Briard

History

The Briard is a large breed originating in France. It was developed as a sheep herder, and during the Second World War it was used as a messenger and sentry, and to help locate wounded soldiers. It is still used a sheepdog today, and by search and rescue organizations and as a Police dog.

Behaviour

The Briard is a happy, joyous dog that loves to please its human friends. They love being involved at the heart of family life and dote on children; they can be defensive of them, even when parents discipline them. They are sensitive to noise and will hear things long before you do, making them excellent watch dogs. They will bark to announce someone or something nearby. They can be aloof with strangers, but are generally accepting of them once introduced inside the house. Even with their herding instincts, they can live with other dogs and cats if introduced from an early age.

The Briard needs lots of training, but is intelligent and has a need to please it's owner, so the task isn't too tricky. They love a cuddle and rough-and-tumble play when they have done something well. They adapt well to different situations, but need close companionship and a leader who will teach them right from wrong. Any weakness in training will be spotted and they will take advantage. They have been bred for centuries to think independently, and that can lead then to be stubborn. Using food rewards and positive reinforcement usually cuts through, though. Training needs to be constant in order for the Briard to know you are in charge and make them respond well. They need affection and do not cope well with harsh words or treatment, but will return your kindness with loyalty and positivity.

A long walk off lead is usually fine with Briards, and they respond well to recall when trained and are usually friendly with other dogs out an about. Socializing them early on with puppy classes and later adult classes helps to reinforce the notion that other dogs are no threat, and will result in a happy, contented dog who loves to be around you and your family. If they receive enough exercise they are chilled out in the home and happy to sleep at your feet (or try and climb on your lap). They do well in competitions such as agilty and obedience. Many are used for work with disability groups as the dogs work well as therapy.

Their coat needs a fair amount of brushing, at least every other day to prevent tangles. It is a 'hypoallergenic' breed, but still loses dead fur and needs some attention and trimming every so often. Bathing very eight weeks or so is also recommended.

Temperament

Briards are independent and watchful. Bred to look sheep, their protective instincts are easily transferred to a family setting where they will be devoted pets. They are not fond of strangers and are territorial with animals outdoors (although they get on fine with other household animals they know well). Briards need plenty of daily exercise and regular training in order to show them who is boss and prevent them being bored in the home.

Health Problems

Briards are prone to canine hip dysplasia (CHD), cancer, bloat, eye disease (uncommon), allergies, hypothyroidism, epilepsy, ear infections, blood clotting disease, and hernias.

Breed Details

  • Status: Common
  • Life Expectancy: 10 - 12 years
  • Weight: 44 - 88 lb
  • Height: 23 - 27"
  • Rare: No
  • Coat: Long
  • Grooming Requirements: Everyday
  • Town or Country: Either
  • Minimum Home Size: Large House
  • Minimum Garden Size: Large Garden
  • Breed Type: Herding
  • Size: Large
  • Energy Level: Medium
  • Exercise Required: Over 2 hours

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