If you’re a Star Wars fan, you might be reminded of the line where Princess Leah asks….
“Will somebody get this big walking carpet out of my way?”
In this case, you won’t want to get him out of the way; you will be much more inclined to ask…
“Can I pet him?”
While Briard’s are massive dogs, unlike other large dogs, these guys have a “look” about them that almost demands that you give them a big hug! But beware because while it is true that these dogs are total sweethearts, they aren’t always going to be the perfect dog for everyone. This is why, in this article, we wanted to take a moment and discuss some of the pros and cons of owning a Briard so that if you do decide to purchase a Briard puppy or, better yet, adopt a Briard rescue dog, you won’t be regretting this decision six months from now!
So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.
Briard Dog Breed Fast Facts
Country of Origin: France
Original Purpose: Companion Dog, Herding Dog
Height: 22 to 27 inches tall
Weight: 70 to 90 pounds
Life Span: 10 to 12 years
Dog Breed Classification: Herding Group
Origins of the Briard Dog Breed
It is believed that Briard is a descendant of rough-coated sheepdogs portrayed in French art dating back to the 8th century. However, their ” presence ” only began to take a “foothold” in French life around the 14th century, when these dogs started to be commonly referred to as Chiens Berger de Brie or Shepherd dogs of Brie. It wasn’t until the early 1800s that their name was shortened to Briard, as they are known today.
They were primarily used to protect the herds from predators such as wolves (and poachers), but as time passed, they became proficient shepherds themselves. She was making them even more valuable than their early ancestors. Within France itself, the breed was first “recognized” in 1867. A Briard club in France was formed as early as 1909.
Briard in America
Briard was brought to the United States by famous personalities such as Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson in the early 19th century. Still, it didn’t catch on until soldiers returning from World War I began bringing them home. At this time, the breed started to become popular here in the States. As a result, the Briard was registered by the American Kennel Club only in 1922 and recognized officially by the AKC in 1928. A Briard Club of America was created at this time that is still going strong today!
Unfortunately, he is not as popular today as he was in the past, but that’s probably because people find it hard to manage such a large dog in many of today’s “suburban” living communities. Small or mid-sized breeds are in fashion these days. But this shouldn’t be considered a “negative” on the species because Briards are still beautiful animals!
The Briard is, undoubtedly, an extraordinary-looking dog, but “strange” in a good way. As we said before, you’ll likely notice his massive size and all the fur on his body. He is completely covered in hair! And it’s a wonder that he can see through the hair that covers his eyes!
He has bushy eyebrows…
He had large ears, double dewclaws on his rear legs, and a thick, long coat. His outer skin is usually black, tawny, or gray but rarely white. Their tails are “J” shaped tail, much like that of a shepherd’s crook. It will typically hang low, ending in a crochet curve. And because he is one of the giant guard dogs or shepherd dogs or herding dogs out there, and because he originates from France, he will often be confused with a Beauceron, which is another large sheepdog originating from France that ironically doesn’t look a thing like a Briard.
Now, you do not need us here at IndulgeYourPet to point out the obvious: briards require a lot of grooming! So, if you’re thinking about getting a Briard puppy, just be prepared to brush his undercoat and outer coat as often as possible, at least twice a week. Otherwise, everything you own will be covered in fur, too!
Personality and Temperament
The Briard has an excellent temperament; he is calm, collected, and never confused. And while he may have an independent streak about him, at his “core,” he is a very sweet-natured dog eager to please. He is also a perfect guard dog capable of discriminating between the good and bad guys. He is very protective of his human family, especially of the children.
Why do we like the Briard?
We like all dogs, but there is something special about the Briard, especially when he is with a child. It is such an incongruous sight, watching a small child with the Briard, about 3 or 4 times the size of a child. You will notice that the child always appears in control while the big dog is submissive and docile, yapping merrily and wagging his tail at the child.
This “interaction” between a MASSIVE dog like the Briard and a small child remains our enduring image of the Briard, which sticks in our memory and will always make this dog breed one of our favorites.
Is important. His training and socialization should begin as early as possible, from the time he is just a puppy. The training should include mental stimulation, obedience training, agility, and other techniques. As we just mentioned, the Briard breed is very comfortable with children, mainly if they grow from a puppy with children within the household. If this is the case, you’ll probably find that your Briard will remain very protective of them… for life!
The Briad is an intelligent dog, respectful, and commands respect. But… he expects to be given a lot of attention. If there is one thing he hates, it is being ignored and left alone. He wants to be a part of your family and participate in every family activity. This is why this dog may not be suitable for you if you plan on going your Briard at home for long extended periods while at work.
And along those lines…
Because the Braird is so BIG, while he can “adapt” to apartment-style living, he’s probably not going to be his happiest living in a small one-bedroom or two-bedroom apartment. Brairds need room to “stretch” their legs. As we’ve mentioned, the Briard is one of the most giant dogs out there and can reach a height of up to 27 inches at the shoulder level. Even the Briard puppy is big. And while today, these dogs rarely work as “sheepdogs,” at their core, they would still prefer to be able to run all around and keep a watchful eye over their “flock.” Only now, instead of that being a herd of sheep, it is you and your family that he’ll want to protect!
Potential Health Concerns
The Briard is a purebred dog, so he is likely susceptible to certain hereditary diseases like any other purebred might. That’s why getting him from a breeder who can provide you with a CHIC certification and proof of DNA tests that show that he has healthy parents is essential.
The good news is that this breed is generally relatively healthy and hasn’t been “overbred” to the point where the species is at an increased risk for specific medical conditions. However, the species is still at risk for certain conditions that often affect many species, particularly those involving larger dogs.
Conditions such as…
- Elbow Dysplasia
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy
- Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (Bloat)
- Von Willebrand’s Disease
- Hip Dysplasia
- Congenital Stationary Night Blindness
This is why we at IndulgeYourPet encourage any new pet owner to take a moment and consider purchasing a pet insurance policy for their new loved one.
Now, will a pet insurance policy be suitable for everyone?
No, probably not. But until you understand what a pet insurance policy will and won’t cover and what a pet insurance policy will cost, how will you know if getting one might make sense for you? We’ve also written our Best Pet Insurance Companies article, highlighting some pros and cons of owning a pet insurance policy so that you’ll have a better idea if getting a pet insurance policy makes sense for you.