Is the Powerful and Protective Briard Suitable for You?

Last Updated on April 26, 2023

To bring out the best, admirable qualities from your loving Briard puppy, you need to learn as much as you can about them.

This old and regal breed is known as Chien Berger de Brie in their homeland, France.

Beautiful white Briard dog

The Briards are hardworking family dogs. Their remarkable trainability and performance skills are displayed in sitcoms like “Married with Children.”

Ready to dive in? Keep reading our dog breed guide about the Briard.

Where does the Briard Dog come from?

Also called the Shepherd of Brie or the Berger de Brie, the Briard is a French Sheepdog that originated in France’s northern dairy region.

Others believe the breed was developed by Aubry de Montdidier, a famous french owner.

This ancient breed also appears on antique tapestries next to Emperor Charlemagne, dating back to the 8th century.

Briards were originally guarding dogs who had to deter poachers and herding sheepdogs. Farmers use them to create a boundary around their flock and protect them from predators.

They’re also one of the four herding dogs from France, including the Beauceron, Picardy, and the Pyrenean. They’re trained to take on a lot of responsibility and are known for their independent thinking.

During World War I, the breed attained the French army’s official war dog’s title. Its duties included carrying supplies, guarding posts, and as a search dog for the wounded soldiers.

Around 1860, the original Briard made its way to Paris, where it was entered into dog shows.

The dog’s unique look and flowing hair attracted owners like Napoleon and Thomas Jefferson.

After serving as ambassador to France for four years and being introduced to the breed by France’s Marquis de Lafayette, Jefferson brought the first Briard to the United States to procreate and work on his Virginian farm.

In 1928, the AKC or American Kennel Club recognized the Briard as its 81st breed and under their Herding Group.

Although impressive, the breed has never been trendy in America. It remains the most popular sheepherder in its native France!

What does a Briard look like?

Happy Briard dog sitting on stairs
Source: @briard.lover / IG

As per the AKC breed standard for Briards, they’re sturdy and athletic canines with a muscular neck, broad chest, and brawny legs.

They have double dewclaws on the forelegs, which are extra fingers that help them pivot fast when running around.

And they have big, oval-shaped feet that support their powerful hindquarters.

Under their long hair are large eyes with a confident and curious expression, as well as straight, dropped ears that perk up when alert.

Size: How big do Briards get?

The Briard dog is a giant breed that can weigh from 55 to 100 pounds (25 to 45 kg)!

Males have a height of 23 to 27 inches (58 to 69 cm) tall, but females are a bit smaller yet longer and can grow between 22 and 25.5 inches (56 to 65 cm).

And if you’re wondering if Briards are good apartment dogs, we can say that they’re adaptable to all kinds of living conditions, as long as they get enough exercise. But they’ll thrive in a house with at least an average-sized yard.

A shepherd dog with a “goat’s coat”

Briard dog resting outdoors
Source: @briardwelten / IG

Briards are famous for their elegant and long coats. They have a double coat made of an outer coat that’s coarse and dry, lying down flat as long and wavy locks.

It can be 6 inches (15 cm) or more, and if in good health, it’ll have a sheen. The undercoat is shorter on the body and softer to the touch.

The dog’s head carries the long topcoat hair that falls to form a natural part in the center so they can see. This beautiful look is what makes these dogs so photogenic and famous on the screen.

But did you know that the French started to breed the Briard with the Beauceron for beauty and color?

This led to creating the Briard we know and love today, which can be seen in black, gray, and tawny coat colors.

Some come in other color combinations, like Black & Gray, Black & Tawny, and Tawny & Gray.

You may be able to find a white Briard, but it’s rare and not sought after. The typical white coloring in the coat is in the occasional marking.

Is a Briard a good family dog?

Briard dog being trained by the lady owner
Pet owner trains her Briard dog

The Briard will make a loyal and loving companion for families looking for a guard dog to protect and defend its humans.

They’re wary of those they don’t know but always loyal and carry an independent initiative to take care of you and your family.

And Briards aren’t just famous as pets and herding dogs. They also excel in entertainment, search and rescue missions, and emotional support dogs.

You can also count on these intelligent canines to be fantastic watchdogs because nothing gets by them unnoticed. If they sense danger, their instincts will kick in.

Still, it’s best for Briards to get early socialization to avoid them from getting overprotective.

We also recommend practicing caution and always supervise interactions between your children and your pet.

Most Briards are good-natured, but these dogs don’t appreciate being taunted or disrespected, so little kids should know how to approach and touch them from the get-go.

