The Briard was bred as a herding breed and has served its purpose perfectly for centuries. However, at present, dogs of this breed are given birth as a favorite pet, a friend for the whole family, a participant in exhibitions and dog sports.
The French Shepherd Briard is a great manipulator. Briard is so smart that he can easily control a person, which the owner will not even suspect. But if raised correctly, Briard will make the perfect obedient friend.
It is for its intelligence that the breed is valued by farmers who have a large number of sheep. Briard manages a flock of up to 700 animals without human help.
Of all the shepherd dogs, the Briard is the second most popular in France. Let’s take a closer look at this unique breed.
Brief history of origin
The first mention of the breed of dogs with sheep’s wool dates back to the 7th-8th centuries. The exact origin of the Briard Shepherd Dog is unknown, but it is believed that the breed arrived in France along with nomads from the East. Briard showed his excellent shepherd qualities, and soon every owner of Bree cattle owned a posh curly shepherd dog.
In 1863, the Briard dog breed was presented at an exhibition in Paris, and in 1885 it was entered in the French herd book.
In 1897, the first standard for the Briard breed appeared in France, then the shepherd dog began to gain popularity in other countries. In North America, the Briard Shepherd Dog has been known since the 18th century, but the first litter was officially registered only in 1922.
Initially, the role of the curly-haired dog in human life was to guard and graze livestock.
Today the French Briard is more just a pet and a guide for people with disabilities.
Description of the breed, standards and appearance
The Briard breed standard is clearly spelled out, and any deviation is a reason for disqualification at the show. Particular attention is paid to the size of the French briard.
The growth of a male French Shepherd should vary between 62-68 cm, a female – from 56 to 64 cm. A deviation from the norm by 2 cm up or down is not allowed.
The weight of a Briard is not strictly stipulated by the standards, an adult boy can reach 30–45 kg, a girl – 25–30 kg.
Description of the breed:
The head of the French Shepherd Dog is oblong, large and wide. The muzzle looks a little flattened due to the long hair that falls from the forehead to the eyes, covering the transition from the skull to the base of the nose.
The muzzle of the briard is neat, the nose is square, black, the nostrils are wide.
Eyes like plush toys. Round, set straight, like buttons. The color is black or dark brown, the iris of a steel color is permissible only with a gray coat.
By standards, the ears of the briard are small, set high, and close to the head. May appear large due to the hanging hair. In Russia, there are still French shepherds with cropped ears. Such a dog at an exhibition in other countries will be disqualified, since docking is prohibited in the EU.
The neck is muscular, blending smoothly into the shoulders.
The body is oblong, the chest is wide, the back is straight, the croup is slightly lowered, rounded.
The front and hind legs of the French Shepherd Dog are strong, set strictly parallel. A distinctive feature of the breed is the double dewclaws on the hind legs. The nails are black.
The tail of the briard is long, falling down, curled into a hook at the tip. Merging with the total mass of wool, it is almost invisible.
The coat of the French briard is chic. Hair reaches a length of 15 cm, coarse, curly. The undercoat of a shepherd dog is not thick, covers the entire body.
Only solid colors of the Briard Sheepdog are allowed:
- Red (the color is compared to the wood of the Briard tree, which is used to make smoking pipes);
- Pale yellow;
Breeders say that the deeper the shade of the Briard’s coat, the more appreciated it is. The hair on the limbs may be lighter in tone than on the body and muzzle.
A dog can be disqualified if it has the colors: white, brown (chestnut or chocolate), mahogany, bicolor, fawn with a black coat, as well as for white markings, white hair on the ends of the legs.
The French shepherd dog is given the following characteristic: endowed with excellent facial expressions, constantly changing the expression of the muzzle. Briard expresses emotions well: surprise, sadness, joy, thoughtfulness and so on.
