A member of the Herding Group, the Briard is highly intelligent and devoted. They have a powerful frame and their height varies between 22 to 27 inches, though this breed is longer than it is tall. The weight of Briards varies from 75lbs to 100lbs for the males, and from 50lbs to 65lbs for the females.
The Braird’s temperament can best be described as devoted and always willing to please. This precious pooch is highly intelligent and has a confident personality. This breed is friendly towards other household pets, but will be extremely reserved with strangers and other dogs. This makes them excellent watchdogs.
The Briard: A Brief History
You can find the roots of the Briard in France in the 1300′s. The original function of the breed was to herd and guard livestock. It was part of four French breeds of herding dogs. The other three are the Pyrenean, Beauceron, and the Picardy. Of these breeds, the Briard is the oldest French sheepdog , with artwork of the breed dating back to the 8th century.
It was not until well into the early 1800′s that these dogs became known by the name Briard. Up until that time they had been known as Chien Berger de Brie, which means “Shepherd Dog of Brie.” The original job of this breed was to protect the herds, fight off wolves, and human intruders if necessary.
After the French Revolution, the Briard was used less as a guard dog and more as a sheep herder. In 1897, the first breed standard was drawn up for the Briard, and around 1900 the dogs hit the show ring. In 1909 a second breed standard replaced the original. Thomas Jefferson was one of the first American owners of the breed.
Care for Your Briard
This furry friend must have daily vigorous exercise, like all members of the Herding Group. You can fulfill these needs by several brisk walks on the leash, and long play sessions outdoors. These dogs love to herd, and if given the chance will herd small children if they are left unsupervised.
This breed does not do well in the heat. A cool climate is ideal for this breed. If necessary, the Briard can live outdoors, but it would do best sleeping indoors with its family at night, and staying in a fenced in yard during the day. Due to its long coat, the Briard needs brushed out three to four times a week.
Briard Health Concerns
The Briard’s average life span is between ten and twelve years. Common major health concerns are CHD and gastric torsion. A minor health concern is night blindness. Rarely seen health issues are heart problems and PRA. Veterinarians recommend getting your Briard tested for cardiac, hip, and eye problems.