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Briard Dog Breed…. Everything You Need to Know at a Glance!

If you’re a fan of Star Wars, you might be reminded of the line where Princess Leah asks….

“Will somebody get this big walking carpet out of my way?”

Only in this case, you won’t want to get him out of the way, you’re going to be much more inclind to ask…

“Can I pet him?”

Because while Briard’s are massive dogs, unlike other large dogs, these guys just 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 recue dog, you won’t be regretting this decision six month 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

It is believed that Briard is a descendant of rough coated sheepdogs that have been portrayed in French art dating all the way back to the 8th century.

That said however…

They’re “presence” really only began to take a “foothold” in French life in around the 14th centry where these dogs began to be commonly referred to as Chiens Berger de Brie or Shepherd dogs fo Brie.  It wasn’t until the early 1800’s that their name was shortened to Briard as they are known today.

Early Briards…

Were primarily used to protect the herds from predators such as wolves (and poachers) but as time when on, they began to become proficient shepherds themselves.  Making them even more valuable than their early ancestors.

Within France itself…

The breed was first “recognized” in 1867.  There was even a Briard club in France, formed as early as in 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, but didn’t really catch on until soldiers returning from World War I began brining them home with them.  It was at this time that the breed really began 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. There was even a Briard Club of America created at this time that is still going strong today!

Unfortunatly…

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 todays “suburban” living communities. Small or midsized breeds are in fashion these days. But this shouldn’t be looked at as a “negative” on the breed because Briard’s are still very fine animals!

Physical characteristics of the Briard Dog Breed

The Briard is without doubt a very strange looking dog, but “strange” in a good way.

Like we said before…

The first thing that you’re likely going to notice is his massive size and all the fur on his body. In fact, he is completely covered in hair!  And its a wonder that he can see through the hair that covers his eyes!

He has bushy eyebrows…

Large ears, double dewclaws on his rear legs and a thick long coat. His outer coat is usually black, tawny or gray, but very rarely white.

Their tails…

Are “J” shaped tail, much like that of a shepherd’s crook.  And will typically hang low ending in a curve that is commonly referred to as a crochet.

And because…

He is one of the biggest guard dogs or shepherd dogs or herding dogs out there, and because he originates form France, he will often times be confused with a Beauceron which is another large sheepdog originating from France which ironically don’t look a thing like a Briard.

Briard Grooming

Now you’re not going to need us here at IndulgeYourPet to point out the obvious, which is that Briards require a lot of grooming!  So, if you’re thinking about getting a Briard puppy, just be prepared to make a habit of brusing his undercoat and outer coat as often as possible, at least twice a week.  Otherwise, everything you own is going to be covered in fur too!

Briard Temperament

The Briard has a very good 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, that is eager to please.

He is also…

A very good guard dog, and is capable of discriminating between the good guys and the bad guys. He is very protective of his human family, especially of the children.

Why 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, which is about 3 or 4 times the size of child. You will notice that the child always appears to be the one 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, one that sticks in the memory and one that will always make this dog breed one of our very favorite.

Briard Training

…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 mention…

The Briard breed as a whole is very comfortable with children particularly if he or she grows from a puppy with children within the household.  If this is the case, what you’ll probably find is that your Briard will remain very protective of them… for life!

The Briard…

Is a smart 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.  Which is why, if you plan on leaving your Briard at home for long extended periods of time while you are at work, this dog may not be the right dog for you.

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 biggest 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 you and your family that he’ll want to protect!

Where did the Briard come from?

From France, of course: There is something very French about him, don’t you think? He comes from a rural province in northern France called as the Brie region.

He was a herding breed in France used by farmers for protecting flocks of sheep and cattle from wolves and thieves.

He developed a reputation as a very brave and courageous herding dog or shepherd dog. He was also used in war time by the French Army as a pack dog to carry military supplies, or to help with bringing wounded soldiers home.

Briard Temperament

The Briard has a very good temperament; he is calm, collected and never confused. He has an independent streak about him. He is a very sweet natured dog, eager to please.

He is also a very good guard dog, and is capable of discriminating between the good guys and the bad guys. He is very protective of his human family, especially of the children.

What about the health problems common to the Briard?

The Briard is a purebred dog, which means he is likely to be susceptible to certain hereditary diseases just like any other purebred might.

That’s why…

It is important to get him from a breeder who can provide you with a CHIC certification and proof of DNA tests that show that he has healthy parents.

The good news…

Is that in general, this breed is realatively heathy and hasn’t been “overbreed” to the point where the breed is at an increased risk for certain medical conditions.  That said however, the breed is still at risk for certain conditions that often affect many different breeds particularly those affecting larger dogs in general.

Conditions such as…

  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (Bloat)
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Congenital Stationary Night Blindness

Which is why…

We here at IndulgeYourPet, encourage any new pet owner to take a moment and consider purchasing a pet insurance policy on their new loved one.

Now will a pet insurance policy be right 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?

This is why…

We’ve also written our Top 10 Best Pet Insurance Companies article where we highlight some of the 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.

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