Briard – French Lowland Sheepdog with a Lot of Discipline

In the famous French drama The Hound of Aubry, a Briard brings justice and convicts a murderer. To this day, dogs are loyal helpers in many different areas. As pure companion dogs, they feel challenged, so each of the noble dogs should also have a noble task that they will certainly master with flying colors. You can find out what the breed can do in this short guide:

Herding Dog with Distinctive Mane – The Briard’s appearance

The Briard is a medium-sized, shaggy-haired German shepherd with long hair obscuring facial features and eyes. Measured at the withers, males reach a height of 62 to 68 cm, females are smaller and slimmer with an ideal height of 56 to 64 cm. A specific weight is not specified in any breed standard.

The Berger de Brie from head to tail

  • Long hair also grows on the head, so its strong and long shape can only be guessed at. Skull and muzzle should be parallel when viewed in profile. The stop is placed in the middle and is very pronounced.
  • The muzzle is square and does not taper. A mustache falls from the bridge of the nose over the tight-fitting lips. The nose is large and strong, it should be black or bluish if the coat is blue. The eyes are oval and set horizontally. They are large and dark, which is almost never seen through the coat of hair.
  • The ears are quite small and make the head appear very broad, as they are not close fitting and have long hair. They are quite short and only reach about halfway up the head.
  • The long and muscular neck gives way to a stately chest that is well-rounded and reaches the elbows. The topline is straight and the loin quite short.
  • The Fore and hind legs are well-muscled and stand straight. Hard pads and double dewclaws grow on the round paws. The claws are always black.
  • The tail is usually carried hanging and very straight. A slight upward curve at the tip of the rod is allowed. It reaches above the hock and is well feathered on the underside.

Fur and colors

The sleek hair is described as dry and goat-like. The undercoat is present but not particularly dense. The topcoat of adult dogs should never be shorter than 7 cm and should never be light in color.

These colors are considered purebred

  • Black
  • fawn
  • Fauve with black shades, with or without a black mask
  • Gray
  • Blue
  • All colors can lighten tone on tone or turn completely gray over the years, especially on the legs and underside of the body

History of the Briards – A working dog through and through

Long known as the Chien de Berger français de Plaine (French Lowland Sheepdog), the Berger de Brie defended flocks of sheep and farms against wolves. The first breed standard from 1897 describes two types: the Briard with a curly coat and the one with a long goatskin. The curly coat disappeared over the last century and is no longer found today. The breed has been officially recognized by the FCI since 1954.

Working dog in all areas

  • Originally it was used for herding and as a guard dog.
  • In both world wars, the Briard was used at the front as a messenger and guard dog.
  • After the German occupation of France, the number of annual litters decreased significantly. International stocks only recovered in the 1980s. In the US, the Briard is one of the most popular French breeds.
  • Today it is used for a variety of purposes, from professional dog sports to use as therapy dogs ​​and rescue dogs.

Ancestors and descendants of the breed

  • The Briard originated from French peasant dog breeds. His ancestors include the Barbet and the Berger de Picardie.
  • Many long-haired herding breeds are descended from the Briard, for example, the Schapendoes (Netherlands), the Bouvier des Flandres (Belgium), and the Berger des Pyrénées or Pyrenean Shepherd (France).

Briard Character: A Role Model for Many Working Dogs

Some sources describe Briard as calm, while others describe him as spirited. Both are probably true since he is very good at distinguishing between periods of rest indoors and periods of activity outdoors. Because of its pronounced protective and herding behavior, it cannot be kept as a pure companion dog, but it needs meaningful employment as a working dog. It is therefore hardly suitable for keeping in the city.

Characteristics of the breed at a glance

  • Intelligent
  • Willing to learn and work
  • Fearless
  • Never aggressive to charges and within the family
  • Stubborn
  • Also protect the family, bicycles, and other things that go away without permission
  • Sociable
  • Balanced being
  • Gentle on children
  • Challenging
  • Hates boredom and loneliness
  • No hunting instinct can easily be walked without a leash

No dog for beginners!

The Briard knows how to get his way in the herd – this also applies to the family, which he likes to lead and protect like little sheep. The breed is therefore unsuitable for first-time owners, as otherwise they often get their way and can hardly be educated. Experienced owners with a meaningful task for their four-legged friend (police, customs, ski rescue, therapy, etc.) are the right companions for the shaggy dogs.

Advanced Training – This is Necessary for Keeping Briards

Briard puppies are considered difficult to train and need consistent but loving guidance. The intelligent dog wants to be busy all day long, but must not be overwhelmed physically or mentally when it is a puppy. You will not meet the demands of an adult dog with daily walks and sports units. Therefore, the breed is only recommended for owners who are involved in professional dog sports or need a working dog for their job.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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