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Briard

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Briard is a French shepherd dog that loves to work and be active together with its family. Out of four types of French shepherd dogs the briard is the best known: Picard, beauceron, and Pyrenean are the others.

The briard is a protective breed well suited as a guard dog. During the First World War it was on the brink of extinction, however, on the basis of soldiers’ war stories the interest in the dog sharpened and the breed was re-established.

Character and behaviour
The briard is a lovely and playful breed. It loves spending time with its owners. Furthermore, it takes pride in protecting its owner making it a perfect guard dog. It has excellent hearing. Given that it is a working dog it requires a lot of exercise and mental stimulation.

It is important for a briard that it is taught early on who is in charge. In addition it is important to socialise the briard while it is still a puppy. It can be reserved and at times aggressive towards strangers.

A briard is good with children but preferably they should grow up together. If you demonstrate leadership, provide plenty of exercise, and of course love the dog then you will get a fantastic family dog. However, the briard is not the obvious choice for first time owners.

History of the breed
The briard originates from France where it was used as a working dog and as a war dog. In 1853 two French shepherd dogs existed: beauceron and briard. Beauceron has long hair and briard had short hair. The briard was then crossed with the barbet (French water dog) in order to beautify its appearance.

It still was an eminent shepherd dog that protected its herd of sheep by snatching and biting any given treat. Later on the breed became popular among famous persons such as Napoleon, Thomas Jefferson, and Lafayette.

Appearance, grooming and health
The briard is a large and muscular dog with a very long outer coat. The coat covers even the large dark eyes. The ears are set high hanging down. However, on some dogs they are erect. The tail is long, longhaired, and hanging. The head is big and almost oblong. The legs are straight and strong with sturdy bone structure.

The briard is 24-27 inches and weighs 75 pounds.

The outer coat is rough, long, and wavy. It resembles the hair on a goat. The inner coat is delicate and dense. The briard only sheds a little as long as you brush it regularly. Grooming the briard takes approximately 2 hours a week.

It is a relatively healthy breed but may be inclined to suffer from hip dysplasia, cataract, and bloat. Bloat can be avoided by feeding the dog small portions more times a day. Life expectancy is 10-12 years.

What you should know about the breed:

  • A loyal dog
  • Very active
  • An excellent guard dog with protective behaviour
  • Easily trained and enjoys mental challenges
  • Not suitable for first time owners

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  • This group is for anyone who owns a Briard or have questions to this specific dog breed.