Also known as the Chien Berger de Brie, the Briard is a vigorous and powerful working dog. The Briard is the most popular sheepdog in France. Strong and agile, the Briard is a wonderful herding/working dog. They are protective of their families and can be a bit reserved around strangers. They can be independent and strong-willed, so they will require obedience training from an early age. They can be slow learners, and they will require patient and firm training. They are not recommended for all households; their owners will need to be devoted, affectionate, and patient.
They are good with children and other animals if they are properly socialized and well trained. They do not wander or roam much, but when exercising, they should be kept on a leash. These dogs will defend you with their life but out of love not aggression. They can tell the difference between friend or foe, and usually only bark if there is a need. The Briard will tollerate all conditions with a smile, they are clown, protector, friend, child – all in one.
Mature Briards will grow to a height of 22 to 27 inches and weigh in between 70 and 90 pounds. American Briards are usually larger than French Briards, and French Briards are typically more athletic and better herders. The Briard’s outercoat is usually six inches or longer, hard, dry, and wavy.
Their undercoat is fine and tight. Their coats will grow continually, sometimes growing well over a foot in length. They will require regular baths, brushing, and trimming around the feet. Coat colors are fawn, black, gray, and tawny. Gray Briards are rare in the United States, and tawny-colored Briards are more common than black ones. Their tail has a hook or crook at the end. In France and America, the ears of most Briards are cropped at five-to-six weeks of age.
The Briard is an old breed of working dog probably named for the French province of Brie. During World War I, the Briard was a valuable war dog used to carry messages, search for soldiers, pull carts and wagons, and to patrol.
The Briard may be prone to hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism and bloat or gastric torsion. Gastric torsion can be fatal if undetected or not diagnosed and treated quickly.The Briard’s hair can become matted if he is not groomed every other day. Their coats require regular care, and should be clipped short if this cannot be given.Training is a must as they play boistorously and can knock small people over in their excitement.