ALL DOG BREED PROFILES

Briard

Briard dog breed
John Walton
Written by John Walton

Do you want a nearly giant dog that will protect you and at the same time cuddle with you? This is the Briard! He will lay next to you on the sofa, or even in your lap, and watch your favorite movie with you. With him, you will feel safe, because he will never let anyone approach without your knowledge. If it wasn’t for the grooming, this dog would have been completely independent. They really need your attention when it comes to grooming, but you will find the time to do it, for this amazing, loving breed!

Breed Characteristics

AdaptabilityAbove Average
TrainabilityHigh
Health and GroomingBelow Average
All Around FriendlinessHigh
Exercise NeedsHigh

Dog Breed Group: Herding Dogs
Height: 1 foot, 10 inches to 2 feet, 3 inches tall at the shoulder
Weight: Generally 70 to 100 pounds
Life Span: 10 to 12 years

This great family companion is very devoted to his owner and he is the happiest when you are around. This is the ideal breed for someone who seeks a loveable companion, but not over-attached and dependent dog. As a part of the Herding group of dogs, he weighs approximately 75 pounds and easily adjusts to living in an apartment or at the countryside. The only thing he needs is for his family to be close by and some exercise.

A Briard is an intelligent dog and will catch up quite quickly, when it comes to teaching him new stuff. Anyway, no dog is perfect, so you can expect from this breed to be stubborn sometimes. You as an owner must establish your leader role; otherwise, this smart guy will impose that role on himself.

The Briard is an excellent guard dog, so keep your guests alert the first time they meet him. This breed perceives strangers as dangerous and will try to protect and defend his family. Because of this, socialization and training are inevitable. Make sure you start exposing him to new things, people and surroundings at very young age. This way you will teach your Briard to have a positive outlook on the environment.

Main Highlights
  • Daily grooming! They might have low to non-shedding coat, but it matts and tangles very easily. If you don’t see yourself with the brush every day, then consider getting a different
  • Naturally independent. This can either be a great trait or not so great for you. If you train your puppy well, you will have an independent adult dog. However, if you don’t train him well, expect for the adult dog to be unmanageable.
  • Early socialization! In order to avoid aggression in your adult Briard, you need to socialize and train your puppy Briard good. In the past this breed was bred as guard dogs, so they might take this role too seriously and be aggressive towards guests.
  • Enjoys family time! Playing in the yard, long walks, and games of fetch with his favorite people is what makes this dog happy! Indulge him that and you will have one very satisfied dog.
Breed History

This very old breed originates in France, more specifically in the region of Brie. Its roots can be found in all of France, starting with the 8th century.

There is a romantic legend about this breed saying that the breed got the name as a distortion of the name of Chien d’Aubry. He was a courtier of Charles V and a dog of this breed saved the life of his son. Later he built a Cathedral in the memory of the dog.

The Briard breed can be linked to Emperor Charlemagne and Napoleon. In the time of Napoleon, it was the official breed of the French Army.

The AKC recognized the breed in 1928 and in the UK it was introduced as a breed in the late 1960s.

Size

Males can grow up to 27 inches and females from 22 to 25.5 inches. Most of them weigh around 80 pounds.

Personality and Character

Intelligent, brave, and loyal are the three words that describe this breed in quite a good manner. Even though he is large, he belongs next to you on the sofa while you watch your favorite TV show. He is not a dog you can leave alone in the yard, and you should let him participate in all the family activities.

He has a protective personality, especially towards the family, so expect him to be a bit wary of strangers. Sometimes stubborn and willful, this breed can be trained if you use positive reinforcement and encouragement.

Every dog is an individual when it comes to his temperament; however overall, the temperament of a dog depends on heredity, socialization, and training.

It is nice to meet a parent of the puppy you choose when you plan to get a dog of this breed. Meeting other relatives, like siblings or aunts and uncles, can give you some idea of what you can expect from the puppy you choose when it grows up, regarding temperament and looks.

Health and Potential Problems

This is a generally healthy breed but there are some health conditions that they are prone to. You need to be aware of them before you get a dog of this breed.

Hip Dysplasia: this condition presents a problem with the thighbone. More specifically, the thighbone doesn’t fit normally in the hip joint. This can cause pain and discomfort for the dog, also limping and lameness. Any dog that is affected by this disease should not be bred. You should get clearances for this disease from the breeder when you buy a puppy.

Elbow Dysplasia: this is a similar disease to hip dysplasia, the only difference is that it happens on the elbows. It can be caused by abnormal development and growth, which affects the joint to be weak and then malformed. As a treatment, there are few options like surgery, medical management, weight management and anti-inflammatory medicine.

Congenital Stationary Night Blindness (CSNB): this disease varies in the degree that it affects the dogs. From slightly difficult seeing in poor light, to total blindness. It is still under research.

Hypothyroidism: this disorder affects the thyroid gland. There are theories that it is responsible for other conditions like alopecia, epilepsy, lethargy, obesity, pyoderma and others. For treatment, there is medication and diet management.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): a disease that affects the eye. More specifically, it has to do with the deterioration of the retina. In the beginning, the dog becomes night-blind and as the disease progresses the dog loses sight. Usually for dogs is easy to adapt to vision loss, as long as their environment remains the same.

