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Briard Dog Breed: The Powerful And Protective Watchdog

Briard Dog Breed: The Powerful And Protective Watchdog

Are you looking for a loving family dog that loves his people but also has a protective side? Then the Briard dog may just be the right fit for you! These adorable pups absolutely adore their family and are perfectly content with just laying on the couch and watching TV. However, they will also enjoy workouts and other types of adventures.

The Briard is an excellent choice for someone looking for a beloved but not overly reliant dog. He’s a Herding Group member who weighs around 75 pounds and can live well in either the country or the city as long as he’s with his family and gets enough exercise.

The Briard is a smart breed that picks up training quickly, however he can be stubborn and insist on doing things his own. Owners must be ready to establish pack leadership from a young age, otherwise the dog will likely try to take over.

Because of his fear of outsiders, the Briard makes an outstanding guard dog, and he is always ready to defend his family and territory if he senses danger. You may, however, encourage him to be more welcoming of strangers with the right training and socializing. During the first year of his life, a Briard puppy should be exposed to a variety of new people, places, and situations. These early experiences can help you raise a Briard who has a positive attitude on life as an adult.

Of course, there are outliers, but the Briard works really well with children on the whole. If you’re introducing a Briard puppy — or any dog — into a home with children, it’s crucial to teach them how to get along. If you don’t have children now but expect to in the future, it’s critical that you socialize your puppy with them.

History & Origins

Briards have a long history, with references to them in popular culture dating back to the 14th century. In the dairy heartland of Northern France, these dogs were bred to herd and guard sheep. In its native region, the Briard is known as Chien Berger de Brie, or “Shepherd Dog Brie,” a reference to the popular Brie cheese from France’s dairy belt. Napoleon, a French revolutionary, was a fan of the breed, despite the fact that he wasn’t known for his fondness for dogs in the first place.

The Briard’s intelligence and athleticism were admired and revered by the French. Briards were thought to be a “two-in-one” dog since they could both herd sheep and guard them from predators (and even protecting local vegetation from the sheep). The Briard was a fixture on French farms for a long time, and with good cause. These dogs are exceedingly sweet-natured and friendly, in addition to their herding abilities.

During the French and Indian War, Briards were used to transport supplies, protect access points, and hunt for wounded soldiers. Briards were declared the official dog breed of the French army for their valiant deeds.

Thomas Jefferson is credited with introducing the Briard to the United States. In the late 1780s, after serving as the United States Ambassador to France, Jefferson purchased a pregnant Briar named Bergère. He took her to his Virginia mansion, Monticello, where the first generation of Briards left their mark on American soil. Over time, Jefferson received more Briards from his friend Marquis de Lafayette, who was a Briard lover himself.

The Briard has been popular in America ever since. While they are still a popular herding and working dog breed, they are mostly used as family pets these days.

Briard Breed Characteristics & Quick Facts

In America, the Briard is a rare breed, and it’s unlikely that you’ve ever met one in your local dog park. This breed is from northern France, and he’s related to the town that makes the gloriously creamy French cheese Brie.

This isn’t exactly a low maintenance breed. The Briard must be groomed on a daily basis. Despite the fact that his coat is deemed low- to non-shedding, it quickly tangles and matts. Consider another breed if you don’t have the time or tolerance for grooming.

If your puppy has been properly trained, the Briard is naturally autonomous, which is a beautiful attribute. However, without instruction, that self-assured puppy might grow into an uncontrollable adult.

To avoid violence toward people or animals he doesn’t know, the Briard must be socialized at a young age. Briards were bred to be guard dogs, and they still take that responsibility very seriously. The Briard is content when he is with his owner. He thrives when he is able to spend time with the people he cares about.

The Briard is a versatile dog who is a dedicated family member. He enjoys nothing more than snuggling in the evenings after working hard during the day. He gets along nicely with children and other pets, and he fits right in with the family. But there are a few things you should know before revving up your engine and driving to your nearest Briard breeder. He isn’t for everyone, after all!

