Briard (Herding Group)
The Briard is a highly intelligent and devoted member of the Herding Group. With a powerful build and a hight range from 22 to 27 inches, this breed is longer than it is tall. They have an overall handsome appearance, with a coat displaying long, wavy locks of hair. The weight of the Briard dog ranges from approximately 75 to 100 lbs for the male, and from 50 to 65 lbs for females.
The temperament of the Briard can best be described as faithful and devoted, always willing to please. The are highly intelligent and maintain a confident personality. This breed is friendly towards other types of pets in the house but extremely reserved and weary around strangers and other dogs, making them excellent watchdogs and family protectors.
A Brief History Of The Briard
The Briard has its roots from France, dating back to the 1300s. The original function of the breed was as a herding dog and a dependable guardian of livestock. It was part of four other French breeds, with the others being the Pyrenean, Beauceron, and the Picardy. Of these four breeds, it is the oldest French sheepdog, depicted in artwork dating back as far as the 8th century.
These dogs did not actually go by the name of Briard until well into the early 1800s. Some people referred to them as the Chien Berger de Brie, which means “Shepherd Dog of Brie”. The job of these early dogs were to protect herds as well as fight off (and win) against wolves if necessary. Human intruders were also subject to the same punishment when going up against a Briard dog when it was protecting its livestock.
After the French Revolution the breed was used less as a guard dog and more as a sheep herder. The dogs hit the show ring around 1900, and in 1897 the first breed standard was drawn up. A second breed standard replaced the original in 1909. The Briard made its way to the United States with Thomas Jefferson being one of the first owners of the breed.
Upkeep Requirements For The Briard
Like all members of the Herding Group, the Briard must have vigorous daily exercise. These requirements can be met with several brisk walks on the leash, plus long play sessions outdoors. They especially love to herd when given the chance and may attempt to herd small children if left unsupervised.
This breed can tolerate cool temperatures but does not handle hot climates very well. Briard dogs can live outdoors if necessary, but the ideal arrangement is to sleep indoors with the family at night with access to a safe, fenced-in yard during the day. Grooming requirements consist of a thorough brushing of its long coat three to four times weekly.
The average lifespan of the Briard is between ten and twelve years. Major Health Concerns that run common in the breed are CHD and gastric torsion. Minor health issues include night blindness. Rarely seen in these dogs are heart problems and PRA. Veterinarians suggest that the Briard get specifically tested for cardiac, hip, and eye problems.