Character and behavior
The Briard dog does not like a soul in its owner, it is affectionate and obedient. Briard will never agree to a secondary role in the life of a loved one, he will be jealous of other pets, even of his own breed. For the affection and attention of the owner, the Briard Shepherd will fight with other animals in the house. He will drive the cat from the lap of a loved one, substituting his face for her.
Briard is charming, with his look and facial expressions he will melt the heart of any person and beg for what he wants. But the dog knows how to perfectly manipulate people.
The French briard is endowed with a high sense of self-esteem, and will not tolerate rough treatment. It is necessary to find a kind of “golden mean” in communication with the Briard, so as not to give the shepherd dog control itself, but also not to offend.
There is another unique feature in the character of the French breed – the need for a shepherd dog to imitate its owner. If he is sad, the dog will be sad next to him. If the owner in a raised voice clarifies the relationship with the household, the briard will begin to bark loudly, and even growl.
The Briard Sheepdog is a brave, hardy, hardworking and active dog. He perceives the human family as his flock, and the owner is obliged to immediately show who is the leader here.
The intellect of a dog is similar to that of a human; a briard needs constant training. You need to hone your skills, teach something new, give regular tasks, for example, bring mail from a box, slippers.
Briard treats strangers with caution and distrust. No matter how kind the dog is, you should not allow strangers to come up and stroke him, the dog may react inappropriately.
The French Shepherd Briard loves children, she will become not only an excellent guard for kids, but also an educator, a teacher, can treat them like her puppy.
A dog of this breed does not like noisy children’s games, and even more so it does not like it if the children are trying to drag them into their pranks. To calm down the child, the briard can even bite, so the children need to immediately explain the rules for communicating with the dog.
Of course, the dog’s aggressive attitude towards the baby is unacceptable; when such appears, it is required to show severity.
Important! The upbringing of dogs of this breed is not difficult, as they are tuned in to dialogue with humans. However, Briards need early socialization and training.
Among the representatives of the breed, there are specific diseases. These include dysplasia of the joints, which is inherited or develops as a result of malnutrition.
Excessive weight of the dog aggravates the course of the disease. Briard puppies can get sick, and the progression of pathological processes leads to lameness. A sick dog gets tired quickly when walking, pushes off when running with two hind legs.
The earlier the treatment starts; the faster the pet’s condition will stabilize. The therapy is carried out medically with the help of chondroprotective drugs or surgically, implanting prostheses. Physiotherapy will also help. It is possible to avoid the disease without physically overloading the dog, including in the diet supplements containing glucosamine, chondroetin.
If the Briard develops vomiting, belching, an urgent need to consult a veterinarian. He will make the correct diagnosis, select the appropriate treatment. If the owner of the dog is indifferent to such symptoms, volvulus may occur in the pet, which will lead to death.
Before you buy a dog in the nursery, you need to know about hereditary diseases delivered by vaccinations. Revaccination is already carried out by the owners of the dog in order to prevent the appearance of serious pathologies – plague, hepatitis, enteritis.
Large dogs live slightly less than small ones. Briard, for example, faithfully serves the owner from 9 to 12 years. The main factor that determines the lifespan of a domestic purebred dog is nutrition.
Education and training
Briards are unusually memorable, understanding, but not devoid of stubbornness, students who need a special key. By the way, to apply to them punishments, especially physical ones, means only to worsen the matter and permanently lose their trust. In your heart, you can scold the shepherd as much as you like, but do not allow yourself to take out your irritation on it. Briard was not born to blindly obey orders. This is a thinking dog, with its own views on life in general and on training in particular. But if the pet has at least once fulfilled the command as required by the rules, do not hesitate, he will not forget this and will easily repeat the “feat” even after 2-3 months.
The desire to dominate and take the place of the owner is completely normal for briards. And if the males immediately go ahead, asserting their own authority, then the bitches act by deception, coming up with ingenious strategies to bypass the rules. If you notice that it becomes difficult to cope with the dog, entrust its training to a professional – you will save your nerves and the animal will not start.
