8 and 10 puppies. However, litter sizes as large a 17 have been noted.
CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, ANKC, NKC, NZKC, APRI, ACR
The typical colors of the Briard are black, grey, or tawny. However, the puppy tawny coat turns into a lighter yearling coat. They can also be a combination of two of the pre-mentioned colors.
75 pounds average
75 pounds average
The Briard does best in a home with a moderately fenced yard because it loves the outdoors. They typically will do fine being outside alone and in a fenced yard because they do have a sense of independence. However, they are quite content living in the home with the family. They are moderately active indoors and therefore do need some space to move around. Despite this, they can adjust to live happily in an apartment style environment if the owner is dedicated to providing the dog with enough daily exercise outside the home. They will do moderately well as kennel dogs, but again this is not suggested because of their love and need for activity and the outdoors.
The Briard can be characterized as a large and muscular herding dog. In addition to the herding the Briard was also used as a guard dog. This makes the Briard a natural watch dog that has strong loyalties to its owner and family. They are very eager to please and learn tasks very quickly. Due to their history of being farm dogs they were taught many tasks. They have excellent memory for commands and are able to work independently. This independent personality does not take away from its loving and affectionate nature with its family.
The Briard has a strong and powerful stature combined with the agility needed for a herding dog. The head of the Briard should give the impression of length with clean lines and no excess skin or jowls. The head should also be held high and alter and should connect to the neck at a 90 degree angle. The ears should be set high on the head and should have a thick leather to be firm at the base. The ears can be either cropped or not cropped. The muzzle has a moustache and beard and should be considered somewhat wide and end in a right angle.
Their muscular build is emphasized in their chest. The chest is broad and deep with moderately curved ribs. The shoulder blades are to be long and muscular. The front legs and rear legs are to be the same distance apart. The legs are to be straight and parallel to the median of the body. The form of the legs is very important because they are what will determine the dog's ability to herd and keep its agile movement. The rear legs are very powerful and help provide flexibility. The rear legs are to have two dewclaws that are lower set on the leg. This will give foot the appearance of having a wide base.
The Briard's coat is very coarse and strong. It is slightly wavy double coat. It is really similar to the coat of goats. Dirt and water do not easily attach to the coat. The coat if well groomed sheds very little. The average length of an adult Briard's coat is at least 6 inches. The length of the coat gives it a very attractive bushy appearance with a beard, moustache, and eyebrows. The undercoat of the Briard is much finer than that of the outer coat. Due to the softness and fineness of the undercoat it is prone to matting. The coat can be worn either long or shorter depending on owner's preference and level of coat maintenance desired.
The Briard goes back several centuries. The Briard was originally a sheep guard and herder in France. However, the French Army used this ancient sheep dog as a messenger and as a search dog for wounded soldiers because of its incredible sense of hearing. Some very famous people have owned Briard's throughout history. Some of these include Charlemagne, Napoleon, Thomas Jefferson, and Lafayette. However, the Briard did not become popular until after the Paris dog show of 1863. This was largely due to the fact that the dog's appearance was improved by breeding with Beauceron and Barbet breeds.
The origin of the name of the Briar is under controversy. One theory is that the dog was named for Aubry of Montdidier. He was supposed to have owned an early Briard. The second theory is that the dog was named after the French province of Brie. Although it is suspected that the dog did not originate in that local. The Briard is somewhat popular in the United States but remains most popular in its home country of France.
The Briard is a very loving and loyal dog. They are extremely intelligent without a hint of shyness. They are said to be a dog of heart with a light spirit and who become very loyal to their owners and families. They loyalty extends into being protective of their family as well so introductions to new people and animals should always be on the dog's terms. This includes new introductions into the family such as furniture or a new child. The Briard needs to be shown that new introductions are a positive experience. Further to this, socialization is very important with the Briard because of this protective nature. Socialization should start an early age and should consist of meeting all different kinds of people and going to several different types of places. If living in a home with children they are very loving and gentle when raised together. This is the same for other animals. The Briard is known to be a bit dog aggressive, but with proper socialization and handling can co-exist with other pets and animals well.
