The Briard: Your complete guide!

The Briard, a symbol of regal elegance, unwavering loyalty, and exceptional herding abilities, has captured the admiration of dog lovers and shepherds. With a history in France, distinctive physical characteristics, and a unique set of personality traits, this breed is celebrated as a reliable and devoted herding and guardian dog.

Briard portrait headshot off centre
Majestic | Gentle | Fearless
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    Everything you need to know about the Briard!

    Category (Explanation)Breed Information
    Year of Breed ConceptionAncient
    Country of OriginFrance
    Weight (lbs & kg) (Male)75-100 lbs (34-45 kg)
    Weight (lbs & kg) (Female)50-65 lbs (23-29.5 kg)
    Coat TypeLong, double coat
    Color VariationsVarious colors, often black, gray, or tawny
    Shedding Level (Low, Moderate, High)Moderate
    Height (cm & in)22-27 inches (56-69 cm)
    Breed SizeLarge
    Trainability (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Mental Needs (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Intelligence Level (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Energy Level (Low, Moderate, High)Moderate
    Agility (Low, Moderate, High)Moderate
    Loyalty (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Playfulness (Low, Moderate, High)Moderate
    Exercise NeedsRegular exercise and mental stimulation
    Guarding Proficiency (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Sociability with Children (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Barking Level (Low, Moderate, High)Low to moderate
    Digging Tendency (Low, Moderate, High)Low
    Destructive Behavior (Low, Moderate, High)Low
    Drooling Level (Low, Moderate, High)Low
    Obedience Level (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Apartment Friendly (Yes/No)Can adapt to apartment living with sufficient exercise
    Inherent Prey DriveModerate
    Physical Risk to Others (Low, Moderate, High)Low
    Travel Fatality Risk (Low, Moderate, High)Low
    Allergen PotentialLow
    Health Concerns (List of Common Health Concerns)Hip Dysplasia, Bloat, Eye Issues
    Average Life Expectancy (Life Expectancy in Years)10-12 years
    Make sure to take care of your Briard and

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    History of the Briard

    The history of the Briard is a tale of loyalty and versatility. These dogs have their origins in France, where they served as herders and protectors of flocks and homes.

    Briards are known for their distinctive appearance, including a long, wavy coat and bushy eyebrows. Their loyalty and intelligence made them invaluable in herding and guarding duties.

    Over time, Briards have also been recognized for their bravery in various wartime roles. Today, they are cherished for their affectionate nature and as loyal family companions, embodying the spirit of the French countryside.

    What makes the Briard so special?

    Briard standing in the field

    The Briard’s special qualities lie in its distinctive appearance and gentle nature. These dogs have a history as messenger dogs in wartime, showcasing their bravery and loyalty. Today, they are cherished for their friendly demeanor and versatility as working and family dogs.

    Briards have a strong tradition as herding and working dogs in France. Their intelligence, strength, and courage made them excellent herders, guarding and guiding livestock. Their loyalty and protective instincts extended to their families. Today, they continue to participate in herding and dog sports, as well as being cherished family companions, embodying their heritage as dependable working dogs.

    Briards have delightful and loving personalities. They are known for their intelligence, loyalty, and herding instincts. These dogs have a history of serving as farm dogs and herding livestock.

    Their intelligence and trainability set them apart as dependable workers, and their affectionate nature with their families is evident. Briards are characterized by their charm, devotion, and a sweet disposition, epitomizing the perfect blend of intelligence and affection.

    Briards are known for their protective instincts and loyalty. They are affectionate with their families but can be reserved with strangers. Early socialization is essential.

    They thrive on mental stimulation and physical activity.

    Briards are large-sized dogs with a well-proportioned and robust build. They have a square-shaped head with expressive, dark eyes and long, pendulous ears.

    They have a dense, double coat that lies close to their skin. Coat colors can include black, tawny, or gray. Their tail is long and often carried low.