Males are between 23 and 27 inches tall, while females are between 22 and 25.5 inches tall. The average weight of a Briard is 70 to 90 pounds, while some males can weigh up to 100 pounds.

Personality & Temperament

Briards are known for their bravery, loyalty, and intelligence. With his family, he is sweet and loving, and he enjoys engaging in family activities. Despite his enormous size, he is primarily a housedog. He doesn’t belong alone in the backyard, but he does belong snuggled up next to you sipping mint tea.

The Briard is a watchful protector who might be aloof towards strangers. He can also be obstinate and stubborn, but with enough encouragement and positive reinforcement, he can be persuaded to change his mind on both points.

The Briard possesses a number of outstanding qualities that would suit most families. He is really affectionate and loving. He wants to feel like a part of the human gang, therefore he’ll sit on the sofa with you every night.

You can expect a second shadow with this guy since he seeks human interaction. Some dog owners adore this quality, while others would rather have a less needy family pet. If you like affectionate dogs, this gentleman could be a perfect match for you.

The Briard enjoys becoming involved in family activities and being the focus of attention. This indicates that if you have a lot of free time and want to play with your dog, this man is up for it! If you don’t have the time or energy for this, you should choose a different dog breed.

The Briard is a dog with a lot of intelligence. He can not only manage an entire flock of sheep on his own, but he also learns commands swiftly. This is fantastic, but there’s a catch. If the Briard is having a bad day, he can become stubborn. This is why training is so important for him.

Are they good family dogs?

The Briard is a wonderful family dog since it is both loving and playful. He is very protective of his family’s children, and he has been known to “defend” them when their parents chastise them.

He need placement with an active family that is willing to include him in all of their activities. This man is an excellent jogging partner, mountain hiker, swimmer, and just about anything else you can think of.

He enjoys family life and would be very happy in a bustling household. He adores children and engages in gentle play with kids of all ages. This guy will not be impressed if you go on vacation without your doggies.

As with any breed, teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and constantly supervise any interactions between dogs and small children to avoid biting or ear or tail pulling on either party’s side.

You must keep an eye on any herding activity in the family home because he is a conventional herding dog. You may note that he attempts to herd the family’s younger members, which should not be tolerated.

If properly socialized, the Briard gets along with all other pets. For the Briard to be courteous as an adult, he must be well socialized as a puppy. If you’re bringing a Briard into a household with other pets, you should introduce them gradually in a restricted environment before making any commitments.

If you live on a ranch, your Briard will naturally want to help you, so don’t be too hard on him if he gets involved without your permission. Please include him if you can, because he’ll be a terrific cowboy colleague.

Briard Care & Maintenance

Briard dogs require moderate care. Their wavy coat requires special care. They don’t shed much, but their coat needs to be brushed daily and trimmed on a regular basis. Because these are high-energy puppies, you’ll have to devote a lot of time to exercising this working dog. They’re not difficult to train, but you need to start from an early age.

The Briard can live in either the city or the country. When he’s inside, he’s a rather quiet breed, but he does require 30 to 60 minutes of daily activity. The Briard can become bored if there isn’t enough action, which can lead to destructive behaviors such as barking, digging, chasing, and chewing. Dog activities, particularly herding trials, are a great way for him to burn off steam.

Because the Briard puppy must understand who the pack leader is or he will want to take over, training should begin as soon as the puppy arrives home. This does not imply that he should master complex commands by the age of nine weeks, but he should begin learning good etiquette and house norms as soon as possible.

Crate training can be a useful tool for housetraining and keeping your dog safe while you’re away, but keep in mind that when you’re at home, he should be with you and not in his crate.

Because the Briard is naturally wary of individuals who aren’t part of his “flock,” it’s crucial to teach your Briard puppy to be sociable to strangers. If a Briard is not properly socialized and trained, he may become aggressive toward people or animals whom he perceives to be a threat.

