Ever seen “The Addams Family”? If so, the Briard may put you in mind of Cousin Itt. Under all that long hair, you can see that the Briard is a large, well-muscled, and agile dog.
Briard breed attributes
About Briard breed
Under all that long hair, you can see that the Briard is a large, well-muscled, and agile dog. The head is moderately long, with large, dark eyes perfectly adapted for keeping an eye on the herd. The ears are set high on the head, and although cropping was traditional, this practise is banned in many areas as it is considered inhumane. The long, strong neck leads down to a slightly sloped back and broad, deep chest. The limbs are powerful, enabling the Briard to sprint and turn as it herds its flock.
Ever seen “The Addams Family”? If so, the Briard may put you in mind of Cousin Itt. Briards have a harsh outer coat that falls in slight waves. This outer coat is usually around 15cm long. The undercoat is much finer and softer. The Briard’s coat comes in many colours. Typical colours include black, tawny, blue, or grey.
Despite all that long fur, the Briard only sheds moderately. You will need to put aside a few hours every week to brush your Briard, plus a bath every six weeks or so. You may find it necessary to seek the services of a professional groomer to assist you.
While the Briard is generally a healthy dog, they are prone to a few health conditions:
- Hip dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia
- Congenital Stationary Night Blindness (CSNB)
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
- Gastric Torsion (Bloat)
- Von Willebrand’s Disease
At Newdoggy.com, we recommend that you buy your dog from reputable breeders, who use genetic testing and good breeding practices to remove genetic conditions from their breeding lines.
Bred as a working dog, the Briard has shown its intelligence time and time again throughout history. During the First World War they proved invaluable as messengers, sentries, and to search for the wounded, and even today they are used for herding, search and rescue, police and military work, and as service dogs.
This versatility is a good indication of the Briard’s intelligence. They are fairly easy to train, but they are sensitive so be firm but calm to accommodate this. Start socialisation and training from an early age, as Briards tend to grow more and more independent as they grow up. Briards have excellent memories, and if you let them get away with something, they will remember it!
The Briard can be very serious or a complete clown. They tend to be reserved with strangers, as they are very loyal and protective dogs. They are very sweet and affectionate with their humans, and are happy to show their playful side with these people.
The Briard is very intelligent, but they are also independent by nature. Combined with their protective nature, this can lead to behavioural problems unless the Briard is properly socialised from an early age. With proper socialisation, your Briard should grow up to be a confident and well-behaved canine citizen.
Despite their roots as working dogs, Briards can live comfortably in the countryside or in the city. Your Briard will do best with plenty of daily exercise. They need a minimum of 60 minutes of exercise per day. Both physical and mental exercise is important for the Briard, as they are highly intelligent and can easily become bored. A bored Briard is a recipe for disaster, as they will happily trash your house in frustration. The good news is that the Briard is fantastic at canine sports, such as sheepdog trials and canine agility; these activities will keep your Briard fit and endlessly entertained!
Although aloof with strangers and naturally protective, the Briard is a brilliant family dog. They are gentle with children and even other pets (though note that the do have a fairly strong prey drive). With proper socialisation, your Briard should behave politely around strangers (and strange dogs).
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