    Males typically stand between 23 to 27 inches (58-69 cm) at the shoulder and weigh between 75 to 100 pounds (34-45 kg), while females are slightly smaller and lighter.

    Briards have a robust and noble presence, reflecting their history as herding and working dogs.

    Briards commonly have a coat in shades of black, tawny, or gray. They may not have distinct coat colors.

    Briards often have solid coat colors in black, tawny, or gray without distinct patterns.

    Briards have a moderate shedding level. They shed consistently, with more shedding during seasonal transitions. Regular grooming and brushing can help manage shedding and keep their coat in good condition.

    Briards have a long, dense, double coat that requires regular grooming to keep it healthy and minimize matting and shedding. Grooming habits for this breed include:

    1. Brushing: Regular brushing, at least once or twice a week, is essential to prevent matting and remove loose fur. Use a slicker brush and a pin brush to reach the dense undercoat.

    2. Bathing: Bathe Briards when necessary, using a dog-specific shampoo and thorough rinsing.

    3. Ears: Check and clean their ears regularly to prevent wax buildup or infections with a veterinarian-recommended ear cleaning solution.

    4. Nails: Keep their nails trimmed to a comfortable length to maintain proper gait and prevent discomfort.

    5. Teeth: Brush their teeth regularly to ensure dental health and prevent bad breath. Dental chews or toys can be beneficial.

    6. Tail and Paw Care: Maintain cleanliness in the tail and paw areas, inspecting for any signs of irritation or injury.

    Briards have a high activity level and thrive on both physical and mental challenges. Key points about their activity level include:

    1. Exercise Needs: Briards require daily exercise to stay healthy and content. Activities should be engaging and may include walks, playtime, and outdoor adventures.

    2. Energy Level: They have a high energy level and enjoy regular exercise to prevent boredom.

    3. Herding Heritage: Historically, Briards were bred for herding and protecting livestock. They excel in activities like obedience, agility, and herding trials.

    4. Mental Stimulation: In addition to physical activity, mental challenges through training and interactive games are important to keep them mentally sharp.

    5. Outdoor Companions: They enjoy outdoor activities and make great companions for hikers and active individuals.

    White Swiss Shepherd Dogs, similar to German Shepherds, are highly intelligent and quick learners. Here are some key points about their intelligence:

    1. Trainability: White Swiss Shepherd Dogs are highly trainable and excel in obedience training. They quickly learn complex commands and tasks.
    2. Problem-Solving: They possess strong problem-solving abilities, which is advantageous in working roles and various dog sports that require quick thinking.
    3. Adaptability: White Swiss Shepherd Dogs are adaptable to different living environments, making them versatile companions.
    4. Work and Utility: Historically, they were bred for herding and working, and their intelligence is an asset in responding to cues and commands efficiently.
    5. Social Intelligence: White Swiss Shepherd Dogs form strong bonds with their families and are attentive to human emotions. They are loyal and protective.

    White Swiss Shepherd Dogs’ intelligence and versatility make them excellent companions and working dogs. Training, socialization, and mental stimulation are crucial for their development and well-being.

    Briards are intelligent and need mental stimulation. Engage them in obedience training, herding activities, and interactive games to keep their minds sharp.

    Social Interaction: They are social dogs and require regular interaction with their human family. Loneliness can lead to anxiety or destructive behavior, so provide companionship and attention.

    Exercise: Mental exercise is equally important. Offer them tasks that challenge their problem-solving skills.

    Training and Obedience: Briards benefit from obedience training, herding activities, and mental challenges, which not only stimulate their minds but also strengthen their bond with their owners.

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    What to look out for, before you get a Briard!

