This ancient and majestic breed originates from the province of Brie in France. They were owned by Charlemagne (Charles the Great) in the beginning of the ninth century and later, they were seen in the painting of the martyrdom of Saint Sebastian in the fifteenth. While some cross breeding may have undoubtedly changed the appearance of the Briard, it wasn't until the nineteenth century, 1896 to be exact, that they, and the Beauceron (the short haired version) were considered a separate breed. They gained popularity after the Paris dog show in 1863, partly due to improvements seen by crossings with the short haired Beauceron and the Barbet. The Briard was originally bred as a fearless guard against marauding predators and an accomplished sheep herder.
The Briard, a handsome, rough and ready extrovert who loves playing games never fails to pull on your heartstrings. His courage and fearless temperament along with his rugged looks give him the standing he requires to be an effective watch and guard dog. While his lively and energetic nature make him an excellent sheep herder. Above all he is an intelligent and loving companion, who, as we've seen has been fit enough for kings. Don't let his teddy bear looks fool you though, beneath the cute exterior is a hardy dog - capable of running long distances and well respected for using his authoritative poise to carry out his job, whether that be herding or guarding. The Briards excellent hearing was put to good use in the first World War as a pack dog, where not only did he carry equipment and helped locate wounded soldiers but was also used as a patrol dog, to warn of surprise attacks and ambushes. This graceful giant has also been said to "return tenfold any affection given to him". Need we say more?
As a fit and energetic dog the Briard needs at least 2 hours of exercise a day. Walks in the countryside or on the beach with plenty of room for sprints would suit him well. A home in the country with plenty to occupy his mind would be ideal, but care needs to be taken not to over-exercise a growing dog.
The Briard are willing to please and are great fans of food, so they are generally very amenable to training methods which use positive reinforcement - being a sensitive dog, Briards should always be handled with affection and kindness. Being a large and powerful dog training to walk on lead without pulling is important and jumping up on people should be discouraged from a young age. As with any breed, correct and extensive socialisation is required from the outset.
- Hip Dysplasia
- Congenital Stationary Night Blindness (CSNB)
- Minor Cataracts
- Corneal Dystrophy
- Retinal folds
- some autoimmune diseases.
Some photographs of the Briard...