(aka: Berger di Brie)
The Briard weighs in at around 55-100 pounds, and the height of these dogs is around 22-27 inches. This is a well built dog, and has an athletic body and great agility. The Briard has a graceful stature, and one of the distinctive features of the breed is his double rear dew claws. The coat of the Briard is long, hard, and has a dense undercoat. He is a medium shedder. The coloring of these dogs includes various shades of tawny, gray, or black.
Gentle, loving, and devoted, the Briard is a dog that has bags of personality and is very independent. These loyal dogs are very devoted to their owners, and also very protective, making them very effective watchdogs. The Briard is a very intelligent dog with a lively and spirited disposition, but can also be serious and calm when he wants to be. These are dogs that will adapt well to their owners and will be happy to go along with whatever the owner wants to do, whether its to sit indoors or whether its to go and enjoy some play and exercise. The high intelligence of the Briard means that he needs to have mental stimulation in the activities that the owner provides for him to keep him keen, interested, and alert.
As with most herding dogs, the Briard still has that herding instinct in him, and will often try and herd people or animals by pushing them with his head. These are sensitive dogs, but can also be quite confident, and in some cases can be territorial when it comes to other animals. The Briard tends to get along well with other animals that it has been raised with, and also with children that it has been raised with. When it comes to strangers, the Briard can be stand offish and reserved, however. The Briard has a good memory, which can help when it comes to training.
The Briard is a medium shedder, and his long, dense coat will need to be combed around twice a week, although this will have to be done more regularly during the periods when he is shedding more heavily. Puppies may need more regular grooming even when not shedding heavily.
The Briard goes back several centuries. The Briard was originally a sheep guard and herder in France. However, the French Army used this ancient sheep dog as a messenger and as a search dog for wounded soldiers because of its incredible sense of hearing. Some very famous people have owned Briard's throughout history. Some of these include Charlemagne, Napoleon, Thomas Jefferson, and Lafayette. However, the Briard did not become popular until after the Paris dog show of 1863. This was largely due to the fact that the dog's appearance was improved by breeding with Beauceron and Barbet breeds.
The origin of the name of the Briar is under controversy. One theory is that the dog was named for Aubry of Montdidier. He was supposed to have owned an early Briard. The second theory is that the dog was named after the French province of Brie. Although it is suspected that the dog did not originate in that local. The Briard is somewhat popular in the United States but remains most popular in its home country of France.
Briard puppies and dogs need very consistent and constant training. They are highly intelligent dogs and therefore learn quickly and are capable of understanding and remembering a large vocabulary of commands. It is essential the Briard puppies are trained well and in the correct manner because otherwise they can become very withdrawn, suspicious, and sometimes aggressive animals.
From the time the Briard is a puppy it should be regularly introduced into new situations involving different types of people, places, and other animals. It is important that these new encounters are done in a positive manner. When training the Briard it is essential to use positive reinforcement training because they respond best to love and affection and respond very poorly to negative attention.
Unfortunately owners are not educated on how much training is involved with a Briard and often become overwhelmed. It is suggested that the Briard is not for first time dog owners. However, if a new dog owner does want to have a Briard for a pet, it is suggested that they obtain professional assistance with training. One specific problem is their nipping at heels of people to herd them. This can be reduced or eliminated by respect training.
The Briard is highly intelligent with an incredible memory and has the ability to independently remember tasks. They are capable of remembering a large vocabulary of commands. With the proper training they can be very affectionate and loyal family pets. It is very important for the owners to have patience and train with love and firmness to obtain the best behavior from the dog.
The Briard has a life expectancy of around 10-12 years. A number of health problems and disorders are associated with this breed, and this includes thyroid problems, eye disorders, HD, PRA, and bloat. The parents of the Briard puppy should have OFA and CERF certificates.