Briard

Canis lupus

Last updated: November 15, 2022
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
Image Credit hsunny/Shutterstock.com

Briard Scientific Classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Mammalia
Order
Carnivora
Family
Canidae
Genus
Canis
Scientific Name
Canis lupus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Briard Conservation Status

Briard Locations

Briard Locations

Briard Facts

Diet
Omnivore

Briard Physical Characteristics


Briard as a Pet:

General Health
Energy Level
Shedability
Trainability
Intelligence
Tendency to Chew
Size
Family and kid friendliness
Yappiness / Barking
Moderate
Separation Anxiety
Low
Preferred Temperature
Warm climate
Exercise Needs
High
Friendly With Other Dogs
Moderate
Pure bred cost to own
$2,300
Dog group
Herding
Male weight
55-100 lbs
Female weight
45-90 lbs

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View all of the Briard images!



One of the shaggiest sheepdogs, the Briard is well-known and beloved for its distinctive, lengthy coat. These handsome dogs were first bred in the Brie region of France centuries ago, traditionally used to herd and defend sheep. Despite their long bangs, Briards have keen eyesight for keeping a watchful eye on their flocks or their families if they don’t have any seep handy. Their number one job is to be an exemplary family member with a job to do, either by choosing a lengthy run to keep up with their highly active needs or being a supervisor of children. 

These head-turning dogs strut like supermodels and know they’re in charge, but give them lots of love and structure and they’ll be as driven to please and succeed as any modern CEO. Early training is key to their success in a family; daily grooming, exercise, and mental challenges will make them fiercely loyal companions for years to come.

According to some historians, Marquis de Lafayette first brought the Briard to North America. Others credit Thomas Jefferson with first importing the breed.

The Best Dog Food For Briard

Briards benefit from high-quality dog food, either kibble or wet food, that best fits whatever stage of life they are in. As both puppies and throughout their adult life, Briards have high energy and require plenty of exercise to keep in top shape. This lifestyle requires a high-protein diet with plenty of nutrients to help maintain muscle stability and aerobic function. 

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That’s why the team at A-Z Animals recommends Merrick’s Grain-free Chicken Sweet Potato dry food, free from preservatives and grains. This brand features high-quality proteins with a blend of whole, natural vegetables, nutritious ingredients, and a taste your Briard will surely enjoy. It also contains glucosamine and chondroitin, which both help maintain healthy joint and hip function.

Some Briards can quickly gain weight without nutritional oversight, which can stress joints, cause back discomfort, and increase the likelihood of weight-related health issues like heart disease or digestive disorders. Maintaining a balanced diet with regular feeding schedules and minimal snacking is key. During training, small pieces of low-calorie treats such as Fruitables’ Skinny Minis Apple Bacon training treats will go a long way to successfully learning and staving off extra pounds. Briards are also very clever and may try to herd you to the treat cabinet more often than not. When in doubt, be sure to check with your vet to learn how to regulate the best meals, snacks, and feeding times for your dog’s weight

3 pros and cons of owning a Briard

Pros!Cons!
Beautiful dog with glossy coatYour Briard is sure to stand out in a crowd as one of the most beautiful dog breeds.Requires lots of maintenance These dogs require lots of maintenance, including daily brushing, and extensive grooming.
Loyal and very intelligentThese smart canines easily learn tricks and become fiercely loyal to their owners.Thinks it’s the bossWithout proper training, Briards can easily think they’re the alpha dog.
Great with kidsBriards are excellent with children and treat them with gentle affection.Exercise needed!Briards require regular exercise and mental stimulation to stay healthy, so make sure your lifestyle can accommodate their needs.

Briard Size and Weight

The Briard female’s average high ranges from 14 to 16.5 inches tall, and males are capable of reaching up to 18 inches. On average, males can weigh up to 35 pounds when fully grown, with females weighing about 25 pounds at most.

Height (Male)15.5 to 18” Tall
Height (Female)14 to 16.5” Tall
Weight (male)35lbs, fully grown
Weight (female)25lbs, fully grown

Briard Common Health Issues

Briards usually live to reach 12 years of age, and while they’re generally healthy, they do have a few breed-specific health issues for which to watch.

Congenital stationary night blindness and progressive retinal atrophy are both genetically inherited eye diseases that lead to eventual blindness. These eye issues aren’t painful for your pup and can be accommodated, but working with a breeder who checks for and avoids these issues is essential.

Large breed dogs like Briards are also prone to osteoarthritis, which can cause pain in the hips, knees, and elbows. Owners can manage this and other joint-related conditions like hip and elbow dysplasia with joint supplements like chondroitin and glucosamine.

