Country of Origin: France
Height: 22–27 inches
Weight: 65–100 pounds
Coat: Double coat with long, coarse, shiny, hard, dry outercoat lying flat against body with slightly wavy locks and fine, tight undercoat; mustache and beard
Colors: Black, shades of gray, shades of tawny
Registries (with Group): AKC (Herding); UKC (Herding)
ORIGIN AND HISTORY
The need for a large herding dog who could both control and protect the flock led to the development of the Briard, a French herder who has been around since the Middle Ages (and possibly longer). Through the ages, the Briard has earned high praises: Charlemagne gave braces of Briards to friends; Napoleon took them on his military campaigns; Thomas Jefferson imported several for use on American farms; and Lafayette had Briards sent to his American estate. The Briard was so valuable to the French war efforts—carrying supplies to the front lines, finding wounded soldiers, transporting ammunition—that he was named the official dog of the French army.
The Briard is a big dog with a big personality: He can be a clown, a tease, a show-off, gentlemanly, and even a “reserved philosopher.” He can be reserved with strangers, but his loyalty and bravery make him a natural guardian of home and family. He is a sensitive soul, and unkind or unjust treatment can make the Briard skittish and even aggressive. However, enthusiastic and appreciative training and care will yield an even-tempered, affectionate dog.
- Exercise: The Briard needs regular outings that include some vigorous form of exercise. Happiest with a job or a purpose, he becomes restless if left to his own devices.
- Grooming: The long, double coat of the Briard needs to be brushed several times a week to prevent tangling. The coarseness of the coat keeps dirt from sticking to it, and the Briard sheds very little, but without attention, the coat can become disheveled and uncomfortable for him.
- Life Span: 10 to 12 years.
- Training: A smart, willing dog, the Briard is a quick study. However, a stern or harsh manner or tone will backfire and bring out his stubborn nature. He will respond to and thrive only with positive training.
Excerpted from World Atlas of Dog Breeds, 6th Edition. © 2009 T.F.H. Publications, Inc. Used by Permission.