Originally a French sheep herding breed, the Briard was dual purpose being a guardian and shepherd of the flocks and watch dog for family and farm. Today the breed is rather rare due to so many being lost in World War I when, as the official dog of the French Army, they were used to carry supplies to the front lines and to serve as sentry dogs. Due to their keen hearing the Briard were used by the medical corps to search for wounded soldiers.
Distinctive in appearance, the Briard has eyebrows and a beard which give the typical expression of the breed. Their coat is long and slightly wavy, and the texture is such that dirt and mud do not cling to it. A purebred Briard also has double dew claws.
Essentially a fun loving dog the Briard has an ardent desire to please their master but their nature is outgoing and boisterous and it must be remembered that they are a large, strong dog that require training from an early age if they are not to be unruly.
Those who require an instantly obedient dog should not acquire a Briard. This breed needs close companionship if they are to reach their full potential. Reserved toward strangers the Briard is completely trustworthy provided the stranger presents no threat.
Grooming and care
The Briard’s coat requires regular washing and should be brushed at least once a week to avoid matting.
For the latest research in breed-related problems in the Briard, visit the University of Sydney’s LIDA (Listing of Inherited Disorders in Animals) website.