If we are talking about training courses, then with briards, OKD (General course of training) and UGS (Controlled city dog) are most often passed. In addition, shepherd dogs have a clear propensity for sports such as agility, freestyle, skijoring and weight pulling. IPO (International Obedience System) course Briards also click like seeds, and, unlike most other breeds, these “French” are able to master new knowledge at any age. And of course, do not forget about the main qualification of the breed – the shepherd’s service, tests for which Briards usually pass with the highest score.
You can take a dog to the training ground from 6-7 months, and learning basic rules of behavior and simple commands is allowed to begin as early as 4 months of age. The best way to socialize your briard puppy is to walk the busy streets with it so that the baby stops being afraid. Of course, it will not work to force a pet to love other dogs in this way, but it is quite possible to help him come to terms with the inevitability of their presence in his life. Briard owners are advised to wrap the leash on their hand and walk their charges in places of maximum concentration of dog lovers and their four-footed pupils.
The French cattle-breeder is a big fan of learning something new. He is always interested in the world around him, no matter where he is. Curiosity pushes him to listen to the owner and try to please him. However, such a dog has a character trait that can interfere with training – this is stubbornness.
Any dog, especially a responsible one, like a Briard, can show complete disinterest in training. The beast knows about its merits, it is not devoid of narcissism, therefore it often refuses to train.
How to be in this situation? We advise you to practice the carrot method. Always treat a smart dog with what he likes and offer to follow you, after that – start training.
The long dry coat of the dog almost does not shed, but intensively knocks into tangles. So if you do not want your pet’s body to turn into a solid untidy “felt boot”, do not neglect his daily brushing.
The long beautiful coat of the dog requires special care. You need to comb the Briard every day, then the coat will look shiny, smooth, does not roll. To facilitate the procedure, you can trim the dog a little using the services of a groomer. The frequency of haircuts varies from once a month or every two months. The bathing procedure is carried out as the dog becomes dirty, but it is better to do this monthly.
It is important to clean your dog’s ears and eyes from dirt and wash your paws after a walk. You need to walk your pet every day, not forgetting about training. At the same time, you should not over-suppress the puppy, behave aggressively with him. Briard is a breed of dog that cannot be in a calm state, prolonged immobility ruins it.
Long and hard hair of a Briard does not require burdensome care, it is enough to comb the dog with a furminator for long-haired breeds 1 – 2 times in 8 – 10 days, the animal practically does not molt.
In order to prevent the coat from tangling, professional grooming is carried out once every 2 – 3 months.
Briard is bathed as needed, but not more often than once a month, otherwise the skin of the animal may become dry, which will lead to allergies and skin diseases.
Before water treatments, the dog must be combed, paying special attention to the undercoat.
Hair should be regularly removed from the ears as well as from the pads.
It is systematically necessary to take care of the eyes and ears of the animal, trim the nails as necessary.
A set of hygiene procedures:
- Periodically (once every 5-7 days), the ears and eyes are examined, the dirt is cleaned with cotton swabs or sticks with veterinary lotion or herbal decoction (calendula, chamomile, etc.). If the ears are uncropped, then the hair is cut off inside the shell.
- Brush your dog’s teeth weekly with a special paste for animals that does not require rinsing and a brush attachment on your finger.
- The claws are shortened with a guillotine claw, if they do not grind off themselves on walks.
- After each meal, the muzzle is washed with water or wiped with wet wipes, removing food debris. The beard and antennae must be combed. The bangs are slightly thinned out (milled) or pinned into the tail. It can be shortened for non-exhibition individuals.
- Trim the clumped hair between the toes (as needed).
- Wool is thoroughly combed every day, first with a thin comb, removing debris and working through the mats, then with a comb with fine teeth or a brush. During the procedure, conditioners that facilitate combing are used.