Von Willebrand’s Disease: a blood disorder that can be found in dogs, as well as in humans. It affects the ability of the blood to coagulate properly, so you can notice symptoms as nosebleeds, prolonged bleeding during cycle or after surgery or occasional blood in the stool. It can be diagnosed when the dog is 3-5 years old and the bad news is that it cannot be cured. Nonetheless, the symptoms can be managed with treatment.

Gastric Torsion: also known as bloat, it can be a life-threatening condition that usually affects deep-chested breeds like the Briard. The chances of this happening are higher if you feed your Briard one large meal a day and then you let him drink a large quantity of water, followed by vigorous exercise. Older dogs are more affected.

The condition happens when a part of the stomach is distended because of air and then twisted. Then, the dog cannot get rid of the accumulated air in the stomach and the normal blood flow is obstructed. Because of this the dog can go into shock and die. If you see your dog salivating excessively, has a distended stomach and tries to throw up without success, you need to take him to the vet immediately.

Care Features

A Briard is capable of living in the countryside, as well as in the city. He is a calm breed, regardless of his size, and he likes to be inside the home. Nevertheless, this breed needs exercise for at least an hour a day, otherwise they can become bored and destructive. They are good for dog sports like, herding trials, which is also a way to support his natural abilities.

You should start training as early as possible with the Briard puppy. As soon as you take your puppy to your home, you should make sure he knows who is the pack leader, otherwise you will have trouble with setting your authority.

Another thing you should consider teaching your puppy at an early age is crate training. This can keep you relaxed while you are away, because you will know that your puppy is safe in the crate and also your home. Nonetheless, the puppy shouldn’t see the crate as a prison. So even when you are home let him stay there with the door open, for a nap or to play with his toys. This way you will create a positive image of the crate and your puppy won’t be annoyed or scared when you actually leave him inside for few hours.

You should encourage your dog to be friendly with people he doesn’t know, otherwise you will find yourself at a point where you have an aggressive Briard, towards people and animals.

Feeding Schedule

This breed needs two meals a day, approximately 3-4 cups of dry food. Usually on every package of food it is stated how much is the daily amount.

Every dog is an individual when it comes to food intake. However, there are some factors that influence the amount of food your dog needs, like age, size, build, activity and metabolism.

If your dog is more active, for sure it will need more food. If all your dog does is lay on the couch and have short walks twice a day, then it will consume less food. Also, the quality of the food is important; if the food is of high-quality you will need to give less and if it’s supermarket food, then you will need to give a bit more.
The Briard is a large breed, so you will see that they eat a larger quantity of food. Nonetheless, don’t overdo it, because you might get your dog to be overweight, and that is not healthy. If you’re not sure about how much food your dog needs, you can always consult a vet.

Coat, Color and Grooming

The Briard has a two-layer coat, an outer coat and an undercoat. The first one has a coarse texture and is slightly wavy, and the second one is fine and soft. It comes in few colors, as well as combination of colors, like grey, black and tawny. It is long approximately 6 inches.

If you don’t have several hours a week just for grooming your Briard, then it’s best for you to consider another breed. Brushing, combing, bathing and fussing are required regularly. Brushing is needed on a daily basis; bathing, every month or two, except for paws, which might need to be washed also daily.

You should really consider finding a nearby professional groomer that can help you with all the grooming of your Briard. Anyway, don’t even think that if you take your dog to the groomer’s once a month, that you won’t need to brush it every day, that still stands! Take your Briard to the groomer’s at least for bathing, because the coat of this breed is much easier to get dried with professional high velocity driers.

We are not done with brushing! Teeth need brushing too! If you want to prevent teeth and gums problems, brush your dog’s teeth two or three times per week. If you have the time, it’s best to do it every day.

When it comes to nails, you should know that dogs need to have their nails trimmed. This breed needs trimming once or twice a month, depending on the length of the nails.

Ears can be infected and inflamed and there are several reasons for it. So, check the ears once a week for odor, redness or something out of the ordinary. You can wipe the ears with a cotton ball and some ear cleaner.

If you begin accustoming your puppy Briard to all of this since the earliest age, then you won’t have any problems with your adult dog. Because of this, you should make this experience be positive and always give your dog a treat after everything went well. If your dog is used to all of this, then you won’t have any problems when you go to the vet for checkups.

Children And Other Pets Compatibility

The Briard is a very good companion for the kids, he actually protects them even from their parents when they discipline them. He is a playful and loving buddy, however you shouldn’t leave him unattended, just like any other breed.

Every child should be thought how to interact with a dog, that it should be gentle toward it and how to approach it. Also, children should be taught not to take the dog’s food while he’s eating, or to bother him while sleeping.

When it comes to other pets, or animals, the Briard is friendly if raised with them. Even if he is not raised with other pets, if properly trained and socialized, he will behave nicely and friendly.
When you are in public, you should keep him on a leash, just in case.

Does this seem like the breed for you? If you are able to exercise with him for at least an hour a day and if you don’t mind spending another hour on brushing his coat, then this is it! If you are a fan of large dogs and you need someone to feel safe around, the Briard is what you are looking for. Also, he is the perfect cuddle buddy for the rainy days!

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.

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