Briard Dog Breed Information
Briard – Just The Facts
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The Briard dog is a livestock guardian dog from France. These longhaired working dogs live to herd things but they also make excellent family dogs.
They are kind dogs with a strong protective instinct. They are loyal, gentle and brave. However, these dogs are not for everyone. They can be stubborn. The Briard demands a great deal of time, attention and training.
Origin and History
According to sources, the Briard dog is an old breed of French working dog. Images of them are seen on tapestries as far back as the 8th century. They are mentioned in records from the 12th and 14th centuries.
At one time they defended their flocks from wolves and poachers. After the French Revolution, they were used for herding and guarding their owners’ property. This breed was owned at different times by the Marquis de Lafayette, Thomas Jefferson and other notables.
Briards were used during World War I as messenger dogs and for work on the battlefields. Today they are often used for search and rescue, police work, military work, herding, as watchdogs and as guard dogs.
The Briard dog is described as a dog of “heart,” with spirit and initiative. They are intelligent and courageous dogs. They are trainable. They are also faithful, gentle and obedient. However, they can also be stubborn and independent dogs. They will take charge if the owner is timid.
This dog breed is protective and they are not always friendly toward strangers. These dogs require a great deal of socialization and dog training from a young age. They have a very strong herding instinct and they will herd people at times by nudging with their heads or nibbling on their ankles.
This breed is likely to consider children part of their flock, to be guarded and herded. They should be well-socialized with children since they will likely feel they know what’s best for the children, whether the children like it or not.
Care, Grooming, Diet & Exercise
Living Environment – The Briard can adapt to being an apartment dog if they are given enough daily exercise. They prefer to have a yard of their own, however. They do not do well as kennel dogs since they love to be with people.
Grooming – Their long hair does require regular grooming each week. Although their coarse coat generally sheds dirt and debris, they have a longhaired coat that needs regular brushing to avoid matting. Excess hair in the ears and in the paw pads should be removed for tidiness.
Diet & Exercise – Dietary needs are normal. These dogs do require regular daily exercise. They are a large dog and they have a strong working drive. They like to have something to do. Make sure you spend some time with them while they exercise as they will prefer doing things with you to simply loafing outside.
Health – This breed is prone to progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), cataracts and canine hip dysplasia. Gastric torsion (bloat) can also be a problem in the breed. If you are interested in this dog breed, you should talk to a breeder about possible dog health problems.
Briard dogs are considered intelligent dogs and they are said to be very trainable. However, they can be stubborn at times, particular if they do not respect their handler. These dogs require firm handling.
On the other hand, they do not do well at all with harsh training methods. With the right kind of dog training these dogs can be taught to do many things. They are successful as police dogs, search and rescue dogs, military dogs and in many other kinds of work.
Make sure you stay in charge when training your Briard dog. They do respond well to positive dog training (praise, rewards), especially since they respond very well to affection.