Briard Guide

Herding Dog Breeds

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The briard is square or slightly longer than it is tall and powerful without being course; the overall appearance is one of handsome form. Like all good herding dogs, it combines strength, flexibility, agility and endurance with the ability to make abrupt turns, springing starts and sudden stops. Its movement has been described as "quicksilver," with supple, light strides that give the impression of gliding. Its undercoat is fine and tight, and its outer coat is coarse and dry, lying flat in long, slightly wavy locks. On the shoulders, the coat's length is 6 inches or more. The questioning, confident expression is enhanced by the longer eyebrows, as well as the long-appearing head.

Devoted and faithful, the briard is a loving and protective companion. It is independent, intelligent and self-assured, but it is also willing to please and eager to serve as a partner in adventure. It is reserved with strangers. It can be aggressive with other dogs and may nip at people's heels when playing. It tends to stay at home and may attempt to keep the family's children home as well!


FAMILY livestock, herding



ORIGINAL FUNCTION herding and guarding sheep

TODAY'S FUNCTION herding trials

AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 23-27 Weight: 75-100

AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 22-25.5 Weight: 50-65

OTHER NAME berger de Brie

Energy level Medium energy

Exercise needs High

Playfullness Moderately playful

Affection level Moderately affectionate

Friendliness toward other dogs Shy

Friendliness toward other pets Friendly

Friendliness toward strangers Shy

Ease of training Easy to train

Watchdog ability High

Protection ability Very protective

Grooming needs High maintenance

Cold tolerance Medium tolerance

Heat tolerance Low tolerance

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This is a dog that needs a good amount of activity and interaction every day. Its favorite exercise is the chance to herd, but it can also be satisfied with a long walk or jog, or a long play session coupled with a little training. The briard can live outside in temperate to cool climates, but is happiest if allowed access to both house and yard. Its long coat needs brushing or combing every other day or mats can form.
• Major concerns: gastric torsion, CHD
• Minor concerns: nightblindness
• Occasionally seen: PRA, heart problems
• Suggested tests: hip, eye, (cardiac)
• Life span: 10 – 12 years
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The briard is one of four French sheepdog breeds, the others being the Beauceron, Picardy and Pyrenean. It is the oldest of the four breeds, with dogs resembling briards depicted in art from as long ago as the eighth century, and more definitive evidence by the 14th century. These early dogs were known as chien berger de Brie (shepherd dog of Brie), giving rise to the belief that the breed originated in the province of Brie; however, it may also be a corruption of chien d'Aubry, referring to the dog of Aubry de Montdidier, which saved his son's life (according to 14th-century legend). The name briard was not used until 1809. Originally employed as a herd protector, the briard was expected to tackle wolves if the need arose. After the French Revolution, which resulted in the country's land being divided into smaller sectors, it was important that the flocks be kept close to home, and the briard turned its talents to herding rather than guarding sheep. Only around 1900 did it become a show dog. The first breed standard was written in 1897, but it was replaced by another in 1909. Briards came to America very early, with evidence that both Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson brought some of the first specimens to the New World. These dogs did not have a lasting influence, however. After World War I, American soldiers brought some briards to America, and this was the beginning of the modern American briard. The breed's popularity has been modest in America, but it remains the most popular sheep herder in its native France.
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