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Briard with natural ears
Briard with natural ears
Alternative names
Berger de Brie
Country of origin
Common nicknames
Classification and breed standards
FCI: Group 1 Section 1 #113  
AKC: Herding  
ANKC: Group 5 (Working Dogs)  
CKC: Group 7 - Herding Dogs  
KC (UK): Pastoral  
NZKC: Working  
UKC: Herding Dog Breeds  
Not recognized by any major kennel club
This breed of dog is extinct

The Briard is a large breed of dog, one of many herding breeds.

Black Briard Black Briard


The Briard can be any of several different solid colors or lighter colors with darker or light ears and face. Briards stand 22 to 27 inches (58 to 69 cm) at the withers. Ear cropping has been common in the breed, although more breeders are leaving the ears in their natural state since ear cropping is becoming illegal in most European countries, including the Briard's land of origin, France. Their long coat requires an extensive amount of grooming.

They were originally bred to herd as well as guard flocks of sheep. And they were often left to their own devices in order to accomplish their assigned tasks. Which makes the Briard different from those breeds that only guard and those that only herd. The breeds that just herd are often smaller in size, agile, and swift of foot. Those breeds that just guard are usually larger and heavier.

The breed characteristics of the Briard, are of a medium sized, rugged, agile dog, having harsh coat and double dew claws mounted low on each rear leg, resembling additional toes. Each double dew claw should have bone substance and nail, giving the appearance of a wider rear foot. Bred for centuries to herd, the additional digits on each rear foot give the Briard the ability of pivoting on one foot for quick turns and complete turn arounds, which are necessary when herding and guarding their flocks.

He should be a well balanced animal, sound in body and mind, and of a size appropriate for both herding and guarding without tiring. He was asked to keep his flock within a designated area by guarding the perimeter, constantly keeping his flock within and keeping danger out. A large heavy type dog would soon tire from the constant running, and may not to able to keep the flock together nor keep danger away.

Throughout history, the Briard has retained an appropriate balance of size and build that is required for both herding and protection of their flocks. The size, not too large to tire during the task of herding, and their build (structure), large enough to fend off predators such as fox and wolves.

Their Characteristics

The Briard is a very loyal and protective breed. Once they have bonded to their family members, they will protect them at all cost. Said to be aloof with strangers, any and all new introductions should be on their terms and not forced upon them. This may also include such items as furniture or the addition of a new baby into the household. Show them that the new intrusion is friendly and free of conflict. Something has changed within their world, and they must to taught that it is a good thing and not harmful. They have proven to be a very good breed to have around children of all ages.

Being aloof with strangers, it is important that the Briard be introduced to several different individuals of all ages and in all types of situations. Socialization starting at a very young age is mandatory. Take your Briard puppy with you as often as possible, to as many different places as possible, and they will develop into a well rounded animal. Pet stores, city parks and malls are a good place to start. Do not let this section scare you away from the Briard breed. Just remember that the Briard has been bred for centuries to herd and to protect their flocks. To them, their family is the flock and all strangers may appear to be predators. So letting them know that the public in general are friendly and not harmful, will help them establish a lifelong socialization pattern which will result in an outgoing and happy dog. And this socialization with the public in general will not diminish their capacity for protecting and guarding their family.

The Briard has a very good memory. Once a lesson is learned, good or bad, they will retain this knowledge for a long time to come. Sometimes they may appear to be strong minded and stubborn, but, these are a few of the Briard's characteristics. Remember. They were bred for centuries to think for themselves and to act upon their conclusions. These are some of the traits that the Briard has retained throughout history. Even if your Briard is a city dweller, they have a degree of herding ability within them. If ever, during their lifetime, they are introduced to sheep, you will be amazed at the reaction from your family pet. We have witnessed this several times, when a Briard from the city is taken to the country to a herding event. Once the dog is placed with the sheep, you will not believe that this is the same dog that you arrived with. Most Briards will automatically start doing what they were bred to do, herd.

If your Briard has been socialized and has bonded to all family members, you will possess a loving companion that will protect your family and property for their entire lifespan. They will return to you and yours a love that can never be surpassed. A devotion, a love and commitment that we have never witnessed prior to the Briard. Even the Labrador Retriever will not come close to the Briard. A person can ignore a Labrador when sitting in the living room watching television. A Briard will NOT let you ignore them. They will come and sit next to you and ask for a pat, pet or to be rubbed behind the ears. You cannot ingore a Briard !

If you are looking for an obedient dog for top notch obedience, then I suggest the Labrador or a Sheltie. If you are looking for a lifelong friend and companion, with a devotional love, that will protect your family and love them until their very last breath, than the Briard is right for you. To several Briards, obedience on a grand scale may show through, but, most of the time on their terms. A person can actually sit and watch the Briard think out any given situation before they act upon it.

If you would like to own a dog that is very very smart, loyal, loving and protective, the Briard may be the right breed for you. Sometimes a gentleman, but always a clown, the Briard definitely lives up to the expression, "A Heart Wrapped in Fur".

A one year old male Briard with ears cropped A one year old male Briard with ears cropped

Famous Briards

  • My Three Sons - "Tramp"
  • Bachelor Father - "Jasper" (played by Briard mix "Red" 2nd Jasper 1960-62)
  • Get Smart - Agent K-13 "Fang" (played by Briard mix "Red" 1965-66)
  • Married... with Children - "Buck" (played by Briard "Buck")
  • Dharma & Greg - "Stinky" (played by Briard mix "Chewy")
  • Addams Family - "Them" (played by Briard mix "Mayhem")
  • Top Dog - "Digby"
  • Dennis the Menace (1993) - "Rosie

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