Adopting A Briard

History and origin: The Briard has been known since the 12th century and comes from the Brie area of France, where the dog is also known as the “Berger de Brie” or “Chien de Brie.”  He was first used to guard herds against wolves and poachers.  This breed was bred with good size and a protective weather-proof coat.

Description: The Briard stands 22 to 27 inches at the shoulder and weighs between 55 and 90 pounds.  He has a large, strong, lanky body and a shedding coat that is long and straight or slightly wavy, with a finer undercoat.  The head is well coated, with a beard, long, arched, expressive eyebrows, and cropped or uncropped ears.  The eyes are almost covered with hair.  This breed requires  daily brushing and combing to prevent mats.  A shorter clip will reduce the maintenance requirements.  The color may be black, gray, or tawny or a combination of two of these colors.

About the breed: The Briard is a great family pet, a farm worker, a good guard dog, and a successful show dog.  He is loyal, easy to train, and has a gentle nature.  This active, lively, independent breed is affectionate with his family and reserved with strangers.  Alert and territorial, he may be initially resistant to training.  A firm, consistent technique combined with early socialization will be needed to reduce pushy, suspicious behavior.  Giving this breed a job such as herding, competition obedience, or agility work will help focus his energy and increase his confidence.  The Briard may chase cars, bikes, and joggers and may not tolerate the hectic activity of young children, perhaps nipping at them in an effort to herd them.  Roughhousing and chasing should not be allowed.  This breed can also be dog-aggressive.  The Briard may be susceptible to hip dysplasia and eye problems.

Feeding: Recommended feeding for the Briard is 1 ½ — 2 ½ cans (13.3oz) of a high-quality meaty product with biscuit added in equal amount or 5 cupfuls of a complete, dry dog food.

Ideal home: The Briard needs a house with a fenced yard. The owner of a Briard should be an active, firm leader, who desires an athletic, lively, intelligent breed. Daily exercise is mandatory; competition obedience or herding would help focus this breed and build his confidence.  Sedentary people should avoid this breed. Spoilers and nervous types may encourage a pushy, nippy, timid attitude.  Older children who will not roughhouse or play chase games are okay.  The elderly and the disabled may have trouble controlling this active breed.  The Briard does better in a dry climate; wet environments tend to cause the coat to become smelly and matted.