    Briard showing

    Thinking about a Briard? Keep these considerations in mind:

    1. Activity Level: Briards are active and require regular exercise and mental challenges to prevent boredom.

    2. Training Needs: They are intelligent and benefit from consistent training and socialization.

    3. Space: Briards need space to move, making them better suited for homes with yards.

    4. Coat Care: Regular grooming is essential to manage their coat and prevent matting.

    5. Herding Instinct: Some Briards may exhibit herding behaviors or tendencies.

    Briards, known for their protective nature, may pose a physical risk to others if not properly socialized, trained, or managed. The risk assessment factors include:

    1. Protective Instinct: Briards have a strong protective instinct, especially towards their family and territory. Proper training is essential to manage this instinct.

    2. Socialization: Early and thorough socialization is crucial to ensure Briards are comfortable around people and other animals. Poor socialization can lead to fear or aggression.

    3. Training: Obedience training is essential to teach Briards appropriate behavior and ensure they respond to commands. Well-trained dogs are less likely to engage in aggressive behavior.

    4. Owner Responsibility: Responsible ownership involves being aware of the dog’s behavior and taking necessary precautions in public settings.

    5. Breed-Specific Legislation (BSL): Briards may not be commonly subject to BSL, but owners should be aware of local regulations.

    6. Individual Variability: Each dog is unique, and behavior can vary. Responsible ownership, proper training, and socialization are key to minimizing the potential physical risk to others.

    Briards are generally good with children. They are protective, loyal, and can be gentle and patient. Their herding instincts may lead to them trying to gather and watch over kids. Proper socialization and training are essential to ensure positive interactions with children.

    Briards are generally capable swimmers. Their robust and well-proportioned physique makes them proficient in the water. Many Briards may enjoy swimming, but it’s important to assess your individual dog’s comfort level and supervise them when they are near water.

    1. Early Training: Start training your Briard puppy early to capitalize on their intelligence and learning potential.
    2. Socialization: Expose your puppy to various people, animals, and settings to ensure they become well-adjusted adults.
    3. Positive Reinforcement: Use treats, praise, and toys to reward good behavior and strengthen your bond with your puppy.
    4. Consistency: Maintain consistency in your training methods and cues to prevent confusion.
    5. Basic Commands: Teach essential commands like “sit,” “stay,” “come,” and “leave it” for obedience and safety.
    6. House Training: Establish a regular routine for potty breaks and offer praise for outdoor elimination to housetrain your puppy.
    7. Crate Training: Use crate training to create a secure and comfortable space for your puppy, building positive associations with the crate.
    8. Social Skills: Encourage positive interactions with other dogs and people to develop good social skills.
    9. Exercise and Play: Ensure your Briard puppy receives ample exercise and playtime to prevent restlessness.
    10. Chewing: Provide suitable chew toys to satisfy their need to chew and protect your belongings.
    11. Patience and Persistence: Training may take time; be patient and avoid punitive methods.
    12. Professional Training: Consider professional training classes if you encounter challenges or need additional guidance.

    Early and positive training will help your Briard puppy become a well-behaved and devoted companion.

    Briards are often moderate in terms of noisiness. They may bark when they perceive a need to protect their home or family. While they are alert, they are not excessively vocal.

    Briards thrive in homes that provide:

    • 1. Active Lifestyle: They do well in households with active individuals or families who can provide regular exercise and playtime.
    • 2. Space: A house with a yard where they can exercise and explore is ideal.
    • 3. Socialization: Early and consistent socialization is crucial to their well-adjusted behavior.
    • 4. Routine: Establishing a routine helps them feel secure and reduces anxiety. Predictable daily schedules are beneficial.
    • 5. Training: They respond well to positive reinforcement training methods and thrive in environments where training and mental stimulation are prioritized.


    • 1. Lack of Exercise: Without sufficient exercise and mental stimulation, Briards can become bored and may develop behavioral problems.
    • 2. Isolation: They are social dogs and may struggle in homes where they are frequently left alone for extended periods.
    • 3. Lack of Socialization: Poorly socialized Briards may exhibit fear or aggression towards strangers or other animals, which can lead to challenges in public settings.
    • 4. Owner Experience: Inexperienced owners who are not prepared for the breed’s specific needs and characteristics may face challenges in raising a well-behaved Briard.

