AKC Group: Herding

The Briard earned his keep in France as a sheep guarder and herder. The French Army used this ancient breed as a messenger and as a search dog. (Briards have excellent hearing.) The appearance of the Briard has improved by breeding with the Beauceron and Barbet. Briards remain most popular in their native France, but are recognized worldwide.

Size: 22 to 27 inches; 50 to 100 pounds

Color: All colors except white. Most commonly Briards are black, tawny or gray.

Life span: 10 to 12 years

Health problems: Thyroid problems, eye disorders, hip dysplasia, bloat, PRA (progressive retinal atrophy).

The Briard is athletically built and possess great agility; he is a graceful dog indeed. What sets the Briard apart is his rear double dewclaws. His coat is long, shaggy and has a dense undercoat.

Briards are gentle, devoted and loving dogs. With personality for days, a Briard retains a sense of independence. Devoted to you, they are also protective. With a spring in his step, a Briard knows when to be serious and calm. Easily adaptable, a Briard will follow your lead and go along with your plan for the day. Highly intelligent, a Briard does need plenty of exercise time outside to keep him alert and interested (and not turn destructive).

As a natural herder, the instinct remains. With a keen sensitivity they may be territorial with other animals. They do better with companion animals they’ve been raised with. To strangers, they are reserved. A Briard possesses an excellent memory — this will come in handy during training time.

His long coat needs combing out twice a week. During shedding season, this will need to be done more regularly. All puppies need to be groomed more than twice a week, no matter the season or the amount they shed.

Training is very important for Briards. It should always be consistent — and constant. If a Briard isn’t trained properly, he can become withdrawn, suspicious or aggressive. Socialization should start as a puppy to new people and situations — and animals. Every interaction and training session should be done positively and include positive reinforcement. Briards respond best to love and affection. If you become overwhelmed, it’s best to obtain professional assistance. You’ll probably also want help to stop your Briard from nipping at heels. It is possible to reduce the behavior and even eliminate it completely.

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