Briard Temperament

Fans of the breed describe Briards as a “heart wrapped in fur.” These dogs are deeply affectionate with their families and love kids with fierce loyalty. As sheepdogs, Briards might consider kids part of their flock and devote their energies to protecting and ensuring their wellness. This might include nipping when they try to herd you or your children, but this behavior is easily curbed with proper training and regular exercise.

These pups are high energy, with herding and hunting built into their DNA, and quickly bond with other animals. The American Kennel Club classifies Briards as herding dogs, and they love nothing more than having a job to do. This includes fetching a ball, protecting their family, and keeping their loved ones together in the same room.

How To Take Care of Briard 

New pet owners learning how to raise and care for Briards must consider a range of unique factors specific to the breed. Daily brushing, high levels of physical and mental exercise, and socialization all contribute to a happy Briard’s life.

Maintenance And Grooming

These dogs are medium-shedders, which may be surprising considering the level of grooming they require. The breed is renowned and recognizable thanks to its bushy eyebrows, long-haired coat, and shaggy beard. Daily brushing is a must to prevent matting, while extensive grooming is required on a regular schedule.

Regularly cleaning their ears, trimming nails, and daily teeth brushing are also important parts of keeping your Briard clean and healthy.

Training

Disciplined and consistent training makes all the difference in a happy and healthy relationship with your Briard pup. Positive reinforcement is a must, as Briards thrive on positive energy and rewards for jobs well done. They were bred to herd and protect, which can make them destructive if not appropriately challenged with mental enrichment and exercise. A game of tag or a hide-and-seek adventure for hidden treats keeps these dogs guessing, and mental exercise helps curb unwanted behavior such as chewing up footwear or furniture. 

Because these dogs are so intelligent, training can be a breeze. Briards can easily and quickly learn tricks and excel in all sorts of dog sports and agility trials. Group training or time on a herding farm allows them to express their herding instincts and will go a long way to keeping them happy.

Exercise

As high-energy herders, Briards need to jump, run, play, or otherwise keep up with physical exercise to keep them stimulated and healthy. At least an hour a day is required, and changing up your routine from fetch in the backyard to a jog around the park on the next will keep your pup guessing and excited. They love the action, and Briards will love you all the more for adding some variety to their lives. 

Puppies

Socialization is an essential component of training your new Briard pup. Acclimating them to new people and experiences when they’re puppies will help them become more accepting and curious as older dogs. 

Establishing a training schedule with a clear hierarchy of command will set Briard puppies at ease, with the understanding that you are the Alpha. Briards learn quickly and have excellent memory, even when they’re young, and can start learning tricks at just a few months of age. Taking them to a puppy training class will also get them to interact with other puppies and teach them how to play nicely with one another.

Briard And Children

Briards are loving, playful companions that make for excellent family dogs and caretakers of children. They are naturally protective and often consider the children part of their flock, for which they bear the responsibility of protection and overseeing. They can be slightly bossy and prone to nipping kids to keep them in line, but this can be trained and prevented at an early age.

Dogs similar to Briard

The Briard is closely related to several sheepdog breeds, including the Bearded Collie, the Belgian Shepherd, and the Colli.

  • Bearded collie: These shaggy pups bear a physical likeness to the Briard due to their shaggy coats and maintenance requirements.
  • Belgian shepherd: This herding dog is also responsible for keeping sheep in line but in Belgium instead of France.
  • Collie: The collie is a beautifully-haired and playful herding dog originally from Scotland’s hills.

Popular names for Briards include:

  • Buck
  • Ruff
  • Chocho
  • Lucille
  • Pascal
  • Laurel

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About the Author

Shanti Ryle is a content marketer with nearly a decade's experience writing about science, real estate, business, and culture. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Wall Street Journal, Global Finance and Banking, Weedmaps News/Marijuana.com, and other publications. Her favorite animal (by far) is the Pembroke Welsh Corgi!

Briard FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Is a Briard a good family dog?

Briards make for excellent family pets. Their family is this dog’s top priority, and they form deep bonds with fellow household members. They have tons of energy, can keep up with kids, and play all day long. They can sometimes be wary of outsiders and should be managed in unfamiliar scenarios.



Do Briards shed?

While their coats are long and beautiful, Briards are considered low- to non-shedding dogs. However, their fur can tangle and matt easily, requiring daily upkeep and extensive maintenance. If you don’t have time for regular care, you may want to consider another breed.



How long does Briard live?

The average lifespan of a Briard is about 12 years, though they can live up to 14 or 15 with proper nutrition and regular, healthy exercise.



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Sources
  1. American Kennel Club, Available here: https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/briard/
  2. European Union of Briards, Available here: http://www.uebb.net/english/info.php
  3. Purina, Available here: https://www.purina.com/dogs/dog-breeds/briard
  4. Chewy, Available here: https://be.chewy.com/dog-breed/briard/
  5. American Kennel Club, Available here: https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/dog-breeds/briard-breed-history-thomas-jefferson/

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