The Briard is definitely not a dog for everyone. They can be very stubborn and independent and sometimes very unfriendly and fearful when not raised properly. They respond very poorly punishment or severe training. They can become very withdrawn and sometimes even violent when treated negatively. It is important to train them using a more positive approach. Clicker training and food reinforcement training are examples of positive training methods. This breed is very sensitive to being teased. Further to this, because of their training and history of being herding dogs, Briards are likely to nip at people's heels with the intentions of herding them where the dog thinks they should go.
When raised properly are very affectionate and warm family dogs. It is said that they will return ten fold the amount of affection that they are given. They do crave excitement and entertainment and therefore are not the type of dog that can just be left to roam and relax around the house. It is important for the Briard to have daily exercise and entertainment. Their love of the outdoors and for activity makes them excellent pets for the active individual or family.
Care for the Briard is rated at being moderately high. Professional grooming is recommended about every 8 to 10 weeks and maintenance grooming is recommended weekly. If the Briard is not being shown, then the owner may choose to have the dog wear a shorter coat. This reduces the maintenance of the coat. Due to the softness and fineness of the undercoat of the Briard it is noteworthy that it does matt very easily when not brushed and combed regularly. The outer coat because of its coarse texture does not matt that easily, however, it is important not to overlook that because the matting will all be found in the under coat. It is approximated that to maintain the coat the owner should be expected to spend about two hours a week doing so. When properly maintained the coat sheds very little.
The Briard should also be bathed on a regular basis. Bathing about once a month is acceptable. Bathing more frequently than that can cause skin irritation and dryness. When bathing the Briard the dog should be fully brushed and combed before hand. It is important that the dog is brushed from the skin to ensure that the matting in the undercoat is being untangled. To help with de-matting the Briard it can be useful to use a specialty spray on de-tangling product. These products are designed to use before the bath. For the bath a specialty dog shampoo should be used in a diluted form. It should be rinsed out of the coat thoroughly as to prevent skin irritation caused by the soap residue. Fluff-drying should be used after the bath. Then once dry the dog should be combed again to get rid of the last tangles and keep the coat well maintained.
It is also important that the hair of the Briard found on the pads of the feet and in the ears should be trimmed or clipped regularly. As well, there is some eye care involved. The eyes do tend to collect some matter and hair in the corners and therefore should be cleaned with a soft cloth moistened with clean water. The tear stains can be treated with an eye stain remover.
The Briard is a working dog and therefore needs to have consistent exercise. They love to run and play and are excellent dogs for the active person. They are very happy to run along side a bike or go jogging. They also love to swim and would make excellent dogs for people who have cabins or spend lots of time near water. They will become restless if not exercised enough. The Briard is also well suited for defense training and police dog trails. The Briard's nature of working and herding combined with their level of intelligence make them quick learners. A combination of training and exercise is an excellent way to maintain a health dog both mentally and physically.
Briard puppies and dogs need very consistent and constant training. They are highly intelligent dogs and therefore learn quickly and are capable of understanding and remembering a large vocabulary of commands. It is essential the Briard puppies are trained well and in the correct manner because otherwise they can become very withdrawn, suspicious, and sometimes aggressive animals.
From the time the Briard is a puppy it should be regularly introduced into new situations involving different types of people, places, and other animals. It is important that these new encounters are done in a positive manner. When training the Briard it is essential to use positive reinforcement training because they respond best to love and affection and respond very poorly to negative attention.
Unfortunately owners are not educated on how much training is involved with a Briard and often become overwhelmed. It is suggested that the Briard is not for first time dog owners. However, if a new dog owner does want to have a Briard for a pet, it is suggested that they obtain professional assistance with training. One specific problem is their nipping at heels of people to herd them. This can be reduced or eliminated by respect training.
The Briard is highly intelligent with an incredible memory and has the ability to independently remember tasks. They are capable of remembering a large vocabulary of commands. With the proper training they can be very affectionate and loyal family pets. It is very important for the owners to have patience and train with love and firmness to obtain the best behavior from the dog.