They also have a strong prey drive, so your Briard may try to nudge or herd other pets like smaller animals and cats. They can also be aggressive toward other dogs.

Dog owners and handlers who have experience dealing with working dogs, the Briard will be easy to train. It has versatile trainability and can do all routine jobs.

And as a smart canine, it’s strategic, and it seems like they’re thinking.

It may be an issue that your fur buddy sees you as an equal. There may be times when it tries to be manipulative and stubborn, so show them that you’re the alpha in your pack.

And despite all that hair, this dog breed has excellent hearing and memory. It will understand commands, tone, and body language quickly.

Want to see how brilliant Briards are? Watch this video of Frankie and his owner doing a bunch of tricks. You’ll also get to see how big they are:

How to take care of your Briard

We consider this breed a high-maintenance dog to have as a pet because of their needs. Not only with attention since they get attached to their humans but also with caring for them.

Here’s what you need to know to keep your Briard in tip-top shape.

Briard running in the park
An active Briard dog running fast in the park

Keeping up with your Briard’s exercise needs

Breeds with a working background have high energy levels, and this fido would need around 30 minutes to 1 hour of daily exercise.

Though they can be calm indoors, owners of Briards would need to be creative to satisfy their exercise needs. If not, they can be destructive and start chewing, digging, and barking.

It’s best to think of activities that combine physical and mental stimulation, like dog sports.

We recommend getting involved when your Briard is training or exercise to build the trust and respect of your pooch for you.

Grooming: Is it difficult to maintain those locks?

Briards are low- to non-shedding dogs, but they aren’t hypoallergenic. They require daily brushing or getting their fur groomed every day because any hair falling off is only getting caught in the coat.

It will also prevent mats and tangles from forming.

Using an undercoat rake can help eliminate dead hair and keep minimal dog hair in your house.

You can have the coat cut shorter by a groomer to make it easier to maintain. While you’re at the groomers, you can also have your pooch get a wash if it’s too difficult to do at home.

If you prefer to do it yourself, give your Briard a wash every 6 to 8 weeks. Those locks can get dirty easily, so your pet will require frequent baths.

Use only high-quality dog shampoo as using incorrect hair products too often can damage the natural oils needed to keep their coat looking spectacular.

Check out this adorable video showing 13 steps to bathe a Briard:

Besides the fur, your dog’s teeth also need brushing 2 to 3 times a week to avoid tartar buildup. If you can do it every day, the better.

Nails of active dogs are naturally worn down, but if not, giving it a trim once or twice a month can keep painful breakage and other problems from happening. Don’t forget to trim those dewclaws, too!

Ears should be checked weekly. The Briard dog breed’s ears don’t get enough ventilation because they’re dropped and covered in fur.

Always check them once a week for any bad odor or redness, which is often an indication of infection.

It’s also the best time to clean and keep those ears dry. Using a pH-balanced dog ear cleaner, dampen a cotton ball and use it to wipe out the ears.

Never use cotton swabs to avoid pushing the dirt in or hurting your dog. Just keep the outer ear clean and dry.

And whenever you’re grooming Fido, take this opportunity to check for signs of infection on his skin, as well.

There may be redness, sores, rashes, inflammation, or tenderness under all that hair, on his feet, mouth, nose, and eyes.

Doing all these will help you spot health issues early on.

Feeding your Briard

With their size, Briards are generally fed 3 to 4 cups of high-quality dog food served into two meals daily.

As responsible pet owners, we must remember that all dogs are unique and have their own needs.

The exact amount you feed your doggo and what type of diet to go for should depend on his breed size, weight, health, metabolism, and age.

Is your Briard a voracious eater? Keep him in good shape by sticking to a routine and avoid free-feeding.

To check if he’s overweight, do the hands-on and eye test. By looking down at him, the waist should be visible.

When you place your hands on his back, your thumbs and fingers should be able to feel the ribs without pressing hard, and you shouldn’t be able to see them.

If you can’t feel his ribs much, he needs more exercise and less food.

Do Briards have a lot of health problems?

The Briard is a healthy breed with an average lifespan of 12 years, but they can be prone to certain health conditions, just like most purebreds. Here are some of those illnesses:

  • Cancer
  • Cataracts
  • Congenital Stationary Night Blindness or CSNB – a genetic and non-progressive disease that impairs the night vision of dogs. It’s a disorder of the retina, which is responsible for detecting color and light
  • Hip dysplasia – A common skeletal condition where the hip joint deteriorates over time, causing pain and overall function loss
  • Kidney disease
  • Hypothyroidism – This common health condition happens when your Briard is not releasing enough hormones
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy or PRA – This may eventually cause blindness

It’s essential to be aware of Bloat or Gastric Torsion, too. It’s a life-threatening condition that occurs in large dogs, and it causes the stomach to distend and twist, cutting off the blood supply and filling it with air.