- Water procedures are arranged 1-2 times a month, using professional cosmetics (shampoos, conditioners, balms, etc.) for long-haired animals.
- For a long-haired dog to go out, it is better to purchase a protective overall so that later on from the wool it does not rip out the burdock and other surprises of nature. Our dog, for example, was still very fond of lying in the dust or swimming in a puddle of dirty water.
French Briard dogs are shepherds and genetically require long walks. Even if the parents of the dog, his grandmother and great-grandfather were pets, and not hard workers, the blood remembers the past of the ancestors.
It is necessary to walk with the French Shepherd at least 2 times a day, each time at least 1.5-2 hours.
The breed needs physical activity and active games. To do this, the owner can go for a bike ride, and the dog will follow alongside.
Do not forget about training. Keep in mind that all exercises should be interesting, from monotonous and monotonous tasks the Briard will quickly get bored.
In the process of walking, you should not be afraid to let go of the Briard from the leash, having run over, the animal will certainly run up to the owner.
The diet of Briard should be balanced and consist mainly of natural meat, vegetables, cereals, cereals and even greens should also be included in the diet.
Will have to give up potatoes, rice, as well as bakery and confectionery.
Premium, super premium and holistic dry food will be a good alternative to natural nutrition.
How many times to feed?
A 2-month-old briard is fed up to 6 times a day, with fewer meals as it gets older. At 8 months old, puppies are completely transferred to an adult diet and two meals a day. Sedentary adults (from 2 years old) can also slightly cut their rations, for example, feed them only once a day.
Important: Briards are prone to bloat, so the dog should eat at least two hours before walking. If you have a tradition of feeding your ward after the festivities, wait at least one hour and only then give the animal food.
Briard dog breed highlights
Completing the description of the Briard breed, I would like to separately highlight the advantages and disadvantages of this dog. A curly pet is not suitable for every person, the owner should be as similar as possible in temperament to the dog, have a strong character.
- High intelligence
- Guard and sentry qualities
- Decorative appearance
- Unquestioning obedience with the right upbringing
- Ability to perform even complex commands, tricks
- Strong immunity
- Dominance tendency
- Ability to manipulate a person
- The need for long walks
- Can scare a child
- Special care for wool
- Doesn’t get along well with other animals
- Propensity for genetic diseases
Any breed has its drawbacks, and often there are more of them than advantages. Briard, on the other hand, has an equal number of pros and cons, and the latter can be successfully dealt with if you find an approach to the dog’s heart.
The French Briard is an amazing and unique creature. The dog will become a special friend for a person, similar in character and habits.
The appearance of the breed makes passers-by turn around, admiring the beauty and article of the French dog.
Briard dog fun facts
A fawn-colored briard dog named Brutus contributed to the judicial practice of the Middle Ages, acting as the prosecutor at the trial of the murderer of its master. The dog fought with him, forcing him to admit his guilt. In memory of this event, a stone shield was installed in the city of Montidier.
During the war years, French Shepherd dogs participated in hostilities, taking out the wounded from the battlefield and delivering medicines and ammunition.
The briar breed has the same name as the material from which tobacco pipes are made. Briard material (fr. Bruyère) is obtained from a tree-like growth between the root and trunk of a shrub of the heather family, sometimes called the briar tree. Briard wood has nothing in common with the breed of dogs, except for the name.
It is very important to initially build a relationship of trust with him. Remember, your dog must trust you. While walking, keep her close to you, do not let her walk-in front or back at passers-by.
Every time you notice how she reacts too violently to what is happening around, lightly kick her in the side. This is a warning gesture. Be sure to teach your briard puppy how to respond to his name. To do this, each of the family members must regularly pronounce it while interacting with the animal.
Don’t let your pet climb onto your bed. This will negatively affect the process of his socialization. In this case, the beast will think that he has the same rights as all household members. Such an attitude in the mind of a dog has a destructive effect on its communication with people. She becomes stubborn and disobedient.