Country of Origin: France
Life Span: 10-12 years
Bred For: Herding and Guarding Sheep
Coat: Coarse, Slightly wavy and Long
Color: All colors except white
Height: Male: 23-27″ Female: 22-25.5″
Weight: Male: 75-100lbs Female: 50-65lbs
Historically, Briards were herding dogs. They have been around for several hundred years and they go back to at least the time of the Napoleonic wars, though the great emperor Charlemagne was thought to keep them as well. Though this breed was originally bred to guard and herd sheep, they were quickly brought into the army in their native France for use as sentries and messengers. During World Wars I, they quickly proved their worth as they were also used to search out wounded soldiers. Their service in this war led the breed to the point of extinction, but a renewed interest in the breed shortly after the war saved it. They are currently used in military work, police work, and rescue work, though they continue to make fine companions.
A Briard is a dog that is well known for its loyalty and it’s protective nature. They are dogs that bond very strongly to the people that they have recognized as their pack to the point where they are aloof with strangers. They need to be introduced to anything new that enters the home, whether it is a new baby or a new puppy and they need to be shown that the newcomer is not aggressive. They are a good breed if you happen to have an interest in having children. It is important to socialize your Briard, because he will be naturally protective of his family. Socializing him with the public on a regular basis and staying with him is ideal.
Upkeep and Grooming
One of the Briard’s primary distinguishing traits is his fur, and you can be sure that grooming it needs to be a top priority for you. The coat needs to be brushed and combed to the skin. If you have a puppy, his second or third coat can be matted and difficult to comb, but adult dogs have fur that is significantly easier to take care of. Some people will comb their dogs every day, while others will let it go for a week or more. Also remember that you are dealing with a dog that is a working dog at heart; they require a fair amount of exercise!
Happily enough, there are no illnesses that are particular to the Briard breed, but they are a larger dog and as such have some problems. For instance, hip dysplasia is one condition that affects many lager dogs. Many deaths in this breed are caused by cancer and you should be aware of this fact. Briards can also be inclined to develop bloat, where gas collects in their stomach and cannot escape, leading to a twisted stomach and to the death of tissue. This is something that can attack dogs that are only four to five years of age and if the dog is to live, immediate surgical attention is required.