Height: 23 - 27 inches
Weight: 75 - 100 pounds
Coat: Double coated
Briard is supposedly one of those rare breed of dogs that can boast of a long list of virtues, all packed in one. Spirited, wise, fearless, intelligent, easily trained, faithful, gentle and obedient, a Briard is a mixed bag of interesting disposition that makes it a favorite among the canine lovers. Popular as the Chien Berger de Brie in its native France, the Briard owes its lineage to the older breeds of domesticated dogs. Evolved over the ages as a more skillful breed of herding dogs, this strong, agile and extremely cute looking dog was a popular choice for protecting farms and flocks in the past. Easy to train and handle, today, Briards are much loved for their easy disposition and eager to please nature. Vigorous and alert, Briards have come to gain a sophisticated social standing and have been a part of more elite households now. To know more about this cute yet powerful looking breed of dogs, read on.
One of the most superannuated breeds of French working dogs, the history of Briards can be retraced to the rich tapestries of the 8th century that ornated the walls Emperor Charlemagne’s palace. Although the first written record of Braid was found in the 12th century, it got a more elaborate representation in the literature of 14th and 16th centuries. It’s fabled that this breed of French dogs, initially popular as “chien berger de Brie", meaning "shepherd dog of Brie", actually originated in the land of Brie and hence the name ‘Briard’. However, there is another breed of dog experts, who live by the legend that the Briard derived its name from "chien d'Aubry," a special breed of dog kept by Aubry de Montdidier. Whatever may be the legend behind its name, it got its official ‘Briard’ name only in 1809. Initially used to protect the sheep from wolves and poachers, this large French sheepdog was primarily kept as a watchdog, until the French Revolution that altered its standing to a more peaceful herding dog. Briards also made themselves popular as tracking dogs, hunting dogs and war dogs which won them a higher standing among the canines. This breed was officially acknowledged by AKC in 1922. Although a popular dog in the United States, Briard dogs still enjoy a more favorite standing in their native country, France.
Briard is highly esteemed for its powerful gait and sturdy built. Though not very athletic, these breeds of dogs are blessed with long, slanting shoulders, strong bones and a muscular body. They have powerful hindquarters, slightly oval feet, well-arched toes, nicely developed pads and strong nails. They have dark, large eyes that always wear a curious expression. The dogs have thick, hairy ears, wide muzzle that matches a mustache and a beard, big, black, square nose and wide nostrils. The eyebrows are arched and fall lightly over the eyes. They have sinewy neck, well-feathered tail and scissor sharp teeth. This twin-coated dog has a sprightly gait that helps it to make rapid movements with absolute ease. They have a hard, coarse outer coat and a fine, tight undercoat and the color usually ranges from black and gray to tawny. Briards are usually very hairy with everything right from their tail to head covered with hair.
Docile, devoted and defensive are the best words that describe Briard dogs. Very independent and fiercely loyal, the Briards are dedicated dogs who are often feted for their extreme loyalty and dedication. Better known as watchdogs, these breed of dogs are much honored for their sheer intelligence, lively disposition and their always eager-to-please attitude. Touted as an intelligent breed of dogs, Briards need enough mental stimulation to keep their interest up and alive. They are confident, sensitive and at times can be very territorial. The Briard gets along well with kids and other pets, but when it comes to dealing with strangers, the Briard can be very standoffish and shy. These dogs are also known to possess excellent memory and a refined auditory sense.
Otherwise a healthy breed with no known genetic disorder, Briard is vulnerable to specific dog-related diseases like cancer, bloating, hip dysplasia, congenital stationary night blindness, hypothyroidism, cataracts, cardiac conditions and more.
The Briards are blessed with a thick coarse coat that is impervious to dirt and water and is thus extremely easy to clean. The dogs require minimum grooming. An occasional brushing once in a while is enough to maintain an attractive and healthy briard. A briard is a minimum shedder. However it needs to be groomed, no matter how rare or how often, to prevent its coat from going matte. Also its ears, pads and hairs should be kept clean to avoid threat of all dog infections.