    When traveling with Briards, consider the following:

    1. Exercise Needs: Briards require regular exercise. Plan for breaks to allow them to stretch and play during travel.
    2. Size: They are a large breed. Ensure their security with suitable travel crates or seat belt harnesses.
    3. Anxiety: Some Briards may experience travel anxiety. Gradual introduction to travel and familiar items can help reduce stress.
    4. Air Travel: When flying, choose pet-friendly airlines with appropriate crate requirements.
    5. Identification: Keep proper identification on your Briard during travel.

    Briards are generally healthy, but they may be prone to certain health concerns, including:

    • Hip Dysplasia: A genetic condition that affects the hip joints and can lead to arthritis and lameness.
    • Elbow Dysplasia: A condition affecting the elbow joints, causing pain and lameness.
    • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): A group of inherited diseases that can lead to blindness.
    • Epilepsy: A neurological condition that can cause seizures.

    Proper nutrition is crucial for Briards. Follow these nutritional habits:

    1. High-Quality Dog Food: Choose dog food with high-quality animal protein as the first ingredient.
    2. Age-Appropriate Food: Feed the appropriate life stage formula.
    3. Protein: Opt for a diet with moderate to high protein content.
    4. Balanced Diet: Ensure a balance of protein, fats, carbs, vitamins, and minerals.
    5. Portion Control: Prevent overfeeding with proper portion sizes.
    6. Fresh Water: Always provide clean, fresh water.
    7. Avoid Table Scraps: Refrain from feeding human food.
    8. Treats: Use treats in moderation for training and rewards.
    9. Consult Your Veterinarian: Seek guidance from your vet for the best diet.
    10. Special Dietary Needs: Address dietary restrictions or allergies with your vet.
    11. Weight Management: Maintain a healthy weight through exercise and portion control.
    12. Regular Check-Ups: Schedule regular veterinary check-ups for monitoring.

    Proper nutrition is essential for the health and well-being of Briards.

    Breed-specific laws (BSL) can impact Briards in certain areas, and owners should be aware of these regulations. BSL is typically enacted at the local level, and the restrictions can vary from one jurisdiction to another. Common types of BSL restrictions that Briards may face include:

    1. Mandatory Spaying/Neutering: Some areas may require owners of Briards to spay or neuter their dogs under BSL.
    2. Special Licensing: BSL may necessitate special licenses for Briard owners, often involving additional fees and regulations.
    3. Liability Insurance: Owners of Briards may be mandated to carry liability insurance as part of BSL.
    4. Muzzling in Public: In specific regions, BSL may dictate that Briards be muzzled when in public spaces.
    5. Ownership Bans: In extreme cases, BSL may ban the ownership of Briards altogether in certain areas.

    The rationale behind BSL is often based on concerns about public safety and perceived risks associated with specific breeds. While Briards are not inherently aggressive, they can be affected by BSL due to their physical resemblance to breeds sometimes included in these laws.

    It’s important to note that BSL is a contentious topic, and many advocates argue that it unfairly targets breeds rather than addressing individual dog behavior. They emphasize that responsible ownership, training, and education should be emphasized instead of breed-specific restrictions.

    To determine if there are breed-specific laws or restrictions regarding Briards in your area, you should check with your local animal control or government authorities. Be aware of and comply with any local regulations to ensure that you are in compliance with the law while owning a Briard.

    Woof Mastery is reader supported and our articles may contain affiliate links. 

    Instead of running third party ads that we have no control of we only use links from high-quality companies we are directly partnered with. Making use of these links come at no cost to you our reader, and in many cases have the extra benefit of discounted rates or sign up bonuses.

    If you’re interested you can read more about our affiliate policy here.

    We appreciate your support and always insure that the products and services we recommend are high-quality, helpful and relevant to the subject at hand!

