At first glance, it may not seem that the Briard is a compassionate dog. It may not seem that he is the type of dog that would happily lay by your side during an afternoon nap. Or, cuddle with the stray cat that you brought home, but he is just like that. This dog has many qualities about him, all of which are unique, interesting and often time surprising. The dog is ideal for the home as well as for the working life that the breed is known for. If you are planning to bring him into your home, know what to expect from this unique creature.
The Briard's ancestry is very important in defining his character. Great people of the past are often depicted his historic records as owning them. This includes Napoleon and Charlemagne, as well as Thomas Jefferson. This gives them a sense of royalty, but they are not pompous dogs as some may expect. This is due to the fact that the breed was put in charge of protecting. It would protect his owner, with his life if it was necessary, as well as his flock or his property. This sense of duty gave the Briard a unique place by the side of their masters, often becoming a loyal friend and companion.
There is a mixture of character traits in the Briard. Not only is he a loving, loyal dog, but he is also fearless. He is determined to do his job, whatever that may be and it often means that he needs to protect his property or his family. In that, you may expect to find a dog that is aggressive or mean spirited, but that is not the case with the Briard. In most situations he is defending and challenging but without the aggression that many expect him to have.
One of the most common nicknames for the Briard is a "heart wrapped in fur" because of his sheer determination to do what he can for his master. These dogs are not mean-spirited, but defenders. They are compassionate in their day to day lives, often found doing whatever it is that the family is doing. This does mean that the Briard likes, in fact demands, constant attention from his family. He does not want to be alone and he most certainly will pick up on the style of living that his family has. With that said, realize too that this dog's physical make up does demand for him to be active. He needs to be running as he often did in the past chasing after sheep.
The Briard is a compassionate friend to his master, a guardian and master at his own dedication to his family.