Training

When it comes to training, the Briard is always willing to pick up new tricks and skills. Briards’ intelligence can often work against them in training because they are more than capable of thinking for themselves.

These dogs may not always prioritize their owners’ wishes, but once they’ve mastered a new skill, they’re sure to shine. This is true for everything from dog sports to service jobs.

The Briard is a naturally protective dog who, if not properly socialized, can soon become dominant and violent. And this is something that professional breeders will start doing right away, and it’s something you’ll have to keep doing once you get him home.

Introduce him to new sights and sounds, as well as animals and people he is unfamiliar with. As a result, he will grow into a self-assured and courteous dog who will no longer feel the need to be too protective.

Their herding instincts could easily become a huge inconvenience if you don’t take care of them early on. You must intervene as soon as you detect him attempting to herd children or smaller animals. Although it isn’t hazardous in and of itself, if left unchecked, it can lead to unpleasant habits and pet squabbles.

The Briard prefers to see himself as one of the humans rather than an obedient family pet. But keep in mind that protective dogs require solid leadership so that he does not become the alpha in your house. He needs to know who the leader is. Hint — it should be you.

Always employ the positive reinforcement approach of training. They will thrive on rewards such as verbal praise and treats. But don’t be hesitant to scold him when necessary.

Exercise

You probably know the Briard is a high-energy dog, but how high? To make this guy happy, you must set aside at least one hour of your time every day. And we’re not talking about a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood. We’re talking about a rigorous workout to burn up all of his working energy.

He’ll be fine with an hour of jogging or an hour of fetching. In addition, he enjoys swimming in the local lake and playing with his friends at the local dog park. It has to be enjoyable and exhausting; else, your Briard will be raring to go as soon as you return through the door.

If you and your dog have a competitive side, dog sports could be a fun way for you and your canine to bond. Consider activities like agility, rally, dock diving (which appeals to their natural affinity for water) or lure coursing, in which they race around a track pursuing a mechanical bait.

Bring the fun indoors with games like hide-and-seek or fetch when the weather isn’t cooperating (if your home has enough room or a long hallway). Puzzle toys are nice to have around the house since they provide brain stimulation. Bored dogs will come up with less-than-fun methods to pass the time, such as biting your shoes.

Food & Nutritional Needs

The Briard requires high-quality food that will support his active lifestyle, not a low-cost brand with fillers. So shop around for the best food you can afford, and make sure it gives him a well-balanced diet with enough of protein and energy.

This dog requires a substantial amount of meat in his bowl. Meat should always come first, whether they eat wet or dry meals. It’s advisable to start with the breeder’s well-known food for your puppy.

This is also true if you want to switch his food later. After the dog has settled in, gradually introduce more of the unfamiliar food into the familiar. This is how hypersensitivity reactions are avoided.

Every day, Briards consume about three cups of food. This will depend on his age, size, and degree of energy. Gastric torsion, sometimes known as bloat, is a known disease of the Briard. As a result, spread his meals out throughout the day and avoid feeding him right before or right after activity.

Treats should be based as rewards. Dried meat snacks and dental care treats are examples of this. Additional bites should be prepared in the same way as the main course: Sugar and cereals should be avoided. Both of these ingredients have no place in high-quality dog food.

From time to time, reward your dog with dog chewing bones or dry chews. These provide your dog a lot of chewing enjoyment. It is critical to let huge four-legged friends, such as a Briard, to relax after eating. This is also how you can avoid bloat.

Don’t overfeed your dog as they are prone to obesity. They gain weight pretty easily. Also, keep in mind that your dog must have access to fresh drinking water at all times.

Coat & Grooming

Briards have a long coat that is most commonly solid black. Because his luxurious locks can grow up to six inches long, he has to be brushed every other day to stay looking clean and fresh. It also aids in the removal of dead hair, debris, tangle prevention, and the distribution of his natural coat oils.

Because his hair grows quickly, many owners take him to the groomer to keep him looking his best. This can add up cost wise, so keep that in mind before buying a Briard puppy.

