for a wavy coat of either gray, tawny, or black, and an impressive head topped by a peek-a-boo hairdo parted naturally in the middle. A luxurious beard and eyebrows accentuate an expression described as “frank and questioning.” Standing between 22 and 27 inches at the shoulder, Briards are burly and rugged but move with a nimble-footed gait.
They possess traits common to many other herders: trainability, brains, a protective eye toward family (especially kids, whom they regard as their flock), and wariness with outsiders. These are large, tireless dogs—it is said that just two or three Briards can handle 700 head of sheep—and novice owners might be overwhelmed by their work drive and zest for life.
NUTRITION The Briard should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.
GROOMING Begin grooming your Briard puppy long before he really needs grooming. Make sure that you make grooming time a happy period he will look forward to in the years when grooming is a necessity and can take a long time. A Briard should be brushed several times a week, completely to the skin, using a good-quality pin brush. Using an undercoat rake can help eliminate a lot of dead hair and lessen shedding. The number of baths a Briard will need depends entirely on his lifestyle and the jobs he is doing. Frequency may range from weekly to monthly, to even less.
EXERCISE The Briard requires a job to be happy. Hopefully his job will be one that gives him a lot of exercise, as this is a breed that craves action. Their zest for life makes them great companions for hikers, bicyclers, and joggers. They need a large, securely fenced area where they can run free. Chasing a tennis ball thrown by his owner can help a Briard work off excess energy as well as giving him the human companionship he loves.
TRAINING The Briard was bred to be able to make executive decisions without the aid of a human. Sometimes this can make them a bit difficult to train. They are eager to please, however, and when training methods are positive and the sessions kept lively, energetic, and interesting, the Briard’s natural intelligence will have him at the top of the class. Briards learn quickly and have an excellent memory. They excel at almost any canine role or sport, from catching discs to search-and-rescue, to obedience and agility. Socialisation should begin early and continue throughout the Briard’s life.
HEALTH The Briard is overall a healthy breed, and responsible breeders screen their stock for health conditions such as cancer, hip dysplasia, congenital stationary night blindness, cataracts, corneal dystrophy, retinal folds, hypothyroidism, immune diseases, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, and kidney disease. Discuss any questions or concerns with your breeder and veterinarian so you can make educated decisions regarding your dog’s health.
Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:
- Hip Evaluation
- Ophthalmologist Evaluation
- Stationary Night Blindness Optigen DNA Test