    Fun Facts About The Briard

    Myth 1: Briards are Aggressive Guard Dogs

    Truth: While they can excel in guarding, Briards are not inherently aggressive. They have a gentle and protective nature, making them great family dogs when properly socialized.

    Myth 2: They Need Extensive Grooming

    Truth: Briards have a long, thick coat, but grooming can be manageable with regular brushing. Their coat does require attention, but they are not overly high-maintenance.

    Briards, with their distinctive appearance, have gained recognition in various fields, and some famous examples include:

    1. Ch. (Champion) Deja Vu Mia Cool As A Cucumber: “Cucumber” achieved fame in the show ring, earning numerous conformation titles and contributing to the breed’s reputation in dog shows.
    2. Carla the Briard: Carla, a Briard, gained fame as a therapy dog and was known for her visits to hospitals and schools, bringing comfort and joy to those in need.
    3. Briards in Movies: Briards have made appearances in various films and television shows, adding to their recognition in the entertainment industry.

    These Briards have showcased the breed’s elegance and versatility in various roles, from conformation to therapy work and acting.

    • Herding: Briards have a history as herding dogs, excelling in herding tasks on farms.
    • Working Dogs: They are used as working dogs in various roles, including herding and guarding livestock.
    • Companionship: Briards are known for their loyalty and affection as family pets.
    • French Heritage: Briards are considered a part of French cultural heritage and have been celebrated in French art and literature.

    Briards have been cherished by individuals and families who value their loyalty and protective instincts. While specific historical owners may not be widely known, these dogs have a rich history as herding and working companions.

    Briards, like all breeds, face certain challenges and dangers. Some of the greatest dangers and concerns for the breed include:

    1. Misunderstanding: Misconceptions about the breed’s protective nature and exercise needs can lead to misunderstandings and potential challenges for owners who are not prepared for the breed’s requirements.
    2. Health Concerns: Briards are susceptible to specific health issues, including hip dysplasia, bloat, and eye conditions. Responsible breeding and regular veterinary care are essential to address these concerns.
    3. Protective Instincts: Briards are known for their protective instincts, which may lead to guarding and territorial behavior if not properly managed through training.
    4. Exercise Needs: These dogs require regular exercise and mental stimulation to prevent restlessness and destructive behavior due to their high energy levels.
    5. Climate Sensitivity: Their double coat makes them sensitive to heat. Owners in warm climates must take precautions to prevent heat-related issues.
    6. Breed-Specific Legislation: Briards may be affected by breed-specific legislation (BSL) in certain areas, leading to restrictions or bans on ownership.
    7. Irresponsible Breeding: Irresponsible breeding practices can result in health and temperament issues. Ethical breeding is crucial for the breed’s well-being.
    8. Training Needs: Proper training is important to manage their protective instincts and to provide mental stimulation for the breed.
    9. Socialization: Early and consistent socialization is necessary to ensure Briards are well-adjusted around strangers and other dogs.
    10. Coat Care: Their double coat requires regular grooming to prevent matting and maintain skin health.

    By understanding these challenges and providing responsible ownership and care, many of these dangers can be mitigated to ensure the well-being of Briards.

    The Briard is a French herding breed with origins dating back to the 8th century. Its development involved local herding dogs in the French regions of Brie and Chartrain. Over centuries, selective breeding aimed to create an agile and intelligent herding breed capable of managing large flocks of sheep.

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    Why you're going to love the Briard

    The Briard, known for its loyalty, intelligence, and striking appearance, is a breed that excels as a herding and protection dog. Their affectionate nature and unique coat have earned them a special place in the hearts of dog enthusiasts.

    Owning a Briard entails providing mental stimulation, exercise, and regular grooming. Responsible ownership involves addressing potential health concerns and nurturing their protective instincts through training.

    With their black, tawny, or gray coats, Briards continue to be cherished for their unwavering loyalty and versatility in both work and companionship.

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