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Briard

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Large shaggy dogs with an appealing look, Briards are also gentle and loyal. They are extremely energetic and incredibly fun-loving and so can be amazing pets. But these dogs are high-maintenance and may be aggressive to other animals.

Which breed group is the Briard in?

Breed group: Pastoral

Briard breed history

The origins of the Briard are lost in the mists of time but similar dogs are depicted in Medieval tapestries. It is possible that dogs which arrived in the Brie region of France from the Far East were crossed with local herding dogs. However, the Briard evolved, it became a fearless and loyal servant which guarded and herded flocks.

Briards were highly prized by farmers but also served in the military. None other than Napoleon favoured these dogs and they became popular in America when Thomas Jefferson took several back to the States after visiting Europe. During World War 1, Briards served the French army, carrying supplies to soldiers and tracking wounded men. Their impressive intelligence enabled them to discern which soldiers required assistance and which were beyond help. After World War II, the number of Briards in France fell dramatically. The breed first arrived in the UK in the 1960s and was fully recognised by the Kennel Club in 1974.

Briard breed characteristics

It is the long coat of the Briard which immediately draws the eye. These dogs also boast moustaches, beards and bushy eyebrows which give them a charming look. Briards are undeniably but they are rugged and athletic pooches with muscular necks, shoulders and legs. Their heads are slightly rounded, and their fluffy ears are set high. Large dark brown eyes contribute to the gentle expression of this appealing breed. Briards are distinguished by double dewclaws to their back legs. Their feet are cat-like but large and their toes are very hairy. Hairy long tails are carried low.

The long coat of the Briard is slightly wavy and features a dense undercoat. The accepted coat colours are fawn, slate grey and black with darker markings on muzzles, ears and tails also being acceptable.

Intelligent and incredibly courageous, Briards are gentle dogs with impressive energy. These appealing pooches are great fun and adapt well to family life. However, they have a strong pray drive and may be aggressive to other animals or chase them.

  • Lifespan: 11-15 years
  • Height: up to 69cm
  • Weight: up to 40kg
  • Long shaggy coat
  • Fawn, black or grey
  • Muscular
  • Moustache, beard and bushy eyebrows
  • Cat-like feet
  • Double Dewclaws
  • Intelligent
  • Friendly
  • Energetic
  • Fun-loving
  • Strong prey drive
  • May chase other animals
  • Can be aggressive to other animals

Health issues with Briard

Briards are robust and powerful with impressive lifespans for dogs of their size. But they are prone to the following conditions:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Congenital stationery night blindness
  • Retinal epithelial dystrophy
  • Non-malignant skin tumours
  • Ectopic ureter
  • Bloat/gastric torsion

What is the Briard for?

Briards were originally evolved to work on farms, guarding animals and herding livestock but from the 19th century they also served in the military.

What sort of owners does the Briard suit?

The beguiling Briard can be a wonderful family pet and amazing watchdog. These impressive pooches are usually good with children and relatively easy to train. But these dogs need a copious amount of exercise and are high maintenance due to their shaggy coats. They are best suited to homes where there are no small children as they don’t know their own strength. Briards may be aggressive to other animals and so are not good choices for those with cats and small pets. They can be stubborn and manipulative dogs which might prove challenging for first time owners.

A Briard will be happiest as the only dog of an active owner with a large garden and time on their hands to groom their pet.


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