Thankfully, despite not being a hypoallergenic dog, he sheds significantly less than the normal dog. To get the most out of his grooming routine, use a pin brush and a slicker brush. Bathe him once every 8 to 12 weeks, and make sure to use a concentrated but gentle dog shampoo to get through his thick coat.

Because their nails grow quickly, you’ll need to clip them every two to four weeks or whenever you hear them tapping on the floor. If you are not sure how to do that, leave it to a professional dog groomer.

You should also examine your dog’s ears once a week to prevent wax or other debris from building up, which can lead to ear infections. Cleaning the ears with a cleaning solution and a few cotton balls is pretty easy as well. You can read all about that here.

To prevent plaque and tartar buildup, veterinarians recommend brushing your dog’s teeth anywhere from three times a week to everyday. Periodontal disease can result in tooth loss as well as more significant complications such as heart disease. In addition to brushing your dog’s teeth at home, take him to the vet for expert dental cleanings once a year.

Briard Health & Life Expectancy 

Briards are typically healthy, however they are susceptible to some health issues, as are all breeds. Although not all Briards will contract any or all of these illnesses, it’s vital to be aware of them if you’re thinking about getting one.

Find a good breeder who will show you health clearances for both your dog’s parents if you’re buying a puppy. Health clearances demonstrate that a dog has been checked for and cleared of a certain disease.

Because some health difficulties are still possible, look for a reputable breeder who performs pre-breeding health exams and can provide you with confirmation of normal results.

Briards are a generally healthy dog breed that, like most purebred dogs, is only susceptible to a few health issues. He has a healthy lifespan of about 12 years, so you can anticipate a long and happy relationship with him. Here are some of the more common conditions to watch out for in Briards.

Most common health conditions 

Hip Dysplasia

Canine hip dysplasia occurs when the hip joint becomes unstable as a result of both developmental and environmental factors. Dogs are prone to this bone and joint disorder. The femur does not meet the pelvic bone appropriately, causing the bones to wear out prematurely.

Later in life, your dog may develop arthritis, which can be excruciatingly painful. This ailment shows itself as a peculiar walk, shaky posture, or limping in the hind legs, all of which are plainly seen in your beautiful pup. To preserve your dog’s quality of life, discuss care with your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Patellar luxation

Patellar luxation, or the dislocation of the kneecap, is common in these dogs. The kneecap usually sits in front of the hind leg’s joint and is maintained in place by ligaments. It moves around in a groove when the dog walks, protecting the joint but allowing the dog to move freely.

This little bone can dislocate and slip out of the groove in certain dogs. So it’s causing it to “float” freely about the knee. If left untreated, this can lead to major complications. It’s possible that the bone will be forced up against another bone, causing damage. Ligaments are frequently injured when the kneecap moves around incorrectly.

Bloat

Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV or Bloat) is a condition that affects dogs with deep, narrow chests. This indicates that your dog is more vulnerable than other breeds. The stomach twists on itself and fills with gas when a dog bloats. The twisting cuts off the stomach’s and sometimes the spleen’s blood flow.

If left untreated, the sickness can kill your dog in as little as 30 minutes. Your dog may retch or heave (but nothing comes out), be agitated, have an enlarged abdomen, or lie in a prayer position (front feet down, rear end up). Preventive surgery, which involves tacking or suturing the stomach in place so that it does not twist, is possible.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Progressive retinal atrophy is an eye ailment that might have a negative impact on the quality of life of your dog. This usually happens later in life as a result of retinal degeneration. Retinal dysplasia is the name for the early-onset type, which is observed in puppies. This is when the retinal cells do not mature properly.

The dog becomes partially or completely blind in both cases. While the disease isn’t unpleasant, it can have a significant influence on your dog’s quality of life. Consult your veterinarian about your dog’s alternatives, as well as what to do if he becomes blind.

