Briard Guide

Herding Dog Breeds

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Heroes on the battlefields of the Great War, the smart and hard-working Briards helped medics find wounded soldiers. This shaggy smartie has been in the United States since the country's founding—experts think a Briard might have followed Thomas Jefferson home from France.

These medium-sized and medium-energy dogs can grow to between 55-100 pounds and live an average of 10-12 years. The breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club and classified as a member of the Herding group.


FAST FACTS
AKC Recognized: Y
Breed's Original Pastime: Herding, Guarding
Origin: France
Breed Group: Herding
Average Lifespan: 10-12 years
Size: Large
Bark Factor: Moderate

Energy level A sprinter

Exercise needs An hour or more a day

Playfullness and Games A few times per day would be divine

Attachment to People Give me some love when you get home, maybe we'll snuggle later

Behavior with Other Dogs Shy. I may prefer to be the only dog.

Behavior with Other Small Pets I may be ok, when socialized early and often

Behavior Toward Strangers I'm a single-family or person dog at heart

Trainability I love to please

Watchdog ability I know all that's going on, all the time

Protection ability I can be highly protective

Grooming needs Daily brushing and probably frequent professional grooming

Cold tolerance I'll probably need a jacket in the cold

Heat tolerance Above 70 degrees? Give me winter, please

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BEHAVIOR & TRAINING

WHAT IS A BRIARD'S PERSONALITY LIKE?

Maximum dog in a medium-sized package, a Briard craves your attention. These bright, confident, devoted beauties can be playful and affectionate, but they live to work. They tend to be friendly toward children and other dogs but do best playing supervised with both. With socialization, they can get along with other pets—but be cautious. These herders sometimes like to chase!

WHAT IS BRIARD BEHAVIOR LIKE?

A Briard needs room to run and lots of exercise, so plan for daily trips to the dog park or bring your pup along on your morning run! These dogs are highly vigilant and protective of their chosen people. They're especially so of any kids they consider “theirs.” Briards can also be somewhat prone to barking.

HOW EASY IS IT TO TRAIN A BRIARD?

These are smart, trainable dogs, but the Briard has a mind of its own. Start early and be patient and consistent with your pup. It's important to socialize your Briard while she's young.

CARE & HEALTH

HOW MUCH DO BRIARDS SHED AND WHAT ARE THEIR GROOMING NEEDS?

Briars have a lot of hair, so plan for daily brushing to avoid tangles and matting. Their long double coats are lush and full. The dense inner layer is short covered by a long outer layer. They slough off dirt and water, so these dogs won't require frequent baths. They're also minimal shedders, and frequent brushing can help mitigate loose hair when they do shed.

Their furry faces can collect food while they eat, so your Briard might also need tidying after meals.

WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO BRIARDS HAVE?

This breed is usually healthy. Some have develop cancer. Like many dogs, Briards can be predisposed to dental disease—in fact, this breed is more likely than most to have problems with teeth. They can also tend toward pudginess, so be mindful about meals and treats.

Briards are particularly prone to bloat, a condition that requires immediate attention from your veterinarian. Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV) and contact your vet at once if you suspect your dog might be suffering from this ailment.
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Breed history has moved while this section is under construction. Please check out the first tab for fun facts about this breed's history. You can also read on to learn about this breed's ideal family situation.

IDEAL FAMILY

ARE BRIARDS GOOD FOR PEOPLE WITH ALLERGIES?

The American Kennel Club doesn't list Briards among its breeds recommended for allergy sufferers.

You can reduce your furry friend's impact on your allergies with frequent baths and brushings to reduce loose hairs and allergy-aggravating proteins in your pet's dander. Use a damp cloth to wipe off your dog after playing outside. Smaller dogs have less surface area, so they produce comparatively less dander than larger breeds — definitely something to keep in mind with a dog as large as a Briard! Remember that no breed is 100% hypoallergenic, and any breed can aggravate allergies.

WHAT'S A BRIARD'S BEST DAY?

A great drive out into the country so they can flop that tongue out and enjoy the wind would be the perfect start. Time to freely explore a wide open field and howl 'til their heart's content—that's the life.

SHOULD I ADOPT A BRIARD?

Novice dog owners might find a Briard's lust for life and drive to work overwhelming. They're also better in cold temperatures than in warm climates.

However, if you're willing to commit to their exercise routines and don't mind frequent grooming, Briards make for smart, trainable, and affectionate canine companions. They're protective and fond of children, and—with enough exercise—make for calm housemates.

Have you decided that a Briard is the perfect dog for you? Why not be your new best friend's hero and adopt a rescue! Be sure to check out our article on what to expect when you're adopting a dog or cat.
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