Some of the symptoms include a swollen abdomen, excessive salivation, and retching.

Don’t miss out: Genetic disorders in dogs

How much does a Briard puppy cost?

A smiling Briard puppy
Source: @_cavbri_team_ / IG

Purchasing a Briard puppy from a responsible breeder would cost $1,000 to $1,500.

But the price can go up depending on the dog’s lineage, the number of available Briard puppies, the kennel’s popularity, the breeder’s location, and many other factors.

Adopting or rescuing an adult Briard is more affordable as the adoption costs are only around $200 to $400.

These prices do not include accessories and medical procedures. So before purchasing a Briard puppy for sale online, consider other expenses that come with owning this giant dog.

Briard Breeders

Before we jump right into the pictures of Briard puppies on breeders’ sites, we want to make sure that you’re only buying one from a reputable breeder. How would you know, though?

First, you can check their website and reviews from previous clients. Doing your research is vital, so you know that you actually want this breed, as well as the puppy seller.

Responsible breeders would also encourage you to visit the puppy to see their living conditions and meet the doggo fam.

They know that this is where you can get a glimpse of their temperament when meeting their handler and strangers.

While you’re there, it’s best to request to see proof of health tests done on the breeding stock or the pup’s parents.

Confirm that they are clear of any genetic defects and that you’re bringing home a healthy puppy that will enjoy many years with you.

Besides providing a contract, breeders who care for their dogs conduct interviews to ensure that their canines have a match with a suitable owner.

Ready to browse the available Briard puppies online?

The first website to visit is the AKC Marketplace. If that source isn’t enough, Briard Club of America has listed a few other clubs with breeder listings, like the Atlantic States Briard Club.

Briard Dogs for Adoption

Like many dog breeds, many of these hardworking and beautiful canines end up in shelters.

Previous owners might’ve gotten overwhelmed with them, or they simply couldn’t care for their Briard anymore.

And now, these Briards are looking for a forever family.

If you want to give one of these dogs another chance at love, there are some rescue organizations for Briards that are worth taking a look at, such as Briard Rescue’s Facebook page.

Besides that, SaveaRescue also has a list of havens that you can reach out to and check if they have an available Briard to adopt.

You’ll most likely find adults, and some may have medical issues or special care instructions.

But adopting or rescuing an older Briard or a Briard mix is an excellent option if you want a less active pet or don’t want to deal with puppyhood.

Curious about Briard mixes?

Many dog lovers think a purebred dog may be too much to handle, so they opt for its crossbreeds, and that’s very much okay!

Mixing two breeds to get the best of both canines makes them suitable for certain owners. Here are some of the Briard hybrids:

Afghan Hound & Briard mix (AKA Afaird)

Afghan Hound & Briard mix dog
Source: @dogbreedplus / Pinterest

This mix between the Afghan Hound and the Briard makes the protective yet fun-loving Afaird. It’s a designer dog perfect for active families who are willing to take care of its grooming requirements.

Poodle & Briard mix (AKA Bridoodle)

Briard Poodle mix dog on top of the bench

You may have heard how Poodle mixes or Doodles make a more allergy-friendly companion, and the Bridoodle with a Standard Poodle parent is one of those designer dogs.

It’s also an intelligent and sweet-natured fido that does well with kids, other pets and is a faithful watchdog.

Bearded Collie & Briard mix

Bearded Collie & Briard mix puppy

If you want the ultimate sheepherding dog, this mixed breed offspring of the Briard and Bearded Collie might be it. It has the skills of two purebreds to round up livestock and the attractive traits that make it a loyal family dog.

Should I get a Briard dog as a pet?

Briard dog enjoying outdoor
Source: @_cavbri_team_ / IG

The Briard dog breed has many exceptional qualities that make them excellent family pets and service dogs. They’re smart, easy to train, love kids, and are one of the best watchdogs.

But pros come with cons, as well. They need a lot of maintenance to stay gorgeous canines, require attention, and they can be clingy but also independent or aloof.

So first-time dog owners better look for a canine companion that’s easier to handle without much help from trainers.

If you can see past this large dog’s flaws, then you might’ve found the perfect fur buddy in this pooch!

Do you plan on getting a Briard? Let us know what you think about this doggo in the comment section below.

Further Reading: Similar Breeds to Briards


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