Allergies

Allergies to pollen, mold, and dust cause people to sneeze. Instead of sneezing, allergies in dogs produce itching. Atopy is a name used to describe a common skin allergy in these puppies. The feet, tummy, skin wrinkles, and ears are the most commonly affected locations. Symptoms normally emerge between the ages of one and three, and they can get worse as time goes on. Licking the paws, stroking the face, and recurring ear infections are the most prevalent allergy symptoms. The good news is that these diseases can be treated in a number of different ways.

Von Willebrand’s Disease

This is one of the most prevalent blood clotting problems in humans, and you might be surprised to learn that it can also affect your dog. Von Willebrand’s disease is caused by a lack of the von Willebrand Factor, a protein that aids in blood clotting.

In the event of even a minor cut, this can result in significant bleeding. This disease is difficult to detect because your dog may appear to be in perfect health for their whole life, unless they have an injury. Other signs and symptoms may appear in some dogs. Nosebleeds, blood in the feces or urine, and easily damaged skin are examples.

If you and your dog are both careful, this ailment will not have a significant impact on your dog’s quality of life. Inquire with your veterinarian about treatment options for the condition. It’s critical to have your puppy checked for this problem as soon as possible, as certain medications, such as aspirin, might make it worse.

Cataracts

In older canines, cataracts are a common cause of blindness. The lenses of his eyes become more opaque—in other words, hazy rather than clear. Many dogs adapt well to losing their vision and live happily ever after. Surgical removal of cataracts and restoration of vision may also be a possibility.

What to know before buying a Briard puppy

The Briard is a working dog. This suggests he is a high-energy pup who is happiest when he has a task to complete. Despite his magnificent flowing locks, lounging around the home all day getting pampered will not impress him. He won’t be able to sit still until he’s used all of his energy.

As a result, he cannot be put with a family who enjoys watching TV all day. If you can’t put him to work on a ranch, that’s alright; he just needs a lot of exercise. He will undoubtedly become rowdy, troublesome, and destructive if you don’t make this commitment.

You can bet that this canine has an independent streak because he is an industrious herding dog who arranges farmer’s fields on his own. This person sometimes thinks he doesn’t need a master. However, this is where you must take command and be firm with him. Briards are not required for novice dog owners or timid and mild dog parents.

If you think that you can handle all of this let’s decide if you should go for a male or a female puppy. The personality of a Briard is shaped more by his upbringing, training, and living environment than by his gender. Owners do not touch on the differences between male and female Briards after looking online, thus this decision is purely personal.

The only distinction between male and female Briards is that male Briards are often larger than female Briards. The difference can be significant, given that he is already a huge dog breed. If you’re worried about his size, you can get an estimate from his parents. But keep in mind that this is only a guess and not a guarantee.

Where to buy?

A Briard puppy from a good breeder will cost between $1,000 and $1,500 on average. If you want a show Briard or one from an award-winning lineage, you may expect to pay anywhere between $2,000 and $5,000.

You want a healthy Briard who has also been raised with love and socialized with his littermates. As a result, you must engage with a reliable breeder. Because you receive all of this and more, it’s worth paying the extra money that respectable breeders ask.

You may save a little money on the puppy price tag if you buy a Briard from a puppy mill, but you will not be getting a happy puppy in return. Instead, you’ll be bringing into your home a puppy who has never felt affection or been taught how to socialize and play. It’s also unlikely that his parents have been tested for health issues, nor that he has received any medical attention. As a result, please stay away from them at all costs.

Briards are frequently bought without a thorough understanding of what it takes to own one. Many Briards are available for adoption or fostering. However, it could be a bit tricky to find one in the United States. They are much more common in Europe, especially France.

If you decide to adopt one from overseas, keep in mind that you will have to pay for their papers and transportation. In addition to the adoption fees, the cost could definitely add up. But it will still be rewarding as you have the opportunity to give a puppy the life he deserves.

Additional information about the Briard can be found via their National breed club, The Briard Club of America, Inc. which is a private club based in New York City.

Some other dog breeds you might find interesting as well: